Jimmy Bean, a resilient little terrier who was close to death after being left in a dark, unheated storage room, was honoured with the BC SPCA’s Animal Courage award at the society’s annual awards ceremony on May 5.
The emaciated five-month-old puppy, brought to the BC SPCA’s Port Alberni Branch via the CARE Network in December 2016, was surrendered to the SPCA by his former guardian, who claimed he had left him with his grandfather, who put him in a storage chamber under his house and forgot about him for more than a week.
Jimmy Bean was barely alive, weighing only one kilogram and suffering from dehydration, hair loss and two dislocated shoulders when he was rushed by the SPCA to veterinarian Dr. Holly Tillotson.
“He was a day or so away from death when he came in and required immediate intensive care,” says Tillotson.
“He was soaked in urine, had no muscle mass at all and couldn’t walk because of his dislocated front shoulders. He was so weak he could barely move but he would push himself around by his back legs, using his chin for balance.”
Tillotson says she feared the worst for the little pup, but he showed his fighting spirit, gaining strength quickly after being given small amounts of food every few hours to gradually reintroduce nutrition back into his system. Tillotson put his dislocated shoulders back into place but because of the dramatic loss of muscle they would pop out whenever Jimmy Bean tried to walk.
“There was just nothing there to hold them in place, but eventually as he grew stronger the situation resolved itself,” she says.
When he arrived at the clinic, the caring veterinarian knew Jimmy Bean would need around-the-clock care, so she bundled him up and took him home.
“I sent a photo of Jimmy Bean tucked up in a blanket to my wife, Katherine, and she immediately fell in love, texting back “I don’t know what his story is, but he’s not leaving us.” Fortunately for Jimmy Bean, that turned out to be the case, and the Parksville couple adopted the puppy shortly after.
Tillotson says Jimmy Bean bonded immediately with his new family and the couple’s two other dogs.
“Despite all that he has gone through he is such a loving, cuddly little dog. He is energic and perky, and he is a typical little terrier – if the doorbell rings, all hell breaks loose,” she adds with a laugh.
While Jimmy Bean enjoys his forever home, the BC SPCA is compiling evidence against the individual responsible for his abuse and will be recommending charges of animal cruelty in the case.