Early Wednesday afternoon, Javier Mercado, 16, was upstairs with with his 2-year-old German Shepherd, Rex, in their Des Moines, Wash., home when they both heard the glass shatter in a sliding door.
Rex immediately bolted downstairs and started barking. “I heard one guy scream, ‘The dog bit me, get the dog,'” Mercado told KING 5 News.
Mercado grabbed his cell phone, hid in a bedroom closet and called 911. He could hear the intruders beating Rex, then he heard Rex just outside the closet door. The intruders came upstairs and ransacked the bedrooms.
When they entered Mercado’s bedroom, Rex used what little strength he had left to bark at them. Then Mercado heard the unthinkable.
“I heard one gunshot and several after that,” he told KING 5 News. “And my dog just cried after every shot that hit him.”
Just like any of us would want to do, Mercado wanted to rush out and help his dog, but the 911 dispatcher told him to stay put. “I thought he was dead for sure. I broke down,” Mercado said.
While Mercado remained inside the closet, police and SWAT officers arrived, but the criminals ran off when they heard the sirens. The officers rushed Rex to BluePearl Renton Veterinary Partners, a local animal hospital.
Then Mercado got a phone call he’ll probably never forget. It was the animal hospital, letting him know Rex had survived the three gunshots to his neck and hind legs.
This hero dog wasn’t out of the woods yet. Yesterday he had surgery to repair a fractured bone his left hind leg by inserting a surgical pin and screw.
— KING 5 News (@KING5Seattle) February 24, 2018
These surgeries can be very expensive. To help cover the costs, Mercado’s aunt, Susy Cadena, launched a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $57,000.
“We have exceeded the goal and we just wanted to assure you that all the money will go toward Rex’s medical expenses and his recovery,” Cadena noted in an update. “Anything left will be donated to institutions and organizations whose mission is to protect our loved pets.”
As of yesterday, Rex is in stable condition. He’s recovering in the intensive care unit, “receiving pain medication, antibiotics, wound care and round-the-clock monitoring,” according to the BluePearl Veterinary Partners Facebook page.
For updates on Rex’s progress, you can follow the Rex the Hero Dog Facebook page.
“I feel like if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today telling you this story,” Mercado told KING 5 News.
Photo via Rex the Hero Dog Facebook page