Valley dog saved by military medicine

It's no surprise that a young, healthy dog like Bailey loves playing catch. 

His owner, Kris Berling, throws a tennis ball across the yard, which Bailey immediately retrieves. "He used to go for hours and hours and hours."

What is surprising, is that Bailey, a white American Eskimo, does it all on just three legs.

"He got hit by a UPS truck on Christmas Eve," says Berling. "He lost that battle pretty bad."

Dr. Daniel Guastella, a veterinarian at the First Regional Animal Hospital in Chandler, operated on the badly injured dog.

"What we had to do was amputate the limb that was more significantly fractured," says Dr. Guastella. "It was really infected."

That infection caused Bailey's skin to lose its blood supply, and basically start to rot.

"At that point we used what they used in Afghanistan with the wounded soldiers: where there is a vacuum applied to the wound because the wound has to be managed; to sort of get things to manage the infection, get it to contract, and heal on its own," says Dr. Guastella.

Another concern for Bailey; how would he mentally handle the trauma of losing his leg?

"At night, when he sleeps, he holds on to his one remaining back leg," says Berling. "He hugs it, not wanting to let go."

Dr. Guastella says dogs can suffer mental issues for a number of reasons, ranging from traumatic injuries like Bailey's to the loss of their owners. Some dogs have other issues that require them to be on medication for their mental health.

"My own dog is a golden retriever who experiences anxiety, and so he's on Prozac," says Dr. Guastella.

Berling says despite the stress that comes with spending thousands of dollars on Bailey's medical procedures, he'd do it all over again.

"He's our dog; it's what I'd want someone to do for me," says Berling, his eyes flooding with tears. "He's just another one of my kids, just another member of the family."

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