Veteran's dog recovering from gunshot wound, brace removed

CARVER, Ore. -- It will be tough to keep Pepper on her leash. A local Army veteran's companion dog hits a major milestone in her recovery from a gunshot wound.

Two-year-old Pepper was shot in the leg in September, near Carver.

"Her leg was shattered in hundreds of pieces," said Pepper's owner, Lucas Hunt.

On Thursday, after four months of healing, Pepper had a special brace removed from her leg. It is called a hybrid external fixator or an "ex-fix." Hunt thought the leg would have to amputated, but the "ex-fix" has done its job.

"It's been a rough process and I owe a definite 'thank you' to all the people who helped donate," said Hunt.

KATU News was the first to report on Pepper's ordeal. Since our newscast, KATU viewers donated more than $11,000 for Pepper's surgery. Hunt says he is very grateful, "thank you. This is the outcome of all of your help; it's a dog that gets to have 100% recovery."

In a few weeks Pepper will be able to put her full weight on her injured leg. Hunt says he can tell she's eager to get outside and chase the ducks, but she can't run just yet. He'll have to keep Pepper on her leash until she's fully healed, for her own good.

Hunt wants everyone to know how well Pepper is doing thanks to community support.

"Getting that thing off her leg was like a Christmas gift," said Hunt, "she is my gift from everybody and I appreciate it."