GYPSY’S tale is one of survival and love.
The kelpie pup had been shot in the head and left for dead on the side of a road in rural NSW in August 2010.
Vets believe Gypsy hung on to life for up to three months, making do on what scraps of food she could find in the bush.
Then along came Campbelltown couple Beryl and Graham Anderson who were driving back to Adelaide from the Central Coast.
“As we drove past her she just looked so sick and miserable sitting on the side of the road that we turned around and went back for her,” Mrs Anderson says.
“She came up and ... she just had skin between her bones.
“I put her in the back of the car and I sat with her and I saw this hole on the left side of her face which I thought was an abscess.”
When the couple reached Mildura, they took Gypsy to a vet who said she was about two days away from death, weighing just 8kg.
On their return to Adelaide, Mrs Anderson took Gypsy to another vet who discovered the hole in her face was actually a bullet wound.
The bullet had entered Gypsy’s head near her temple and exited through her upper chest.
“It had blown the bone in the back of the nose away and she’s still got shrapnel in the roof of her mouth,” Mrs Anderson says.
Gypsy also had a broken jaw and multiple skull fractures, which prevented her from barking, eating and breathing properly.
“Whoever shot her, obviously thought they’d killed her and left her as road kill but they’d only knocked her out,” Mrs Anderson says.
The Andersons were referred to the Adelaide Veterinary Specialist Centre at Norwood where dog specialist David Davies donated some of his time and expertise to help Gypsy recover.
In a first for the specialist and the centre, Dr Davies put a specially-made stent behind Gypsy’s nose to keep the airway open last July.
She was given her nine-month all clear last week.
Mrs Anderson says Gypsy has undergone about 25 surgeries which have cost the Andersons thousands of dollars.
“She’s worth it. She’s won everybody’s hearts with her nature.”
Dr Davies says Gypsy is one of the nicest dogs he has ever met.
“She’s put up with all this intervention and procedures and she still loves coming in here (vet clinic),” he says.
Aside from some separation anxiety and partial deafness, Gypsy, now 2, leads a relatively normal life.