a woman pets the belly of a dog sprawled in the grass
Astro (renamed Maeda) relaxes with new mom Hailey Bretschneider. Photo by Matthew Voorhees

Back in August, the nonprofit Rise for Animals (formerly the New England Anti-Vivisection Society) transferred a 5-year-old mixed-breed dog to us at the Humane Society of Utah in Salt Lake County. A street dog rescued from Monterrey, Mexico, Astro quickly captured our hearts and revealed that he responded to buen chico instead of good boy.

a woman kneels next to a three-legged dog
Foster mom Juli Ulvestad helped Astro through his recovery. Photo by Guinnevere Shuster/Utah Humane Society

Unfortunately, Astro’s right front paw had been previously crushed and was infected. Our shelter veterinarian determined that the paw was not repairable due to the age and severity of the injury. Astro would need a full leg amputation.

About a month before Astro arrived, we received a surgical laser machine donated by Scott Carson, founder and CEO of MedRepPro in Park City, Utah. Dr. Timna Fischbein amputated Astro’s leg using the new machine, and I brought him home to recover comfortably on pain medication.

During his weeks of recovery, Astro charmed my family with his happy, playful disposition. A friend to everyone—canine, feline or human—Astro loved to go for neighborhood walks and was particularly drawn to children, sitting down in front of them to be petted. He lived for belly rubs and was convinced he belonged in bed with you, where he wanted to be the little spoon. His morning backyard zoomies on three legs were a spectacular sight.

I’m so thankful to Rise for Animals, which paid to transport Astro and contributed to his surgical costs, and to Carson for the donation of the laser that enabled our veterinary staff to provide the best possible treatment for Astro and more animals in the future.

In mid-October, a young couple with a child and another dog adopted Astro, renaming him Maeda. He will always have a special place in the hearts of my family and my co-workers. We’re grateful for the opportunity to help him heal and live his best life.

- Juli Ulvestad
Director of shelter operations
Humane Society of Utah

a vet uses a machine to perform surgery on an animal
Dr. Timna Fischbein does a surgery using the laser machine. Photo by Guinnevere Shuster/Utah Humane Society
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