Dog Who Survived Weeks Stuck in an Outdoor Pen After Owner's Death Finds a New Home

A veterinarian estimated Gunner the German shepherd might have had "just hours to live" when the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office discovered the ailing dog

Gunner the dog survives for a month
Photo: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

A dog who survived a frightening ordeal has found a happy ending to his story.

On Tuesday, the Bella SPCA Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, announced on Facebook that a German shepherd named Gunner was adopted by his extended family weeks after the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office found the remains of the dog's 64-year-old owner in Luther. The sheriff's office announced on May 18 that they found Gunner inside what they described as "a large pen" in the backyard — and that Gunner's owner may have been dead for as long as a month before the department discovered the deceased and his dog.

"Somehow, Gunner managed to survive for weeks by drinking rainwater and apparently getting into a small amount of food that was left behind," the department wrote on Facebook in May. "His muscles have wasted away to the point where he can barely stand, and he is covered with thousands of ticks and fleas."

Gunner the dog survives for a month
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

According to the sheriff's department, deputies contacted the Bella SCPA Rescue Center in Oklahoma City to care for Gunner — the department wrote on Facebook that a veterinarian said Gunner might have had "just hours to live" when the authorities arrived at the home.

On Tuesday, the Bella SPCA shared on Facebook that Gunner's extended family adopted the dog just under a month after his former owner's death. The SPCA also thanked the local community for donating enough money to entirely cover Gunner's veterinary expenses at the nearby Woodlake Animal Hospital.

"The family is grieving the death of a loved one & we are so sorry for this tragic loss. Gunner has been a bright spot for them, as evidenced by our meeting today," Bella SPCA wrote. "We can assure you they love Gunner & are going to give him the best care. They are immensely thankful to all of the organizations, donors & supporters that stepped in to help."

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Gunner's family said the dog's late owner was "a man who 'called when he called" and lived out of state from the rest of his family, the post added. The SPCA wrote that the deceased man's sister "assured us" that he loved German shepherds.

"I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who donated to Gunner's case," said Gunner's new owner, who identified the deceased man as her uncle in a video Bella SPCA posted. "Because of you, I'm able to bring my uncle's dog home, and I will take very good care of him. Thank you."

The Facebook video posted by Bella SPCA notes that Gunner is now settling into a new life in Texas with a new dog sibling.

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