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

A dog named Gunner is lucky enough to be alive after police rescued him from being alone, leaving him with only the body of his former owner.

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

Gunner was being kept in a large corral in the backyard, according to police, who said he was able to survive on rainwater and a small amount of food Gunner found. Mug shots of Gunner’s yard show two large bowls overgrown with plants that collect rainwater. One bowl of water is greenish-brown while the other appears to have clear water, although things are floating in it.

Though he was able to survive, it was just a narrow margin, as police reported, that he was riddled with “thousands” of fleas and ticks and that his muscles were wasted to the point that he could not stand.

A veterinarian contacted by police said the dog would have died had Gunner been found hours later. 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 first call from the sheriff’s office and we are grateful for this partnership and for all law enforcement agencies.” We’re always here to help people and animals in need,” Bella SPCA said in her Facebook post.

Gun dog starves dead owner alive
Gunner was rescued hours from death, police said.
Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office

Bella SPCA says it will cover all of the costs of Gunner’s care, but the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office recommended people donate to Bella SPCA on his behalf if they can help pay for his recovery. Any funds raised beyond what Gunner needs will be used to help other animals, Bella told SPCA. As of press time, over $1,600 has been raised to fund his care.

According to the Bella SPCA, Gunner is in critical condition and is being cared for by the organization’s partner veterinarian, Woodlake Animal Hospital in Oklahoma City. Thankfully, Bella tells SPCA Gunner will likely pull through.

“He’s getting stronger every day, but he’s got a long way to go,” Bella told SPCA.

Once Gunner is well again, he will go home to his former owner’s relatives, Bella says to SPCA, but the organization will update the public if that changes. In that case, however, Gunner is unlikely to have to start looking for a new home. Many people on both the Bella SPCA post about Gunner and the original Sheriff’s Office post have offered to adopt or foster him should the need arise.

news week reached out to Bella SPCA for comment. Dog survives on rainwater and leftover food for month after owner’s death

Rick Schindler

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