Erik and Flip: From Unhoused to Hero for the Love of a Dog

We first met Flip, a beautiful black mastiff mix, when someone at an outreach event in Ashland told us there was a dog who was limping and needed help.  Flip’s guardian, Erik, told us he had adopted Flip after fostering him for Rescue Gang, a rescue center in the MidWest where they left to try for a fresh start in life. Flip was not bearing any weight on one of his hind legs, and we got him an appointment with one of our wonderful vets.  X-rays showed that Flip had ruptured his cranial cruciate ligament and was going to need extensive surgery by a specialist.  He was prescribed pain meds for the time being.

Erik was determined to get help for his dog; they are completely devoted to one another.  He got a job at a local restaurant and began to establish himself in the community.  It was slow going, but he persevered and eventually passed the test to become a wildland fire fighter.  In the meantime, we helped him start raising funds for the surgery.  In the spring of last year, Flip went to SOVSC for a TPLO (tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy).  Flip’s cruciate ligament was completely ruptured, and the medial meniscus was torn.  During the lengthy operation, the surgeon removed torn portions of his ligaments, rotated his tibia and secured it with plates and screws.  The surgery was a huge success, and Erik had earned enough money to purchase a van that he set up for Flip to recover in.

Erik is busy fighting fires for the third summer in a row.  Whenever I see him, he tells me he wants Flip to have a good life. He is now working on saving money to get Flip surgery on his other hind leg, hopefully this fall.  Flip stays with a wonderful foster mom while Erik is off fighting fires.  Not only does Erik continue to make strides in creating a stable home for himself and his dog, but he is also giving back to the community as a hero firefighter and a spreader of joy and kindness to all he meets.  We continue to help with dog food and supplies and are proud to be a part of the support system Erik has created for himself and his beloved Flip.

When I touched base with Erik today, he was heading back from the McKinney Fire, his fourth large fire of the season, and couldn’t wait to hug Flip.

If you are interested in helping Flip or the many other dogs on the street we work with, please consider making a donation.

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