He was carried into the clinic with an 8-inch blade stuck in his neck. His attacker had intended to kill him, but Blake — a 1-year-old mixed-breed dog — didn’t even entertain the idea of leaving the world that day. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere, even if the people rushing to save him were not as confident.
“I’m not sure they were even sure he would make it,” says Vic Garnes, who adopted Blake from the Barbados RSPCA two years ago. She believes Blake’s winning attitude was his secret weapon in the ordeal that could have killed him.
“He sure thinks he’s made of steel!”
According to Garnes, Blake was repeatedly slashed and stabbed by a man said to be suffering a psychotic break. The dog’s screams reached the ears of concerned citizens who called the police. Luckily for Blake, the blade of the knife broke off before his attacker could deliver a fatal blow.
Despite everything he’d suffered, Blake was still up for making friends with humans. According to Garnes, the staff at the Barbados RSPCA immediately fell in love with the dog.
“He was making people smile his second day at the clinic, trying to lift his sore head to put it in their laps,” she explains. “I can’t begin to explain the tremendous showering of gifts and love he received while in their care.”
Blake was at the Barbados RSPCA for about a month when the pair met for the first time. Garnes was mourning the loss of her Rottweiler, Jordan, who had died suddenly a few weeks earlier. She had come to the RSPCA to pick up medication for kittens she was fostering, not to pick up a dog. She had zero interest in adopting again so soon after losing Jordan, but decided to stop by the dog kennels and offer a walk to a pup in need.
“He was the first dog I saw, and he didn’t bark with all the craziness going on in the kennels. He sat there wagging, looking happy and calm,” says Garnes, who didn’t yet know Blake had been violently attacked just a month earlier.
The pair went outside, agreed that it was way too hot, and decided to sit in the shade for a bit. They instantly bonded, and within days the adoption papers were signed. Garnes credits the staff at the Barbados RSPCA with helping Blake heal, not just physically but emotionally, too.
“I really think the kindness he was shown there is what made all the difference. He has never once shown a sign of emotional trauma. He’s totally bomb proof,” she explains.
The lifelong animal lover had no trouble introducing Blake to his new home. The dog quickly established a place in his new family and in Garnes’ heart.
“Blake and I are each other’s cheerleaders of sorts. We both had some ups and downs health wise,” she explains, adding that Blake seems to understand her in ways that even some humans can’t.
“He and I both get a bit stiff and achey on damp, rainy days — mostly his jaw and neck. But at least we have each other to commiserate, and it never usually lasts long for him — once the sun is out, so is he.”
Blake’s sunny disposition attracts plenty of admirers, both in Barbados and on Instagram. Many people have inquired about his breed, perhaps hoping to find a Blake of their own.
“People have so often rejected my saying that he’s a mutt — or ‘cane dogs’ as we call the plethora of brown dogs here — that I’ve taken to calling him a Barbadian Canehund,” Garnes jokes.
Whatever his breed or classification, Garnes is certain that Blake perfectly represents the loyalty, love, and forgiveness dogs can possess even in the face of extreme abuse. Through her Instagram account, she hopes to inspire others to do join her in the fight against all forms of animal cruelty.
“Whether that’s with passing legislation to protect them, education, or just helping out at your local shelters,” she says.
Garnes continues to foster animals, and Blake’s forever family includes two other dogs, two cats, and one very lucky mongoose. It’s been two years and four months since Blake was attacked, and while the scars are still there under his fur, this island dog is too busy being happy to notice.