Harlan County family rescues injured dog while playing Pokémon Go

Published: Jul. 18, 2016 at 1:21 PM EDT
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He was shot, lost his tail and part of his ear, but he lived. And now a dog owes his life to Pokémon.

Three Harlan County brothers found the injured pooch while they were walking around outside with their mother playing the hit video game Pokémon Go.

The dog is now receiving treatment at an animal hospital, but he would never have lived to make it that far if not for three boys who caught him while trying to catch 'em all.

Hunter, Ethan and Tanner Thomas were searching for pokemon Thursday night near their home in the Dayhoit community when they stumbled upon a creature no poké ball could capture.

The boys and their mother, Elizabeth, discovered a beagle, beaten up and near death, crawling along some railroad tracks.

"It's mind-blowing," Elizabeth Thomas said. "That was not what we expected when we left that night to go walking and play that game."

Their evening walk turned into an attempt to revive the mangled and bloody dog.

Thomas - a nurse - used her medical knowledge to help keep the dog alive. To borrow a Pokémon term, her nursing skills were "super effective."

"It was pretty gruesome," Thomas said. "I didn't think he would live. When I brought him home, my dad was asleep and I woke him up and said, 'Dad, "I don't think he's gonna do it."

Ethan Thomas said, "It feels kinda great that we were able to save a dog while we were playing a game."

The Thomases bandaged the beagle and took care of him until the next morning, when Jennifer Williams with the Harlan County Animal Shelter arranged for him to be transported to the Corbin Animal Clinic.

After treatment there, the dog seemed to be better, despite losing his tail and suffering a gunshot wound.

"This is one heck of a catch," Williams said. "We hope to see him evolve a little more."

One thing that's already evolved? The dog's name.

He is now known as Ash Ketchum - named after the main character from the original Pokémon series.

Williams said Ash has a heart murmur that will likely require an operation, but she is trying to stay optimistic that he'll pull through.

The Thomases would like to adopt Ash if everything works out.