Friday, February 20, 2015

Wounded dog saved by hot air balloon pilot (with video)

A hot air balloon pilot spotted a dog struggling in the desert during a Valentine's Day flight.

"I glanced over out of the right side of my eye," said Jason Elkins, the owner of Equinox Balloons and third-generation balloon pilot. "I could see this little white puff ball moving through the hay fields."

Jason pointed out the dog to the two couples flying over the Tonopah area. After landing, the group noticed the dog hobbling down the road.

"It became apparent he was having problems," he said. " He was limping pretty bad."

Jason looked for the nearest house about two miles away and noticed it was abandoned. That's when he took the dog to a veterinarian who found a bullet in the pup's shoulder blade. It came from a .22 rifle.

There was also a stomach wound that looked like a bullet entered and left the dog's stomach.

"Someone had intentionally tried to hurt him," Elkins said.

Jason, who has a golden retriever and cat, never considered himself a "small dog person," but he knew the dog would be a part of his family. He named him "Chase," which refers to the ground crew following the hot air balloons until they land.

"We're going to have it taken out in the next week or two," he said. "He also has a broken molar that needs to come out, but the vet said he's going to be fine once we get those things taken care of, but he's pretty much fallen in love with the family and we've fallen in love with him."

Elkins added that he hopes to one day take Chase up in the balloon. The vet estimated the dog is 3 years old and guessed Chase is an American-Eskimo mix.

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