PHOENIX - Earlier in April, it was unclear whether Tigger, a Wheaten Terrier, was going to survive after stepping on a cactus spine, but thanks to a local animal rescue, he's now doing fine.
He's a happy pup, full of energy and bringing joy to those around him. However, it wasn’t all the time the soft-coated Tigger was so energetic.
Three weeks ago, no one knew he would be alive after a cactus spine infected one of his feet during a walk with his previous owners.
Due to his medical bills costing thousands of dollars, his owners made the choice to surrender him. The other option was to put him down.
Arlene Heck now fosters Tigger. "His leg developed an infection, a blood clot and required amputation to save his life," she said.
The nonprofit organization Wheatens In Need stepped up and agreed to pay all medical costs, which cost upwards of $12,000.
The organization reached out to Heck and her husband and asked if they were willing to foster him after the surgery.
"It kinda chokes me up. I said, 'We gotta do what we got to do to try and save his life because he was going to be euthanized and if the rescue didn’t step up to cover his medical bills, he was going to be euthanized," she said.
The Heck family has been with him for two weeks. Heck says although he’s lost a leg, he’s like any other Wheaten puppy.
"If he wants to run, he can run. It’s amazing how quickly he runs, you know. He will try to jump and when he comes down, he will kinda fall towards his stump," she said.
What’s next for Tigger? He needs to find a forever home.
"Our focus right now is to get him fully recovered and healthy so that he can have his forever home wherever that ends up being," she said.
You can learn more about Tigger and his journey on his Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tiggerthetripawdwheaten/
How to avoid this from happening to your dog
Pat Bajoras, who works with an associated company in the same building as the emergency room Tigger was taken to, is a long-time Wheaten Terrier breeder.
She helped get the nonprofit involved in Tigger's recovery.
"Bajoras recommends putting dogs in booties before going on walks through the desert, sticking to the pavement, for dog parents to also keep a watchful eye on their pet’s surroundings on walks, and to check dogs paws and between their pads carefully as infection can happen quickly," read a news release.