A 5-year-old bull terrier was hailed a hero after being shot by gunmen as it bravely protected its family from a robbery in West Philadelphia.
“Billy” was on a walk with his owner, Felipe Sinisterra, and his partner, Natalia Gomez, during the wee hours of Jan. 14 near his home when the three were confronted by two armed men, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Twenty-five-year-old Sinisterra had just completed his shift that night at Royal Izakaya, a sushi special restaurant in Queen Village, when he was caught in the midst of an unforeseen situation. The owner handed over his phone to the two men; however, an alert Billy sniffed something was wrong and that his owners were in a potentially dangerous situation and thus started to bark at the two men.
“He was trying to protect us,” Sinisterra said. However, the gunmen opened fire and shot Billy in the chest and fled from the spot in a white Honda.
The loyal pet, which had been gifted to Sinisterra for his 20th birthday by his grandma, was immediately rushed to Ryan Hospital, where emergency staff did everything to resuscitate and stabilize him. The poor canine who gave his whole to protect his owners had lost nearly 33 percent of his blood and was in the intensive care unit.
The bullet that hit Billy had unfortunately torn his heart, left lung, diaphragm, liver, stomach, and spleen before ripping out through his left side. However, the surgeons did everything possible to save him. The brave dog then spent nearly three weeks in intensive care and underwent two major surgeries in which he, unfortunately, lost most of his organs. However, the “miracle” dog survived.
A dedicated team of 30 people along with his loving owner cared for him and were right by his side during his hospital stay, offering him treats.
“It wasn’t one person who saved this dog’s life,” said Lillian Aronson, a professor of surgery with Penn’s vet school, and also one of the surgeons to save the loving dog’s life. “It really was a team.”
In early February, Billy was doing a lot better and started to thrive as he went back home to be with his family.
“He is part of the family and the team did such a great job,” Sinisterra told WPVI-TV. “I have the opportunity of more time with him and he is a lot better. He is almost completely recovered, he has his energy back.”
However, the family had to bear the insurmountable costs of the surgery. Thus, they set up a GoFundMe page to aid in raising money for his mounting medical bills. Sinisterra said that he was grateful to all those who helped in supporting his canine with his second chance at life.
Additionally, the loyal dog also received support from Penn Vet’s charitable care fund, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
For Sinisterra to have Billy back in his life is a big thing. “It’s immeasurable—to have my best friend back,” he said.
“I belong to him,” Sinisterra further added. “He rescued me.”
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