Ten months removed from his first public appearance while weak, dejected and cowered in the back of a minivan, Sid the dog is now well on his way to a full recovery.
“His quality of life is much, much better in comparison to when I first met him,” said Dr. Antonio Bowens, with the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Hospital of Arlington, who performed spinal cord surgery on Sid to correct a bulging disc in the Leonberger’s back.
Sid came into the public eye in April 2014 after police officers and investigators from the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners raided the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, owned and operated by Dr. Millard “Lou” Tierce.
Tierce was investigated for a report of animal cruelty and was ultimately charged with a felony count of theft in connection to the reported treatment of Sid and several other dogs.
Sid had been a patient of Tierce's for treatment of a gland issue, according to Marian Harris, Sid’s owner.
After undergoing treatment, the family claimed Sid had difficulty walking and said the veterinarian told them the big dog had developed a spinal condition that would only get worse. The Harris family was told the best option was to have Sid put to sleep, according to court documents filed in Tarrant County.
Six months later, the Harrises said they received a call from a veterinarian technician who worked for Tierce who told them Sid was still alive and was being used for blood transfusions for other dogs in the clinic. In addition, Sid was being confined to a cage for much of the day, according to the technician.
Since that day, Sid has made an amazing recovery, according to Marian Harris and the experts who have worked with Sid.
“Now there is light when he looks at you,” Harris said, when asked to compare her dog today versus the first sight of him upon being released from Tierce’s clinic.
“You have those moments where you think about what he went through and that gets really hard. And so we’re real grateful to have him back, but you know I just try to focus on now because I don’t want to beat myself up about that six, eight months prior,” Harris said. “You know, ‘Happy Sid’ is back. And he’s just the sweetest. He’s got just the sweetest, most incredible disposition ever. And we’re so very thankful for that.”
Sid still undergoes regular physical therapy to build back the strength in his hind legs, which deteriorated severely during his time at the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, according to veterinarians who have treated him since last spring.
The state board that oversees the actions of veterinarians in Texas suspended Tierce’s license for five years in October 2014.
The felony theft charge is still pending in Tarrant County court, with the next hearing set for March 18, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.