Volunteers at the Humane Society of Saline County and other animal rescue group volunteers will tell you that animals have amazing resilience, often recovering from injuries that appeared initially to be hopeless.
Also, animals are amazingly stoic during the recovery process, volunteers say.
Ann Sanders, director of the Humane Society in Bauxite, said a classic example of this sort of situation is Shotgun Dan, a young cat who has survived unbelievable odds.
When Sanders arrived to open the shelter one morning, Dan was found unsecured on the grounds, unsecured. The cat approached her and others arriving for the day.
"He was just skin and bones," Sanders said. "He had been shot, his leg was just dangling and he didn't have anything where his right eye should be.
"Yet he actually walked toward us," she added.
The cat — a male orange tabby — weighed only 3 pounds and 12 ounces, Sanders said. "And this is a grown cat.
"It's been two weeks and he now weighs 5 pounds and 10 ounces," she said. "He's eating everything in sight and is the sweetest thing you've ever seen. Everyone wants him.
"We knew his leg needed surgery, but we had to wait a couple of days to build him up before he could undergo that."
Eventually, Dr. Eric Jayne performed a leg procedure, which involved putting a pin in his front left leg, and he addressed the missing eye situation.
"His eye socket was just sewn up," she said. "He hadn't been shot in the eye, but there was nothing there — just an open socket."
Jayne said the cat's response to treatment has been "a miracle."
"He's recovering well," he said. "It really is almost like a miracle.
"I've never seen anything like it," he added.
Both Jayne and Sanders said the cat never has shown any resistance to treatment.
"He loves everybody and responds to petting and cuddling," Sanders said.
"The person who brought him out here called to make sure we found him," Sanders said. "They claimed they found him in their garage in this condition, which may be true. But they just left him loose on the grounds here, not in a carrier. He could have been hit by a car or anything could have happened to him."
In the meantime, Dan continues to recuperate with his unusual sling that Jayne devised in an effort to save his leg.
"We don't know if he'll be able to use it, but it's worth a try," he said. "It looks good now, but there's still a possibility we might have to amputate. We're hoping he will have as much recovery as possible.
"Obviously, he doesn't have all his leg bones, because they were shattered by the .22 caliber shot," he said.
Sanders and employees of the shelter will determine who can adopt Shotgun Dan after he has made further recovery.
In the meantime, other animals are available for adoption from the shelter, which is at 7600 Bauxite Highway. The facility is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Donations to assist with the care of Dan and other animals may be mailed to P.O. Box 305, Benton, AR 72018.