by Josh Lanier

It ain’t easy being Honeybun.

Rescued from a small cage at a Horry County, S.C. puppy mill last year, the miniature-pincher-Chihuahua mix was recently playing outside of Huntersville rescue agency when a hawk swooped down, looking to fly away with the dog, nearly killing her in the process.

Left with deep cuts from the attack, she was given a small chance to live.

But through efforts of an emergency veterinarian, the dog’s foster family and several spoonfuls of raw honey, the dog, caregivers believe is about 2 years old, is headed for a full recovery.

Now, Great Dane Rescue, the Huntersville-based rescue agency that took her in, is holding an event and fundraiser to pay for her rising medical bills and hope to have a permanent home for her soon.

“This dog is going to need all the help she can get,” Great Dane Director Lisa Reid said. “But she’s so worth it.”

Honeybun, then named Prissy, had her most recent ordeal about five or six weeks ago, Reid said, while the dog played outside with a group of several others rescued from a puppy mill.

“I was in the house, and I just heard this horrific sounding scream from where the dogs were,” Reid said. “I ran outside and there she was. She was a mess.”

The small dog had a huge chuck of flesh ripped off from the middle of its back to its hind legs. Caregivers said the dog’s ribs and muscle were exposed. Veterinarians would later tell Reid a hawk likely attacked the dog, as the slash marks resembled talon wounds.

“We rushed her to North Mecklenburg Animal Hospital, and we just knew they were going to tell us this dog was without saving,” Reid said. “I was prepared to hear ‘we’re going to have to put this dog down.’”

But veterinarian Betsie Condon and her emergency team were able to stabilize the dog, and after two weeks of round-the-clock care, she was sent home with some simple instructions for her foster family: be gentle, clean the wounds regularly and rub raw honey on the open sores.

Essentially, the honey acted as a second skin, protecting the scabs while drawing out debris.

The dog was turned over to Jill Hess, an emergency room nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Huntersville who frequently cares for the Great Dane Rescue’s wounded animals in need of extensive care. The Hess family decided to change Prissy’s name to Honeybun because of the treatments.

“It just seemed to fit a lot better than Prissy, anyway,” Hess said.

“I’ve never had to put honey on a patient before,” she added. “But it was pretty amazing how it worked. She’s healing beautifully and doing so great … But boy does she love honey. It’s been tough keeping her from getting the dressing off to get to it.”

Skittish at first, Honeybun has started to open up to the Hess family.

“She loves to snuggle now,” Jill Hess said.

She always loves to play outside. Whenever Hess goes out to garden, Honeybun goes with her, always keeping her eye on her foster mom.

The attack left Honeybun with some permanent injuries though. She lost her front teeth and has been timid to put any weight on her back leg.

Jill’s husband Todd and their daughters Courtney, 18, Amanda, 16, and Madison, 12, have been a big help putting the dog through physical therapy, stretching out the leg to keep it from permanently drawing up. The girls even took turns cleaning and redressing the wounds, several times a day at first, but now only once daily.

That constant care has brought in some skyhigh medical costs with vet bills and the cost of the bandages. Currently at about $2,000, the Great Dane Rescue hopes this weekend’s fundraiser will cover some of those costs.

Once healthy, caregivers will start looking for a permanent home for Honeybun. Jill Hess is excited thinking about a loving, adoring forever home for the sweet dog.

“It is just so sad,” Hess said, “this little sweet dog never knew love before. She was forced to live in a cage. She had such horrific injuries. But she’s just so sweet and loving.

“She deserves love.”

Want to help?
The Great Dane Rescue will hold a fundraiser for the agency, some of which will go to pay part of Honeybun’s medical bills. The fundraiser will be held Sunday, June 26, at Tenders Fresh Food, 18341 Statesville Road, beginning at noon. At 4:30 p.m. the dogs are put away as the Drive South Band takes the stage and performs until 9 p.m.