When Kate Pounders of Grand Rapids, Michigan, first saw a photo of a dog in need who came to be named Waco, she was shaken to her core.
“I asked him to send me a picture of it and the second I got the picture, like my stomach dropped. I mean, I instantly felt sick to my stomach,” Pounders told WOOD-TV.
A friend had reached out to her — knowing she was owner of Katie’s K9s, an animal rescue — and sent her a photo of an injured dog in a campground in Holland, Michigan. The dog, who appears to be a Siberian husky mix, had an enormous band of raw flesh across his back and sides.
WARNING: The following image is a graphic depiction of the animal’s injuries.
She quickly rescued the dog and took it in for treatment. She and the vet began to piece together the likely story of the poor dog’s injury.
“His wounds are over three weeks old meaning that Waco has been miserable for weeks,” Pounders wrote on the GoFundMe she started to help cover Waco’s expenses. “It is believed that the burns are from a meth lab explosion, or some sort of ‘lab gone wrong.’ All we know is when the chemical hit the skin he had no way to get it off him for 2 days.”
To make matters worse, the dog’s former owner, who Pounders described as an active meth addict, had no running water or food, so not only was Waco in excruciating pain, but he hadn’t had access to food or water for at least five days.
“When I first got Waco, his — the wounds on his back, he had sticks and dirt inside the wounds,” she told WOOD-TV.
When the vet’s office heard about Waco’s case, they asked Pounders to bring him in as soon as they opened. She’d managed to raise some money to help with Waco’s bills, but after assessing him and saying they were the worst chemical burns they’d ever seen on a dog, the vet cautioned Pounders that this would be a very expensive treatment.
Thankfully for Waco, many people have been touched by his story, and Pounders’ GoFundMe has raised over $11,000 for his treatment, which is about what the vet quoted.
Even with the raw burn wounds, Waco is a sweet boy, and Pounders is convinced this is only a temporary setback for the young dog.
“Even with these horrible wounds he is SO happy,” she shared in a Facebook post. “The vet staff couldn’t believe how sweet and loving and nice he is with everything he’s been through and how much pain he’s in.
“He is a miracle dog.”
The hardest part for Pounders is that Waco wandered, in clear pain, for weeks before she heard about him.
“Nobody did anything,” she said. “Nobody stepped up for him. Nobody tried to help him. That’s I think the hardest part for me, is anybody can step up and do something.”
But not all people are that way — and many have proven that with their generosity in funding Waco’s recovery.
“You can step up and you can help them,” Pounders said. “You don’t have to be a rescue. You don’t have to be a professional to make a difference.”