It started out as the same hike that Andi Davis does every day to the top of one of the mountains near where she lives in Phoenix, Arizona. But this time, close to the top, something caught her eye off to one side of the trail.
It was a dog, badly injured, close to death and unable to move.
“I realized I had two choices,” she said. “I can try to help this animal now or run down the mountain to try to get help.”
But would the dog even survive if she left him to get help? How long would that take? So Andi called her husband and daughter and asked them to meet her at the bottom of the mountain. Then, carefully, she picked up the 50-pound dog and carried him all the way down the trail. It took her almost an hour, holding a heavy dog and feeling her way down the steep rocky path. (Two weeks later, Andi said her arms were still aching.)
Once they were in the car and on their way to the Arizona Humane Society, Andi’s 10-year-old daughter, Jessi, named the dog Elijah. At the shelter, the veterinarians examined Elijah. He had an open abdominal wound, a bullet in his neck, and bullet fragments near his spinal cord. They decided not to try to extract all these bits of metal, at least for the moment, for fear of doing even further damage.
No one came forward to claim Elijah, and once the formalities and the initial medical treatment was completed, Andi and her family took him home. Meanwhile a reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of whoever tried to kill him.
Elijah seems to have become daughter Jessi’s dog.
“Mom has a dog, dad has a dog, I have a dog,” Jessi wrote in a letter to the Arizona Humane Society. “Elijah is the family dog. Because he’s special.”“If anyone ever finds a pit bull you should always give him a chance.
“After all you have done for us, I want to help animals too. Thank you so much for making our lives better. You rock.”
Her mother Andi said she’d always been afraid of pit bulls – until now. And for Jessi, Elijah has become not just her BFF, but also her cause.
“If anyone ever finds a pit bull you should always give him a chance, not be a coward, not run away, not just ignore the dog. I think you should give him a chance,” she said.
And that goes for the whole country. While there’s been enormous progress in the no-kill movement over the past 20 years, pit bull-type dogs still account for the majority of dogs being killed at shelters. Jessi thinks it’s time for that to change.