When Red’s hind legs went bad, Mike Mallory started using his.
Mallory — who suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car crash in 2001 and lives mostly on disability benefits he receives in Billings, Montana — learned last year his 5-year-old red heeler needed the anterior cruciate ligament in his left hind leg replaced.
Mallory was unable to afford the $3,000 surgery, but told a local veterinary hospital “I’ll figure something out.”
Dr. Ken Brown at the Animal Clinic of Billings agreed to give Red the operation he needed, and worry about the bill later.
Now, between Mallory’s fund-raising on the streets, and some friends who have helped him get donations over the Internet, enough money has been raised to pay the bill for fixing Red’s left hind leg.
Yesterday, though, Red was back at the vet to get the same procedure — on his right hind leg.
The surgery was performed in January, and the vet warned Mallory at the time that Red’s other hind leg would, sooner or later, need the same procedure.
Red reported to the vet’s office yesterday for that, and once again the clinic said it would do the surgery and worry about the payments later.
For most of the year Mallory has been carting Red around Billings in the wagon. “Walking for Red” is the name of a campaign he created to cover the surgery costs and raise awareness of pet emergencies.
Meanwhile, a Connecticut woman who learned of Mallory’s efforts has been helping him raise money via Facebook and other websites. “That man would walk across the world for his dog, and I really believe that,” Patty Daponte said.
As Mallory, who admits to having been a bit of a rambler and a loner, explains it, his dog, and the community’s response to his dog’s dilemma, have renewed his sagging faith and showed him there’s good in the world.
He says he was planning to move back home to Virginia and become a hermit living in the mountains, until Red came into his life.
“I’m a better man because of him,” said Mallory. “He’s the most loyal friend I have. He’s made me more caring, more loving and more respectful.”
He was surprised, too, by the support he has received since his dog encountered hard times: “There’s a lot of love in this world,” he said. “I’ve seen that, and I want to see more of it and spread more of it.”
Once Red recovers from his second surgery, Mallory plans to embark on a “walkabout” in which he and Red travel on foot to a yet-to-be-determined city out of the state to continue spreading awareness and raise money for people in similar situations, according to the Gazette.
When a reporter interviewed him earlier this week, Mallory was pulling Red in the bright yellow wagon while picking up trash from the streets.
He sees it as a way to repay the kindness people have shown him over the last few months.
“It’s just one of my ways of paying it forward,” he said. ”I can’t pay it back financially, so I do it this way.”
(Photo: James Woodcock / Billings Gazette)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acl, animal clinic of billings, animals, anterior cruciate ligament, billings, brain injury, cost, disabled, dog, dogs, expense, fundraising, health, heeler, hind, internet, ken brown, leg, mike mallory, montana, patty daponte, pets, pulling, red, red heeler, surgery, veterinary, wagon
John Steinbeck and I — in addition to traveling with our dogs, being about the same age when we set forth on our journeys, having the same first names, and a lot of the same letters in our last ones — share something else as well.
I have trysted with her three times — as a reporter in the early 1990′s, as a visiting professor in 2007, and as whatever it is I am now. She’s as beautiful and inviting as she was the first time we met — and, I’m sure, as she was 50 years ago, when she seduced John Steinbeck.
“I am in love with Montana,” Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley. It was his first trip to the state. “For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
He babbled on, as people in love do: “…the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda … the calm of the mountains and the rolling grasslands had got into the inhabitants … the towns were places to live in rather than nervous hives. People had time to pause in their occupations to undertake the passing art of neighborliness.”
“Of all the states it is my favorite and my love.”
Steinbeck — apparently getting into being “out west” — stopped in Billings and bought a cowboy hat. In Butte, he bought a rifle. He dipped down into Yellowstone National Park, but after seeing Charley’s reaction to bears that approached his car — “He became a primitive killer lusting for the blood of his enemy” — he turned around and spent night in Livingston.
Ace and I stopped in Billings, in Bozeman, in Butte, and have arrived in Missoula — with no new hats and no sidearms. I am considering investing in a pair of gloves though. Winter is clearly on the way. People are stacking their wood, squirrels are hoarding their nuts, and the sky is taking on that steelier glow it does here in winter.
Once again, the return to a place I briefly called home has triggered memories. The closer I got to Missoula — winding through the hills alongside the Clark Fork River — the more of them resurfaced, leading me to wonder how I could have temporarily misplaced them, especially those that were only three years old.
I guess, they go into deep storage, like the earliest nuts the squirrels gather — pushed to the back to make room for new ones. But I don’t think I get a vote in the matter; it just happens. Returning to a place seems to make them accessible again; I can — with a little help from a familiar sight, sound, or smell — pull them out of the disorganized file cabinet that is my mind, open them up and say, “Oh, yeah, I remember that now.”
It could be something as simple as the lay of the land — they way grassy golden hills climb up into the big blue sky, a sharp curve in crystal clear river, the golden outline of Tamaracks among evergreen. Just seeing the general scale and expanse of it all triggers Montana memories — even memories that have nothing to do with the scale and expanse of it all.
Nearing Missoula — and (after North Dakota turned bleak) getting to experience fall all over again — I was surprised how the yellows were popping on the trees, and by how many things were popping into my head.
Some of them were from nearly 20 years ago — visiting the Unabomber’s former, still forlorn, shack in the woods; hanging out in radon mines, where people soak in radioactivity to heal what ails them; documenting the influx of celebrities to the state, which back then were becoming as common, and unloved, as deer.
Some of them — memories, I mean, not celebrities — were only three years old, and less dusty: long hikes in the mountains; the little house we rented, dubbed the “shack-teau,” while I was a visiting journalism professor at the University of Montana; the peaceful (mostly) campus; my earnest (mostly) students; and how we chased the muck train — as it began transferring mining waste that had collected in the river outside Missoula 100 miles back east to a little town called Opportunity — for our class project.
Memories that had faded like ghost signs kept returning — of fellow professors; of time spent at the student newspaper, The Kaimin; of a party, or two, or three, or four; and how I didn’t (really, really didn’t) want to leave when the semester was over. Because I flat out loved it.
And therein — on top of returning to a place, seeing and smelling it — is one of the keys to recalling times past, at least for me. Your brain alone can’t always take you back there; sometimes, it needs an assist from the heart.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, billings, bozeman, butte, charley, john steinbeck, journalism, love, love affair, memory, missoula, montana, nostalgia, pets, recollections, road trip, senses, steinbeck, students, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, triggers, university of montana
In a reversal of roles, humans rescued a 16-month-old St. Bernard from freezing weather.
The dog, named Duke, escaped from his yard and ended up frozen to the ice on a pond at a golf course near Billings, Montana.
A maintenance worker at the Peter Yegen Jr. Golf Club, spotted the dog at about 9 a.m. Friday. Two firefighters on a sled managed to reach the shivering dog, breaking the ice around his tail with a mallet, and hauling the dog ashore — along with the chunk of ice still attached to him.
Rescuers believe that Duke, who weights nearly 120 pounds, fell through the ice on the pond sometime during the night and, after pulling himself out, sat on the ice and became frozen to it, according to an Associated Press account.
Duke was taken to Big Sky Pet Center, where he was listed in good condition after being de-iced and warmed up under a blow dryer.