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Retired K-9's owner faces steep vet bills after dog falls down well

The 10-year-old German shepherd retired from duties working with police and is recovering after the 40-foot fall.
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 31, 2024

A German Shepherd named Indy is on a long road to recovery after falling down an old well around this time last year. 

Scripps News San Diego caught up with Indy at physical therapy on Tuesday to track his progress.

"So, Indy is here for his therapy treatment … Yes you're talking about it!" the physical therapist said as the dog chimed in with a lively bark.

The 10-year-old German shepherd is a retired police dog that captured the heart of his community after he was rescued from a 40-foot well in Chula Vista, California. 

"He had a giant scar and cut from his shoulder all the way to his back — a very bad wound that was filled with mud," said Mark Pugh, Indy's owner. "He strained his legs and ruptured a disc in his back."

Pugh said after the accident, Indy couldn't walk at all. Pugh has been taking him to Aqua Animal Care Center in Oceanside twice a week for physical therapy. 

The facility has an underwater treadmill and laser therapy, which requires Indy to don some spiffy goggles.

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"It brings in good blood flow, it reduces inflammation, reduces pain," the physical therapist said about the laser treatment.

Indy also does a series of exercises, building his balance, coordination and muscle strength. The treatment is working, but at a steep cost. 

"His spirit's coming back," said Pugh. "It's almost to the point where if I don't find other resources, or I get the insurance company to come forward, I'll be out of money next month." 

Combining the physical therapy, Indy's emergency veterinary care and monthly medication, Pugh said the bill for his precious dog's treatment has crossed the $100,000 mark. 

GoFundMe page was set up to try and raise funds for Indy's care, and it was shared out by Scripps News San Diego. 

Despite the six-figure cost, Pugh said he can't imagine not doing everything he can to help Indy live and recover — especially since man's best friend has been there for him.

"When you take on a pet ... you're supposed to care for them and treat them and shelter them. That's what you take on. It's not a lighthearted decision. That's what you take on," he said. 

This story was originally published by Madison Weil at Scripps News San Diego