Shelter seeks funds to help save dog's life

Unless it receives surgery on its shoulder, animal will have to be euthanized

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— Rudy, a red and white mixed breed dog, needs money for surgery to amputate his right shoulder.

Without the surgery, the 2-year-old dog will have to be euthanized because the shoulder injury is five to six months old.

"It is to the point that degenerative arthritis has set in," said Cindy DelValle, Routt County animal control officer. "It is so far gone."

Rudy was brought into the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter at 760 Critter Court on Jan. 22 after he was found in Hayden. Right away, the staff at the shelter was concerned with Rudy's shoulder.

"He wants to run and walk on it all the time," DelValle said. "He can't do it."

Anytime a dog or cat is suspected of being hurt, the animal shelter will arrange to have the animal examined by a veterinarian.

The veterinarian determined Rudy has a dislocated shoulder, and it is an injury the dog has been battling for months.

"Because it is such an old injury, it would be costly to try and save it," DelValle said. "It would not be usable. We feel he will do great on three legs."

Since the animal shelter found out about Rudy's predicament, it has been trying to raise money for the amputation procedure. The Northwest Animal Assistance League is partnering with the shelter.

DelValle estimated it will cost $1,000 to get Rudy all of the treatment he needs. The shelter has already raised some funds, she said.

Since last Thursday, numerous residents have dropped by the shelter to donate money and visit the dog.

"He is such a cute dog," DelValle said. "He has had so many visitors."

DelValle is not surprised by the support Rudy has received so far from the community.

"The residents of this community are wonderful," she said. "Everybody has given what they can. We know how the public loves animals here and they could help."

As the shelter raises money for Rudy, DelValle is conducting an investigation into how the dog was injured. "We are going to find out why this injury was not taken care of," she said.

DelValle is optimistic she will find Rudy's owner.

Once Rudy undergoes the surgery, his battle is not over. DelValle said he will need a "foster parent" to take care of him while he recovers from surgery.

Once he is healthy, the shelter is hopeful he will be adopted.

The staff has given the dog his name because of the movie "Rudy," which is based on Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger's efforts to earn a college degree and play football at Notre Dame.

"He has such a big heart," DelValle said of the dog.

DelValle said if the shelter receives more money than the surgery requires, it plans to set the money aside The Rudy Fund to pay for other dogs or cats who may need medical care.

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