FORT COLLINS, Co. - A llama that made national headlines after surviving for three months in Yellowstone Park is recovering after a surgery that revealed his teeth were in worse shape than expected.
Lewis arrived at Colorado State University's veterinary hospital on Monday, going under on Tuesday morning to address an infection in Lewis' tooth that had caused a hole in his mouth.
During the surgery, veterinarians discovered the infection in Lewis' tooth has spread to two more teeth, with all three teeth being removed.
Lewis the llama was rescued from Yellowstone by his current caretaker after a jaw injury caused him to run away from his previous owners.
The injury has kept the llama in pain and unable to pack for his new owner, Susi Huelsmeyer-Sinay, the owner of Yellowstone Llamas and co-owner of Yellowstone Safari Company.
Lewis' story caught national attention, inspiring Huelsmeyer-Sinay - who says she normally would feel uncomfortable asking for money - to reach out to Lewis' supporters for help in funding his surgery.
We spoke to Huelsmeyer-Sinay while Lewis was in surgery on Tuesday afternoon.
Huelsmeyer-Sinay thinks strangers believe in Lewis' story because everyone roots for a happy ending.
"The [supporters] that have seen Lewis on TV, I think Lewis has a presence and people are charmed by him," she says. "But I think more than that is that people are compassionate. And I think that is what unites us in a way."
The additional infected teeth mean Huelsmeyer-Sinay will need to pay more than anticipated for Lewis' vital surgery.
She's still fundraising on GoFundMe. If you want to help Lewis out with a donation, click here.