In the past seven months, Chewy has been bite by a rattlesnake, hit by a car three times and lived to tell the tale.
Chewy is what you would call a handful, but he gets away with it because he's cute.
His owner, Chris Walls, was slightly fooled the first time he met the pup at the Halifax Humane Society. All the dogs in the kennel started barking except for Chewy, whose calm demeanor among the chaos drew Walls in enough to want to take him on a walk. It wasn't until a few minutes later that the dog's real personality was revealed.
"I took my phone out to try to take a photo of him," Walls said, "and in a few moments he ate through the leash and started running off."
Chewy's wild behavior has proven to be too much for people in the past. Only a year old, the dog has been adopted and returned twice. Once for biting a child — which Walls strongly insists was playful and nonaggressive — and once for failing to behave after $500 worth of obedience training.
While the dog's incriminating past would be enough to scare off most people, the Ormond Beach resident realized they were probably a perfect match. Chewy is a hunting dog who needs tons of exercise, and Walls lives and works on a large farm with tons of room and hundreds of things to chase.
"I just wear him out first and then start training him," Walls said. "He's real obedient, but he gets into lots of trouble."
Typically, there's no traffic out where they live, so Walls let's his pup run free without too much worry — except for his tendency to go after poisonous snakes and jump in front of moving vehicles. In the seven months they've been together, Chewy has been bit by a rattlesnake once and run over by a car three times.
Walls attempted to keep Chewy from trouble by installing an electric fence and making him wear a shock collar. It worked great until just a few days after getting it, Chewy decided to hide the shock collar's remote. Walls still hasn't found it, and the dog recently got himself into another car accident.
After blindly running in front of a vehicle while chasing a bird, Chewy broke his leg where the femur bone connects to the hip. He's currently limping, and if left untreated, the leg could be permanently lame. The surgery is obviously expensive — somewhere in the ballpark of $1,200 — and Walls doesn't have a ton of extra money to spend.
"I have just about everything I own of value for sale right now," he said. "From that, and thanks to the Go Fund Me page, I think I have enough to cover the surgery."
Set up a little over a week ago, Walls' friends and family have raised $900 so far for Chewy's operation, which is set to happen June 28. The dog goes with him pretty much everywhere, so those close to Walls are big fans of the pup.
"Everyone loves him," he said. "This is the first dog I've had of my own. Just me. And when I got him, I honestly thought I was going to be this strong, cold dog owner. Not go to the vet unless it was absolutely necessary. But three weeks after I got him, I saw he was trying to go pee and couldn't for like four hours. So I rushed him to the vet really fast, and they just told me he was constipated."
While Walls may not have had any plans to bond with Chewy, their similar personalities have made them basically inseparable.
"We're both annoying," he laughed, "and always getting into to trouble. He's a good dog."
Anyone interested in donating to Walls and Chewy, can visit gofundme.com/2asx2hzu.
How often do dogs get hit by cars in Volusia County?
While there are no hard statistics available at this time, Animal Emergency Hospital Volusia Administrator Neil MacGinnis said they see one at least once a week. Usually, the dog has escaped or gotten loose and runs across a busy road like U.S. 1.
"We've seen every injury," he said. "Broken bones, crushed skulls, and internal trauma from the ones that are actually run over. Sometimes those we can't save."
Though dogs are sometimes hard to control, MacGinnis said these situations can be preventable if the dog is kept behind a fence or on a leash, especially around busy roads and intersections.
"There's not too many accident on neighborhood roads because people have time to stop," he said. "No one is going 50 mph. Just try to be aware wherever you're driving."
If your dog is hit by a car, you can take him/her to the animal hospital at 696 S. Yonge St., or call 252-0206.