By Rusty Surette, News 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A bulldog from Blanchard is capturing the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.
Three-year-old Bella Mae came face-to-face, literally, with a porcupine at her home in Blanchard. A photo of Bella following the prickly encounter was posted on the Norman Animal Emergency Center Facebook page, and has since gone viral.
News 9's Rusty Surette paid a visit to Bella and her owners, Jerry and Allison Noles, on Thursday just before she was released to go back home to continue her recovery. Bella's doing better but she's got a long way to go.
The Noles say Bella and their other two dogs were at their backyard pond Sunday morning when all three dogs apparently got a bit too close to a porcupine, but Bella got the worst of it. Doctors at the Animal Emergency Center had to perform surgery to remove some of the quills from her face. Quills were also found lodged in her feet and mouth.
Doctors estimate Bella was stuck with 500 quills from the porcupine, and there's a possibility some are still embedded in her body; that's why she'll remain on medication and close supervision.
"It was devastating," said Allison Noles. "These animals are our kids and when you see them hurt you can't imagine the intense pain she had to be in. It affected our whole family."
Dr. Leonardo Baez at the Animal Emergency Center in Oklahoma City said he's never seen a case this bad.
"I've seen some greyhounds and bird dogs come in [contact] with them, but it's not very often it happens, especially here in the city."
The Noles say wildlife have been using the pond in their backyard as a new source of water because of the recent drought and heat.
Dr. Baez says anyone with a pond, pool, river or creek near their property should keep an eye on pets and kids as wildlife look for new ways to keep cool in this heat. It's also an important reminder to keep all your pets vaccinated.