Two months after having throat slit, pooch finally overcoming fear

Two months after having throat slit, pooch finally overcoming fear
Image by Peninsula Daily News.
PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- After his throat was deliberately slit and he was left for dead, 5-pound Harley is on the mend in the care of new owners, Nancy and Herb Woods.

The adult male Chihuahua, found bloodied on Feb. 2 on a logging road west of Port Angeles, was treated and stitched up that same day by veterinarian Dr. Charles Schramm of Port Angeles, who threaded tight a 4-inch open slice across the center of the dog's throat.

'Clean cut'

"It wasn't a rip, it was a clean cut," Schramm said Tuesday.

"The first thing that came to my mind was that it was an animal that was pretty much dumped by the owner."

By slitting the dog's throat, "maybe they thought they were euthanizing it," Schramm said.

After spending almost 20 years treating dogs shot with guns, pierced with arrows and intentionally run over by cars, "I've never seen one where its throat has been slit," Schramm said.

When Nancy Woods, 54, first got Harley, "he was terrified of kids," she said Wednesday, adding she did not report the incident to police.

"He was very traumatized. That's what upset me about him."

But last weekend, Harley slept under the covers with Nancy's 7-year-old granddaughter, Taylor, a good sign, Woods said.

Bonded with dog

Before bonding with Harley, the Woodses had sworn off dogs after the last of theirs died so that the couple could do more traveling without having to find someone to take care of their animals, Nancy Woods said.

But Harley stole their heart.

He found his way there by way of Monte Mogi of Port Angeles. Nancy had cared for his wife, Nadine, before her death.

At about 9 a.m. Feb. 2, Mogi, 75, had just left his house and was rumbling down Walkabout Way on his 1340-cc Harley Davidson when he spotted a trembling Chihuahua, whose name would become Harley because Mogi rescued him.

"I thought it was a little fox," Mogi recalled Wednesday, adding it was about a mile from the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society animal shelter.

The animal's chest fur was matted with blood.

"It was just standing there, looking at me, shaking, right in the middle of Walkabout Way, in the middle of a dirt road," Mogi said.

"I looked at it and said, 'That's a little dog.'"

The dog was comfortable in Mogi's arms.

"He was happy that somebody was saving him," Mogi said. "He could tell."

He called his daughter, Beth Wilkerson, a veterinary technician, and she drove the dog back to his house.

Mogi then drove it by car to Schramm's office, where Schramm told him the injury was caused by a sharp instrument.

'Couldn't believe it'

"I couldn't believe it, I almost wanted to throw up," said Mogi, a retired Air Force master sergeant who covered the $464 medical bill.

"It just broke my heart that someone would treat an animal like that," he said.

But there was no room for a new dog at Mogi's house: Eight dogs live on property shared by Mogi, his daughter, and his son-in-law, C.J. Wilkerson.

So Mogi called Nancy Woods.

Woods, a former Black Diamond Fire District 2 battalion chief, said she would help the dog recuperate, then would give it away.

Around mid-February, she found a new owner for the dog.

But 24 hours later, Woods asked for Harley back.

"I had bonded with him," Woods recalled.

"I was terrified for him. My heart just hurt for the trauma he had been through. I felt like he had been with us for two weeks, and then he was uprooted again. I felt horrible about that."

Harley and Bob, the cat

Now Harley has the run of the Woodses' rural acreage off Black Diamond Road and the friendship of Bob, a rescued cat who's larger than Harley.

Had the injury gone a fraction of an inch deeper, Bob wouldn't have a new friend, Woods said.

But the injury has noticeably lingered, both physically and psychically.

When Harley gets nervous, he coughs.

When he coughs, he honks.

He shakes uncontrollably at a hand extended for play, not violence.

Saddest of all for a dog, Harley can hardly bark -- a sorry state of affairs for a breed know for noise-making.

"Once in a while, I heard a bark out of him, but most of the time, when he barks, he chokes," Woods said.

"These dogs are known for yapping, and he doesn't yap, but he owns the house."

Peninsula Daily News is a media partner of KOMO News.