Caitlyn, the adorable stray puppy that stole hearts when she was found with her muzzle taped shut a few weeks ago, is now helping another victim of violence in her hometown.
The 15-month-old chocolate Staffordshire pup was found in a North Charleston, South Carolina, neighborhood with electrical tape wrapped around her muzzle.
Dr. Henri Bianucci has been caring for her ever since at his clinic, performing multiple surgeries and donating all of his services.
He’s watched as the world has become captivated by Caitlyn’s story, and donations have poured in to the Charleston Animal Society to help her.
Then, last Friday, he heard about a fundraiser for a 5-year-old who had been shot while walking to a Charleston park with his grandmother to celebrate his graduation from kindergarten.
Police say Tyreik Gadsden and his grandmother were caught in the crossfire of a shooting, leaving the little boy paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors say the injury is permanent.
Tina Reddy with the National Action Network organized a fundraiser for Tyreik and posted a note on Facebook, inviting Caitlyn.
“I was half joking but knew that Caitlyn was getting a lot of attention,” Reddy tells PEOPLE. “I did not expect to see Caitlyn.”
She burst into tears when Dr. Bianucci arrived with the sweet dog and hand-delivered toys and a check for a thousand dollars for Tyreik.
“I just felt like we needed to do that,” the veterinarian told PEOPLE. “I think when you see all of these people stepping up to help a dog, an innocent victim, and then there’s this little boy, another innocent victim, I felt like we needed to help set a little bit of an example. I wanted to bring awareness about this and have the community step up.”
Reddy was shocked by the generosity, stating, “He and his wife are awesome people. They are just loving people.
“We have a unique opportunity, a coincidence of these events where we can take this real negative thing that was done to Caitlyn and bring some attention to this little boy,” she continued.
Tyreik’s mom is grateful, too. She spoke exclusively with PEOPLE from her son’s bedside. “He wants to meet Caitlyn! He wants to bring her home,” Lashaunna Jones said.
The 5-year-old is currently in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital battling meningitis brought on by the bullet, and he is just beginning to adapt to life in a wheelchair. His mom says doctors are encouraging her to tell him he is permanently paralyzed, but she can’t bring herself to do it.
“He just started eating again and seems to be doing a bit better tonight,” she said late Monday.
The family has a long road ahead. They can’t go home to their second-story apartment, and the single mom of three isn’t sure how she’ll find a new place to live.
Police have made arrests in both the shooting and in the animal abuse case.
Caitlyn will be going home with a foster family in the next few days and is expected to make nearly a full recovery.