a man and woman kneel and pose with two dogs
Heather Estee and Randy Shields adopted both their dogs from NEAS. Photo by Jenna Bradley/Northeast Animal Shelter

Found injured on the side of the road, Phoenix was brought to our partner shelter in rural Georgia. At first, the staff thought the unfortunate pup had been hit by a car and left to die—which is bad enough—but X-rays revealed a more sinister story: The veterinarian also discovered bullet fragments lodged in his jaw.

Exactly what happened is unclear, but it appears that Phoenix had on separate occasions been hit by a car and shot in the jaw. We will never understand such cruelty, but our focus was on saving Phoenix’s life.

His condition was critical. He was extremely malnourished and dehydrated, and the injury to his jaw made it nearly impossible for him to eat. His right front leg was also paralyzed.

Unable to treat severe injuries like his, the shelter contacted Northeast Animal Shelter, and we knew we had to help. Phoenix initially wasn’t healthy enough to be transported, so we paid for his treatment at a veterinary clinic near the Georgia shelter.

He underwent two costly surgeries to fix the extensive damage caused by the bullet to his jaw. And although we did everything possible, the injuries to his right leg were so severe that it needed to be amputated.

After taking time to heal, Phoenix made the journey to our shelter in Massachusetts and immediately won over the staff and volunteers with his sweet and sunny disposition. His story got lots of attention on social media, and kind-hearted people sent donations to pay for his surgery and transport. He even wound up on the local news. Within a few days, Phoenix was adopted!

Phoenix now spends his days with his mom, dad and doggy sister—who was also adopted from NEAS. We’re proud of our Saving Homeless Pets Across America program, which began in 1994 to transport pets from overcrowded shelters to safety. At Northeast Animal Shelter, we believe every pet deserves a second chance, just like Phoenix.

- Jamie Garabedian
Community relations manager,
Northeast Animal Shelter
Salem, Massachusetts

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