WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Ray Stephens and his family love dogs, so needless to say, what they found driving home to Wichita Falls from out of town on Sunday, October 16, 2022, left them heartbroken.
“My wife Rhonda had seen something on the side of the bridge,” Stephens said. “She said she thought it was a dog.”
Stephens said a couple from out of town had already stopped, so they turned the car around and tried to help too. That’s when they found a 1-year-old German Shepherd, alone in the cold and the rain, hanging on by a thread.
Ivan Torres, the husband of Stephens’ daughter, was with Stephens on Sunday and was one of the people who jumped in to help.
“When I actually got close up to her, she kinda was not responding too well,” Torres said. “She wasn’t really opening her eyes, she wasn’t picking her head up.”
The dog had been all but left for dead, with severe injuries to her front leg, road rash, head trauma, possible broken ribs, and a severe amount of pain. Stephens said it was a miracle the dog survived until his family found her.
“She was barely breathing,” Stephens said. “Just kind of rolled up in a ball.”
Torres immediately called his veterinarian from Simmons and Harlens, who provided the dog emergency care. The vet’s original prognosis wasn’t very hopeful.
Due to the amount of pain the dog was in, and the unknown extent of her injuries, the vet offered to euthanize the dog humanely and put an end to her pain.
“He didn’t have a problem putting her to sleep because she was in so much pain,” Stephens said.
After a discussion with his family, Stephens decided they couldn’t bear the thought of giving the dog a second chance. With her young age, they believed she could possibly survive and recover. Even though it was a long shot, the vet told the family that if the dog could survive for 12 hours, the chances of her survival were good.
So, the Stephens family left the dog with their vet, hoping she would survive through the night
“I didn’t know what was going to happen to her,” Torres said.
The Stephens and Torres family never doubted the dog would pull through, and incredibly, on Monday morning, she was beginning to show improvements.
The dog began responding to pain medicine and antibiotics. Their veterinarian was able to reset her leg, which is expected to fully heal.
“My wife and daughter and son-in-law made a choice that we was gonna keep the dog. So we opted to give her a chance, to help her fight this.”
On Tuesday, October 18, the dog was able to come home with the Stephens and Torres families, but just because she’d survived the horrific injuries she’d suffered didn’t mean she was out of the woods.
“It’s gonna be a long road of recovery,” Torres said.
Stephens said the dog is still unable to walk and has trouble standing. She’s barely eating or drinking, and often will yelp in pain. However, the family said every day, she improves a little bit more. The family veterinarian estimates a timetable of about six weeks for the dog’s recovery.
“We’re trying to gain her trust,” Stephens said. “We’re trying to let her know that we’re helping her to get through this .”
Building trust with a wounded pet takes time, and while she’s making progress, there are still so many uncertainties.
“We don’t know if she’s had her shots,” Stephens said. “We don’t know if she’s spayed. We still don’t know 100 percent about her leg. At this time we’re just taking it day by day.”
Stephens said the dog is going to need a lot of care over the next six weeks, including regular veterinary visits. The family has already spent about $500 out of their own pockets. As the vet bills pile up, Stephen’s daughter and Torres’ wife, Marylee Torres, took to social media, sharing the dog’s story on the Lost Or Found Pets of Wichita Falls group on Facebook.
Now, they’re asking the community to lend a hand, like they did when they found the dog clinging to life.
“Any donations are appreciated,” Stephens said. “Any donations that are left, we’ll just donate it, it could be used for other dogs that are in need.”
The Stephens/Torres family said even though the dog faces a tough road ahead, they believe she’ll make a full recovery. Because of that belief, they gave her a fitting name; Faith.
“Real fortunate that she’s made it this far,” Stephens said. “And we can only hope that she gets better as the weeks come on.”
Thanks to the kindness of a few Good Samaritans, this isn’t the final chapter of Faith’s journey.
“She’s got a good home now, she’s not going nowheres,” Stephens said. “We’ll continue trying to do our best to get her well, and once she gets well, she’s got a good home.”
If you’d like to be a part of Faith’s journey to recovery, the Stephens and Torres families have set up a GoFundMe to help them offset the cost of her veterinary care.
Several community members have already donated to Faith’s recovery. At last check, over $500 has already been raised. With the unknown challenges ahead of Faith, every dollar counts.
Stephens emphasized that any money raised beyond the cost of Faith’s care would be donated in an effort to give other animals like Faith a chance to survive.
From the entire KFDX, KJTL, and Texoma’s Homepage family, we wish Faith a fast and full recovery.
Stick with Texoma’s Homepage in the coming weeks as we check back in with the Stephens and Torres families and monitor Faith’s recovery.