Surgery goes 'well' for Rex, the hero dog shot 3 times while protecting teen during home invasion

RENTON, Wash. -- Rex, the 'hero' dog that was shot three times as he protected his teenage owner during a home invasion, underwent surgery Friday and "came through well," the veterinary hospital said Friday night.

Dr. Jennifer Weh, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with BluePearl, repaired the fractured bone (the tibia) in Rex's left hind leg, by inserting a surgical pin and screw. The bone had been broken by the bullet that was fired into this leg. Weh also examined the area near the bullet wound on Rex's neck and found good news -- there was no evidence of damage to the esophagus or trachea.

"Rex is recovering and will spend tonight (Friday night) at BluePearl's Renton hospital," the hospital said. "He will be evaluated by veterinarians on Saturday to determine when he can go back home with his family."

Rex shown post-operation Friday night.

The German shepherd named Rex took three bullets Wednesday while protecting his teenage owner from burglars who broke inside their Des Moines, Wash., home.

Sixteen-year-old Javier Mercado can’t help but thank Rex – he’s convinced his dog saved his life.

“I just want to thank my dog,” said Javier. “If it wasn’t for him, I feel like I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

Des Moines Police say Javier called 911 Wednesday after burglars broke into his home on the 1400 block of South 234th Street.

Mercado told dispatchers he was hiding in a closet while crooks were breaking into the house – only to be confronted by a protective dog.

“I started hearing barking, a lot of barking, and then one of the guys screamed, 'The dog bit me, the dog bit me!'" said Javier.

Moments later, Javier said, he heard gunfire.

“My dog cries after each shot,” he said. "Just the worst.”

Javier said the burglars took off after hearing police sirens approaching. Somehow Rex survived the shooting despite one bullet going into his neck and both of his hind legs being injured. Rex’s family says it’s a miracle the dog survived.