Friday, February 21, 2020
Feb. 21, 2020

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Gentle giant of a dog needs help

Humane Society seeks donations for surgery

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Ellena Thomas, canine assistant for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, greets Chopper, who needs surgery and is awaiting adoption.
Ellena Thomas, canine assistant for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, greets Chopper, who needs surgery and is awaiting adoption. Photo Gallery

Chopper, a 3-year-old Rottweiler mix who’s awaiting adoption, is great in size — 135 pounds — and has a massive, loving spirit, but he needs some special help.

At the local Humane Society on Thursday, animal-care technician Heather Cavett had to use both hands to hold onto the panting and huffing dog’s leash as he mushed her down a hall in a rare break from his kennel.

“He is just taking me,” said Cavett, who weighs 5 pounds less than Chopper. “I’m definitely not walking him.”

Taken into a large room and unleashed, the excited dog seemed like a tight spring unwinding. Showing the social skills of a popular politician at a reception, Chopper went to each person in the room to offer big, wet-nosed, hand-washing hellos.

“If you meet Chopper, you have to get slobbered on,” said Ellena Thomas, the shelter’s canine assistant.

People who want to help can donate to the Save Chopper Fund at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave. Or visit www.southwesthumane.org. Or call Kate Goudschaal, director of community programs, at 360-213-2615.

People who want to help can donate to the Save Chopper Fund at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave. Or visit www.southwesthumane.org. Or call Kate Goudschaal, director of community programs, at 360-213-2615.

When he shakes his head, his ears flap so loud it sounds like a covey of game birds taking flight.

The dog’s head is waist-high for many people, and he looks like a Rottweiler, black with tan patches, big head — except for his legs, which are so long they suggest he’s part Great Dane. His rear legs are longer than his front legs.

In the presence of people, Chopper’s stub of a tail never stopped wagging, so hard that his hips wagged, too.

“His butt doesn’t stop wiggling, ever” said Lisa Feder, director of operations. “It’s on automatic.”

Chopper came to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington in late August.

His owner couldn’t bear to bring him in, so his brother did it, officials said.

The owner knew Chopper had bad problems in his hind legs and couldn’t afford the X-rays that were needed just to find what the problem was.

At the shelter, “Everybody fell in love with him from the minute he walked in the door,” Feder said.

Although Chopper was active, workers saw that he had a hard time standing up. They helped him with pain medications.

Not wanting to euthanize such an otherwise healthy, young and friendly dog, shelter workers worked with rescue groups to pay for X-rays and an examination.

They learned that Chopper needs specialized surgery on the knees of his hind legs, which will cost about $9,000. A local foundation agreed to match other donations, up to half the total cost.

“He’s still got a good quality of life if we can just get his knees fixed,” Feder said.

If folks help with Chopper’s medical bills, he can be adopted, but he isn’t for everyone.

Although he’s shown no aggression to other dogs, he’s so playful, exuberant and big that he could be “off-putting” for smaller pets, an official said.

His activities also will have to be limited, to avoid too much exercise that could inflame his knees, and he may need continuing pain medication.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.

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