Fund drive for canine ‘movie star’ reaches goal

Big Papa the dog, shown with owner Robert Ash, will get surgery to save his hind legs this month, thanks to community donations.

BENNINGTON TWP. — The canine star of an indie film and “goodwill ambassador” at the Shiawassee Humane Society will have much-needed surgery, thanks to the generosity of the community.

Robert Ash, maintenance coordinator at the human society and owner of Big Papa the dog, has ended a GoFundMe account early after raising $5,000, the amount needed to pay for surgery to fix a torn leg ligament.

Big Papa is set to undergo the procedure Jan. 28 at a local animal hospital.

“We would like to thank everyone who donated. We both are very happy and amazed by the response we received,” Ash, an Owosso resident, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“I have elected to end this early due to the cash and checks donated to us as well. We have reached our goal!!! Papa will have surgery on the 28th of Jan. Wish him luck and may god bless you all!!!,” he said in an online post.

Big Papa, a purebred pitbull, played “Brown Boy” in “Man’s Best Friend,” an independent film made in Owosso and Corunna in 2018. Born at the humane society three years ago, he has been greeting visitors there since he was a puppy and is known for his kind and gentle nature.

Recently, Big Papa injured himself while running across the humane society parking lot, rupturing one of the cruciate ligaments in a hind leg. The injury put the use of both his back legs at risk, Ash has said.

An article in the Dec. 18 edition of The Argus-Press informed readers about Big Papa’s plight and the GoFundMe account, which raised $3,625 before Ash closed it Dec. 28.

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