WILTON MANORS (CBS4) – A 102-pound, American Bulldog which suffered near deadly heat stroke is recovering at a South Florida animal hospital and likely survived due to the generous donations of strangers and quick action by paramedics.

According to Dr. Joshua Storm of Imperial Point Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, the dog named “Popeye” suffered heat stroke on Tuesday, June 21st, while running next to a man on a bicycle. The man, not his original owner, didn’t even realize the dog was sick. He was given the dog four days earlier by the owner who had planned to abandon him.

Passers-by who saw the dog collapse rushed to help and called Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. “They rushed to his aid including store owners and random people on the street,” Dr. Storm told CBSMIAMI.COM.

Paramedics gave him an IV for fluids, oxygen with a special mask and provided other vital treatment to fight overheating.

“The paramedics were great in performing life-saving procedures,” said Dr. Storm.

When “Popeye” dog arrived at the animal hospital, his temperature was 106 degrees and that’s after being placed in an air-conditioned ambulance. A normal temperature for dogs is between 99 to 102.5 degrees.

“He was breathing fast, shallow breaths and his heart was racing,” explained Dr. Storm. Over 104 degrees is considered heat stroke.

“Dogs can’t sweat. They try to blow off all their heat by panting. He was way overheated,” said Dr. Storm.

Dr. Storm and his staff treated him aggressively that first night with fluids, cooled him down with ice packs and tried to make the dog as comfortable as possible. Amazingly he survived. After that, they named him “Popeye” for being so strong.

“He made it through the night which was very impressive because most dogs die within 24 hours of heat stroke,” said Dr. Storm. The heat stroke survival rate is about 64-percent.

But heat stroke wasn’t his only issue. He needed a blood transfusion due to the heat stroke which is very expensive. Animal lovers stepped up and donations started coming in including a $1,300 donation from a stranger who doesn’t even live in Florida. With the money, the veterinarian was able to perform a life-saving blood transfusion to fight possible organ failure and gave Popeye antibiotics and other treatments. Transfusions can run more than $5,000.

Popeye is already feeling better. “He ate like a champ overnight. He is still not out of the woods but he is getting better by the hour,” said Dr. Storm. “He walks outside on his own, and he’s eating and drinking.”

Dr. Storm said Popeye is receiving several antibiotics and there are risks of infection as well as possible liver and kidney damage.

It’s been a rough few days for Popeye. According to Dr. Storm, the man caring for the dog planned to leave Popeye Tuesday at a no-kill shelter but there was no room for him. As they were heading back home — with the man on a bicycle and Popeye running alongside — Popeye became exhausted.

The man stopped at the To The Moon store in Wilton Manors. Surveillance video from the store shows a man carrying the dog inside. The dog laid on the floor, panting, while customers and the store owner, Antonio Dumas, gave him water and covered him with wet towels.

“It was awful,” Dumas said. “It was a horrible feeling. No one should go through that whether it be a human or an animal.”

Paramedics quickly arrived to assist the animal.

Dumas said the man who was caring for the dog was upset that the dog became ill.

“At one point, it looked like he was ready to burst into tears,” Dumas said.

Dr. Storm believes the man simply made a mistake and did not have any malicious intent. He said it is a good time to remind dog owners that heat stroke can be prevented. Dogs should only be walked or exercised during the morning or late in the day. Owners should make sure they have plenty of water handy.

If you think your dog is suffering heat stroke, cool it down gradually with a fan, and lightly apply water, the vet said. Don’t cool it off too quickly by tossing it in a pool or dousing it with a hose.

“You don’t want to cool them to fast because that can be detrimental,” said Dr. Storm. Immediately call a vet or take it to an animal hospital.

If you’d like to make a donation towards Popeye’s care, call the Imperial Point Animal Hospital at (954) 771-0156. All donations go directly into Popeye’s account.

Once Popeye, who is 2 to 3 years old, is healthy enough, he’ll be put up for adoption. There’s a waiting list at the vet’s office with plenty of names already on it.

Comments (20)
  1. Phil Landers says:

    A female friend of mine has an American Bulldog and it is about the sweetest dog I’ve ever known.

  2. Debbie S says:

    Kudos to all involved in the rescue and especially to Imperial Point Animal Hospital for taking on the case. I know of another similar incident that didn’t have such a happy ending. The message HAS to get out that heat KILLS dogs…hopefully this story will have an educational silver lining.

  3. barbara451 says:

    I get so angry when I see people running their dog while the person rides a bike. That is no way to walk your animal. A dog will keep running until he/she dies.

