“Lovebug” couldn’t be a more fitting name for a dog who’s been stealing hearts at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary since the end of May. Besides being so sweet and charming, the black-and-white dog with the huge pointed ears, eager energy and friendly smile looks like he’s ready to take on the world. And, after months of rehabilitation and recovery at the Best Friends Animal Clinic, he’ll soon be off and running.

Lovebug’s life took a turn when he was hit by a car in rural Arizona. Though he was badly injured and needed medical attention right away, his people couldn’t afford the veterinary care he would need to recover. Fortunately, a rescue organization stepped up to help Lovebug by getting him to a veterinary clinic for treatment.

Although Lovebug didn’t have any life-threatening internal injuries, the car accident had left him with two broken femur (thigh) bones in his back legs and a serious injury to the skin and tissue of his right hind leg. Vets at the clinic in Arizona managed Lovebug’s pain and treated his wound until it was nearly healed. They also treated him for other conditions such as mange, a bacterial infection and malnutrition. But Lovebug also needed major surgery to fix the damage in his back legs so that he could live a normal life again. Because that would require more resources than the rescue organization had to offer, he was brought to Best Friends.

Best Friends vets were ready and waiting for Lovebug when he arrived at the Sanctuary, but they knew even before he got there that he would need the help of a surgical specialist; so, he was soon on his way to Las Vegas for a consultation and the first of two complicated surgeries.

Because Lovebug’s right hind leg was in worse shape than the left, the surgeon focused on that one first. The first procedure was to repair the broken bone, and the second one was to repair damage to his knee in the same leg. After his surgeries, Lovebug began the long process of recovery and rehabilitation at the Best Friends clinic.

Lovebug needed to get his newly repaired leg moving again and strong enough to bear his weight. Once his right back leg was working again, vets could determine if he needed surgery on the left leg.

To get stronger, Lovebug needed both physical therapy (PT) and hydrotherapy. At the height of his rehabilitation, he was completing two daily PT sessions, each lasting up to an hour. He also had four hydrotherapy sessions a week — something he loved and excelled at once he got the hang of walking on the treadmill in the water tank.

Lovebug working out

After all he’d been through, no one would have blamed Lovebug for putting up a bit of a fuss when it was time to do his daily exercises. But that’s when he showed exactly how strong his spirit is. Lovebug never complained; he just forged ahead every day. Though it was a long road to physical recovery, things were going amazingly well, and Lovebug’s can-do attitude was admired by one and all.

Finally, almost three months after Lovebug arrived at Best Friends, he was ready to take the next step in his journey. He completed his physical therapy regimen and no longer needed pain medication. He also left the clinic and moved to Dogtown.

Lovebug also got a boost in his activity allowance by going from restricted activity to managed activity. That means he’s able to do and explore a whole lot more than before. Dogtown caregivers are helping him to gradually increase his activity, as well as the length of his walks as he gets stronger. Lovebug is also meeting a lot more people because his living area at Dogtown is a regular Sanctuary tour stop.

Belly rubs all around

Lovebug still has to wait a bit before he is given the medical all-clear, but the finish line is near. And once he reaches it, nothing will hold him back.