What began as a leisurely family hunting trip outside Dixie for Jason Bond of Kennewick ended with horror and panic when it was discovered early Sunday morning that the family dog, Tank, had accidentally been dragged by a pickup. Iris Alden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tank, a shepherd/chow mix that has been with Bond for nine years, had been tethered on a ground pole during the night. Sometime around 5:30 a.m., a friend of Bond's packed up and left to start hunting, failing to realize that at some point during the night, Tank's leash had got caught on the hitch.
The sun had not yet risen and Tank is a black dog; the driver did not realize what had happened until he reached his destination a mile or two away.
Tank sustained severe external wounds but had no internal injuries, probably as a result of the relatively slow speed at which the truck was moving. Bond suspects that Tank was able to run behind the truck for a distance before getting tangled and taken to the ground.
The Bonds had been camping outside of Dixie and quickly rushed into Walla Walla to get Tank treated at the Associated Veterinary Medical Center. Bond expressed extreme gratitude for Dr. Dallas Thompson and the other veterinarians.
"I didn't have any money, and Dr. Thompson didn't hesitate for a moment to treat Tank ... He started working on him immediately and called in four or five other techs on a Sunday when it was closed," Bond said.
Bond questioned whether or not it was right to try to keep Tank alive, as it was clear he was suffering. The vets, however, assured him that Tank's injuries, while gruesome, can heal and that he will be able to live a normal life when recovered.
"A lot of people think we're silly for putting this money into a 9-year-old dog, but people don't understand he's more than a pet," Bond said.
Tank came into the Bond family when they learned of a litter of puppies that had been abandoned by their mother. The Bonds searched for homes for the puppies, but in the end could not find anyone to take the remaining dog. They adopted him when he was so young he had to be fed by bottle.
Bond described how at the family's former home outside of Seattle, Tank would walk his daughter to the bus stop every morning and pick her up every afternoon. And despite the fact they had a large property with minimal fencing, Tank always stayed at their home.
"We'd go out to dinner or something and it was like Lassie. He'd be sitting on the driveway waiting," Bond said.
Now Tank is recovering at the clinic, after having been in and out of surgeries all week. The bill for Tank's treatment is about $5,000 and climbing. To pay the fees, Bond is listing for sale several of the family's prized possessions, including two horses and a 1966 Bronco that Bond has been fixing for his 14-year-old daughter's first car.
"She looked at me and was crying and said, 'Dad, if you need to sell my Bronco, do whatever you need to save my dog,'" Bond said.
Several friends have made Tank's cause known on Facebook, but the family is struggling to get the money together. Donations in the form of checks can be sent directly to Associated Veterinary Medical Center, or donors can call the office at 525-2502 with credit card information. Indicate that the money is for Tank Bond's account.
Despite the great ordeal he has been through, things are looking up for Tank. "It's amazing the determination and courage that this dog has," said Cindy Mendive, office manager of the clinic.