A heroic dog who attacked a gunman in an Allapattah shooting is recovering after spending nearly five hours in surgery Tuesday.
"They're just putting the bones back together with pins and plates," said Lory Nelson, the central patient care manager of Knowles Animal Clinic in Miami, of the dog now known as Princess Coco Wing.
A bullet pierced two of her legs last Tuesday in the shooting on the 1400 block of Northwest 34th Street.
"It fractured the femur and the elbow," Nelson said.
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A 16-year-old girl, Emaiyne Pittman, died as a result of the shooting, and Pedro Nunez, 27, was injured.
The dog, then known as Coco, attacked one of the shooters, said Dorothy Edwards, whose son was walking the animal in the area. Edwards credited the dog with saving her son’s and Nunez’s lives.
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But she nearly lost her own.
"She's got a real puppy face and basically to me it looked like a puppy just left alone and dying in the bushes," said Miami Police Sgt. Garret Wing.
Typically Miami-Dade Animal Services is called to euthanize dogs who have been seriously wounded. But Wing would not let that happen.
"I picked her up myself, got her in a towel and put her in a box. I took her straight over here to Knowles where we take our K-9 dogs," he said.
The animal lover works for the K-9 unit. He calls Thor, a giant police dog, one of his best friends. Since the shooting, Sgt. Wing has been at the hospital every night. Monday was no exception, as surgeons donated their time, working on her for hours.
The clinic employees and the officer have given the dog her new name, Princess Coco Wing. She has Wing's last name, though she doesn't technically have an owner.
Despite the casts covering her body, Princess happily wagged her tail Tuesday.
"She couldn't be any sweeter and she's still in pain," Wing remarked.
It's clear Princess has stolen his heart.
"She must have been looking right at the gunman. And he must have fired at least the one bullet but maybe two directly at her," Wing said of the shooting.
He said at the time she was rescued, she had fleas, and was found without a collar or chip. People in the Allapattah neighborhood fed her scraps and walked her, but she did not belong to anyone.
Now, there is already a list of people wanting to take her home.
Sgt. Wing is fostering her during her recovery. But because he already has three dogs, he’s not sure if he can adopt her.
As she gets a second chance at life, Princess is racking up a costly hospital bill. It's in the thousands and counting.
"The plates and the pins the screws, that's where the cost is," Nelson said.
She will need around-the-clock care during a long recovery process and may require even more surgeries. Wing and employees at the clinic are hoping folks will chip in to help.
For more information on Princess, see the Knowles Animal Clinic Facebook page.
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