Now the future is getting brighter for the playful pitbull mix named Braveheart, as his story of tragedy and hope has helped Monika Wesolowski find a way to keep him.
Wesolowski has raised $1,500 to help build a privacy fence around the back yard of her home in the Celanese neighborhood.
The fence will allow Wesolowski to keep Braveheart and provide a safe place for him to exercise and be outside.
“I cried for three days straight, probably because it just blows my mind,” Wesolowski said. “I know people give money all the time to charities but a dog just hits people right in the heart.”
Braveheart’s journey began on July 15 when he was brought into Murray County Animal Control with a large cut across his neck.
A veterinarian at animal control said the wound was about 48 hours old, according to Wesolowski, and was so deep his trachea — his windpipe — was exposed.
He was treated as much as possible by the animal control staff but there was not much they could do for him.
“His only chance was for somebody to do something and come and get him,” Wesolowski said.
Someone had seen a Facebook post about Braveheart, the name that animal control had given him, and alerted Cathy Ross, development director for the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia.
The organization picked him up and took him to Whatley-Kinney Veterinary Clinic in Rome where he went into surgery to close up the wound.
Two weeks later, Wesolowski, who volunteers with the Animal Rescue League, was asked to take him in and care for him while they found a permanent home.
“They knew that once I got him I would never give him back,” said Wesolowski, who already had two dogs, Kaia and Kaos.
When the moment came a couple weeks ago for Wesolowski to try and adopt out Braveheart, there was a problem.
“I just had a meltdown,” she said. “I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’”
The main problem was Braveheart, for all his trials and tribulations, was still an energetic year-and-a-half-old dog that was easily able to jump over the average-height chain-link fence in Wesolowski’s back yard.
She went onto Braveheart’s Facebook page and described her situation and how she didn’t want to have to give him up. Somebody suggested she find out what it would take to build a bigger fence and start a fundraising website to help pay for the costs.
Wesolowski talked with Stephen Walker of Walker Landscape and Fence, LLC and got an estimate of how much the materials would cost. Walker said he would put up the fence for free.
“I put the website up the next day and within nine days I had all the money,” Wesolowski said. “It was just amazing.”
Braveheart’s story had traveled. Through his Facebook page that was created soon after he was in the care of the Animal Rescue League, he had accrued quite a few followers.
“He’s got people from all over the United States that have given him money,” Wesolowski said. “It’s fun. They love pictures and posts about him.”
By the end of the first day that Braveheart’s fence fund account was open on GoFundMe, more than $400 had been donated. A week later saw the total reach $700.
A nonprofit group in Virginia, Dogs Deserve Better, donated $200 and around 60 other donors gave money to the fund. Wesolowski said she wants to have a plaque with a list of donors put on the fence.
Rome’s Lowe’s store agreed to give Wesolowski the materials for the fence at cost.
People can still donate to help Wesolowski continue to care for Braveheart. His GoFundMe page is still active and people can also donate money at either Citizens First Bank branch in Rome.
Wesolowski said that after the fence is built she plans to turn her attention to trying to help find the person who hurt Braveheart.
The Animal Rescue League raised $2,500 as a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of whoever slit Braveheart’s throat.
“I just can’t see how anybody could hurt a creature like this,” Wesolowski said. “He’s such a nice dog.”
There is no evidence of Braveheart’s ordeal, except for a slight scar on his neck. He barks, plays and eats like a normal dog.
There is a flood of evidence that his worst days are behind him and there are quite a few people who wouldn’t have it any other way.