Illana Boychuk was heartbroken and enraged when she returned home from work on Sunday evening to see that her beloved dog Banks had suffered a debilitating assault, but she says her faith in humanity has been restored following an outpouring of support from family and friends.
When Boychuk, an employee with the City of Abbotsford, left for work on Sunday, she left the patio door of her duplex slightly open so Banks and her two other dogs could come and go from her yard, which is surrounded by a chainlink fence.
She says the dogs will bark if someone approaches the home or yard, and Banks can be “quite vocal and a talker,” but they are otherwise well-behaved.
Boychuk returned home at about 9 p.m. and was approached by Banks, who licked her leg and then whimpered. She looked down and was horrified to see that his face was covered in blood.
The four-year-old small-breed dog wouldn’t allow her to touch or clean his face, and Boychuk wasn’t able to assess his injury. She immediately rushed him to the emergency animal clinic on McCalllum Road.
There, Banks was sedated, and a veterinarian determined that he had suffered blunt-force trauma to his left eye.
“He was hit so hard that his eye had been pushed into the back of his head and sprung out,” Boychuk said.
It was surmised that Banks had been hit through the fence with the end of a shovel, rake or some other yard tool.
Boychuk said she was crushed that someone could do that to an innocent pet.
“I just cried. I didn’t even know what to do with myself, I was so sad and angry,” she said.
Banks underwent emergency surgery to remove his eye, and was sent home the following day. Boychuk said he is recovering well, although he cowered from her once – something the good-natured and sweet dog had never done with her before – when she gently admonished him for being noisy.
The dog is expected to fully adapt to the use of just one eye.
Boychuk says she believes she knows who is responsible for the injury, and that the person was perhaps annoyed that Banks was being too noisy.
She called police to report the assault and they referred her to the SPCA, but they said they can’t do anything without a witness or a photo or video of the assault.
She also said she cannot go after the person for the $900 – and growing – cost of Banks’s medical bills because that individual has no money.
Instead, she said she is working on forgiving that person and focusing on Banks’s recovery.
“I can’t help feeling that somebody who could do this is pretty messed up.”
Celina Heppner, a friend and co-worker of Boychuk’s, started a GoFundMe account (gofundme.com/Illana) to raise the money to cover the vet bills. So far, $740 has been collected.
“She’s just such an incredible person and she’s the last person in the entire world that deserves something like this,” Heppner said of Boychuk.
“As coworkers, we wanted to band together and help in any way we can. Her fur babies are her family and she’s part of our family.”
Boychuk said she is touched by the support.
“I am so overwhelmed and so grateful for the kindness of others through this experience. As sad as it has been, I think it has helped me learn about forgiveness and helped me to become a bit better of a person,” she said.