Warning: This post contains photos and details that may disturb some readers.
In April 2021, a sweet, sweet-natured dog named Buddy returned home with severe burns to his face after being deliberately set on fire by a 12-year-old boy. There was also an extension cord around the dog’s neck. His abuser supposedly used it to hold back Buddy during the attack.
The injuries to his face were so extreme that Buddy’s eyes swelled shut, leaving him temporarily blind. The care needed to save his life was more than his original family could handle, so they turned Buddy over to the care of the Tunica Humane Society in Mississippi.
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From the start, Buddy won the hearts of everyone he met. Everyone at the Humane Society was pulling for him, but vets weren’t sure if he would regain his sight or even survive.
“Buddy’s vital signs are good, but as with any burn patient, this is very much the bottom of a high mountain to climb,” Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, Associate Professor and Veterinarian. WTVA†
Fortunately, Buddy turned out to be as strong as he was sweet. Once the swelling subsided, vets were able to determine that the flames did not permanently damage Buddy’s eyes. He would survive and regain his sight.
But his road to recovery was far from over. Buddy had to regularly apply bandages that covered his entire head and face and covered everything but his nose and mouth. The wraps protected his damaged skin, but also left him out of sight.
“He continues to progress daily,” says the Humane Society wrote in a Facebook update† “Not once did he disappoint his doctors. Burns are a very slow process, but Buddy excels at healing.”
After a few months, Buddy’s burns healed enough to transfer him to Mississippi State University for skin grafts. With smaller bandages and his eyes finally uncovered, Buddy’s true self began to shine through.
“Buddy’s whole personality has changed since he saw the light of day,” reads an August 2021 Facebook update. He likes balls. He carries them around for everyone to see†
It’s been a long, grueling year for Buddy. The pain he suffered during his recovery must have been excruciating, but he never lost his gentle, trusting spirit. He is currently staying with his vet dr. Swanson, who confirms that Buddy is living his best life.
“Many surgeries, hugs from everyone in the hospital and games later, he’s thriving in his foster home!” Friends of Buddy in Mississippi State wrote in a Facebook post.
Buddy’s story made national headlines last year, shocking everyone with the brutality of the attack and the young age of the perpetrator. But although the boy who hurt Buddy confessed to the brutal crime, because of his age, he could not be charged under Mississippi law.
“It’s unimaginable that someone could be this bad,” said Sandy Williams, director of the Tunica Humane Society. FOX 13† “Buddy was an extremely friendly, non-threatening dog. He followed the children in the area everywhere.”
It’s a heartbreaking story with a bittersweet ending. While it’s great to see Buddy bloom like this, it’s incredibly unfair that his attacker escaped justice.