Image by Jim Passmore/Facebook
A nice stroll through the woods
If you live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, it should be a given that your a big fan of the outdoors. That’s why Jim Passmore decided to take a walk on a beautiful March morning, as he often does, soaking up the beautiful scenery and breathing the cool, fresh air.
As he set out down the steps and along the trail, he couldn’t have known how eventful this walk would be. This would be no leisurely stroll. Indeed, this day proved to be teeming with suspense, danger, and surprises.
The great outdoors
Jim Passmore loves nature — the serene, sublime environment that Oklahoma residents call home is full of lush trees, babbling brooks, and clear lakes that can bring a tear to the eye.
But most of all, Jim loves animals. Passmore owns two dogs that he frequently takes out on his adventures along the creek by his home. On this March morning, Jim and the dogs were in for quite a shock.
What is that?
Their path took them down by a creek they had passed a million times before. But this time, they spotted something unusual. There was what appeared to be some odd-shaped debris in the middle of the creek. Perhaps it was only a log, but Jim thought it warranted a closer look.
What he saw made his heartbeat rise and his stomach sink. He noticed what appeared to be hair. This was some kind of animal.
Something appeared to be stuck in the mud. Was it a dead woodland creature that had been killed by a predator? If so, why would the predator abandoned a perfectly good meal? Jim had to find out.
As he got closer, he became even more distressed by what he saw. The animal was still alive, fighting for its life. As it helplessly struggled to escape, Jim knew he had to act fast.
What’s going on?
As he approached the injured creature, his dogs began to flip out. This felt ominous, since the dogs had crossed this same path countless times in the past. What was causing them so much stress. Could it be they sensed the danger?
Once he got within a few feet of the wounded animal, Jim’s dogs refused to go any further. Their barks and yaps turned into deep growls as they planted their paws in the mud and began retreating.
Is it a clue?
As Jim tried to calm his panicking dogs, he looked around the area and noticed something odd. Not far up the creek there was an animal cage — the type you might carry your pet in when you travel.
Perhaps this was just something unrelated. Some thoughtless person must have decided to get rid of an old kennel by abandoning it near the river. The fact there was a nearby beaver or other large rodent must just be a coincidence, right?
A closer look
Jim decided to peer into the animal cage just to be sure. From outside he could see a blanket hanging out of it. Maybe local animals like the nearby beaver liked using the cage for shelter. Beavers and other rodents are nothing if not resourceful, after all.
But this was no shelter for animals — this was something disturbing. What he saw filled him with dread.
A disturbing discovery
In addition to the filthy blanket protruding from the cage, Jim observed animal feces surrounding it. But this wasn’t what disturbed him. What sent chills down his spine was the heavy chain latched to the cage.
Clearly, something had been chained to this cage and left to die. Part of the cage had been scratched and torn. There was a giant bite taken out of the side where something must have escaped from.
A beaver approaches
As Jim turned away from the cage in disgust, he noticed a beaver wandering up the creek. Was this the animal he had seen struggling earlier? Perhaps he was mistaken about the cage, but the feeling in his gut wouldn’t let him leave.
As he and the beaver turned back toward the direction he had come from, Jim decided to make a second pass toward the creature and see if there was anything he could do. This time he restrained his dogs to get a closer look.
Jim pushed his way toward the struggling mound of fur he saw stuck in the mud. The marshland was thick and difficult to trudge through. Soon, he was covered in mud and dirt. Looking at the weakened creature as he approached, he noticed something odd.
This couldn’t be a beaver — or if it was, it had to be the biggest beaver he’d ever seen. But if it wasn’t a beaver, what could it be? He tried to put the thought out of his mind as he sloshed forward to get a closer look.
To the rescue!
Whatever this thing was, Jim was determined to set it free. When you see something helpless struggling for its life, it’s impossible not to get emotional. Jim knew he had to act, even if he didn’t know how.
Even as determined as he was to save this animal, Jim knew better than to grab hold of a desperate animal — especially a beaver, since they are incredibly territorial and can be fierce when threatened. Add to that the threat of starvation and drowning this animal felt, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Concerns about rabies
Not only are wild animals nervous when they are approached by humans, they can also be infected with deadly diseases. Rabies — as Jim was well aware — are common in rodents and other forms of wildlife.
The disease is fatal if not treated quickly. It causes infected animals to behave with extreme aggression as they descend into utter madness, lashing out at anything around them. One bite from a rabid animal is enough to transfer the deadly virus.
Called in for backup
Jim needed some help saving this creature, so he flagged down some people nearby and enlisted their assistance. As they surrounded the animal to try and help it out of the mud, the mystery creature began to panic, snapping wildly.
One unlucky good samaritan suffered a nasty bite and had to rush to the hospital for immediate medical attention. This was dangerous — Jim had to proceed with extreme caution.
