The owners of Chocolate, a Chesapeake Bay retriever bitten by a venomous spider last month, received good news this week.
Sarah and Kurt Weidner learned Monday from their vet, Dr. Sharon Watson, that Chocolate is out of danger.
"The vet will continue to monitor the wound, and Chocolate will continue on antibiotics for a while, and will undergo periodic X-rays," Sarah Weidner said. "He's on the road to full recovery and I am so relieved."
The nasty spider bite is the latest setback for the lovable pooch. The Weidnersadopted him in 2008 -- abandoned, homeless and crippled by two broken front legs -- when the Herald first wrote about his plight.
Chocolate's owners have no doubt the many prayers from his fans helped speed his recovery.
About $4,700 remains in a medical fund for Chocolate's care from the $29,475 in donations raised by well-wishers in the past five years. Meadow Hills Veterinary Clinic in Pasco manages the money.
The Weidners paid for the spider bite treatment on their own, however.
"The Weidners expressed they would like to leave as much money in the account as possible to pay for any further surgeries that Chocolate might need on his legs (stemming from his original injuries from 2008)," said Dr. Janine Swailes of Meadow Hills. "They did not request that any funds be disbursed for the spider bite."
Washington State University's veterinary school repaired Chocolate's front legs and provided physical therapy for him for five months, for a heavily discounted $19,131. Two follow-up visits to WSU totaled $1,256.
His care at Meadow Hills, when he returned from WSU and a committee searched for an adoptive family, cost $1,452. He also required the use of two prosthetic splints for his legs during his rehabilitation, at a cost of $1,150.
Three of his toenails also had to be amputated. That procedure was handled by the Richland Animal Hospital. The hospital's bill for amputation, follow-up checkups, medication and fitting his legs for prosthetics cost $1,773.
"The community really rallied around Chocolate when the story about him first ran," Sarah Weidner said. "So, he's as much this community's dog as he is ours. He's always been a wonderful, happy boy with an incredibly high tolerance for pain."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal