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Georgia Fans Cross Rivalry Lines for Dog’s Care

By Ben Hohenstatt, '14

Auburn, Alabama —

When Brutus, an 8-month-old bulldog, fell ill, James R. Westbury Jr. and his wife, Tonya, crossed rivalry lines to make sure he got better.

“It’s kind of ironic Auburn University saved a Georgia Bulldog,” said Tonya Westbury, said laughingly.

The Westburys, who are from Griffin, Ga., and avid University of Georgia football fans, brought Brutus to Auburn University Veterinary Clinic as an emergency referral from their veterinarian.

“We noticed he was sick, but thought it was something he had eaten,” James Westbury said.

An initial surgery was performed to remove a foreign matter at the Westbury’s local clinic, Memorial Drive Veterinary Clinic in Griffin, Ga., and Brutus was left there to recover while the Westburys took a trip to Europe.

“Of course we were worried about him the entire time we were there,” Tonya Westbury said, adding that the couple checked up on their pet while they were away. “He’s part of the family.”

During the care of his local veterinarian, Dr. Anna Daniel Reddish, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2013, said she noticed Brutus’ surgical incision did not look right.

“From the outside it felt like a hernia, so I scheduled him for a hernia repair,” Dr. Daniel Reddish said. “When I opened him up, I immediately saw it was much more complicated.”

Brutus’ intestines had adhered to his abdominal wall after his first surgery.

Dr. Daniel Reddish immediately referred Brutus and the Westburys, who had just returned from vacation the day before, to Auburn University Veterinary Clinic for advanced care.

“It’s pretty common for me to refer patients to Auburn,” Dr. Daniel Reddish said. “One week, I sent over three customers.”

It was the Westbury’s first time seeing Auburn, and although it was not under particularly pleasant circumstances, the two said they were impressed.  “I was blown away by Auburn,” Tonya Westbury said.

Brutus was one of the first animals treated at the Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.  “It felt great coming into a state-of-the-art facility,” James Westbury said. “I felt we were in the right place.”

This sentiment of security was echoed by his wife.

“I can tell you, walking in as a patient’s family member, it’s very impressive,” Tonya Westbury said.

Brutus’ second surgery revealed more health woes. “We got word that surgery revealed an intra-abdominal abscess,” James Westbury said. “It was pretty serious.”

While Brutus was at the Auburn teaching hospital, the couple received updates every 12 hours, and were ultimately able to bring their dog home just a few days later.  

“He’s doing great,” James Westbury said. “He’s just about back to normal.”

The Westburys said while their whole ordeal was stressful, they could not be happier about the treatment they received at Auburn.

“Brutus received terrific care at Auburn,” James Westbury said. “He will still wear a UGA sweater on Saturdays in the fall, save for the one rivalry game.”

 

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Dr. Lenore Bacek, left, and staff talk with Brutus’ owner Tonya Westbury as he rests on a stretcher. The owners drove Brutus from Georgia to the Auburn University Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital as an emergency referral.