An injured puppy who swam to a boat for help in the Feather River on Saturday night is now recovering from "horrific wounds" at Sutter County Animal Services, thanks to his rescuers.
Officers think the 10-month-old German shepherd mix may have fallen under a boat and was struck with a propeller. A citizen found him down river from Star Bend, called Animal Services and then transported the dog to the vet.
When he was brought in, his skin was starting to die, which means he could have been in the water for a day or two before he was rescued, said Animal Services Manager Diana Barrett.
Nasty wounds on his face, shoulder and back were infected, she said.
Now, the friendly, well-behaved dog they've come to call Water Shepherd is recovering thanks to a Loma Rica man.
Ronald Arndt, 54, was in the middle of the river with his friend when he saw the pup swimming after them.
"He was in a hurry to catch up to the boat. He was literally chasing the boat," Arndt said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We don't know where he came from. He just came out of nowhere."
They lifted him up into their craft.
"That's when we noticed the wounds," he said.
Arndt said they were horrible: long, deep and open. Still, the dog was easy to manage.
"He didn't resist. He was totally calm. Even though he was so injured, he still had his personality about him," Arndt said.
The shepherd was friendly, obedient and very calm, until the men started the motor to get the dog to a vet. He became uncomfortable at the sound of the loud engine, so Arndt held on to him.
"I have a soft heart for dogs," he said. "I get too attached. This dog, he broke my heart."
Arndt said he probably won't adopt Water Shepherd, but he does want to donate money toward his recovery.
There is a chance that the dog's original owners will identify him and come forward.
Although he is wrapped with bandages, he still waits to go outside before relieving himself.
He is obviously somebody's dog, Barrett said.
"Ideally, we want the owner to say, 'Oh my gosh! That's my dog,'" she said. "But we want to give this guy a chance."
As officers await the dog's owners, they're seeking donations of bandage supplies or money to purchase supplies.
Water Shepherd is tan, with a black saddle and is well-behaved.
For more information, or to donate, call 822-7375.
CONTACT reporter Monica Vaughan at 749-4783 and on Twitter @MonicaLVaughan.