I saw “Branch” on a Facebook post and had to reread it to make sure I was fully comprehending what was being said. The pictures of his terrified little self not only spoke to my heart, but broke it as well. No living being should ever have cause to be so physically and emotionally damaged that the horrors they’ve experienced can be seen through their eyes.
Branch lived his first 5 short months of life with a drug addict. Within those 5 months, Branch undoubtedly suffered horrific abuse. When a Good Samaritan saw Branch being beaten, in broad daylight, out in the open for public view, he immediately jumped into action. He was able to purchase Branch for 100 pesos, the equivalent of $5.00 U.S. dollars. Branch was immediately taken to a vet by my amazing friend Griss, and that’s where the horrors of Branch’s life were fully realized.
Branch had a severely broken jaw, both of his front legs were broken (one in multiple places), he had multiple fractured ribs, and he suffered such traumatic blows to his head that the swelling on his brain was causing his eyes to protrude and his head to tilt. Originally we were told that Branch had also been sexually assaulted, however we have no proof of that.
We immediately had Branch moved from the vet in Mexico to our emergency vet here in the States, as he needed extensive testing. Branch had a couple of ultrasounds done (he had severe bloating of his stomach and the doctors monitored for internal damage). He had multiple X-rays to determine all of the breaks as well as their severity. He needed nebulizer treatments to assist him in his breathing, both from the rib fractures as well as a nasty upper respiratory infection. He had blood panels done to look for disease or other potential problems. And finally, it was determined that Branch needs emergency surgery to repair his jaw.
Our special baby Branch made it through his surgery! The surgeon felt the procedure was successful. He told me that Branch’s jaw was in pieces. It took a plate and 6 screws to put it back together.
Branch had a feeding tube placed and that remained for a few weeks. He wore a soft muzzle over his nose to help keep his jaw in place. The muzzle helped form the jaw and expedited healing. We did all of this with Primrose, so we knew what we were in for.
A couple of hours after the surgery I received a call from the animal hospital. Branch was having trouble breathing. He was placed in the oxygen chamber where he remained all night. I was informed a couple of hours later that Branch was breathing better, but still struggling. The surgeon didn’t know if the labored breathing was a result of the swelling from the surgery or if something else is going on. It truly seemed like this poor little boy was absolutely broken in pieces.
The vet said that despite everything he’d been through, he still wagged his tail when the staff stopped to talk to him.
Our little boy who had anywhere from 5-12 broken ribs, a broken jaw, two broken front legs, and swelling on his brain from repeated hits, is doing amazing!
Branch does have some brain damage, but we knew that would be the case. He is so innocent, gentle and loving. He does not like to be picked up, loud noises scare him, and visitors to the Ranch, seem to make him nervous. His favorite toy is the arm off of stuffed bear, which I find just adorable.
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