Homeless Dog in Beirut Survives Gun Blast to the Face, Undergoes Reconstructive Surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center

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Dr. Mike Pavletic at Angell Animal Medical Center has given Luke a new lease on life (credit MSPCA-Angell)

A stray dog from Beirut, Lebanon is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the face at close range and rescued from the streets by volunteers from Animals Lebanon before being flown to the U.S. on Jan. 31, where he was taken in by Sweet Paws Rescue in Groveland, Mass.

Dr. Mike Pavletic at Angell Animal Medical Center has given Luke a new lease on life (credit MSPCA-Angell)

The Sweet Paws Rescue team sought advice from area veterinarians about how best to repair the extensive damage to the two-year-old dog’s face and ultimately sought out Dr. Mike Pavletic, head of surgery at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center.

“Luke,” as he’s since been named, was evaluated last week by Dr. Pavletic and his team.

“It appears he was shot at close range with ammunition similar to buckshot because there was so much damage to his skull and face—I’m astounded that he even survived,” said Dr. Pavletic, who noted that Luke has been breathing through a hole in his snout because his nasal passages were seared closed by the blast.

“The surgery that we performed yesterday was a success in that we’ve repaired the damage to his face, which will help him breathe and eat comfortably for the rest of his life,” he said.

Dr. Pavletic, known internationally for his pioneering work in reconstructive surgery—and most recently for creating a new nose for a former street cat named “Nigel”—used some of the tissue from Luke’s lip to patch over the hole in his skull and to rebuild the nose.

Luke’s Bright Future
Luke is expected to leave Angell today so Sweet Paws Rescue can settle him into a temporary foster home, where he will recover from the procedure. “The next step for Luke is to find his forever home,” said Cynthia Sweet, founder, Sweet Paws Rescue, who has plans to take in 10 more homeless dogs from Beirut later in March.

How to Help
Luke’s surgery is likely to cost nearly $2,000 and Sweet Paws Rescue has issued an appeal to donors to help cover the cost. Anyone who wishes to contribute toward Luke’s care can do so via www.sweetpawsrescue.org/helpluke. Adoption inquiries can be made at info@sweetpawsrescue.org