News / Toronto

Jack Russell Terrier rescued from park recovering over holidays

In an effort to cover medical bills, a crowdfunded campaign has raised over $3,000 in two days after a dog, renamed Django, was found outside in freezing temperatures.

Django, right, the dog found wandering in High Park last week, sits with his new friend Lupe. contributed

Django, right, the dog found wandering in High Park last week, sits with his new friend Lupe. contributed

A stranded and sickly dog rescued last week is recovering thanks to a local foster family and the generosity of the community.

Visual designer Justin Close and his partner Odette Beja are trying to take care of Django, a Jack Russell Terrier found wandering alone in the freezing cold around High Park last Thursday by two local runners. The dog, thought to be about seven years old, weighed only about six pounds and had no tag or microchip to identify him.

"It was very visible the dog had been very neglected. He was way underweight and looked very sickly," said Beja. "But we initially thought the owner must be going crazy to find their dog."

It wasn't until the next day, when they took the dog they named Django to a local veterinarian, that they found out he was in critical condition and would require emergency treatment. He's so far undergone a series of tests and treatments including blood work, an abdominal ultrasound and chest x-rays. The checkups cost the family over $1,500.

Initial results came back clear, but the couple says they were instructed to perform a surgical biopsy to check if any part of his body is cancerous. An appointment is booked for Dec. 28.

"You really don't want to think the worst," said Close, noting Django still looks very weak even after a week of care alongside the couple's other dog, Lupe.

To help cover the unexpected medical costs, the couple set up a GoFundMe page. They've been overwhelmed by the community support, with their effort raising over $3,000 in less than two days.

While the couple appreciates the generous response toward Django, they're making an appeal for many other animals that suffer from abandonment and lack of care.

"Django has become part of our permanent family now," said Close, adding they've put off the search for his owner. "But there are so many others like Django out there who need foster families."

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