Hero Bull Terrier, Shot by Robber While Protecting Owner, Recovers from Major Surgery
Billy survived a gun shot to the chest from a robber while saving owner's life
Bull terrier Billy survived a bullet wound to the chest while valiantly protecting his owner from armed robbers in West Philadelphia.
Felipe Sinisterra, 25, finished a night shift at Royal Izakaya sushi restaurant around 2 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2020.
As per WPVI-TV, Sinisterra, his partner, Natalia Gomez, and their dog Billy, an English Bull Terrier, were taking a walk together when they were approached by two armed men.
Sinisterra gave up his cell phone but Billy sensed trouble and started barking, and the robbers fired shots.
“He’s always protective,” Sinisterra told 6abc Philadelphia. “He’s always been with me at my side.”
“It’s nothing,” he continued, referring to the cell phone he gave up to the robbers.
“I hope that I could have more things in my pocket [to] distract them.”
As per The Philadelphia Inquirer, Billy was gifted to Sinisterra by his grandmother on his 20th birthday.
Billy was a 6-month-old puppy; five years on, the pair share an inseparable bond.
After the shooting, Billy was rushed to Penn Vet’s Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania with the aid of a nearby on-duty police officer.
The 5-year-old pup had suffered devastating injuries and lost a third of his blood; the bullet penetrated his abdomen, grazing both his heart and lungs.
A staff of 30 worked around the clock to treat the severely wounded bull terrier.
Billy underwent two life-saving surgeries, and while Sinisterra would “give anything” to save his best friend, the medical bills soon became insurmountable.
A family friend, Martha Greene, set up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs associated with keeping Sinisterra’s canine companion alive.
By Jan. 27, the outlook was getting better by the day.
“Today was a wonderful day,” Greene posted.
“The emergency team had a great surprise to Billy. They gave him toys and prepared a beautiful bye ceremony.
"They were super friendly and loving with Billy.
“He is [at] home now,” Greene continued, “and he will need to take medicines but he is gonna [be] fine.”
Billy’s owners had visited their injured pup every single day since his hospital admission.
As per The Philadelphia Inquirer, Billy returned to Penn Vet for a checkup on Feb. 3 and received a hero’s welcome.
Surgical resident Rachel Williams described Billy’s recovery as “really almost a miracle.”
Professor of Surgery Lillian Aronson, recalling the extent of Billy’s injuries, commented, “He really took a hard hit with that bullet.
"It wasn’t one person who saved this dog’s life. It really was a team.”
The armed robbers who shot Billy, having quickly fled the scene in a gray Honda, remain at large.
Greene posted an update on the family’s GoFundMe page:
“Thanks to all the people who have helped us,” she wrote.
“[I]t is for you, my family, and penn vet that my canine baby grows stronger every day.”
To date, the fund has raised most of its $40,000 goal.
“Since Billy is a young dog, and his prognosis is good,” Penn Vet spokesperson Martin Hackett explained to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “our charitable care fund helps offset some of those costs.”
“Billy’s GoFundMe page, our charitable care fund, and payments the family has made to date have significantly reduced Mr. Sinisterra’s out-of-pocket expenses,” he confirmed.
As for the joy of having his best friend back?
For Sinisterra, it’s “immeasurable.”