Pink Hill dog recovering from traumatic brain injury after being shot in the head

PINK HILL, N.C. (WITN) -Rocky Troyer is an 11-year-old Labrador retriever, considered to be a walking miracle by his family.

“He’s a miracle,” said Maddie Troyer, Rocky’s owner. “Straight from Heaven and I love him.”

On the morning of February 20th, Rocky’s owner Ashley Troyer says she let him out to go to the bathroom like she does every day at their home in Pink Hill.

However, this morning she noticed a drastic difference in Rocky’s walk.

“I grabbed my girls and was like we need to get to the vet now,” Troyer said.

She didn’t notice any injuries other than the fact that Rocky was limping.

Troyer says she then took Rocky to a veterinary hospital because he appeared to be in serious pain. She says X-rays and tests were done, however says they were sent home because no sign of severe injuries appeared.

“We just thought, okay it’s just his age,” Troyer said.

After a few days back at home, Troyer says she noticed what looked like a bump on Rocky’s head.

When she went to take him outside one night, she says Rocky suffered a grand mal seizure.

“That was so scary,” Maddie Troyer said.

Ashley Troyer said she had to rush Rocky to an animal emergency and trauma center all the way in Winston-Salem. Shortly after, she says Dr. Kathryn Brye gave her the worst news.

“She called me and said I don’t even know how to tell you this, but your dog’s been shot,” Troyer said. “There’s a bullet logged in his brain. We had two options: we could operate or put him down.”

After the bullet was surgically removed, Troyer says Rocky spent several days in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit. However, once he woke up the road to recovery began.

Rocky returned home last Friday with several stitches in his head, and Troyer says he also appears to have neurological damage on the right side of his body.

Troyer says she now has to walk him with a support harness.

Monday marks two weeks since Rocky was shot, but still no suspect.

Lenoir County detective Cameron Greene says the sheriff’s office is desperate for information.

“We really don’t have any leads to go off in this case so we are really hoping that this broadcast will get out to the public and help us,” Greene said.

Troyer says Rocky left their yard at some point, and she believes whoever did it had to stand over him when they shot him in the head.

Greene says anyone with information is asked to call the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.