Gravely wounded show dog defies the odds

Nine months ago, show dog Nando, a champion Leonberger from Canada, moved to the U.S. with his owner, Peter Schneider. Nando was staying in Harwich, Mass., with his breeder, Mary Davidson, on August 13 when suddenly something spooked him. Nando took off, and before Schneider or Davidson could find him, Animal Control caught the frightened dog.

Nando, nine months after he was accidentally dragged behind an animal control officer’s truck.

That’s when the unthinkable happened. Unbeknownst to the driver, Nando managed to break free from the back of Animal Control Officer Jack Burns’ truck. He jumped out from the back, but was still tied up by his leash. Not knowing Nando’s predicament, Burns kept driving, and Nando was dragged down the road. Other drivers dialed 911, and the dispatcher was able to contact Burns via radio.

Burns jumped out of his truck and found the poor Leonberger unconscious, with three of his big paws shredded so badly bone was visible. Burns, devastated, didn’t think the badly injured Nando would make it, but refused to give up.

Nando was treated for his injuries and Schneider brought him to the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston for further care.

“When I saw him, I thought I’d be delivering a dead dog,” Schneider said. “He had no hair on one side of his body, and he looked like Frankenstein with all the skin grafts and stitches.”

Schneider brought Nando back to the center daily for dressing changes and treatments, even sleeping on an air mattress next to Nando in case he needed anything during the night.

“I didn’t think he’d make it,” Schneider remembers. Nando’s injuries were severe, and included a foot-long laceration down his side.

No one thought that Nando would come out of his harrowing ordeal alive, much less return to the dog show competition circuit.

But miraculously, the determined Leonberger made a full recovery. For the first time since last August, the regal champion entered the ring May 20 at the York County Kennel Club in Scarborough, Maine. Not only did Nando strut his stuff that day, he took home some of the competition’s top awards.

Peter Schneider is proud of the wins, but even more grateful that Nando pulled through. “I just love him. I can feel my blood pressure go down when I see him,” Schneider said.