(Update: Adding update of dog's return home)
TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After spending a night at a veterinary clinic, Michael McConnell is hoping one of his best friends will be okay.
"If all goes well, I may be able to bring him home this afternoon, but they still have to wait and make sure,” McConnell said Thursday.
And indeed, a family member says McConnell was able to bring his dog home later Thursday
McConnell said he was walking his three dogs, Nica, Ozzy and Kekoa, on Wednesday along the canal between Smith Rock Way and 11th Street in Terrebonne, a spot he's gone nearly every warm day for three years.
That's when he said an unleashed and/or stray dog approached his dogs, clearly with bad intentions.
"Oh, that it was going to kill him,” McConnell said. “It was just mad, mad, mad. I know that my dogs look like rabbits, but they're not."
McConnell said there was no provocation from any of his dogs, and barely enough time to react.
"And all of a sudden the pit bull just -- shoot, he was 10 feet away from the time I first saw him -- and then he was on top of Ozzy,” McConnell said.
He said after he got the dog off of Ozzy, it then attacked Kekoa, leaving him torn up with serious injuries, including his spleen hanging out of his side. A strong kick finally got the other dog to relent and run off.
"It's a shame that now you can't even take your dog for a walk,” McConnell said.
McConnell said he reported the incident to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and posted a description of the attacking dog on Facebook, in an attempt to identify the dog.
Jessica Puccetti, a veterinarian at Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic in Redmond who helped operate on Kekoa, said she's noticed an increase in dog attack-related injuries, possibly by 25 percent since the pandemic hit a year ago.
"I think everyone is getting dogs, which is great with the COVID pandemic and everyone being at home. But I also think that's led to seeing a few more dog attacks," Puccetti said.
While it's unclear if the attacking dog was a stray or owned and off-leash, Puccetti emphasized that training and leashes can help prevent incidents like this.
“You never know -- and you don’t know what the other dog is going to do, either,” Puccetti said. “So I think keeping them on leash and having them trained is huge.”
McConnell said he’s also noticed the increase in dog attacks, and this one was too close to home.
"Oh yeah. I think we're done taking walks,” McConnell said. "I got one dog that's on the brink of death.”
Kekoa had a successful surgery and got to go home with McConnell.
“They say it's going to be months of rehab, if he lives but he's my best friend, so I've got to do it,” McConnell said, with a smile on his face.
A GoFundMe page, independently created by a Cinder Rock veterinary assistant, can be found here.