Autumn the Medical Miracle

February 23, 2022

Autumn, a four-year-old pit bull, was found in August by a Good Samaritan in Brooklyn. She was tied up and covered in blood.

Having been shot in the face and neck, Autumn was rushed to the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group (VERG) and quickly triaged. The veterinary team at VERG then performed a procedure to remove the bullet.

“Medically, this dog is a miracle,” says Dr. Aubrey Crowley, Medical Supervisor at the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center (ARC).  “She was shot in the face and neck, and the bullet managed to avoid all major structures and lodged in her left cheek.”

Autumn’s X-rays of the bullet lodged in her left cheek, circled in red.

After her procedure at VERG, Autumn was transferred into our care at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).

“Initially when she was here, she had some trouble breathing and was in pain,” remembers Dr. Crowley. “She spent the first night on oxygen and spent a total of a week in the ICU getting IV antibiotics, good pain medication and medications to prevent nausea to encourage her to eat.”

After a week in the ICU, Autumn was transferred to ARC where she received continued care and behavioral treatment.

Overcoming Her Fears

“Autumn was very fearful when she came to us,” says Christina Lee, Director of Behavior at ARC and the ASPCA Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment (CARE). “During her evaluation she was moderately fearful of being touched but tolerated it. She was calm and friendly with the helper dog and really brightened up in the other dog’s presence.”

The Behavior team at ARC spent quiet time with Autumn and worked with her to help build a positive association with people after the trauma she had faced. 

After about a month of working closely with the Behavior and medical teams at ARC, Autumn was ready to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center where she would become available for adoption.

In just a few days time, Autumn found not only a home to call her own, but a family with lots of love to give.

Becoming a Member of the Family

Jolynn W. and her family were looking for a companion for their dog, Corona, after the unfortunate passing of their other dog, a beloved pit bull.

“When we saw Autumn’s face, we fell in love,” Jolynn recalls.

Having adopted abused dogs in the past, Jolynn and her family were well equipped and eager to care for Autumn.

“Hearing about what she had been through, we knew we could give her a better life and spoil her rotten,” says Jolynn. “It turned out to be a complete pleasure.”

Just two months after being brought to the ASPCA, Autumn, renamed Nola, was now on her way to the life she always deserved in New Jersey.

“We were told Nola was fearful and shy, but within two days of being home, she had a complete turnaround,” Jolynn tells us. “She has become very comfortable and outgoing; we barely see that fear or shyness any longer.”

In her new home, Nola became the happy pup she was always meant to be and even gained a best friend in her canine brother, Corona. The two play together all the time. Jolynn has even witnessed Nola watching and copying Corona, and as a result, has become more independent.

“Nola’s fitting in very well. She has really warmed up to our child and we love seeing her pretty little face,” says Jolynn. 

Nola even joined in on the fun of dressing up for Halloween as the Target dog!

Though pit bulls like Nola are known to have an unfair stigma against them, Jolynn reminds us that each dog is different.

“Know your breed and realize they each have their own personality and be willing to accept it and work with it. In return you’ll get the utmost unconditional love! Nola is just full of love and drenches you in kisses. With what we were told about her history, we can’t even fathom how anyone would want to hurt her.”

Jolynn also adds that it’s hard to judge any animal in the shelter setting as they may be stressed out or scared.

“We joke about how on the day of our meet and greet, she wanted nothing to do with us. She was paying attention to everything else but us. Now, she waits for us at the window and is so excited when we come back. She is an absolute pleasure to have in our home.”