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WAG's rescued dog recovering post surgery

shelter saved 'Atlas' on Aug. 11 after its companion was shot by ministry for being feral in wilderness

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Atlas, the dog rescued by Whistler Animals Galore shelter (WAG) from a wilderness campground on Aug. 11, is making good progress and recovering from surgery to repair damaged legs.

The black, mixed-breed animal underwent surgery for damaged ligaments on both his front and hind left legs on Aug. 23, and is currently wearing splints and under sedation. Dr. David Lane of Coast Mountain Veterinarians carried out the operation.

Atlas was abandoned and allowed to run wild "since at least last summer." It was caught by volunteers from WAG after its companion was shot dead on the orders of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Lane previously said Atlas was 18-months to two-years-old and would have been a puppy when abandoned.

Both dogs were deemed to be "feral" and shooting them near remote Sloquet Hot Springs, 143 km south-east from Whistler, was legal, said a spokesman for the ministry.

Originally in shock and despondent, Atlas was doing well before the surgery, said WAG's adoptions coordinator Lindsay Suckling.

"Before the surgery he was happy, he wagged his tail and would love visits. Now that the surgery is done, eventually when he does go outside we can start introducing him to other dogs," Suckling said.

"He is doing well. He is definitely out of it, it was big surgery."

WAG has been told that he cannot exercise for four to six weeks post surgery.

"It's been a couple of days now, but it's really difficult for him to hobble around, and he is going to have to go through a lot of splint changes and bandage changes, he's really drugged up right now to deal with the pain, and hopefully we'll know more in a couple of days," Suckling added.

Atlas was also neutered, vaccinated and dewormed.

"He's still eating, which is awesome. The tail will wag. He'll wag it once in a while when you go in," Suckling said.

"Our goal is to try and get him outside, to one of the kennels, in a few days, let him get some sunshine on him. Until then, we've left the door open to his room. He's not moving but he can see us go by.

"He knows we're his friends and he's not nervous or anxious anymore."

Suckling said there has been no further feedback from the shooting from the ministry or any other party involved. Locally, however, Atlas's story has gained a lot of attention.

"People were really just shocked that this kind of thing happens. They couldn't believe that the other dog was shot, that even with us going out to the camp (to remove both dogs) the dog was still shot. And a lot of people have been keen to know how Atlas is doing, or getting in here and visit him or walk him. Right now that's not going to happen for a couple of weeks."

Atlas's surgery and after care is expected to cost WAG close to $3,000. Suckling said the organization's critical care fund is low.

"Along with Atlas, we have had lots of injured cats and dogs this summer. We are planning a fundraiser shortly to replenish it."

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