German shepherd who survived for WEEKS in a backyard pen finds a new home with his extended family


German shepherd who survived for WEEKS on rainwater and food scraps in a backyard pen in Oklahoma after his owner’s death finds a new home in Texas with his extended family

  • Gunner had been trapped in a ‘large pen’ for weeks when the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office discovered the remains of his late owner on May 14
  • Deputies believed the 64-year-old had been dead for as long as a month 
  • According to the department’s Facebook post, the dog survived by drinking rainwater and finding small amounts of food that were left behind
  • A veterinarian estimated that he had ‘just hours to live’ when he was found
  • The Bella SPCA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City announced on Tuesday that Gunner had gone home with his late owner’s family in Texas 

A German shepherd who survived for weeks in a backyard pen in Oklahoma following his owner’s death has found a new home after being adopted by his extended family in Texas

Gunner was on the brink of death when the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office discovered the remains of his 64-year-old owner in his home on May 14. Deputies believed he had been dead for as long as a month. 

The dog spent weeks trapped in a ‘large pen in the backyard,’ according to the department’s Facebook post. A veterinarian estimated that he had ‘just hours to live’ when he was found. 

Gunner, a rescued German shepherd, has found a new home with his late owner's family after surviving for weeks in an outdoor pen in Oklahoma

Gunner, a rescued German shepherd, has found a new home with his late owner’s family after surviving for weeks in an outdoor pen in Oklahoma 

Gunner is pictured two weeks after he was rescued last month

Gunner is pictured at his new home in Texas this week

Gunner is pictured two weeks after he was rescued last month (left) and at his new home in Texas this week (right)

Gunner was on the brink of death when the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office discovered the remains of his 64-year-old owner in his home on May 14

Gunner was on the brink of death when the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office discovered the remains of his 64-year-old owner in his home on May 14

‘Somehow, Gunner managed to survive for weeks by drinking rainwater and apparently getting into a small amount of food that was left behind,’ the sheriff’s office explained. 

The emaciated dog’s muscles were ‘wasted away’ to the point that he could ‘barely stand,’ and he was ‘covered with thousands of ticks and fleas.’

The sheriff’s office contacted the Bella SPCA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City to help Gunner, who was in critical condition when he was admitted to Woodlake Animal Hospital for care. 

We have the best news ever for you today: Gunner has gone home!🥳 We can’t thank you all enough for following Gunner’s story & donating toward his care. All of his veterinary expenses (and then some!) were covered thanks to y’all’s support. Gunner has received the absolute best care & love from the wonderful staff at Woodlake Animal Hospital. We appreciate you, Woodlake team! We’d also like to give a huge thank you again to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department who contacted us after Gunner was found to see if we could help. Our supporters answered the call when we posted his story & for that we say THANK YOU for helping us save Gunner’s life. Gunner’s extended family has adopted him & we know he is in great hands. We ask the public to please be kind & sensitive to this situation. The family is grieving the death of a loved one & we are so sorry for this tragic loss. Gunner has been a bright spot for them, as evidenced by our meeting today. We can assure you they love Gunner & are going to give him the best care. They are immensely thankful to all of the organizations, donors & supporters that stepped in to help. Gunner’s owner was a man who “called when he called”, lived out of state from family and kept to himself. But, his sister assured us that he absolutely loved his German shepherds. Because of that, we find peace that Gunner was well loved. We love you, Gunner! Welcome home, buddy.💙 #gogunnergo #whyibella Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Woodlake Animal Hospital

Posted by Bella SPCA on Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Deputies believed the 64-year-old had been dead for as long as a month while Gunner was trapped in a 'large pen in the backyard'

Deputies believed the 64-year-old had been dead for as long as a month while Gunner was trapped in a ‘large pen in the backyard’

According to the department's Facebook post, the dog survived by drinking rainwater and finding small amounts of food that were left behind

According to the department’s Facebook post, the dog survived by drinking rainwater and finding small amounts of food that were left behind

Bella SPCA covered the dog’s veterinary costs through donations and has been sharing updates about his progress on its Facebook page. 

The Bella SPCA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City has been sharing updates about his progress on its Facebook page

The Bella SPCA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City has been sharing updates about his progress on its Facebook page

By June 7, Gunner had gained 29 pounds and was well on his way to recovery.  

The rescue center announced on June 14 that Gunner had gone to his new home in Texas with the deceased’s extended family, saying he has been a ‘bright spot for them’ following their tragic loss.  

Bella SPCA added that Gunner’s late owner was a man who ‘called when he called’ and lived out of state from his relatives, but ‘his sister assured us that he absolutely loved his German shepherds.’ 

The update included a heartwarming video of Gunner leaving the rescue center with his new family, including his later owner’s niece, who was close to tears. 

‘I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who donated to Gunner’s case,’ she said. ‘Because of you, I’m able to bring my uncle’s dog home, and I will take very good care of him. Thank you.’

In a heartwarming video documenting Gunner's departure from the rescue center, the deceased's niece thanked everyone who helped her bring her uncle's dog home

In a heartwarming video documenting Gunner’s departure from the rescue center, the deceased’s niece thanked everyone who helped her bring her uncle’s dog home 

Gunner is now settling into life in Texas with his new owners after leaving the rescue center

Gunner is now settling into life in Texas with his new owners after leaving the rescue center

Gunner is now settling into life in Texas with his new owners after leaving the rescue center 

The German shepherd also has a new sibling that he is getting acquainted with

The German shepherd also has a new sibling that he is getting acquainted with 

Just a few days later, Bella SPCA shared before and after photos of Gunner to show how much he has improved over the past month. 

The first photo showed the dog two weeks after he had arrived at Woodlake Animal Hospital, while the second was snapped in his new backyard.  

‘Look at the difference! Look at his eyes! He is HOME!!!!’ the rescue center wrote of the dog, who also has a new sibling.  

‘This sweet boy still has a lot of growth and healing to do only now from the inside out. We will keep you posted on his [continual] transition as we get updates from the family.’

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