TUCSON, Ariz. -- A group of Tucsonans is looking for a happy ending to a story with a tragic beginning.
Gil is just like any other dog looking for a forever home.
He's playful, happy, and loving.
But the two-year-old lab mix is a little different in one key way.
"It just became very clear that he was never going to walk again," said Kim Kelly, Gil's foster mom. Gil is paralyzed, with no control over his hindquarters.
When Gil was a puppy he was shot point blank in the spine and lost his ability to walk.
It happened on the San Carlos reservation.
Kelly said Gil spent at least a few weeks living off his own feces and urine before anyone found him.
Using just his front legs, he managed to drag himself close enough to a home that the people who lived there heard his crying during a monsoon storm. Finally, Gil's long journey to recovery was about to begin.
A Tucson woman went to the reservation to deliver supplies that would help other animals and found Gil through a veterinarian friend. She fell in love with him and posted on Facebook asking for help.
"She met Gil when she was out there and she was just kind of struck by how much joy this dog had," Kelly said. "He just wanted to live."
Three others stepped up to the plate including Kelly.
"We've given him the best that we can give him for the past year, and gotten him really stable medically," Kelly said.
Through donations the group of friends was able to pay for surgery to remove the bullet from Gil's spine and provide intense physical therapy.
They also bought him two wheelchairs to help with mobility issues.
"The fact that Gil has come through all of that and is so friendly with people, and really just still wants to be around people really speaks to his ability to thrive," Kelly said.
Now, the group is looking for more fosters to help take care of Gil until they find his perfect forever home.
"I think the best kind of family for Gil would be somebody who is home who works half-time, part-time, maybe even a work at home kind of person," Kelly said. "Or somebody that has a couple that has a split schedule. So that somebody is home with him more than I am now."
Gil still faces some challenges in his life. He uses wheelchairs and drag bags to get around because he doesn't have use of his hind legs.
Gil is also urine and fecal incontinent so potential fosters and adopters will have to help him use the bathroom by expressing his bladder and bowels for him.
He takes pain medication twice a day with his breakfast and dinner.
"It maybe just takes 15 extra minutes in the morning," Kelly said.
She said occasional messes do happen, but they're usually easy to manage.
Most importantly Kelly said Gil is her first experience with a differently-abled animal but she can teach anyone to take on the challenge of caring for him.