Ranger is a happy and healthy 13 week old Kelpie-cross pup who has faced his share of trauma already at such a young age. He was found lost and alone, wandering through rugged bushland around Abercrombie Caves in NSW’s Central West, at least 20km from any roads. He appeared from out of nowhere – tiny, injured and afraid, he was only nine weeks old.
We have named him Ranger because this area has an infamous history as being a hideout for bushrangers such as Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner, and the Ribbon Gang. Our little puppy was roaming around out there just like a bushranger.
THIS IS THE AREA KNOWN AS GROVES CREEK FALLS, ABERCROMBIE CAVES, WHERE RANGER WAS FOUND BY A FAMILY OUT BUSHWALKING FOR THE DAY
Ranger was emaciated and had a broken front leg which he was struggling to drag along the ground. At first he was afraid but quickly started wagging his tail once in the car and safe. On the lap of a caring person he breathed a huge sigh, like a sigh of relief, then he slept in the car all the way to Bathurst. He was totally exhausted.
Ranger was taken straight to a local vet to be examined and it was apparent his injury was several weeks old. His left foreleg had multiple fractures and he had significant nerve paralysis. Further examination of his ribs and hips indicated that he had not eaten anything for at least 4 or 5 days.
RANGER THE DAY I FIRST MET HIM – GETTING SOME MUCH NEEDED MEDICAL CARE AND ATTENTION
Veterinary advice was that Ranger’s leg would need to be amputated and the surgery could cost several thousand dollars. It was clear that a nine week old puppy requiring significant surgery prior to adoption, was most likely ‘unadoptable.’ Consequently, his future appeared grim. After having had such a terrible struggle for survival in his short life, refusing him help was an option too cruel to bare.
The Dogs for Diggers program managed by Louise Kelly at Bathurst Correctional Centre, immediately undertook to adopt and help little Ranger – perhaps he could be a therapy dog for one of our brave soldiers from Afghanistan or Iraq. He had already proven he was just as tough, overcoming extreme adversity just as they have. Surely any one of our war veterans could relate to Ranger’s struggle to survive when the odds were stacked against him.
PLAYING WITH HIS TOYS IN MY OFFICE
The University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney agreed to help and they reviewed Ranger’s injuries in an attempt to save his leg. The care and compassion they gave to our little boy was wonderful. He was given the best medical attention possible and remained in hospital for six days. Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, specialist orthopaedic surgeons could not save his leg and it needed amputation. Thanks to all the staff at the Hospital for their kindness towards Ranger. On one occasion a staff member phoned just to tell me that Ranger was a “superstar”, and that they all adored him.
The amazing volunteers from German Shepherd Dog (GSD) Rescue also put their hands up to help Ranger. They travelled from Sydney to Bathurst and back with our injured boy, delivering him to the University for his specialist treatment. Of course, Jo and Heather from GSD Rescue also fell in love with our brave baby boy and continued to check on his progress though out his stay in hospital.
When it was time for Ranger to be discharged the lovely Jo and Heather came to his rescue. Though obviously not a German Shepherd, these ladies took him under their wing showing their love and kindness for all animals in need, whatever the type or breed. They now refer to themselves as “Ranger’s Sydney aunties” and remain in regular contact with us about Ranger’s progress.
Jo collected Ranger from hospital and took him home for some more TLC. Heather then made the long trip from Sydney to Bathurst and back to return him to us at the Correctional Centre safe and sound, and in much better health and spirits than when he left us. Thanks to Jo and Heather for their support of Ranger. We have developed new friendships, and partnerships with German Shepherd Rescue and the Dogs for Diggers Program.
We are amazed every day by Ranger’s resilience as he grows stronger and stronger. He manages so well on three legs and is in such good spirits, he is learning to be a puppy again – he is happy, safe, loved and cuddled. He loves, and is loved, by everyone he comes across – he has a special quality about him that melts everyone’s heart in an instant.
ME WITH RANGER WHEN HE RETURNED FROM SYDNEY – I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE HIM DOING SO WELL
An entire community has united in an effort to save Ranger. Thank you to the Bathurst Pound who donated him; the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney for their intensive medical care; German Shepherd Rescue for dropping everything to travel back and forth from Sydney to Bathurst (no matter how inconvenient) and sharing their homes with him; and also to various members of the Bathurst community who have assisted with his foster care.
Ranger is to become an Ambassador for the Dogs for Diggers Program, he represents all rescue dogs and the hope that they can have a bright future. He will have his own Facebook page called ‘Saving Ranger’ and we will post his progress on a regular basis. We hope everyone can follow and support his amazing story as he becomes ‘a dog for all people’. He began his life as a dog no one wanted – abandoned in the bush to fend for himself, nine weeks old, suffering with a painful injury. He will become a dog to be shared and loved by everyone, proving that every creature is worthy of our care, compassion and kindness.
RANGER TODAY – HE HAS SUCH A BRIGHT FUTURE, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR THIS BOY