KALISPELL — About two weeks ago, Tony Dewindt and Jake Kirby went out after midnight in the freezing cold to save a dog who was left stranded with two gunshot wounds to the head.
Dewindt says the young dog, recently named Valor, was shot twice in the head and thrown over the Hungry Horse bridge after an incident involving a child. Dewindt says the Black Lab-Rottweiler mix was spotted stuck on an island off the Flathead river near Hungry Horse.
He says a social media post informed him of the stranded dog, and he knew he had to step into action immediately. “If my dog was trapped down there and I didn’t know about it, I would like somebody else to go down there and get him. I didn’t know if he belonged to somebody, I didn’t know his story, I just thought, hey there is a dog trapped down there and animal control can’t do anything until the morning, it’s snowing it’s blowing wind, that dog doesn’t deserve to be out on that island,” said Dewindt.
Dewindt says he found Valor covered in blood, cold, hungry, and waiting to be saved. He says he used a makeshift catch-pole to reel the dog in.
“Started shining our flashlights and we didn’t see him the first time and then we went back and looked again and he’s just curled up maybe two feet away from the water, and we would’ve never seen him if we didn’t whistle and his head popped up and we saw his eyes,” said Dewindt.
Valor received an all-expense paid surgery at the Animal Clinic of Kalispell due to generous donations from Flathead Valley community members. Dewindt says leftover donations were given to the animal shelter.
He adds it’s the giving spirit of the Flathead Valley that helped save Valor’s life: “An animal or a person’s in need, the valley is here to help.”
Valor now lives full time with Dewindt and his girlfriend, with two other dogs as roommates. Dewindt says Valor never leaves his side.
Flathead County Animal Control says the case against the previous owner is not active.