Tail of good fortune keeps wagging for Van Gundy's Eastwood

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Chicago — It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Eastwood Van Gundy.

From being the last pet left on the Island of Misfit Pups following pet drive to empty an animal shelter to being adopted by Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, it’s been a wild ride for the red-coated Labrador.

Eastwood, a special-needs dog who will needs thousands of dollars in surgeries to repair a bad back leg, has become something of a celebrity because of the heart-warming rags-to-riches story, spearheaded by Van Gundy’s wife, Kim. When Eastwood’s story was publicized by the shelter, Kim saw it and wanted to get involved.

Then came a few local new stories, then a couple of national stories. Then it got really big overseas.

“Eastwood got in the Daily Mirror in London and ABC Nightly News two nights in a row,” Stan Van Gundy said Friday at the NBA draft combine in Chicago. “People Magazine…it’s been crazy.”

Now, Eastwood has a page on Twitter and Facebook, keeping the story going — which gives the Van Gundy family a chuckle.

“Somebody asked me but it’s somebody who started it before we adopted him and then kept it going,” Stan said. “I think it’s someone who’s taking stuff from Kim and putting it up.

“Kim just discovered (the Twitter account) Thursday and goes, ‘Look!’”

Stan said one of the family’s dogs passed away after 14 years, late last season, so Eastwood’s adoption comes along at the right time for them to open their hearts to another family member, to go along with their other dog and six cats.

In time, Eastwood will get the surgeries he needs; despite the significant expense, they’re looking forward to making a happy home for the new addition.

“He has a defective back leg and he gets around fine but you can see it (in his walk). At some point, he’s going to need some surgery,” Stan said. “He’s got a thing in his eye where his eyelashes turn inward. That was the reason he didn’t get adopted — because they were honest with people that it was going to cost money.

“My wife sees this and says, ‘It’s destiny.’ It just took off from there.”

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard