In the spring of 2018, Chris was visiting one of his favorite social media sites when he saw a story about a little gray pit bull mix found tied to a pole in Harlem. He immediately felt a connection with the pup, dubbed “Tater Tot,” and contacted the rescue group – Mr. Bones and Co. – about adopting him. But, he was told that Tater had a long way to go before he would be ready for a forever home.
The puppy had been abandoned in frigid temperatures, with a severe medical condition called rectal prolapse. He was taken to a nearby shelter on New Year’s Eve, where Mr. Bones and Co. found him and took him to an emergency veterinarian.
It was just in time. Tater Tot had gone into septic shock, and doctors gave him a fifty-fifty shot at survival.
Due to his poor condition, Tater was initially treated conservatively – doctors simply replaced the prolapse. But, the severity of the injury proved too much, and part of Tater’s colon did not survive.
The rescue group took him to the Animal Medical Center for further treatment, where a second major surgery was performed to try to repair the damage. Unfortunately, though the surgery went well, Tater’s damaged colon began to narrow until he could no longer “do his business.” A stent was implanted, but it failed to perform as the surgeons intended; the rescue group had to make a difficult decision.
“After a lot of discussion, late into the night, the rescue group opted to give Tater Tot a fighting chance,” recalls Dr. Dan Spector, AMC staff surgeon. “We moved forward with a complicated surgery to try to save his life.”
Dr. Spector and his team took Tater Tot into surgery, where they carefully removed part of his pelvis to gain access to his colon. They then removed a large section of his scarred and narrowed colon, which had become too damaged to save. “Even with all of the adversity, he did great,” continued Dr. Spector. “It’s a credit to the amazing staff at AMC that we were able to successfully complete such a long, involved surgery, allowing Tater Tot a chance at a normal life.”
Finally, after several months, Chris learned that this special puppy was ready for adoption, and he jumped at the chance to provide the loving home that Tater so desperately needed. A Brooklyn resident, Chris also has a home upstate where Tater gets to spend his weekends in the country. “He loves to run around the yard and chase squirrels, birds, rabbits—whatever he can find,” says Chris. “Since the surgery, he finally gets to just be a dog.”
But, Tater is a dog on a mission. “Because social media brought us together,” Chris says, “Tater and I are using social media to advance our message of adoption.” On his Instagram page (you can find him @thegraypotato_), Tater’s photos and messages drive home the fact that oftentimes, a dog in need makes the very best companion. And thanks to AMC’s close relationship with local rescue organizations, these amazing animals have a chance to show just how much love they have to give.