LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Lutz, Florida -- Tampa firefighter Tom Miller stands in the dark this night, spending quiet time with his horses.

They are his solace now after his dog, Dacota, died following a brutal injury.

The 3-year-old Australian Shepard was gored by a wild boar in Tom's back yard Wednesday, and required emergency surgery. Despite the best care, Dacota succumbed to infection.

Tom, his wife, and his two boys were devastated.

"It was such a shock because he seemed to be doing so well, but then he developed an infection and couldn't breathe on his own, so we made the decision to put him down so he wouldn't have to suffer," Miller said.

Tom lives on five acres in Lutz and says urban development has pushed wild animals closer to his property.

"It's that time of year. Food sources become scarce and wild animals come in here looking for food. It's not their fault; it's nature."

Because of this, pets can be especially vulnerable when left unsupervised. Even Miller's horses, as big as they are, could be injured or even hunted while alone.

Experts suggest fences to keep animals out, and that you never leave them unattended.

Despite the pain of losing Dacota, Tom is grateful for all the donations that came in from the people of Tampa Bay who saw the story and sent money to help pay for the $10,000 surgery.

"I cant thank enough the people of Blue Pearl, Frankie's Friends, and the people of Tampa Bay who donated money to help us out," said Miller. "At least it gave Dacota a chance at survival, and despite the outcome, we are very grateful. Thank you."

You may also like...

Prostitute Roundup:78 arrested in online sex sting

Sex blog:Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog*warning, GRAPHIC*

Nasty Nasty Dining:10 of the nastiest restaurantsin Tampa Bay in 2012

The KING lives:Never before seen pictures of Elvis found in Florida warehouse

Forgive me Father:Priest calls 911 after getting stuck in handcuffs

Faces of Meth:Before and After pictures

Take us with you:Download the 10 News app for your iPad

Yowtch!Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle

Political Pooch:What happened to Gov. Rick Scott's dog Reagan?

Hate crime?Middle Eastern man shot at Walmart for dating white girl

Bikini Photos:2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

Not racist?Restaurant says 'How to catch an illegal immigrant' t-shirt is not racist

Marijuana candy:Cops say weed candy is newest drug on the street

Money Mondays:How you can search for unclaimed cash

Sex Offender Mugshots:Look up Florida Sex Offenders here

Bikinis, mud, trucks:The Redneck Yacht Club

Photos:Ex-Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson

Naughty Schoolgirls:Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures

Outrageous mug shot galleries...

Strange:Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen

Notorious Women:Bad girls behind bars

Teachers:Teacher arrest mugshots

Celebrities:The rich and famous have their own booking photos

Jaw droppers:Open mouth mug shots

Laughers:What's so funny mug shots

Prostitutes:Prostitute mug shots

Athletes:Professional athlete mug shots

Porn arrests:Child porn arrest mug shots

LocalMugs:Hillsborough County Mug shots

More unusual mug shots and galleries:10 News slideshows and galleries

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wtsp.com/O4NSvy