Ruby (Mongtomery County Police)

A dog that was shot by its owner got a new “leash on life,” as police put it, when a veterinarian performed life-saving surgery and then decided to adopt the dog.

Ruby, a 9-month-old boxer mix, was shot a week ago at her home in Wheaton by a member of the family that owned her. Montgomery County police found her bleeding profusely and struggling to breathe.

Police took her to Kindness Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Jeff Zolkiewicz performed several surgeries on the dog — for free.

But finding a new home for Ruby would be hard, since she may need specialized care and further medical procedures, police said. So Zolkiewicz decided to adopt her.

Zolkiewicz said that in 20 years as a veterinarian, he has never before adopted one of the animals he treated. “I’ve been able to resist bringing them home. Something about Ruby just caught me. She just seemed like she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” he said.

Ruby (Mongtomery County Police)

Ruby was also the first canine shooting victim Zolkiewicz ever treated. He said that she seemed to have been shot from very close to her face, probably less than a foot away. A bullet entered the left side of her muzzle and came out at the base of her ear. The blast shattered her jawbone, nearly tore her tongue in half and opened up a large wound on her neck which Zolkiewicz and his team are still working to close properly.

“She’s been through an incredible amount,” Zolkiewicz said. “She is such a trouper. She never complains. She is such a good patient.”

Despite the attack she suffered, Ruby shows no fear of humans, Zolkiewicz said. In fact, she loves playtime at the hospital. The only time she whines, he said, is when it’s time to go back into her cage.

He plans to take her home once she heals more, and as long as she can get along with his family and their 9-year-old yellow labrador, then Ruby will be home for good.

As for the shooter, police say that the incident remains under investigation.

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