NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches family dog has become so popular on Facebook that people all over the country lent a helping hand when the dog went into surgery a couple weeks ago. His family says Facebook was the important piece of the puzzle when it came to finding the funds needed for the surgery bill.
The nine-year-old chocolate lab named Dale Ray has his family wrapped around his finger, or paw. Even with a big, white cone wrapped around his neck, Dale is still the light of his owner Jason Ray's eye. It's been only two weeks since the lab had surgery after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a duck hunting trip, but Dale's spirits are already back to normal.
"He jumped to go get the first duck right after daylight and his foot slipped out from under him and that's when he hit it on the boat," Jason Ray said.
Worried about his best friend, Jason Ray called the vet immediately.
"He's like a son to me. I'll help him get on the couch. He can get on the couch and off by himself. But I'm treating him just like he's, he's not a dog to me," Jason Ray said.
When Jason Ray found out the surgery to repair Dale's ACL was going to cost between $1,500 and $1,700, he reached out to friends on Dale's famous Facebook page.
Within minutes, he got a response from a Georgia company called Life is Labs, a company that focuses on rescuing and saving Labrador Retrievers.
"I never met them in person but they are good friends of mine on Facebook, Drew and Kristie. Drew texts me all the time and he had asked me where I was getting the surgery done, and I didn't think anything of it so I told him," Jason Ray said.
Turns out, Life is Labs had a little surprise up their sleeve for Jason and Dale Ray. When Jason Ray returned to pick up Dale from his surgery, he was shocked to find out that $700 had been contributed to his bill from donations made in person and over the phone. Four of those donations were from Nacogdoches while the rest were from people in Tennessee and Georgia.
"Just when I thought I'd seen my friends at their best they show themselves again. Dale just had knee surgery and it was already paid for, nearly half," Jason Ray said on his Facebook page.
He said those who donated funds to Dale's surgery bill didn't do it for public recognition, but because they wanted to help out.
Dale Ray will be in recovery for about nine months and is officially retired from the duck hunting business. But Jason Ray says that he won't exclude Dale from his other fun hobbies and will let him swim in the pool in about six months.