Warning: This post contains photos and details that may disturb some readers.
In April 2021, a sweet, gentle dog named Buddy returned home with severe burns on his face after being intentionally set ablaze by a 12-year-old boy. There was also an extension cord around the dog’s neck. His abuser presumably used it to hold Buddy down during the attack.
The injuries to his face were so extreme that Buddy’s eyes swelled shut, rendering him temporarily blind. The care required to save his life was more than his original family could handle, so they surrendered Buddy into the care of Mississippi’s Tunica Humane Society.
From the start, Buddy won the hearts of all he met. Everyone at the Humane Society was pulling for him, but vets were unsure whether he’d regain his sight or even survive at all.
“Buddy’s vital signs are good but, as with any burn patient, this is very much the bottom of a tall mountain to be climbed,” Dr. Elizabeth Swanson, associate professor and veterinary surgeon, told WTVA.
Thankfully, Buddy proved to be just as strong as he is sweet. Once the swelling went down, vets were able to determine that the flames did not permanently damage Buddy’s eyes. He would survive and regain his vision.
But his road to recovery wasn’t over by a long shot. Buddy endured frequent bandage applications that swaddled his entire head and face, covering all but his nose and mouth. The wraps protected his damaged skin but also left him without his sight once again.
“He continues to move forward daily,” the Humane Society wrote in a Facebook update. “Never once disappointing his doctors. Burn wounds are a very slow process but Buddy is excelling in his healing.”
After a few months, Buddy’s burns had healed enough for him to be transferred to Mississippi State University for skin grafts. With smaller bandages and his eyes finally uncovered, Buddy’s true self began to shine through.
“Buddy’s whole personality has changed since seeing the light of day,” a Facebook update from August 2021 reads. “He is happy and playful and walking the halls of the hospital with a great big ball in his mouth. He loves balls. He carries them around so everyone can see them😁“
It has been a long, grueling year for Buddy. The pain he suffered during his recovery must have been excruciating, yet he never once lost his gentle, trusting spirit. He currently resides with his veterinarian Dr. Swanson, who confirms that Buddy is living his best life.
“Many surgeries, hugs from everyone in the hospital, and games of fetch later, he’s thriving in his foster home!” Buddy’s friends at Mississippi State wrote in a Facebook post.
Buddy’s story made national headlines last year, shocking everyone with the brutality of the attack and the young age of the perpetrator. Yet, even though the boy who hurt Buddy confessed to the vicious crime, he could not be charged under Mississippi law due to his age.
“It’s unfathomable that someone could be that evil,” Sandy Williams, director of the Tunica Humane Society told FOX 13. “Buddy was an extremely friendly, non-threatening dog. He followed the children in the area everywhere.”
It’s a heartbreaking story with a bittersweet ending. While it’s wonderful to see Buddy thriving, it’s incredibly unfair that his attacker escaped justice.