A little over a year ago, Riley, a German shepherd mix puppy, was struggling to recover from burns he suffered when he was scalded during a domestic disturbance in Euless.
At the time, employees at the Animal Hospital and Clinic of Arlington, where he was treated, weren’t sure if he could be adopted because of his emotional and medical issues. But thanks to clinic manager Keli Brace, who gave him a new home, Riley is bouncing back.
“You just wouldn’t wish this on any pet. They are just so innocent, so forgiving, so giving. You just think, how could somebody do this?” Brace said.
Saturday is a special day for Riley and those who rescued him: They will participate in the Trinity High GAP Club’s annual walk-a-thon.
The Girls Awareness Program raises money to benefit the Euless Animal Shelter, and this year the funds will help pay for medical care such as heartworm treatments that the shelter couldn’t afford otherwise.
Club sponsor Steffenie Vela, said Riley is a symbol of how important it is to raise funds to support the shelter.
“When we have dogs that come to the shelters, there isn’t money for the medical expenses,” she said.
Because of that, she said, a dog with serious injuries like Riley’s would often be euthanized.
Road to recovery
Riley’s journey began when Euless police officers rescued him during a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex in March 2014.
Terrell Hill of Euless is accused of animal cruelty/torture and was scheduled to go on trial this week. That has now been postponed.
Hill’s attorney, John Johnson, declined to comment on the case.
Euless Detective Robert Powell said he couldn’t comment on the case because of the upcoming trial, but he said he was glad to see how much Riley has improved since he was rescued.
Powell put a donation box at the Police Department to benefit the animal shelter, and he will participate in Saturday’s walk
“Everyone kept saying that I should have adopted Riley, but I just couldn’t because of my involvement in the case,” he said.
When police rescued Riley, they called animal control officers. Knowing that there wasn’t money to treat Riley, Trinity GAP Club stepped in and contacted the Arlington clinic.
When Riley first arrived, he was malnourished, and there were raw patches of skin where he was burned, Brace said. The puppy went through numerous hydrotherapy treatments where he was given special baths to wash off the scabs so that the burned areas could heal.
Most of Riley’s hair grew back, but there are some patches along his sides where the skin turned black. Brace said she applies sunblock, lotion and ointments to the bald places to keep Riley from getting sunburned and to keep the skin from getting dry.
Riley — whom Brace named for the veterinarian who treated him, Doug Riley — also suffers from disc compression that was likely caused by his injuries.
Although Riley’s medical condition is improving, Brace said her dog’s emotional issues are “coming to the surface.”
“Riley is very anxiety-ridden, and you never know what is going to trigger it: a plastic bag rattling, a loud voice or a truck going by,” she said.
Brace said the Trinity GAP Club has volunteers willing to foster dogs, but Riley’s complex medical and emotional wounds made him a special case.
When she first brought Riley home, he was afraid to go through doors, and he flinched when she moved her hand toward him, Brace recalled.
She used a calm, quiet approach with treats to gain Riley’s trust. He accompanies her to work, and when Riley is home, he has five dogs to play with.
The pack helps him feel secure, Brace said.
She has no regrets about adopting Riley.
”It is so worth it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wanted him to get the chance he didn’t have the first time.”
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696
If you go
The Trinity GAP Club walk-a-thon benefiting the Euless Animal Shelter is from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Trinity High School, 500 N. Industrial Blvd. in Euless.