By Meghan Overdeep / southernliving.com
After nearly dying at the hands of her former owner, a Virginia puppy is safe and sound in the home of the man who saved her life.
It’s hard to believe that not long ago, the young pitbull mix was on death’s door.
On May 18, Chambers and his landscaping crew were stuck in traffic in downtown Portsmouth when he saw a “small and feeble” dog run under his truck.
“When I looked under the car, it looked like a sweet puppy,” he recalled to Donovan, who has been covering Smoke’s story from the beginning.
But when Chambers looked closer, he was shocked.
“All you could see is pouring of blood everywhere and puncture wounds,” he explained. “I called out to my employees to get towels and get my trauma kit fast.”
Chambers, a former police officer, told Donovan that he used the kit to stop the bleeding from the stab wounds that pierced the puppy’s jugular vein and carotid artery. He didn’t realize it in the moment, but he applied the gauze and quick clot just in time to save her life.
Fire and rescue crews responded and rushed the dog to a vet in Suffolk. Two days later, with her health declining, she was transported to NC State Veterinary Hospital’s ICU.
“She got really sick after that. Air was escaping her chest cavity and going into her lungs and heart,” Chambers told the local news station.
Miraculously, Smoke survived, though the treatments that saved her life cost a whopping $15,000—a bill that was eventually covered by a herculean fundraising effort that pulled in nearly $30,000. (The surplus is being donated to charity.)
Then, on May 25, one week after she crawled under Chambers’ truck, Smoke went home with him and his fiancé.
“I am pretty emotionally invested in the dog, and I have the family to offer it and the compassion where it could live a fulfilling life,” he told WTKR.
Incredibly, Smoke has no lingering effects from the seven stab wounds she sustained, and she’s also on her way to becoming a certified therapy dog. Police are reportedly pursuing animal cruelty charges against her former owner.
“We will now take extra steps to ensure her safety and her health, and I get to spend the next season of my life with her, and there are so many memories to be made,” said Chambers.