A Family’s Best Friend: Community rallies to aid Starkville couple

After his surgery, Astro can now move with the help of a special wheelchair while he recovers (Photo courtesy Tabbitha Jones)
Astro has received support from many in the community following his injury (Photo courtesy Tabbitha Jones)

Few things can mean as much as a four-legged companion and one Starkville family recently received an outpouring of support for their pooch, Astro.

Charlie and Tabbitha Jones are five weeks out from welcoming a baby boy - Charlie Jr. - into the world, but were faced with unexpected medical bills when their three-year-old Maltese, Astro, fell off the bed recently and broke his back.

Charlie Jones said following the surgery, Astro has been sitting in his kennel and in a kind of static stage.

“I took him to the vet yesterday and he looks good post-surgery,” he said.

Astro was taken to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine at 2 a.m. the night of his injury. The Joneses were told Astro was paralyzed from the chest down and would require an expensive spinal decompression surgery to recover.

The surgery cost the couple $4,000 - a sum of money that most would have a difficult time covering. Compound that with a child on the way and the tough decisions facing the Joneses become apparent.

“It is very stressful and I feel so sorry for Charlie because I can’t do much in terms of Astro,” she said.

Tabbitha Jones said Astro can’t use his back legs, but can move around with the help of a special wheelchair as he recovers from the surgery.

“It normally takes 14 to 21 days after surgery for them to get feeling back,” she said.

To donate to the GoFundMe drive, visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-astro-jones-the-dog

Jessica Baskett, a friend of the family, started a GoFundMe drive for Astro’s medical expenses, raising nearly $1,100 in only a few days. The goal of the drive is to raise $2,500 for Astro.

“It’s incredible, because I didn’t expect anything like this,” Tabbitha Jones told the SDN. “Then the GoFundMe page was started. I don’t want to say he is just a dog, but he is not everybody’s dog and it makes me realize the world is still a good place.”

Baskett said she originally started the page out of her love for dogs.

“I have 2 of my own, and there was a time when my childhood dog had congestive heart failure and wracked up a huge vet bill and people helped me and my family out,” Baskett said. “I wanted to pay it forward.”

Baskett then said she wanted the Joneses to see that there are people in the community that care about them.

“They didn't think anyone would donate at all,” she said.

Tabbitha Jones said Astro is in good spirits and wants to get moving despite his injuries.

“He has a doggy bed, but he won’t stay in that bed for nothing,” she said. “He likes to be held and doesn’t like to be alone.”

Tabbitha Jones said they received donations from many people they don’t know and are grateful for the support.

“I just want to tell everyone thank you for helping us,” she said.