  4. Me! says:

    The man may not be guilty of inentionally harming this dog, but he is certainly guilty of stupidity!! What makes people think a dog, any dog, can run with them (while they are on a bike or jogging) in hot weather? Maybe if the dog had been conditioned for this since he was a puppy… just like people.. you have to be conditioned to run long distances, especially in the heat! I feel kind of bad for the guy. I guess he was trying to do a good thing, but I feel worse for the poor dog! Hopefully, he will get a good home this time around.

  5. S. Taylor says:

    Up here in PC, I take a sport bottle of water when walking my dod (for her not me), even though it’s only around the block, maybe a 30 minute walk. I would NEVER let her run alongside me while I was riding a bike. Some people are just plain idiots.

  6. S. Taylor says:

    Oops, dog. Long week.

  7. M.M.Hunter says:

    I hope others who do something as foolish as riding a bike with the poor dog running beside – IN THE HEAT – learn from this and do not continue to do something so cruel. May the dog be adopted by a family who will show him nothing but love and kindness.

  8. Beaz says:

    I used to have my dog run while I rode a bike simply because I can’t run and he LOVED it. He got SO much more exercise that way… The main difference here being we did our running after midnight in the spring. The blanket “no one should do this” is BS. My dog thought it was awesome. We just didn’t do it in the middle of a summer afternoon.

  9. SAToday says:

    This was so hard to read because of the stupid KIA ad like a watermark – couldn’t find anyway to remove it.

    I stood watch one day when a man was going to leave his dog in the car while he took his wife and 2 small children into a nursery to look at plants – said he was just going to be a minute. I told him if he left the dog, I was calling the police and I sat there. He finally stayed with the dog. I sat there until he and his family left. Of course they probably just went to the next nursery and left him in the car. How hot do you think a black SUV can get in the summer in Texas!!

  10. Keryn Plensdorf, DVM says:

    The article is really sweet, and I am definitely glad that the dog survived. The quick action of everyone involved saved his life. But I think that someone got their facts wrong. Being an emergency/critical care veterinarian, I have had to treat many dogs for heatstroke. And they frequently require plasma or blood transfusions. But I have never heard of a transfusion costing more than $500, for a large dog. Even if repeated, that would not come close to the quoted $5000. That fiigure may be correct for the total therapy, but if it cost that much for a blood transfusion, then someone is getting ripped off.

  11. harley says:

    Donations? for a dog? really people? people wont give to feed or care for other HUMANS but a mutt they will….wow…talk about poor set of priorities. Should we start taking in the rats, the sheep, the cows, the fish? it might be too hot for them as well…animals die. cycle of life. that dog may have fed several other animals in the wild, but now you are depriving them of their food…where does the madness stop?

    1. Debbie says:

      How do you know that these same people don’t also donate to humanitarian efforts? Are people now precluded from donating to animals as long as there is a starving, ill, homeless, etc. person in the world? Also, this dog feeding animals in the wild, seriously?! He wasn’t a stray, he wasn’t going to die in the middle of the everglades and lay there for some feral pig or alligator to come by and snatch up his carcass as a snack. I think the madness stops when people stop making stupid comments.

    2. barbara451 says:

      hopefully it ends with you and you have no kids.

    3. Dana says:

      People are allowed to donate to whomever they want, Harley. If you don’t like it, go donate $5000 to the children’s charity of your choice & leave animal lovers alone. You remind me of the reason I’ll take the companionship of an animal over a person any day.

      I’m just really hoping you don’t have animals or children of your own.

  12. harley says:

    oh…and what about all the kids left in cars on a daily basis, almost kiling them? people don’t do enough for other human beings, but they will throw away $5000 or more on 1 dog…

    1. barbara451 says:

      I would take care of an animal any day because they have no ‘responsible” individuals to take care of them. Parents are supposed to take care of the kids.

    2. Dana says:

      The people who leave their children in vehicles go to jail. Very few people get punished for animal abuse. Those who do get little more than a slap on the wrist.

  13. harley says:

    pets are supposed to have “responsible” individuals taking care of them….pets and kids are both supposed to have responsible adults taking care of them….a child has less ability to take care of themselves then an animal that has instincts and training…

    1. Dana says:

      “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

  14. Shannon Graves says:

    Most people who have this kind of compassion for animals also have it for people. The reverse is also true-people who lack compassion for animals generally lack compassion for people. I would guess you belong to the latter group.