The Bronx pooch struck by a stray bullet in a March shooting was finally returned home to his owners last week — with a “fully healed” leg that was once in danger of amputation, the ASPCA said Tuesday.
The now-9-month-old mutt, named Bailey, was reunited with his family on May 19 in the lobby of the ASPCA Adoption Center — following extensive treatment including surgery and multiple physical therapy sessions, the organization said.
Bailey was with his owner, James Wilkerson, and twin pup, Pepper, outside a Bronx housing project around 3:30 a.m. March 7 when shots rang out, and he suddenly began to yelp, Wilkerson told The Post at the time.
It wasn’t until Wilkerson moved from the area that he realized Bailey’s fur was bloodied — and he walked up to a nearby cop for help.
“They were shooting,” he said at the time. “I don’t know who was shooting. I don’t know why they were shooting. I just got my dogs out there.”
Bailey was rushed to the Animal Medical Center on the Upper East Side, where his owner initially said things didn’t look good.
“His hip was shattered in so many different places they might have to amputate the leg,” Wilkerson said. “He’ll still be my dog.”
At the hospital, Bailey underwent surgery, which involved having a plate, screws and a pin implanted in his femur, according to the ASPCA.
Shortly after surgery, Bailey was moved to the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center, where veterinary staff took over his care.
“The wound was bad,” Dr. Laura Niestat, a forensic veterinarian with the ASPCA, said in a statement. “The projectile penetrated through the skin and underlying soft tissues and bone. Bullets travel at a high rate of speed, and their force is tremendous and can cause extensive injury.”
But Bailey’s leg was not amputated — and through twice-daily physical therapy sessions that included treats and constant praise, it was “fully healed,” according to the ASPCA.
Photos released by the ASPCA show the moment the happy pup was reunited with Wilkerson, his partner Desiree Herring and Pepper, who was not injured.
“They’re like our children,” Herring said in a statement. “We love them so much, and we’re so happy we’re all together again.”
Wilkerson was initially so shaken by the incident that he asked that the housing project where he lives not be named.
He said his two fur babies are mutts, though people have insisted they look like toy cocker spaniels.