December 13, 2014
It’s Saturday so that means I have to get dressed soon and head off to work. The weather here in Northern California is gray–foggy, overcast, and cold–but its the most beautiful sight in the world to this drought-ridden state and I’m quite happy to be enjoying a normal California winter for a change.
This last storm that is still rolling through the state was a doozy and though here in my part of the state we only have experienced some wind and a lot of rain it was still enough to make people stay indoors and sandbag doors and low-spots to try to keep all that water out. One of the big concerns for those of us involved in animal rescue was all the dogs running loose in this terrible weather. The Facebook page where we communicate about dogs in need just blew up as we reached out to each other and tried to make sure all these unfortunate creatures were tucked away safe and warm when the storm hit.
My daughter in law was one of those people. Seems my son was outside playing with their 2-year-old son when three dogs came running up to them. One of them was just a pup and he climbed onto a couch that sits outside the four-plex where they live, curled up, and went to sleep. He was still there several hours later so my daughter in law took pity on him and gave him a blanket and a can of tuna and posted his picture on her Facebook page, asking if anyone could take him. He was filthy, covered in fleas, and obviously sick and their landlord doesn’t allow dogs.
My oldest daughter saw the post and hurried over there and picked the puppy up. She brought him home to me and when I first saw him I knew he was seriously ill. His coat was rough, he had flea dermatitis all over his body, his ribs and hip bones were sticking out, he had a belly full of worms, and he was lethargic and listless. I was furious when I saw what poor shape he was in. How can anyone allow a puppy to get this way? My heart broke a little because I could see in his eyes he had pretty much just given up. I sent my daughter to go get puppy wormer and I set to work.
First he got a bath in Dawn dish soap–the blue one. If you ever have a young animal that is too young for flea shampoo Dawn works very well because it is gentle on the skin , has nothing to harm them in it, and kills fleas. (Same reason that wild life rescuers use it to clean all the birds that get caught in oil slicks.) I dried him off and by then my daughter was home with the wormer. I syringed the recommended amount into his mouth and fixed him some food. When he pooped about a half hour later it was sooo nasty–full of worms and pure water. I wrapped him in a blanket and snugged him up on the bed with me while my daughter sent messages to all the rescues we know to see if anyone had room for this poor baby.
We finally connected with a woman who lives in Stockton. I had never heard of her and I don’t remember seeing her on our page but she said she could take him. She usually takes in only adult dogs but would make an exception for him. So the next day after work I came home, changed, and my daughter and grand-daughter and I took the puppy to a town that was a good hour away. The lady seemed hesitant when we gave him to her. I had told her he had a severe flea infestation and was very sick when we spoke to her on the phone but I guess she wasn’t prepared for the actual physical sight of him. She asked me several times if he had parvo and I said no, just a seriously bad case of worms and neglect. She finally took the puppy and we left.
Halfway home I got a frantic message from her on Messenger and then a phone call. She was convinced the puppy had parvo and needed me to come pick him up. Apparently he had pooped and she sent a picture of it to a couple of friends who are vet techs and they said he had parvo. By now I was just disgusted with her and turned around and drove back in rush-hour traffic and picked the little boy back up. She kept insisting that he had parvo and that I needed to take him to the vet asap. I thanked her for her time and headed home.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t just fall off that turnip truck yesterday. I have been doing my own doctoring of all my critters for years now. Horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, birds–you name it, I have probably treated it. My family calls me before they call the vet to make sure it’s something vet-worthy or if they can just treat them at home. I have had dogs with parvo before and even though this puppy had really nasty diarrhea he didn’t have any of the other markers for the disease. He wasn’t vomiting, he was eating and drinking, and he didn’t have a fever. He did, however, hit ALL the markers for a severe worm infestation. Pot-bellied appearance, skin-and-bones frame, failure to thrive, rough coat, lethargic, severe diarrhea. I had my daughter look up which kind of worms caused the most damage and how to kill them, stopped at Tractor Supply and picked up the stronger wormer, and took the little guy home.
He is now happily ensconced in my bathroom with a warm bed, lots of fresh water, and I was feeding him baby food and cereal with potato water for the first three days. Now he is doing so well he is getting regular wet puppy food warmed up mixed with the baby cereal and Pedialyte. He wags and wiggles whenever I come in to see him and just wants to be snugged up and loved on. Today his poop was much firmer and almost normal so I know he is well on his way to a full recovery. This week I will take him to the clinic at our local shelter and get his first shots and when he is completely recovered and fully vaccinated I will find him a home or I will find another rescue that can take him and find him his forever home.
We have named him Twister because one of his ears seems to be deformed and flaps in on itself. It bothered me at first but now I just think it adds character. He’s just a mutt–I call him a South Modesto dog–so have no idea how big he will get or what he will look like grown up. He is going to be a wonderful dog for someone and I’m just happy we saved him before the elements or the worms or some disease put out that final spark of hope he had in his eyes…
Did I need to add another dog to the pack? Oh my God no! I already have a foster that my daughter rescued a month ago that we are trying to rehome. I have my own pack of dogs to take care of. But that lady just really pissed me off and I’m glad I went and picked my little Twister back up. They would have treated him for something he doesn’t have and probably made him worse. I really don’t like it when I have someone trying to tell me what to do or acting like they know more than I do when I have done my research and know what I am dealing with. I would have never passed that pup off to someone else if I thought he had a communicable disease. I’m not that stupid or irresponsible. I realize that not everyone has my ethics or knowledge but don’t question my honesty or my experience. I may not have a degree behind my name but I do know what I am talking about and if I don’t know I will do my research and find out! Ok, rant is over!
Anyway. So do you ever rescue anything? People, animals, situations? My Cherry name has been Rescue Cherry ever since I went out to help in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I have a tendency to rescue things so the name stuck. Apparently I still do or I would have a lot less critters and people in my life!
I hope you are enjoying this holiday season. I know the weather across the states has been frightful, but I am hoping your home is cozy and warm and delightful! I am on my way to work now. My husband said it the best when he was walking out the door of the break room– “I am off to drive around in circles and pick people up that I don’t know for money”!! I almost died laughing and told him that made us sound like hookers!! So there’s your laugh for the day–enjoy! Maybe I will change my name to Hooker Cherry…
Here is my little Twister on the first day we had him. I will have to get more pictures as he gets better. Look at that sweet face–you can see why I had to rescue him!