You wouldn't know from looking at her wiggling rear end and flapping tail that Mamas, Renee Siefker's dog, is lucky to be alive.
But her front legs -- the right one temporarily splinted and bandaged to twice its size with bright red gauze -- are the first indication that the dog has endured something traumatic.
Ms. Siefker's boyfriend, Antoine Smith, was walking the "pit bull"-type dog a few blocks from their East Toledo home about 3:30 a.m. June 30. He was crossing the street near the Shell gas station at 615 Oak St. when a dark-colored sport utility vehicle drove by and two shots were fired out its window, hitting the dog in each of her front legs.
Mr. Smith was able to get a passing driver to go to his house and alert Ms. Siefker of the accident. When she arrived at the shooting scene, she said she saw Mr. Smith lying next to Mamas on the sidewalk.
"I really feared the worst," Ms. Siefker said.
The couple, who are without a car, were able to find a good samaritan to give them a ride to the 24-hour emergency veterinarian on Central Avenue, where it was suggested they might consider humanely euthanizing Mamas, considering the extent of her injuries.
"I told them that wasn't an option, and I was going to take her back home and find a way," Ms. Siefker said.
The 6-year-old white dog with brown freckles has been on painkillers and antibiotics since the shooting. Ms. Siefker uses a hoist to take her in and out of the house.
"She keeps trying to walk," Mr. Siefker said. "She is still a happy and friendly dog, despite what happened to her."
Ms. Siefker and her mother, Diane Hernandez, began researching online for possible sources of funding for the surgery and other veterinary care the dog needs. They came across the Jake Brady Memorial Fund, which provides help for medical treatment to companion animals of families in need. Ms. Siefker is applying for a grant of up to $300 from the Avon, Ohio-based group.
When searching for Toledo groups that help "pit bulls," they came across the Toledo PET Bull Project, a nonprofit group that aims to prevent animal cruelty -- including dog fighting -- and educate dog owners on the importance of spaying and neutering. The group also offers free training to help owners become good citizens and advocates for their dogs, of whatever breed.
The group's president, Cindy Reinsel, and another volunteer, Jan Aguilar, were touched by Mamas' story and wanted to help. They set up an appointment for Ms. Siefker to take the dog to their veterinarian, Dr. Gary Thompson at West Suburban Animal Hospital in Sylvania Township, and started brainstorming on how to help raise funds.
Surgery to rebuild Mamas' leg is scheduled for today. It is estimated to cost $2,600. Toledo's PET Bull Project has set up an account at Fifth Third Bank to help pay. Donations may be made at any Fifth Third Bank branch under the name "Mamas Vet Fund."
Toledo police Sgt. Roy Kennedy said four police vehicles responded to 911 calls from both Mr. Smith and a gas-station clerk, but could not find the vehicle from which the shots were fired.
Contact Tanya Irwin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6066.