Every day I check the Craig’s List postings and send out cautionary e-mails to those listing their dogs as free to good home. One of the postings caught my attention: It mentioned two seniors looking to be re-homed for free; a Basset Hound & a Miniature Dachshund. I sent my usual e-mail offering my help in re-homing them (I receive thank you phone calls to e-mail responses telling me where to go!) and I received a response from their owner.
He told me he had broken up with his long term partner and could not keep the dogs any longer. I was trying to arrange transportation to their adopter in Pensacola, Florida and it was taking the longest time. He told me they both were current on their shots and were in great health. I finally set up the flight with Pilots N Paws so they could be flown to Pensacola on Monday, February 13th. I drove to Ft. Lauderdale to pick them up on Sunday the 12th, and arrived at the house where they were being kept. The house was in a middle class neighborhood of tiny little 2 bedroom houses, which wasn’t bad; but what was to come shocked me to my core.
The owner kept me waiting in front of the house for about a half an hour. I heard him inside moving a cage around making noise and Daisy barking. When they finally emerged from the house (which was vacant by the way) he started apologizing for Daisy’s toenails being so long. They appeared not to have been cut for months. They were literally millimeters away from growing into the pads on her paws. He also started making excuses for her eyes, which were FILLED with green goop. Happy-Go-Little Lucky came running out to investigate me and the situation. His medical issues were all internal.
All I wanted to do was to pick up the dogs and get them out of there. The guy gave me their food & water bowls, complete with dried roach feces caked on them. They smelled awful and Daisy just howled the entire way home. Only when I arrived at home to give both of them a bath, did I realize the extent of their suffering.
I noticed the obvious medical issues with Daisy’s eyes & toenails, but when I looked into her ears I almost became physically ill. What I initially thought was a row of ticks, turned out to be dirt and earwax buildup. Her ears were full of yeast and infection. She was having trouble seeing because of the infection in her eyes. As I felt her underside, I felt three huge tumors; Mammary tumors. They were as large as golf balls and she had scratched them raw. They were bleeding…She had pressure callouses on her little back legs where she had been in a crate or on a hard floor for an extended period of time.
Lucky’s medical issues weren’t as obvious. He urinated frequently and his testicles were sore to the touch. I knew he probably had issues with his prostate because of the symptoms he was displaying, but since I’m not a Vet; I sprang into action. I contacted the pilot to cancel their flight. I could not, in good conscience, send these dogs anywhere in not be coming right away, which was a blessing in disguise; she ended up not being able to take them after all.
I sat down on my bed and broke down in tears…wondering who could let their dogs suffer like this for so long? I contacted a Vet who came highly recommended. Dr. Arun at Summit Blvd. Animal Hospital did a miraculous job nursing these sweet dogs back to health. Their appointment was for Tuesday, February 14th at 8:00am. I took them both in after not sleeping all night long. Daisy did nothing but howl and whine, even after I gave her baby aspirin and Benadryl…she was in agony; poor little girl. Dr. Arun called me around noon to give me the diagnosis for them both. Half way through the conversation, I had to sit down. I became dizzy and nauseous from his description of their problems. This is what I wrote right after receiving that phone call: Dr. Arun told me that he’d never seen animals so neglected in a civilized country. One usually sees these problems in homeless animals from third world countries. Here are some of the things I can remember he told me:Lucky: Miniature Dachshund: Has stage 4 Periodontal disease. He needs an emergency dental and removal of infected teeth. While he is under anesthesia, Dr. Arun will perform the neuter. He does not remove the entire testicle, but does a closed neuter (small incision/less bleeding/less traumatic.) He has an enlarged prostate, has not had his shots/needs a senior blood screen, heartworm blood test and will need antibiotics (after the dental & surgery) & heartworm preventative. Dr. Arun believes the enlarged prostate is due to him not being neutered but will make sure nothing else is going on with his “manly” organs.
Basset Hound: A hot mess. She has so many problems, I lost track but they were ALL preventable. If the owner had taken the time to address them as they became problematic, she wouldn’t have been made to suffer all these years.
Daisy’s eyes have abnormal pressure within them (Ocular Hypertension). This may be due to the untreated URI that has been present for a long period of time. Dr. Arun will perform a special test on her eyes to rule out glaucoma, but he believes the problem stems from the infection present in her eyes from the URI.
Three bleeding Mammary tumors – not due to diet deficiencies, but actual growths that should have been removed years ago. Dr. Arun is doing an x-ray to determine the best and least invasive way to remove them without further traumatizing her. They have not metastasized elsewhere (they were caught in time).
She has stage 3 Periodontal disease and needs a dental cleaning She has a perforated eardrum due to all the wax build-up which caused pressure. Dr. Arun will do a deep cleaning and examine the eardrum more closely. He will make sure she has no more pain.
She has a severe skin infection. Inside the folds of her little chest, and belly (from scratching the mammary tumors). The pressure callous is infected. Her teeth are infected and need to be removed.
He asked me to come by the Animal Hospital so he could go over the charges with me. I could hardly concentrate on anything else the entire day. When I arrived at the Vet Hospital, I was ushered into an examination room. Dr. Arun came in with a five page estimate of charges and the total for their treatment: $7,300.00. He told me he would treat them because they were rescues, for $3,000.00. I had NO IDEA how I was going to pay $3,000.00 for their treatment, but I was determined to find a way.
I went home and turned to my animal rescue network on Facebook. I started a Chipin and sat in front of the computer for at least six hours a day, sharing the Chipin link and praying people would help. They did! I was able to raise the money in a little less than two weeks and they were off to surgery.
Lucky had all of his teeth pulled except the front ones and lost part of his manhood! Lucky also has a hole in the roof of his mouth leading to his sinus cavity caused by untreated infection in his rotten teeth. He had to take a flap of skin & tissue from his gums to cover the hole in what is called a “flap” procedure. The hole reopened a week later and he had to undergo another surgery to re-cover the hole.
Daisy had a Mastectomy and had her teeth cleaned. She didn’t lose as many teeth as Lucky did, but she doesn’t have a full set! Dr. Arun did the Ocular pressure test and the result was normal. He deep flushed her ears and made sure her eardrums weren’t perforated from the pressure of the earwax, dirt and the inflammation due to the untreated infection. She had skin infections from being in a moist environment.
Little by little, they improved with love, vet care and rest. They are wonderful, loving dogs and a piece of my heart left with them that evening that Jennifer picked them up to begin their journey to their new home. I still become teary-eyed when I see them in their new home being loved, clean and happy. I have learned a lot through this incredible journey, lessons that will last a lifetime… I thank God I was able to help them when I did, I don’t believe they would have survived much longer in that condition. Thanks to their new adoptive parents, the Nowicki family! They appear to have just taken over (at least the couch). Please keep me updated with pictures from time to time and when I come up to visit (I have family in the Batavia/LeRoy area) this fall or winter, I’d like to drop by to see them. They will be a part of my heart forever.