The Brody Experience
Dr. Jay Hreiz
Ebenezer Animal Hospital
A 6 week old puppy named Brody has won over the hearts of Americans and people around the world. Brody’s journey from an abandoned, abused puppy to the home of a loving, caring family is one that helps remind us that humanity often finds a way to help those the most in need.
On Sunday, February 21st, our receptionist Beth was up front for our normal business hours of 5 to 6 p.m. for discharge and intake of boarding patients. In an instant, several police cars filled our parking lot to Beth’s surprise. They alerted Beth that a puppy that was stabbed multiple times was on its way to the hospital. Because we are typically only open on Sundays during our hour-long window for boarding drop off and pick up, doctors and technicians are generally not present. It just so happens that on this day two of our technicians, Ben and Tiffany, were at the hospital addressing a medical emergency with their own dog Folly. The doctor on call that weekend was yours truly (Dr. Hreiz) and Beth called to alert me of the situation rapidly developing. Brody, at that time nameless, arrived at the clinic while Ben and Tiffany did an initial assessment of him. They quickly realized that the majority of wounds that Brody suffered were BB gunshot wounds, not stab wounds as originally thought (later we would determine that Brody was indeed cut with a knife in one area of his body).
I conferred with Beth, Ben, and Tiffany over the phone about Brody’s condition and also discussed the game plan going forward. I was in Charlotte at the time (a 35 minute drive from Rock Hill) and decided to come down to the clinic to assess Brody in person. Ben and Tiffany shaved all of the areas on Brody’s small frame that were clotted with blood from the bullet holes and cleaned the wounds. When I arrived, I was shocked at how calm and relaxed Brody was. For a dog shot eighteen times, he was very docile and whining due to a mixture of pain and the fact that he was a young puppy! X-rays we took showed multiple BB wounds all over Brody’s body. This included two equally spaced holes on top of his skull along with BBs very close to Brody’s spine. We felt many BBs through the skin but several were buried deeper in muscle or further down in the body. Two thoughts immediately crossed my mind – why isn’t Brody in shock or at least more unstable than he was presenting and how could a puppy survive such a horrific act and not have some degree of debilitation? In retrospect, I think it may have been the will of this impressive little guy and sheer luck when his assailants attacked him.
Ben, Tiffany, and I started stabilizing Brody. We gave him fluids therapy to re-hydrate and replace the fluids lost from bleeding. We gave him injections of pain medicine to ease his pain. Finally, we started him on oral pain control and antibiotics to prevent infection that could develop from the BBs inside of him. His physical exam was relatively normal – quiet lungs, no evidence of bleeding in the belly, and no damage to the joints or ligaments of a growing puppy. Brody was also full of intestinal parasites that we began treating.
The next morning we arrived to the hospital to find a whining, hungry, and feisty puppy. In less than 8 hours Brody was already beginning to show us that he was a fighter and not willing to let the heinous act done to him be his undoing. Around this time the rest of the local community began to learn about Brody and his incredible story. Those local individuals shared his story with friends, and those friends shared his story with their friends, and suddenly thousands upon thousands of people began to learn about the amazing story of Brody. By the end of Monday, after the local news stations came by to interview us about the little guy, many of the wounds that Brody sustained were already beginning to heal.
Over the next 72 hours, Brody became a national celebrity. The hashtag #justice4brody was created and the world knew what a remarkable story he was telling. Our hospital, which typically fields between 30-50 calls a day, was now answering up to 500 phone calls from people all across the country that wanted to reach out and help.
Brody is now well on his way to recovery. The BBs inside of him will stay there for the time being. Because of his very young age and the fact that none of the BBs are in a dangerous location, surgery should be postponed until absolutely necessary. Many of these BBs will likely not cause any long term side effects. We will re-evaluate him when he’s older and a more ideal candidate for surgery. This should be around 6 months of age.
His story will have a happy ending. One of our receptionist Carla and her family applied for and successfully had their application accepted through the local rescue group Project Safe Pet, and they will be able to give Brody his forever loving home. Carla’s daughter had just lost her long time beloved canine companion and within seconds of meeting Brody the connection was evident. We are so proud of our staff, our clients, the Rock Hill police department, and the entire country for their outpouring of love and support for sweet little Brody. His story is truly one of humanity at its worst……and at its best.