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They say a dog is man's best friend, but in this case man is a dog's best friend. In fact, scrap that, they are each other's best friend.
Paul Steklenski, a pilot and former tank trainer, flew 750 miles to save Adrienne, a dog that was given 24 hours to live.
Paul, 45, runs the animal rescue charity Flying Fur Animal Rescue and saved the pooch who was just moments away from being euthanised.
Adrienne was suffering with a severe bladder prolapse, suspected to have been caused from an abusive owner.
**Warning: Distressing Images**
She was found on the streets and put into Granville County Animal Shelter. Adrienne needed surgery, desperately, but the shelter couldn't afford to pay for it.
Animals R Family founder, Nicole Bruck, described the horrific injuries that Adrienne had suffered.
"She has faced big trauma", she said. "The disturbing thing is that things like this are unusual in females and it is possible she was trying to give birth when she was injured, or that she was raped by a human.
"Something large ripped out from inside her with force."
Paul was alerted to her condition, and his charity agreed to fund the $1,500 (£1,115) surgery bill to save Adrienne's life.
And this is where the flying comes in. They needed to get her from her original shelter in North Carolina, to a vet in Stamford, Connecticut, who agreed to do the treatment at a lower price.
Paul had bought the plane in 2013, specifically so he could fly to rescue dogs.
Adrienne was popped in the front seat and flown to her destination.
How can the story get better? Well, Paul managed to take 13 abandoned dogs with him, just for the ride.
On Monday, Adrienne was treated and is making a good recovery. She's hooked up to an IV drip, with painkillers to make her comfortable, but will soon be available to a loving home.
Paul said: "When I heard about Adrienne I knew I had to help.
"Animals R Family managed to get the funding for the surgery and I knew I was the missing link.
"It was touch and go because he bladder could have twisted and that would have been fatal, but all it required was for me to save that animal's life.
"I didn't think about it - I just had to do it."
He described the dog as very gentle and timid, as well as malnourished, but all that is set to change.
"It was a very emotional rescue because of what was at stake. I was exhausted by the end of the day," Paul added.
"The trip was the difference between life and death, but now, given the proper care, Adrienne will live a perfectly normal life."
There are always stark warnings about how a 'dog is for life, not just for Christmas', and seeing images like those of Adrienne are a reminder.
The average cost of looking after a dog is around £600-£1,100 per year and there is an estimated eight-and-a-half-million dogs kept as pets in the UK alone.
The RPSCA states on their website: "Owning and caring for a dog is great fun and immensely rewarding.
"But it's also a big responsibility - on average, dogs live for around twelve years, but many live for much longer. Dogs have very complex needs and each dog is unique."
There may not be any one solitary way to look after a dog, but with a little care and nurturing we can sure do our best.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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