Team Rumble, Erica McCarthy and Gretchen Terpening of the Canine Companions Rescue Center of Clarkston, with Rumble the dog. Photo by Phil Custodio
Volunteers head to court as they help puppy recover
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
When the couple accused of abusing and abandoning Rumble the dog go to court later this month, volunteers helping the puppy recover will be there.
Rumble will hopefully be there too, said Erica McCarthy, operations manager for Canine Companions Rescue Center.
“He will be in the courthouse,” McCarthy said. “We hope to be able to give victim statements about the effects this has had on the community. Someone did this to him, one of our neighbors. They just threw him in the bushes and went about their business, causing suffering with zero compassion.”
Jeremy Atkins and Heather Bradley of Independence Township face sentencing hearings after pleading guilty to animal abuse charges.
Atkins, 30, who was jailed on a $10,000 bond on a cruelty to animals charge, has a court hearing set for Oct. 24, 2:30 p.m., in 52-2 District Court, 5850 Lorac Drive off Citation Drive east of M-15.
He is also held on a $5,000 bond on an assault charge out of 52/2 District Court and a $450 bond on a Friend of the Court charge out of Sixth Circuit Court.
Bradley, who was charged with misdemeanor animal abuse, has a sentencing date of Oct. 30 at 8:45 a.m.
Recovery has been slow and uncertain for Rumble.
“It’s been a rocky roller coaster,” said Gretchen Terpening, CCRC foster volunteer who is taking care of the puppy. “His recovery has been in spurts. It’s under control now with the right medication.”
Independence Township resident Pam Coudret found Rumble crying in the bushes, with a bloody nose, covered in maggots, July 24. She contacted her neighbor and CCRC volunteer Brooke Swindlehurst, and they took him to Dr. Laura Caneaver at the Animal Surgical Center of Flint for emergency treatment. Rumble has also received treatment with Dr. Jill Hicks at the Animal Neurology Center.
The volunteers tracked down Rumble’s owners using their Facebook page. Neighbors recognized the dog and knew who the owners were.
“They said he was accidentally injured,” McCarthy said. “They didn’t take him to the vet, they threw him into the bushes.”
Terpening, who works as a veterinarian’s assistant, accepted the full-time responsibility of caring for Rumble.
“I take him to work, I’m pretty much with him 24-7,” she said.
“Without Gretchen, none of this would have been possible,” McCarthy said.
Terpening has been fostering animals for 14 years, starting in college, and has been with the CCRC for about a year
“There’s so much need for fosters, a place for them to stay before they can find their forever homes,” said Terpening, who lives in Lake Orion with her husband, Tyler, and five dogs of their own, four with special needs.
Rumble has been a very sweet puppy the whole time, she said.
“When I first got him, he just lay there. That was so sad. He now does puppy things,” she said.
Milestones include the first time he made his bed, pawing and scratching his bedding to make it comfortable for him, and the first time he ran after her, she said.
“I was driving to work when he started to bark. It was amazing – something is working,” she said.
Recovery is still difficult and Rumble will require medical care for the rest of his life. He suffered a skull fracture under his right eye, damaging his pituitary gland in his brain.
“He’s showing big improvements in coordination and vision. He’s putting on weight, but he should be in the 30-35 pound range by now – he weighs 7.4 pounds,” McCarthy said.
The puppy weighed 4.7 pounds when he was rescued.
“Rumble has a story to tell. All the thousands like him, he tells their story for them,” said McCarthy, who is advocating for stricter laws to protect animals. “We get sick dogs all the time, but not because a person did it intentionally and did nothing about it. It’s scary. Unless they are held accountable, it will happen again.”
An adoption for Rumble is touch and go, and far into the future, she said.
“We’re concentrating on improving his health,” she said.
If he is to be adopted, they will look locally, she said.
“The important thing, if you see something, say something right then. Call animal control immediately,” McCarthy said.
Contact Oakland County Animal Control at 248-858-1070.
The article “Sentencings scheduled in Rumble case,” Oct. 3, incorrectly stated the amount raised in a silent auction with artwork made by Rumble. CCRC raised about $1,000 in the fundraiser. Rumble’s care has cost more than $10,000 so far. To donate, go to CCRCdogs.com or call 248- 834-9419.