Billy Morris lives on a small Oak Grove, Alabama, farm where he raises chickens and recovers from his past. A disabled veteran and Army sergeant with the 20th Special Forces Group, his rural four acres and animals offer him a peaceful way of life.
Until Monday, that is.
As Morris was out feeding his chickens, his 4-year-old Great Pyrenees — Cotton — walked over to him, and Morris quickly saw that something was terribly wrong.
“When he turned broadside, I noticed that’s when he had an object sticking out of his side,” Morris told WBRC-TV.
The object turned out to be an arrow, and Morris said he thinks his dog was shot intentionally while he roamed.
“He was hardly breathing. He actually laid down at my feet, and in that moment, I knew he was in serious trouble.”
Drawing on his military EMT background, Morris quickly wrapped up the dog as best as he could and rushed him to the vet. He had to give Cotton mouth-to-mouth on the way, as the dog’s lungs had collapsed and he was barely breathing.
“I was afraid I was going to lose my dog,” Morris said. “I actually had to start breathing mouth-to-muzzle on the way to the veterinary clinic. Dr. Champion said he was less than 20% breathing capacity. I mean, I was practically breathing for him.”
Despite the upturn, the bills are piling up, and Morris said he won’t rest until the person responsible is found.
“Just knowing somebody is mentally unstable in that capacity and just demented to do something like that,” Morris said.
Cotton has been a great help to Morris, and the thought of losing him is unbearable. The guardian dog is not only a protector of his poultry, but he is Morris’ support animal.
“When my son’s not here, it’s just me and him,” Morris explained, according to WBRC. “He follows me around the farm here. I just enjoy his company. He’s part of the family.”
Morris has started a GoFundMe to help cover the vet expenses.
“Cotton is a 4 year old Great Pyrenees, that has been my best buddy, when no one else is around to see me struggle with my Post Traumatic Stress, Intermittent Explosive Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder,” Morris wrote on the fundraiser page.
“See, that day Cotton was out and about performing his daily stroll, both inside and outside my property boundaries; when someone pierced his Left side with a broken piece of arrow, which appears intentionally designed to be used as a shank, shiv, etc… Whatever you prefer to call it, but I call it a deadly weapon a literal assault weapon if you please.”
So far, over $2,000 has been raised to help Cotton, and Morris is intent on finding the culprit — especially because he said his neighbor’s dog was attacked in a similar manner.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, according to KKTV.