FULTON, NY – Rockford, the pit bull puppy, is recovering after his severed jaw was surgically repaired.
â€œRockford is doing much better, considering what heâ€™s gone through. He is spending his time recuperating, just hanging out at the shop,â€ said Rachel Dean one of the puppyâ€™s rescuers.
She is now his legal guardian after he was discovered in need of medical attention in the vehicle of one of Absolute Auto and Audioâ€™s customers.
The man voluntarily surrounded the six to eight month old dog to her.
Rockford is starting to put on some weight and maintain it, Rachel said.
â€œHe is up to 27 pounds. He was just one-third the weight of what he should have been when we found him,â€ she said.
â€œHeâ€™s on a special diet trying to get his weight up. We feed him every hour and a half,â€ her fiancÃ© added. â€œHeâ€™s a great dog, very affectionate and heâ€™s house trained.â€
He has to go back to the vetâ€™s in a few days for a post-surgery checkup.
The puppy recently went through five and a half hours of surgery.
Cornell surgeons installed plates and screws into both sides of his jaw; six on either side, Rachel said.
A day after the surgery, he was able to move his jaw and ate wet food on his own.
â€œIn about 4 to 6 weeks he should be able to eat harder dog food,â€ Rachel said. â€œCornell loved him. The doctors said he had a great attitude while he was down there and was very friendly.â€
He is very obedient and responds to his name, Rachel said.
â€œHe listens very well and is very alert,â€ she said. â€œHe wants a lot of attention. He is always wagging his tail and greeting people when they come in to the shop. He loves everybody.â€
Itâ€™s possible he may need hip surgery where the bone was previously injured.
â€œWe are doing good on donations,â€ Rachelâ€™s fiancÃ© said.
The jaw surgery cost about $3,700. More than twice that amount was raised in donations for Rockford.
Rachel said the additional funds will be saved in an account for Rockfordâ€™s future surgery, if necessary; and she added, some of the money could be used for other animal causes.
â€œThis has really opened our eyes. Itâ€™s just amazing that someone could do something like this to a puppy,â€ her fiancÃ© added. â€œWe want to do something about this, not just complain. We want to do something to help the animals; possibly some kind of shelter for abandoned and abused animals. A place where they can be safe and cared for and hopefully adopted.â€
Hopefully, this week, the protective cone Rockford has had to endure for weeks will come off.
â€œStill weâ€™ll have to be careful with him. When weâ€™re not around to keep an eye on him, we have to keep him separated from my other dog. Heâ€™s just a puppy, and some times puppies play too rough. We donâ€™t want him re-injuring himself,â€ Rachel said.
The man accused of abusing the pit bull pup, Reginald Stepp, 35, of Milton Avenue, Syracuse, appeared in court where his case was handed over to an Onondaga County Grand Jury.
Stepp is being held on several animal cruelty charges including a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty.