Vet saves dog from being euthanized, hopes to nurse him back to health

When veterinarian Dr. Setzer met Debo for the first time, he knew he was a special pup. So, rather than euthanizing him, he decided to save him.

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- When the door swung open, the attention in the room immediately turned. Women swooned, people burst out in cheer, and others rushed forward.

While most would think a superstar had just entered Lesslie Animal Hospital, it was just a seven year old Pitbull named Debo. But to the hospital’s staff, Debo is a celebrity.

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Debo has become a known and loved patient of Lesslie Animal Hospital. But the first time he stepped through the door, things were much different. Debo was suffering from a number of issues including ear infections, skin problems, heart worms and hook worms. With the massive medical bill, Debo’s former owners had taken him in to be euthanized.

But when Dr. Setzer met Debo, he knew right away he was a very special boy.

"He just kind of came in and the whole staff just fell in love with him," Setzer said. "He leaned up against me and he was really sweet, rubbed up against me and just loved him right away."

The veterinarian knew with time, love and care, Debo could become healthy. So, he talked Debo’s owners into signing him over to his hospital.

“They paid us a small portion to kind of help with his medical bills and then we called Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks Rescue group to come in and help us out.”

The rescue group didn't think twice about fostering Debo. With Dr. Setzer's help, the seven year old Pitbull has made enormous strides in his recovery.

Before (Courtesy Big Heart Big Barks Rescue)
Before (Courtesy Big Heart Big Barks Rescue)
After (Courtesy Big Heart Big Barks Rescue)

"Each time I see him he goes up a level... he talks more, the tail seems to be wagging a lot harder," Setzer said.While it’s obvious Debo has come a long way in his recovery, there’s still a lot the pup needs. Setzer said they recently found out Debo will need both ear canals removed due to the infections going untreated for so long. “When he first came in he was happy, he wanted to see you but he was just a little off,” Setzer said. “Once he gets [his ears] done, he’s probably going to knock me down. He just keeps going up a level every time I see him.”Even with Setzer’s heavily discounted treatments, Debo continues to rely on donations to help him get the medical attention he needs. Since Debo’s time of rescue at the start of November, Big Heart Rescue has raised over $1,200 for him. They still hope to raise $2,700 more to cover Debo’s ear surgeries, heart worm treatment and neutering procedure.“Certain dogs just have that ‘it’ factor,” Setzer said. “He comes in and the whole room lights up.”While Setzer has a love for Debo, he actually wasn’t the first dog he saved from being euthanized. Setzer saved his own three-legged dog Snoop who now serves as the animal hospital’s mascot and takes up too much of the couch for the family to adopt another pup. But Setzer knows Debo has a very bright future.“My ultimate goal is to get him to a healthy state and get him into a home with hopefully at least two or three children, wife and a husband that they really love him and treat him as part of the family,” Setzer said. “That’s what he needs. He’s craving that and I think once he gets that he’s going to be just fine.”To donate to Debo's cause or for more information, click here. For information on adopting Debo or another dog from Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks Rescue, click here.

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