Eric & Bronx's Story
The Bend Spay and Neuter Project is best known for its mission to provide low to no cost spay and neuter for the pets and their humans in need of Central Oregon. Another goal of the Bend Spay and Neuter Project is to keep pets in their homes and with their humans and out of the shelters. This includes helping people (and animals) that often have nowhere else to turn.
One person that we had the pleasure to meet and help this year was Eric O. and his dog Bronx (affectionately known as “Chicken Butt”). Eric is technically “homeless” but prefers to think of himself as a traveler, and it was his trip through Bend this summer where he met Dr. Lisa, one of our spay and neuter veterinarians.
Dr. Lisa has a very special spot in her heart for the pets of people without homes. She often will stop and talk to them about their dog (especially if they are not neutered!). She writes down the Bend spay and neuter info on the back of their sign (if they have one, and most do). She came across Eric one summer evening selling tin “flowers” that he makes out of soda cans. Dr. Lisa fell in love with “chicken butt”, or Bronx, an adorable Chihuahua cattle dog mix.
She could tell immediately that Eric’s main concern, even before himself, was his dog. And the feeling was mutual. Their bond was obvious and Dr.Lisa decided to ask Eric if he’d ever thought about neutering Bronx. Eric said that he had, but he was concerned it might change him because he was such a great dog. Eric was also concerned because Bronx had started running off, and he used to NEVER leave Eric’s side. It was usually to go investigate another female dog. Dr. Lisa told Eric that neutering him would only have positive effects and that if he could get to Bend Spay and Neuter Project, she would do the surgery and he wouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for it. She wrote the address of the Bend Spay and Neuter Project on the back of his sign ,and the days we were open for surgery.
Dr. Lisa told Megan about her conversation in case Eric showed up, but a little over a week went by and we figured he had moved on…..Until one Friday morning when Dr. Lisa pulled into our driveway and there was Bronx, sleeping in the sun on our little grassy knoll in front of the clinic, with his trusty sidekick Eric sound asleep next to him.
No one had the heart to wake them, so we just waited. About 9am Eric came in to the clinic and Dr. Lisa met him in the lobby. He had, indeed, slept the night next to our clinic to have Bronx neutered. He walked over in the middle of the night. He said he was staying at a friends, but felt “it wasn’t a safe environment” for Bronx. It was one of our cat only Fridays so Bronx had the honor of being the only dog that day.
Eric had all of Bronx’s shot records in his backpack (or as he called it, his “office”). Bronx was not only current on all his vaccines, but he was microchipped and wearing not one, but two id tags. His surgery went great and Dr. Lisa met Eric downtown to deliver Bronx to him after his procedure. Eric was so grateful. Dr. Lisa gave him her cell number in case he had any questions or concerns. The next day Dr. Lisa met Eric downtown and helped Eric give Bronx his pain medication (Eric couldn’t get him to take it but a little beef jerky did the trick!). She checked his incision and he was doing great. We figured that was probably the last time we’d see the pair since Eric was on his way to British Columbia.
About a month later Dr. Lisa saw that cute little Chicken Butt again downtown. Eric had returned to Bend and was selling his flowers to make some traveling money. He wouldn’t take any money from Dr. Lisa but as she talked with Eric for a bit she learned he was concerned because his sleeping bag was ripped and it didn’t keep Bronx warm anymore. Dr. Lisa told Eric that if he showed up at REI the next day she’d find a sleeping bag for them. Of course Eric showed up with his beloved Bronx and they both left REI with a nice warm bag, rated to minus 20 so they’d both be warm in the winter.
Eric is an example of how the human animal bond is so important. Dr. Lisa may have helped him, but he really helped her. He helped her by proving that people who have nothing will often do almost anything, given the opportunity, to help their animals. This is what Bend Spay and Neuter is about. We do a little bit for a lot of people, and when you add it up, it makes a difference.
Happy Holidays from all of us at BSNP!