Dog survives on rainwater and food scraps for a month after owner’s death

A dog named Gunner is lucky to be alive after the police rescue him from being alone, left alone with his former owner’s corpse.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office posted Gunner’s story on Facebook. Police were called to Gunner’s former home near Luther, Oklahoma, on Saturday where they found the remains of its 64-year-old landlord, who had been dead “for a month”, police said.

Gunner was in the backyard guarded in a large enclosure, according to police, who said he was able to survive on rainwater and a small amount of food Gunner found. On the police photos of the Gunner site, there are two large basins which collect rainwater, covered with plants. One bowl of water is greenish brown, while the other appears to have clear water, although there are things floating in it.

Although he managed to survive, he was only barely able to as police reported he was covered in “thousands” of fleas and ticks and his muscles had worn down to the point that he couldn’t stand up anymore.

A vet contacted by police said if Gunner was found even hours later, the dog would be dead. Police took him to the Bella SPCA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City, where Gunner got his name, as his original name is unknown.

“We are honored to be the Sheriff’s Office’s first call and are grateful for this partnership and with all law enforcement. We are always here to help people and animals in need,” Bella SPCA said in her Facebook post.

Gunner was rescued hours before he died, police said.
Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office

Bella SPCA says it will cover all costs for Gunner’s treatment, but the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office has recommended people make a donation in his name to Bella SPCA if they can help pay for his recovery. Any funds raised beyond Gunner’s needs will be used to help other animals, Bella told the SPCA. At press time, more than $1,600 has been raised to pay for his care.

Gunner is in critical condition, according to Bella SPCA, and is being cared for by the organization’s partner veterinarian, Woodlake Animal Hospital in Oklahoma City. Fortunately, Bella SPCA says Gunner is likely to be fine.

“He’s getting stronger every day, but he has a long way ahead of him,” Bella SPCA said.

Once Gunner is back in good health, he will return home to his former owner’s loved ones, Bella SPCA says, but the organization will let the public know if that changes. If that were to happen, however, Gunner is unlikely to have to search hard for a new home; many people in both Bella SPCA’s Gunner post and the original Sheriff’s Office post offered to adopt or help if needed.

News Week has contacted Bella SPCA for comment.

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