Hit by a Car While Eating Road Kill, Spencer Recovers and Waits for His Forever Home

The stray Doberman’s spine was severed, but surgery and physical therapy have helped Spencer get back on his feet and ready for adoption, dogfull writes.


Everyone loves cute dog videos, but the first images Jackie O’Sullivan saw of Spencer the Doberman weren’t cute – they were a cry for help.

“It looked like it had been broken in half,” recalls the co-founder of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC (RDRNYC).

The videos showed Spencer, incredibly hunched over and naturally sad, after being brought to a South Carolina animal shelter on Jan. 4. The shelter staff knew this dog needed resources he didn’t have, so hundreds of miles up the East Coast, Jackie’s phone started lighting up with notifications.


When she checked her messages, she found two videos of the emaciated fawn Doberman, presumably purebred.

“They asked if we could take him, and I said yes,” she explains.

Jackie learned that Spencer was eating dead animals on the highway when he was hit by a car. He was then brought to the shelter, where the staff quickly realized this wasn’t the first bad day in one-year-old Spencer’s life.

His badly cropped ears and scarred body told the story Spencer couldn’t tell – his rescuers wondered if he had escaped a life of abuse only to be run over on the highway.

“They took him to our [area] vet, Paws and Claws in Columbia, South Carolina, and they saw right away that his back was broken,” Jackie recalls. “His only hope was to go to a specialty hospital, so they sent the x-rays to a neurologist, and he went the same day.”


The veterinarians at the VCA Animal Specialty Center of South Carolina had good news for Jackie. Because Spencer was so young and could still feel his legs, he was an excellent candidate for surgical repair of his severed spine. But there was also bad news: his stomach was filled with bird bones that threatened to perforate his intestine, and open wounds on his head and legs needed to be stitched up.

The secondary problems could not be solved until Spencer’s spine was stabilized. The surgery had to happen immediately and would cost thousands of dollars. Jackie knew that Spencer was worth it.

“He seemed broken in half, but he had a strong will to live. He was kissing, he was eating,” she says. “He had every reason to live.”


While Spencer was on an operating table in South Carolina, his photos were uploaded to the RDRNYC Facebook page, where dog lovers were as shocked by the images as Jackie had been. Wishes and donations started pouring in, and by the time Spencer left for rehab, he had his own Facebook page.

“There were so many people wanting to know more about him that he blew up our website,” Jackie says.

In the days following his successful surgery, Spencer seemed determined to get back on his feet. His doctors were happy to see that the dog was eager to get to work in physical therapy, and even happier when X-rays revealed that his body had passed the bones of the roadkill well. He would not need stomach surgery.


Two weeks after his hospitalization, Spencer was transferred to West Hills Animal Hospital & Emergency Center on Long Island, where RDRNYC can monitor him more closely while continuing his daily physical therapy.

According to Jackie, the only thing Spencer seems to enjoy more than his physical therapy sessions is playing with toys. He has been given plenty of them, and having his own toys has brought out the puppy in him.

In the past month, Spencer has gone from walking in a sling to walking independently, and Jackie says he is getting stronger every day.


Although he still needs a lot of physical therapy, Spencer is now ready to take the next step in his life, and RDRNYC is accepting applications for adoption. Jackie can’t wait to see him in his forever home.

“He’s a young, happy, healthy and great dog. He’s ready to have a great life.


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