WATCH | Dog lovers in Stamford, Connecticut, recently rallied to raise funds in a very unusual way for a very unusual pup in need. Volunteers and fosters at the at the Project Precious Rescue organization decided that a duct tape fundraiser would be a great idea to raise money for a special furbaby named Tonka.
Tonka's life almost ended before it could really get started. The designer "pocket bulldog" was born with bilateral congenital elbow luxation. Essentially, he was born with broken elbows. Tonka's walk looked more like an army crawl.
"(The Breeder) took him to the vet to say that he didn't want the dog anymore and that he was going to drown it, which is common in that area."
—Cindy Potter, Tonka's foster mom
The irresponsible breeder from Midland, Texas, planned on drowning the days-old puppy because he knew he couldn't sell a dog that wouldn't be able to walk correctly.
Luckily, Tonka was saved by the vet tech who overheard the breeder's plans.
The vet tech posted a picture of Tonka on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in rescuing him.
Kristy Morrell of Project Precious Rescue couldn't resist.
"I remember this picture of this duct tape fundraiser I saw in the past. I thought 'How about tape for Tonka!'
—Maria Lovello, Tonka's foster mom
Tonka's new foster moms quickly realized that his care would be super expensive. They knew they needed to come up with some creative ideas for fundraisers for his upcoming surgeries.
Maria Lovello, one of Tonka's foster moms, had the perfect idea in mind.
"We had to figure out how to convince my husband to agree to being taped... and we did," Lovello laughed.
Frank initially laughed off the idea but then obliged.
The Lovellos convinced a friend who owns the Lakeside Diner, in Stamford, Connecticut, to let them duct-tape Frank onto their wall.
They spammed their friends and family with Tape for Tonka fliers and were delighted by the immediate donations.
They received $5,000 in donations before the event even happened.
They raised another $5,000 on the day of the actual fundraiser. The response from the community was overwhelming.
The donations enabled Tonka to get double elbow surgery.
"We just have a special community and wonderful friends."
Tonka's foster moms started a Facebook page to show Tonka's supporters how much the little guy is progressing each day.
"Frank and Maria Lovello have a lot of contacts in the area and as soon as people saw Tonka's story, videos and pictures of him, it was instant love. Because of that people have been so generous," Cindy Potter said.
Tonka has a long road of physical therapy ahead of him.
A fan from Ireland even made this beautiful Tonka art that will soon be sold.
The veterinarians at Cornell confirmed that Tonka's issue was congenital. In fact, one of the other puppies in the litter was born blind. So Tonka was bred irresponsibly.
"There are good breeders out there who do their job responsibly and there are bad breeders, and those are the people we are always picking up the pieces for in rescue," Potter said. "It just needs to stop. We really need to get legislation done in every state that in these cases their dogs need to be spayed, neutered or taken away from them."
Tonka's foster moms hope another surgery won't be necessary and he'll continue to make strides in physical therapy. If all goes as planned, he will be adoptable soon and find his forever home shortly thereafter.
With all the attention he's gotten on his Facebook page, we think that won't be a problem.
If you'd like to donate to Tonka's care visit PPRCT.org.