A badly injured black lab is lucky to be alive after spending a month fending for himself outside in the cold. The puppy named Otis was found abandoned along a road in southwest Minnesota last weekend. He's been on the mend at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society recovering from broken bones. Now he needs your help when he undergoes surgery next week. Otis's tale of survival is a sad reminder of the dangers that bitterly-cold weather poses to pets.
The limping lab still has a lot of spring in his step.
"Otis has got the best temperament, I swear, of any dog I've seen in the last few years," veterinary technician Lisa Micko said.
"And he's cute and adorable," Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Business Manager Julia Hoefert said.
Otis is a carefree canine despite enduring intense pain. Animal experts think Otis was struck by a car about a month ago, leaving him with a fractured pelvis and thigh bone, as well as a hernia.
"The diaphragm to kind of ruptured, usually it would have to be a significant impact or trauma," Micko said.
The crash forced this hobbled stray to survive on his own for weeks in the cold.
"This time of year, it kind of makes us semi-angry because people have an opportunity to bring their animals to us if they don't want them and still very often, we find that animals are just dumped, Hoefert said.
When the weather turns bitterly cold, there is no such creature as an outdoor pet.
"Their pads are naked, their ears are thin, the tips of their tails are susceptible, so even if they're outside, they've got a long coat and they've got a nice undercoat or you put a jacket on them, they're still really susceptible to the frostbite and hypothermia," Hoefert said.
Surgeons might not be able to save one of Otis's legs. But the humane society hopes this lucky labrador will still lead a full life on three limbs.
"We're going to do everything we can to make sure than he gets all fixed up and that he's happy and he gets to go home," Hoefert said.
Otis's surgery could end up costing more than $1,000. The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is asking for donations, of any amount, to help cover the cost. Check out their website at http://www.sfhumanesociety.com/.