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Cletus is Safe!

Cletus Shelter PicWe Don’t Always Know

Rescuing dogs from shelters, we often don’t know what to expect. Most of the time we are made aware of the dogs early on in their stray hold, allowing us to monitor to see if they are claimed by their owner. As the waiting time draws to the end, we’ll make any necessary preparations to make sure the dog is safe. However, sometimes there are complications. We don’t always have a lot of time to make preparations and sometimes we know the dogs will need medical help, but aren’t always made aware of the urgency. We didn’t know about Cletus until the day before, and we weren’t sure the extent of his injury until we picked him up.

What We Didn’t Know

Cletus, a purebred German Shorthaired Pointer, had shown up at a local shelter eight days earlier. There weren’t any emails letting us know he was at the shelter. No one at the shelter had reached out to us as they were waiting to see if he would be claimed by his owner. Cletus sat and waited until the day before he was to be released from his stray hold. The shelter’s adoption coordinator was referred to California GSP Rescue by another shelter that we had worked with in the past. Cletus’s story was about to unfold.

The First Email

The adoption committee was on one of their regular calls discussing potential dogs for approved applicants. Volunteer Greg was checking his email to get information for the discussion when he saw the first email. A brief introduction to the adoption coordinator at one of the local Southern California animal shelters. The second email had a photo attached of a happy looking GSP, a few notes, and a plea asking if we could help. The photo didn’t appear to match the notes. From the notes, there appeared to be a young happy looking GSP. The notes stated that the shelter suspected he had been hit by a car as he wasn’t putting any weight on his leg. However, Cletus appeared to be standing on all fours and smiling in the photo. That couldn’t be the same dog.

Greg mentioned to Lisa that there was an injured GSP at the shelter that was going to be available tomorrow. Was she available to help? Lisa readily agreed even though she had never been to that shelter. Plans were quickly arranged. Lisa would get the dog then meet Greg.

The Same Dog

The next day Lisa visited the shelter in a part of town she had never been. She pulled into the shelter and went right to the counter. There wasn’t much of a delay as they had been expecting her. Cletus was brought out and loaded up in her car. Off to the meeting point.

She arrived first and walked Cletus in the narrow strip of grass on the side of the fast food restaurant. Cars were pulling up to the window to get their orders as Cletus, unbothered, hobbled around. Greg arrived a short time later. He noticed immediately that not only was he unable to put weight on the leg but he drug it around. A video was made and sent off to Dr Kang along with the xrays the shelter had provided.

After seeing the video, looking at the medical records, and looking at the x-ray. Dr Kang speculated that it could be one of three things. A broken leg. A dislocated leg. Or a damaged nerve. Dr Kang recommended keeping him comfortable. However, Dr Kang wanted to see Cletus and examine him.

Dr Kang’s Examination

Cletus arrived at Dr Kang’s dragging his leg around. Dr Kang felt the joint. It wasn’t dislocated. He re-examined the radio-graphs. No apparent breaks. It appeared it might be nerve damage as Dr Kang pinched between Cletus’s paw. He tested several parts of the leg. There wasn’t any feeling. Dr Kang was convinced the impact had somehow severed the nerve.

Cletus would need surgery. The leg would only be in his way. It had been over eight days, and Cletus wasn’t showing any signs of feeling in the leg. Dr Kang was preparing to remove the limb and told Greg he could pick him up the next day.

The Next Day

Greg showed up the next day and was greeted by Cletus who quickly rose in his crate. He had expected to see a three legged dog that would need help to the car. Greg was surprised to see a smiling dog with the attitude of “let’s go”. After being briefed by Dr Kang, Cletus was helped into the back of the car. He hadn’t quite learned balancing on three legs. While he only had three legs, Cletus was safe!


If you have ever spoken with Volunteer Greg at an adoption or Volunteers Lisa, Teri, or Cindy prior to an adoption, you may have learned about the Rescue Hero program. However, they would let you know while it’s designed to help with the monthly cost of caring for the dogs, it’s not intended to cover all Veterinary expenses. Cletus surgery and follow ups have cost the California GSP Rescue just under $2000 and we are asking for your help.

While we gladly accept anything you can spare, anyone donating $50 or more will get a signed, yes signed, photo of Cletus. Anyone donating $100 or more will receive a signed photo of Cletus as well as a signed photo of his adoption. Please share this post if you are unable to donate. Ultimately, our goal is to find Cletus a forever home and we are sure we can do that with your help! Thank you! Donate to help Cletus here.

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