The Rescue of Count Spatula

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The Rescue of Count Spatula

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WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF INJURED DOG shown in this post. Do NOT read if seeing a dog in pain upsets you. Count Spatula’s rescue photos from Day 1, through his complete recovery are shown in this article. We’re sharing the rescue work that we do at Hollow Creek Farm Equine & Canine Rescue in South Carolina for educational purposes only. DO NOT TRY  THIS AT HOME!

NOTE: Do Not Try to Capture a stray Dog. You may get bit, attacked, or injured. We are experienced in the rescue of animals for decades. We work with a skilled team of veterinarians, behavioralists, and trainers. If you see an injured, wandering, trapped, scared, lost dog, do not approach. Call animal control.

The Rescue of Count Spatula

There’s a very happy ending because Count Spatula remains in our loving care. If you would like to sponsor Spatula or send any amount to help us continue rescuing dogs like Count Spatula, go to THIS PAGE. We appreciate our Farm Friends who donate and those who share our stories online. Thank you for being a part of our community.

Our Purpose

A major purpose in founding Hollow Creek Farm was teaching what is possible in animal rescue when the proper professional rehabilitation techniques are applied to the toughest medical cases.

Hollow Creek Farm often has dogs brought in from rescues unable to resolve individual dog behavior issues.

Every Dog Is NOT Going to Be Lassie

If everyone could understand that not every dog is going to be Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. Some dogs because of malnutrition, poor breeding, severe abuse, or neglect, may never be nice, sit next to you, or even let you pet them.

Every Dog is Different

People should realize that every dog is very different. No two behave alike. We do not apply a cut-and-dry formula for rehabbing dogs. We make mistakes but we learn from them. But we’re experts and we’ve been doing this successfully with dogs and livestock since 1999.

This information is not being supplied as a guide for the general public, or for any individual to put to use on their own dogs or animals in their private care or in care of their organization. This rescue was done by professionals.

Each new rehab case brings us new knowledge and offers a challenge to our team. It takes an experienced rescue host, veterinarian, trainers, nutritionists, patience, strength and the ability to see past the present.

This is Count Spatula’s Rescue Story

This is the rescue story of Count Spatula, a Yellow Lab who came to Hollow Creek Farm March 28, 2009. He is with us today and you can read about his life now as a 15-year-old Permanent Resident.

(Re: Name Count Spatula. We try to get creative with names for the many special furry guests that come to Hollow Creek Farm. On occasions when we cannot find a name, we simply look around and name a dog after the first thing we see, or find a theme for names that may hold for a week or more. This particular week’s theme was “kitchen utensils.” The “Count” was added during a humor-filled conversation.)


Outdoor dog, Yellow Lab, stray traveled with two pack mates. Another rescue was contacted by a concerned citizen. The other rescue provided basic vet care and neutering. Dog remained in concerned citizen’s backyard. Dog displayed timid behavior and bonded with female in stray pack.

Dog disappeared for approximately 10 days and returned with horrific gunshot wound to the neck. Email plea came to Hollow Creek Farm from original rescue to help dog that they had gotten to their vet for treatment of gunshot wound.

Dog remained at vet for approximately two weeks. Dog started to display severe fear aggression at clinic: growling and snapping. Dog was tranquilized and transported to Hollow Creek Farm by other rescue. Dog arrived wearing a muzzle and was displaying extreme fear aggression including urination and defecation when handled.

Arrival Date:

March 28, 2009


Continue medical treatment to heal gunshot wound and rehab dog to allow him to be a great family member for potential adopters.

Day 1: March 29, 2009
We allowed Count Spatula to roam through the house a little. He seemed very attracted to puppy Puddin’ and Paul, the Passive Husky. We had a minor bit of growling and snapping when attempting to move him back to his crate for lunch. He was quite terrified and relieved himself on the floor. We are not worried about housebreaking him at this time.

Day 2: March 30
Spatula visited the vet today and it was decided his wound was looking good enough to close and put a drain in. He was not happy about the car ride. We are treating him more like a prey animal than a dog.

Once at the vet clinic we carried his crate to their restroom to release him so we could muzzle him for treatment. He showed fear aggression and snapped at us: not an earth-shattering event in our eyes. Once muzzled he was not that difficult to handle and accepted IV injection of pre-surgical tranquilizers without protest. He is now safe with us and doing well.

Big thanks to Dr. Adam McGarity for staying late at the clinic to sew Spatula up…and it was his birthday… we apologized to his wife for keeping him from home to celebrate.

We will be pairing Spatula up with Puddin’ and Paul so he has pack mates to help him learn about being calm and that humans are not here to harm him. We can pet and touch Spatula at this point but he is easily startled still and will revert to fear aggression if too much mental pressure is applied.

Day 3: March 31
We are just letting Spatula hang out with us and select gentle pack members. He seems to enjoy being in the same room with humans and is allowing more relaxed petting time. He is eating like a pig.

Day 4: April 1
WE HAVE THE FIRST TAIL WAGS FROM SPATULA!! Lots of petting tonight and lots of tail wagging…a little hand feeding and interaction with the core pack. We are slowly building trust…it is good to see his tail up and wagging! Just a few days ago he was trying to bite us.

Day 8: April 5
Lots of progress. Spatula is now coming when called for petting and attention. He will require another surgery early this week. Still gaining trust so no real pressure is being applied as of yet. Tail wags and relaxation are becoming the norm for him. Doing great with all the other dogs and cats.

Day 9: April 6
Spatula went in for follow-up surgery today. He did very well behavior wise. No growling or snapping. He is now allowing us to lead him on a leash. Nervous at the vet but no aggression. Surgery went well. We will update with new photos when we have a chance.

Day 31: April 28
Spatula is doing great and he’s now a full-fledged couch tater. Allows brushing and petting. Still won’t come when called all the time. 100% improvement from Day One when he arrived trying to bite. No aggression towards humans at all at this point. No issues removing some of his sutures. A few more weeks and we can start working on the leash with him. Excellent house manners. He slept outside of his crate last night for the first time and the sofa is still intact.

Day 38: May 5
Spatula is doing excellent. He now sits on the couch and relaxes, enjoys grooming, even allowed strangers to pet him during our Rescue Rehab Workshop. His wound looks 100% better and we hope to start leash work with him mid-June. Spatula has made many new doggie friends here too. He loves playing with Helen and Blu probably the most. He will be placed up for adoption soon. See his new photos below.

Day 75: June 11
Spatula is doing great. Comes when called, loves all the dogs. Great with cats. Starts leash work soon! Count Spatula is officially up for adoption.

Day 100: Count Spatula has done incredibly well, but he has a severe case of Stranger Danger. He doesn’t trust people outside of us so he will stay at Hollow Creek Farm for the rest of his life.

Update 2/2/22: Count Spatula is now 15 years old and has some medical needs to maintain his comfort. If you would like to donate to his care, simply mention your donation go to him in the description part on the donation form.

Adopt a Pet

You will find all of our current available adoptables on our petfinder listings. 

Please read the adoption procedure instructions before contacting us. 

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