Clean Cut Senior White Male Seeks ...By Immydog
"Hey, I just got a phone call from a lady near Iowa Falls. Someone found a little Shih Tzu mix looking thing out by a fence in a field. I'm full. Do you have room to take it in? It's supposed to be pretty small."
"Ya, I guess we have room for another small one."
"Thanks, I will try to get him to you on Monday."
Just like that the phone call was over. Well that was relatively painless. I didn't have to rush to the clinic to treat someone in dire need. That is always a plus. Questions? I can handle questions! My family and I were getting ready to go to an Anniversary Party. Life is much simpler when emergencies happen when there is nothing else going on. Wait. When in my life as a mother, wife, veterinarian, and animal rescuer is there nothing else going on?! Oh well.
My family and I attended the party. They had fruit bowls, and meat, cheese, and cracker plates, lemonade, and of course, cake. I helped the kids pile food up on their plates, and got them seated. I chose a few snacks for myself after greeting the celebrating couple who have survived 50 years of marriage, and sat down at the table. The husband had said to his wife, "Just because I gave you fifty, doesn't guarantee you the next fifty."
Suddenly my cell phone starts ringing, and it is Amy... again.
"Lisa, this dog is in really bad shape. I mean really bad shape. He cannot wait. Are you busy?"
"Okay, Amy, how far are you?"
"About 40 minutes away."
Sweet, I get to finish my snack before meeting her at the clinic. That is a positive, as I was hungry and the food was good. But the essence of this rescue is now different. We were no longer taking in a petite little dog who simply needed a little TLC and a new home. Now, I was meeting a dog that was in serious condition.
There are many thoughts that go through my head prior to meeting any emergency. They are thoughts of dread, nervousness, and insecurity. "What if I cannot help this animal? What if I cannot fix it? What if I cannot figure out what the problem is? What if...What if... What if..."
Even after fifteen years of practice, emergencies are not taken casually or with any false sense of confidence. Rarely is the emergency so dire, that it results in the death of the dog or cat, but it happens often enough. Those are the cases that run through my head as I drive to the clinic. I guess it is a glass half empty thing, but there it is.
I was able to spend more time at the party pending the arrival of the emergency. When the time came, I pulled up to the clinic door. Next to me in the parking lot was a car with two women obviously awaiting my arrival.
The appearance of my vehicle, stirred the ladies like a bear reaching into a bees' nest. The car doors flew open, their chattering voices were heard, and out of the car with them came... something.
I have seen some severely neglected animals in my rescue work, but this one made me stop in my tracks. Out of that car came this...
His face was heavily matted with thick and surprisingly heavy mudballs.
He was matted all over his body. What color is he supposed to be?
After several minutes in the exam room, he felt comfortable enough with us to sit down. Faster than his butt went down, his butt stood straight up again. Within the matts on his hind end were burrs. There were lots of them painfully interwoven in the tangles of his own hair.
The burrs were everywhere, and there were lots of them.
We gave him water which he eagerly drank. The water was instantly the color of mud as his mudballs began to dissolve in the water as he tried to quench his thirst.
We had to search for his eyes. We finally found this one. We never did find the other. This poor little one eyed dog. How long had he been fending for himself like this?
When this poor boy walked, he stumbled. He did not walk in straight lines. He did not have a normal gait. He walked like a dog that had spent too many hours at the local bar, stumbling from side to side. I wondered if there could be something neurologically wrong with him?
Is there any conceivable way this poor dog can see through those matts?
His feet were matted with fur, mud, and burrs.
His toe nails were terribly long.
The matted fur could be shaved off in one large sheet.
Beneath the fur, the burrs were embedded and irritating his skin.
There were several areas of severe irritation and infection.
The fur on his feet was shaved off like a thick sock, one matt entangled into another.
His belly and underside were just covered in matted mudballs. His penis was tangled into a matt that created tension, and physically pulled it off center pointing to one side of his body.
His teeth were just horrific. The brown on his teeth is severe tartar buildup.
His gums were receded and severely infected. Once the tartar was removed, the majority of the teeth needed to be removed. There was nothing left holding them in place. All but three were gently removed.
Now we had to wait. He had to wake up from anesthesia and show us his personality. Would he be hungry? Or was he so ill, that his appetite was gone. Can he walk normal or was he suffering from some neurologic condition? As a senior was he suffering from any age related diseases such as kidney problems, or diabetes? Would he be nice, or would he be mean as a result of his treatment?
When he awoke, the something evolved into this...
This "thing" is a dog. He is a poodle. He does have two eyes. He weighed in around 10 lbs. His hair once removed weighed in at 1.7 lbs. Imagine, if you weigh 140 lbs, wearing a 25 pound coat as you struggled to stay alive, unable to see, unable to protect yourself, unable to eat or drink. He gobbled down the food I gave him.
This unrecognizable "something" that came out of that car, just a few hours later became a very sweet senior boy. He jumps onto your legs like a puppy in order to inform you that it is time for you to pick him up and cuddle him. He eats like a trooper, with no matted mudballs to get in the way of his food. And, yes, he is now able to walk like a normal senior dog. There is no stagger, no stumble in his step. But he does need a little coat to keep him warm as his coat grows back. He has a minor condition called Hypothyroidism that is now being treated with a small pill given by mouth twice a day. He seems to be doing well otherwise.
He is in a foster home for HEART Rescue now.
Why did he stagger? Could it have been pain from the matting and burrs? Could it have been caused by not being able to see through those matts? Were the matts physically impairing the motor function of his legs? Could it be from all that extra weight in mud he was carrying? Could it have been because he was so hungry and needed a good meal? The answer is yes, to all of the above. I am certain they all played a part in his inability to walk.
He has two beautiful brown eyes. We found the second one underneath another matt. As a senior dog he does have a fair amount of clouding of his lenses which likely blurrs his vision to some degree. When compared to the quality of his vision when he was struggling with those matts on his face, I would say he is very happy with his current visual accuity.
He is a very sweet boy.
We named him Jarah, a Hebrew name meaning sweet. His foster mom calls him Frankie, for short (?). As sweet as he is, his adoption potential is not good. While he would make someone a loving companion, his age makes him less likely to be adopted. Few people want to commit to an old dog for only a few years, and be hurt by the inevitable outcome of losing him to old age. He is safe and comfortable, and that is what matters.
This poor boy has been through so much. His coat condition did not happen while he ran free fending for himself. He would not have survived long enough, at his age, to allow his coat to get that long and in that bad of shape while he ran free.
While his previous life is unknown, one thing is known. This dog endured inadequate care for several months prior to his "release". He may have been found hours, or days after he was dumped, but it was unlikely that it was much more than that. He could not see well enough to find food on his own, or to avoid dangers such as traffic or coyotes. So who would allow a dog to get in such a condition, and then decide to "set him free" to fend for himself? I assure you, I do not know. The truth is, I do not want to know. I do not know where he came from, but I know where he is going. His life is good. He is safe. When he sleeps at night, he can wake up knowing he has food, water, shelter and TLC.
Amy's phone rang just a few days after we cared for Jarah. A small, dirty, matted senior poodle with bad teeth was discovered in similar condition, also near Iowa Falls...
Perhaps Jarah was not alone?
If you would like to assist HEART Rescue in the care of their homeless animals, like Jarah, feel free to visit their website and consider making a donation. http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/heart-eldora.html
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