A bulldog who suffered a gunshot wound to the face last month in Rogue River is enjoying life at an animal sanctuary and may soon be up for adoption.
Champ, so named because he took the bullet and survived like a champion, is a popular addition with the Sanctuary One staff, said Sansa Collins, the organization's animal care manager.
"He's healing nicely," Collins said, as she led Champ around on a walk around the Sanctuary One property deep in the Applegate Valley. "And he's good on a leash. He's such a nice little walker."
Champ, an American bulldog, shows no signs that he will suffer long-term effects from the bullet that plowed through his mouth and burst through the bottom of his chin.
The dog was discovered in June by employees at the Animal Clinic of Rogue River on East Main Street.
Champ was standing in a pool of his own blood, but appeared to be alert when employees found him that morning, Rogue River police Chief Ken Lewis said.
Champ was taken to Best Friends Animal Hospital in Talent for emergency surgery. Surgeons there took an X-ray of his head and found severe damage to his jaw.
The bullet fractured the jawbone in two places, forcing the surgeon to wire it together.
The situation was touch-and-go for a few days as the hospital's staff monitored Champ to make sure the wire was able to hold his jaw together.
"It's sickening that someone would do this to a dog," Collins said. "There is something really wrong with this person."
Fortunately, Champ is young and strong, which helped in his recovery, Collins said.
"He's in very good shape," she said. "He's recently been neutered, so he's healing at both ends."
Champ was delivered to Sanctuary One, where he is receiving a crash course in obedience training and is socializing with other dogs.
"We are getting him trained and socialized so a family can adopt him and take it to the next level," Collins said.
Anyone wanting to adopt Champ should be prepared for a dog with energy to spare, Collins said.
"He will need an active family," she said.
Meanwhile, investigators in Rogue River are still looking for clues and gathering information about the shooting. No arrests have been made, Lewis said.
If a suspect is found to have shot the dog without provocation, he or she faces felony animal abuse charges, Lewis said.
Inquiries about possibly adopting Champ can be made by calling Sanctuary One at 541-899-8627 or emailing info@SanctuaryOne.org.
Champ is not ready for adoption at this time, but could be looking for a family after his training. There is a chance that he might not be suitable for adoption and could live out his life at Sanctuary One, Collins said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Rogue River police at 541-582-4931.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.