Whether you are a horse lover, a feline fanatic or a true pup parent, there is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a pet–something these Alachua County residents are more than aware of! From rescues to therapy animals, these pet lovers are sharing what makes their relationship with their animals so special!
with owner Coleen Tomlinson
Ned is a 10.5-year-old bull terrier. Ned has a condition called pica, which causes him to eat inappropriate objects. In spite of constant supervision, inevitably he will ingest something—everything is a tasty morsel to him (roll of Velcro, Hacky Sack ball, bamboo husks, gloves, flip-flops, feminine products, Christmas decorations, shoes, bandages, plastic, plants, buttons, money, belts, his collar, food bowls, massive amounts of grass, wood chips, plastic bags, empty pill bottles, underwear, socks, blankets, towels, stuffed toys, rope, couch, slippers, pieces of balls, e-collar/cone, buckles, books … the list goes on!) He plans his attack and he is like a little doggie ninja. Nothing is safe! He has had a total of five surgeries — four surgeries to remove a foreign body, with the fourth one resulting in removal of 20% of his intestinal tract and then a surgery—which resulted in removal of another 20% of his intestines due to severe complications and eventual sepsis.
Ned almost died on three separate occasions during December 2015 – January 2016. In fact, during that fifth surgery, the surgeon called me mid-surgery to let me know the complications were extensive and that he probably would not survive. I told them to do everything possible for him—he is a bully after all! When he was in ICU for two weeks, I was allowed to sneak into his cage and lay with him.
Ned has cost thousands of dollars in vet care. Many wonder why and how he is still alive and with me today … and here is why: he is my dog who I love and fiercely protect. I made a LIFETIME commitment to him, and it is my role to literally protect him from himself! I have never and will never give up on him.
Caring for him includes Ned wearing a muzzle, as he is not a candidate for further surgery. This protects him from eating things he shouldn’t (although recently there have been a few close calls from his ingestion of something through his muzzle). He wears a muzzle because I would rather see him ALIVE with a muzzle than dead without one. I keep a hefty supply of hydrogen peroxide on hand for those times he manages to successfully sneak and eat something. He does get supervised time without his muzzle, but I have to watch him every minute. His veterinarian (also my bestie) is on speed dial, and Ned pretty much has back-door privileges at his veterinary hospital! It never occurred to me to re-home him or euthanize him because of his unique characteristics … again, because he is MY dog … and I am his person … for life.
Follow Ned on Instagram! @NedtheBullTerrier .