To save this creature from its watery grave, Jim had to figure out a way to keep it from biting him. But how was he going to keep the animal calm and its teeth as far away from him as possible? Jim came up with a clever solution.
They covered the animal’s head with a jersey, hoping this would prevent the creature from getting its jaws around its rescuers and sinking its sharp teeth into their skin. This proved to be wise. Oddly, it seemed to calm the wild animal.
Freeing the beast
Jim and his new friend weren’t out of the woods yet. In fact, they weren’t even out of the creek. Lifting the muddy creature out of the muck was more difficult than it looked. At first, Jim and the others tried to dig around the legs to free the animal, but this proved fruitless.
The ground was too soft and muddy for them to gain any traction. The rescuers needed to find a new way to save the suffering animal. Without a crane, they had to fashion pulley to leverage the animal out of the mud.
Hoisting it out was tricky
At first, the hooded creature wouldn’t budge. It was sunk deep into the mud and appeared to tired to help itself. However, just when Jim and the rescuers were about to give up, they were able to wrench the animal free.
Exhausted and traumatized, the large creature laid on the side of the creek, too tired to move. Jim’s curiosity got the best of him — he needed to see what kind of animal this was. What he saw took his breath away.
What kind of animal was it?
Well, it clearly wasn’t a beaver. In fact, this “wild” animal wasn’t very wild at all. It was a sheep dog. The poor thing looked miserable after what must have been days of neglect and terror.
Despite the clearly traumatizing situation, the dog appeared relatively healthy. Even covered in mud, quivering in distress, you could tell how beautiful of a dog this was. But why was the dog left there to die, and who would do such a thing?
Making the poor dog comfortable
Jim promptly called the police, who were quick to arrive on the scene. Everyone was stunned by the discovery and shocked and disturbed by what this dog must have gone through. Their first priority was trying to make the distressed pet as comfortable as possible.
The shivering dog was given a blanket, which seemed to calm it down a little bit. In a few minutes, the dog seemed to react positively. Although it was still frightened and nervous, it seemed as though its strength was returning. They even gave the rescued dog a name — Teddy.
More ingenuity from the rescue crew
After allowing the dog to rest for a while, the police tried to walk it on a leash. They quickly realized that the dog was in worse shape than they had imagined — poor Teddy couldn’t walk. They had to get him somewhere he could get some medical attention.
But how could they move him? He’d already bitten someone that tried to help him, so they needed to be careful. Someone had the good sense to rush to their car and fetch a wheelbarrow. Now Teddy could ride in style.
Teddy needed help
Someone contacted the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals to warn them they were about to have a tough new patient at their care facility. The dog was angry, scared and injured — it was clearly frightened of humans.
Some theorized that Teddy had been hit by a car, and that his owner decided to abandon it rather than take it to a veterinarian. Others speculated that the owner had taken the poor dog to the creek to drown it in the mud. No one knew for sure, but the abandoned cage and chain made for a disturbing image of what befell poor Teddy. No wonder he was shy around people.
Getting the care he needed
Rather than take Teddy to a shelter where he’d likely be euthanized, the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals was determined to rehabilitate him. He was taken to a vet who provided him with the care he needed to heal.
This was no small task. Despite Teddy’s cuddly name, he was anything but. The vets and caretakers had an idea of what he’d gone through, so they were forgiving and gentle with him. Teddy is clearly one resilient and lucky pup!
Vets tested for rabies
Luckily, the rabies test came up negative. The person that had been bitten could rest easy. With the help of the vet, Teddy could breathe a sigh of relief as well. The team was able to calm him down and stabilize him.
It seemed that after his narrow brush with death, Teddy was safe. The vet determined that Teddy’s trouble walking was likely due to the fact he was overweight. Obese dogs face a host of medical issues, including organ problems, bone problems, and difficulty walking.
Teddy began to heal
As Teddy’s story went viral, he seemed to respond to treatment and diet. He also became more trusting and affectionate toward those that cared for him. Teddy especially liked the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals’ receptionist, Jessie.
As time went on, Teddy became increasingly playful and social. This was great news! The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals was delighted by the progress their new friend was making.
The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals does great work
Teddy owes his life to Jim Passmore and the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals. Without their help and determination he would have either died in the mud or been euthanized before he could have the chance to heal.
The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals provides veterinary care and shelter to lost and abused animals, but they also do much more. Fundraising and social media efforts enable them to campaign for animal adoption, spay and neuter pets, and fight animal cruelty.
What was Teddy’s fate?
Take a look for yourself! The senior dog seems to be doing great. He found his forever home and enjoys playing with his six siblings (five dogs and a cat). Teddy’s got plenty of space to roam in his new home.
You’d think he’d hate the mud after what he’d been through, but from the looks of the picture above he doesn’t seem to mind it at all. So who adopted him? Jessie, the receptionist at Oklahoma Alliance for Animals ended up taking him home! By the look on Teddy’s face he’s acclimated quite well to his new cozy surroundings.