Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So it is clear that we have a hard time, and fail miserably, when it comes to turning away a pet in need. One wintery dark evening a young woman and her friend came in carrying a large blanket swaddling, umm? I wasn’t sure, but  something. (Note to all you young vet s out there..Beware the swaddling patients. It is usually a very bad sign).  We put her in a room right away and investigated the covered mass. It turned out to be a young bulldog.  Bulldogs are supposed to be very heavily muscled, especially in the chest area. They are supposed to look like a body builder. Big broad strong shoulders and a wide front leg stance, a face that can stop a truck. Instead what I saw before me was a dirty, scabby, emaciated, lifeless pale almost dead pile of bones. She looked like she had been locked away from food, light, and care for a month, maybe more than a month. I knew there was a horrible story behind this dog. I just wasn’t sure if I was going to hear the truth, or if I even wanted to hear the story.
I had never seen this dog, or these owners, before. This is the first red flag.

Here is the story I was told.  The women told me that they had just found her after being gone for a week. In that week we had been hit by two terrible winter storms. In total both storms had delivered over 3 feet of snow. They had found her in a snow pile left from a snow plow early that morning. She was almost frozen solid. She could barely move. Her physical exam findings were so bleak that I couldn’t even give the owner a guess as to how bad her prognosis was. I mean how do you say its worse than really bad? To make the already bleak picture worse, they had no money to pay for diagnostics, hospitalization, or treatment.  So very quickly she was signed over to our care.
We started to warm her up, drew her blood, placed an i.v. catheter, started to give her i.v. fluids and medications.  I left that night thinking that there was a very good chance that she wouldn’t be alive in the morning. As I queried the owner further she told me that she would often let her out and she would disappear for long periods of time. I was not sure why this owner thought that this kind of care was appropriate. I know that my not always so very well behaved dogs are never out of my sight. They left the clinic and I have never heard from or seen them again, (that pretty much sums it up. I went to a college whose motto was “deeds not words”). They never called to check on her, never came back to say thanks, etc., etc. Even though they said they loved her very much. Sad to say, but this happens alot.
Over the next two weeks she made a miraculous recovery. We ran blood every other day because every day we got the results back I said to the staff that it was soo horrible she shouldn’t have been alive yesterday. It took weeks for her bloodwork to get into the normal range. After 3 weeks of consistent i.v. fluids, antibiotics, and constant intensive care she started to develop a personality. She became a stubborn, strong, obstinent beast. It appeared that she never had any formal training in any area at all. She was not aggressive, or fearful, but she was rude and forceful. We were very concerned about finding her a home. It is especially difficult when I can’t give a foster parent any idea as to what kind of dog this is, and or if they will live any length of time. Any here interested in fostering her? I wasn’t, and I am a glutton for just about any dog.
Through a friend of a friend we found her a home. They love her very much and they understand her personality and her challenges. 
We have re-checked her blood many times since she was discharged.  It is perfect. She is physically and medically perfect.

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