A year ago, a dog named Buddy made headlines after being the victim of a horrible burn attack, perpetrated by a child, that left his face severely scarred.
But this dog has never lost his spirit, and over the past few months has undergone an incredible recovery — and now, one year later, his new owner confirmed the good news that Buddy is “fully healed” and doing great.
Caution: this story contains some photos that may be distressing to readers.
Buddy first made headlines last April, after he returned home with severe burns on his face after being set on fire. His skin was charred, and the burning was so bad it caused his eyes to swollen shut, making him unable to see. He also had an extension cord around his neck, apparently used to hold him down.
The perpetrator of the horrific attack was later identified as a child, who confessed to setting the dog on fire but couldn’t be charged under Mississippi law, which states that no one younger than 12 can be prosecuted.
Buddy’s injuries were so bad he had to be surrendered to the Tunica Humane Society to get proper treatment. His vets were shocked by the case, and cautioned at the time that the dog had a long road ahead, stating that his “prognosis isn’t good right now.”
“It’s unfathomable that someone could be that evil,” Sandy Williams, director of the Tunica Humane Society told FOX 13. “Buddy was an extremely friendly, non-threatening dog. He followed the children in the area everywhere.”
“Buddy’s vital signs are good but, as with any burn patient, this is very much the bottom of a tall mountain to be climbed,” said Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, associate professor, and veterinary surgeon, told WTVA.
Buddy was later transported to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine to receive further treatment, and vets were impressed by his positive attitude despite everything.
“He was in good spirits, wagging his tail and very cooperative,” the Humane Society wrote in an update.
Over time, Buddy continued to heal. With bandages wrapped around his head, Buddy was unable to see, but vets were relieved to discover that the burns had not damaged his eyelids.
“He continues to move forward daily,” the Humane Society wrote on Facebook. “Never once disappointing his doctors. Everyone concerned has been so pleased with the results of his skin grafts. Burn wounds are a very slow process but Buddy is excelling in his healing.”
“During his bandage change today, he showed remarkable improvement in the appearance of his face. While Buddy continues to heal, he is learning some basic commands.”
After a few months of progress, Buddy had undergone skin grafts that made him require fewer bandages, allowing him to slowly return to his old self.
“Now that his ears are loose from the bandages, he is much happier and more playful. I am sure he is feeling so much joy as he slowly gets his life back to normal,” the Tunica Humane Society reported last summer.
And Buddy hit a major milestone last August after vets finally removed the bandages from his face, allowing him to see for the first time in months.
“His eyes were open and he was very aware,” the Humane Society wrote. “In answer to your thousands and thousands of prayers, YES, Buddy can still see.”
“Buddy’s last real memory of vision was in the final horrific moments just before his face was set on fire by a child. In the blink of an eye, this dog’s whole life changed.”
Finally being able to see was a huge step towards returning to normalcy for this poor pup, and his carers say that his personality has begun to shine again.
“Buddy’s whole personality has changed since seeing the light of day,” Sandy Williams, director of the Tunica Humane Society, told WREG.
“He is happy and playful and walks the halls of the hospital with a great big ball in his mouth. He loves balls. He carries them around so everyone can see.”
And recently, one year after Buddy was burned, the Humane Society announced another inspiring update: Buddy is now “fully healed.”
Buddy has been living in a foster home with Dr. Swanson, and the vet confirmed that Buddy is living his best life.
“His face is now completely healed,” the Tunica Humane Society wrote. “He no longer has to wear an e-collar and he is loving that! His days are now spent like any normal dog. Playing fetch, taking long walks, being spoiled for the awesome dog he is!”
“Buddy’s miraculous recovery from his near-fatal injuries is truly a Miracle and all of his caregivers have much to be proud of.”
Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, who treated Buddy, also marked the occasion with a reunion with their patient and celebrated Buddy’s recovery.
“Many surgeries, hugs from everyone in the hospital, and games of fetch later, he’s thriving in his foster home!” the college wrote in a Facebook post, sharing a photo of all the vet staff with the happy and healed Buddy.
It’s horrific to think about what Buddy went through, but we’re so glad to see how far he’s come over the past year. Thank you to all the vets who have helped him through his miraculous recovery.