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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Injured puppy rallies support from Starkville community

After a Starkville family was faced with a difficult situation just weeks before the birth of their first child, friends and strangers stepped in to support their financial needs.  

Three weeks ago, Charlie and Tabbitha Jones were startled by the yelping noise of their three-year-old Maltese, Astro Jones, who was lying on the floor, unable to walk due to previous unknown events. The Joneses believe he fell off the bed and turned the wrong way, which resulted in an injury that left him unable to move. 

Around 1 to 2 a.m., the Joneses immediately rushed Astro to the Mississippi State University Vet School and within the following hour, Astro was evaluated and it was determined he was paralyzed from the chest down. 

The family was faced with the difficult decision to either put Astro down due to high stress while expecting their child, or put Astro through surgery and pay the expensive medical bills to heal their furry pet. Jones’ husband, Charlie, soon realized putting down their furry friend was not an option. 

“I was a mess,” Jones said. “I cried all the time, and the first day that it happened I couldn’t get out of bed.” 

Shortly after the incident, Jessica Baskett, an acquaintance of theirs, reached out and asked if she could create a GoFundMe page to help with some of the expenses. Although Jones was hesitant at first, she allowed Baskett to set a monetary limit to cover half of the expenses, $2,500. 

“They have had some rough times,” Baskett said, “and when I was talking to Tabbitha right after it happened, she said a statement that reflected she felt she had brought this on them, as if it were her fault, when it can happen to anyone. I wanted to prove to her that people cared and would support this cause.”

Jones said she was hesitant because she assumed he was just a dog and did not realize the amount of support they would receive. 

Jones said the total cost was $4,100. Within the first four days, the GoFundMe page received around $700 and after the Starkville Daily News featured their story, the number doubled to $1,400. She claimed that without Baskett they would not have been able to go through with the medical attention Astro required. 

“I am very grateful for it,” Jones said. “Without her, we probably wouldn’t have made the decision to keep the dog just because we did not think there was any hope.”

Baskett said she expected the large amount of feedback the page received due to her faith in people’s desire to help others and their love for dogs. She also mentioned the heartwarming feelings received when a celebrity donation from Ike Barinholtz, an actor on “The Mindy Project,” appeared on the page a few days ago. Baskett clarified the donation is equally appreciated as any other donation but it serves as a representation of the amount of support they received from not only friends and family but also total strangers.  

The vet told the family that Astro would more than likely never walk again, so they rented a wheelchair for the dog. However, Jones said Astro is now moving his legs and walking with a few difficulties. They took the wheelchair back to the vet since it was a rental and they have replaced it with a sling that he uses to walk around, with other assistance as well. 

“My husband has to do most of the work since I am pregnant,” Jones said. “So he should be prepared by the time the baby comes around.”

Jones said Astro continues to improve every day and has already weaned off his medication. Now, they are preparing for Charlie Jr. who is due March 21, and said they are excited for Astro to meet the baby. 

“This whole time we’ve been expecting, we’ve been so excited about letting the baby meet him,” Jones said. “So it’s good that he is doing better.”

If anyone would like to donate to the cause, donations can be made on Astro’s GoFundMe page at

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Injured puppy rallies support from Starkville community