Barney Fife, an English bulldog who visits hospice patients in York County, is fighting for his life after suffering a gunshot wound early Monday morning in his yard in Dover Township, owner Bill Buckingham said.
Buckingham said Thursday the bullet remains inside Barney because an operation would be too invasive and English bulldogs do not typically survive anesthesia.
Instead, Barney, who is 4 1/2 years old, is on antibiotics, and Buckingham hopes that Barney quickly recovers, and also that the bullet will “work itself out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Northern York County Regional Police are investigating, Buckingham said. A detective with the department visited his home twice on Wednesday, he said.
Buckingham, 67, said that on Monday morning, between 3 and 3:30 a.m., he let Barney out to go to the bathroom.
“I heard a ‘thunk’ and a yelp (but) I’m not thinking anybody’s going to shoot my dog,” he said.
Later, when he had Barney on his lap, he petted him on the abdomen and then pulled his hand away. His hand was covered with blood, he said.
Because of his past profession as a police officer, “I knew it was a gunshot wound right away,” Buckingham said.
Buckingham said he’s not sure what kind of bullet Barney was hot with, but he thinks it’s either a .22 short round or a pellet shot out of a high-powered gun.
“It was just hard to believe what I was looking at, because it’s not supposed to happen here,” he said.
Buckingham had to take Barney back to the doctor Thursday because Barney’s condition seemed to be getting worse.
He said Barney was given an additional medication and he’s been instructed to “Keep an eye on him, watch for signs of infection,” he said.
Because of his wound, Barney will have to take a three-week break from his work as a therapy dog for Memorial White Rose Hospice, Buckingham said.
Buckingham said he got involved in hospice after the agency helped him through the death of his father, Walter Buckingham, and he wanted to reciprocate.
So he went out and bought Barney, and had him certified by KPETS, a network of registered therapy animals, he said.
Buckingham gave his brown-and-white bulldog the full name Bernard Milton Fife, named after the deputy sheriff character played by Don Knotts on The Andy Griffith Show.
“The people just love it,” he said.
Anyone with information about who shot Barney is asked to contact the Northern York County Regional Police Department at 717-292-3647 or use the crime tip reporting portion of their website.