Reporter Lindsay Cohen
WELLINGTON, FL (WFLX) - Doctors peeled back a flap of bloodied skin. The 9-year-old grimaced and stirred, before laying her head back on the operating table. A medic prepared more sedatives to make sure Renie didn't wake up.
"[The doctor] didn't think she was going to make it," said Dr. Arthur Christopher.
Now, though, doctors believe Renie has a fighting chance to get back on her feet -- all four of them.
Renie is a German Shepherd mix, and was cooling off in a canal behind a Wellington horse ranch on Monday morning. All of a sudden, a noise broke through the silence that normally blankets the area.
"It was a noise I had never heard before," said Lisa Boyer, who heard the dog's yelping. "She was in so much pain when she came out, it was like a curdling scream. It was bad."
Boyer turned to see the gator's head sink beneath the water. She helped pull Renie to a shaded area, and summoned the dog's owner, Lisa Shanks.
"She was lying down and I just thought she was, like, dying," said Shanks, fighting back tears. "She was, like, mauled everywhere. She couldn't walk. Her legs are broken back."
"She's never had an injury in the whole nine years that I've had her."
Shanks rushed the dog to a vet. Doctors there told her it would cost thousands of dollars to save the 9-year-old pooch.
A friend called around to other clinics to see if anyone could help for less money. Shanks eventually went to Paws 2 Help, a small, privately-run animal-services charity in West Palm Beach.
Doctors there sedated Renie until they could raise funds to try and save her. The dog has a broken jaw and a leg broken in several places.
"She's like my best friend. I've had her since she was basically born," said Shanks, the dog's owner.
"I want to save my dog. I really love her."