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Ethan the dog celebrates a year of recovery with party and fundraiser

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A year after being left outside the Kentucky Humane Society, Ethan celebrated a year of recovery.

Dogs were running around everywhere at PJ’s Dog Bar Saturday afternoon. But one in particular stood out: a massive mutt wearing a fur-lined black coat. Every time he passed, people called to him and tried to get a pet in.

It made sense: Ethan was, after all, the reason for the party.

As he roamed around the bar, Dr. Emily Bewley kept a close eye on him. A veterinarian, she was part of the team that nursed him back to health after he was found outside of the Kentucky Humane Society, severely emaciated and dehydrated. 

“I’ve never seen a dog that close to death before that made it,” Bewley said.

Ethan, a mix of big breed dogs including Presa Canario and Mastiff, was 38 pounds when he was first brought in. Bewley says that was less than half the weight of a healthy dog of his size.

“I’ve never seen that dog in that rough of shape. We honestly thought he was dead,” said Humane Society veterinarian technician Jacki Claxton.

Exactly one year later, he's a healthy dog in high spirits greeting fans and playing with other dogs.

Ethan’s story gained local and even national attention last year and his name became well known in the city. 

That placed even more pressure on Bewley and the rest of Ethan’s medical team.

“I didn’t think he was gonna make it and having Louisville kinda watch the entire thing was very stressful at times because I knew how many people were rooting for [him],” Bewley said. “And just didn’t think he was gonna survive.” 

But Ethan did survive.

Humane Society facilities director and Ethan’s owner, Jeff Calaway said it was “crazy” to watch his recovery unfold.

“To see him continually hit milestones, when he barked for the first time, when he ran for the first time, when he started to play to the dog he is today at this dog bar,” Callaway said.

Unfortunately, Bewley said stories like Ethan’s aren’t unique at the Humane Society. Just months after Ethan was found, another dog, named Travolta, came there in a similar state.

She and others hope that stories like Ethan’s help people realize the importance of the work the Humane Society does.

In honor of Ethan, Feeder’s Supply agreed to match up to $15,000 in donations made until the end of the day January 29. Officials from the Humane Society believe that they will fully reach the match amount.

In the meantime, Ethan is living it up, fully recovered and ready to play.

“He brings joy everywhere he goes,” Callaway, Ethan’s owner, said.

Breya Jones is the Breaking News Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.