SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A German Shepherd who was likely beaten and left for dead in Alaska boarded a plane Thursday morning to fly back to his home state after successful surgery in Sacramento.

Thor hopped on an Alaska Airlines flight to Fairbanks early Thursday morning from Sacramento International Airport after recovering from surgery to repair lockjaw.

Unable to open his mouth, Thor managed to stay alive for about six months with the condition by pushing little bits of food in his mouth using his paw.

He was taken in by the Arctic German Shepherd Rescue organization. Thor weighed under 50 pounds when the group found him and should have been closer to 100. He’s gained about 30 pounds back since being rescued.

Thor’s $3,500 surgery was paid for by donations and Alaska Airlines stepped up to fly him from Alaska to Sacramento and back. He was upgraded to first class for his trip back to Fairbanks with his handler and foster caretaker, Teresa Downing. They were in seats 1A and 1B for their 7 a.m. flight to Seattle.

“I tell him when we get home, the honeymoon is over,” she said. “He’s not going to have a problem with all this kindness.”

Christa Trinchera was at the airport to send Thor and Teresa off. She helped organize Thor’s stay in Sacramento for surgery. Thor jumped up to give her a kiss goodbye Thursday morning.

“That silly dog has captured our hearts,” she said as she fought back tears.

Thor Boards First Class

Thor recovered quickly after the surgery, fast enough for him to fly with Downing back to Fairbanks.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about taking him home today because I wasn’t supposed to be able to take him home with me,” she said. “When Dr. Runyan told me I could take him home, there were just no words for it.

Dr. Robert Runyan of VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center, the same veterinary hospital that operated Bodie, the Sacramento Police dog shot in the line of duty, performed the procedure on Thor. His surgery took place Dec. 28.

“He is on his way to a new life,” Teresa said.


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