Just over 2 years ago we were celebrating the adoption of two of our dogs Mary & Dennis (Photo above is at the time of adotion, and Dennis is now called Bear). Sadly, that came to an abrupt end when the owner sent an email, "It's with a heavy heart..." We all know that this is the first line of what we never want to hear; the dogs are about to be dumped. Sure enough this was the case.
I'm really not sure why people think they can return their dogs? You return items of clothing, library books or something you've borrowed. Pets... no, it's called "abandoning"!
Of course I asked why and got, ''We can't afford to take them with us, we have no money''. I suggested the money be made available and was told they weren't sure where they'd be living etc etc. It didn't get any better thereafter - it got a lot worse. It turned abusive, aggressive, and somehow it was all my fault? It's interesting how when someone knows they've done wrong, they become different - defensive, angry and repeating how much they cared about the dogs. I asked for financial aid to help cover their medical costs and got nothing, not $1, in fact all we got was a bag of cheap food and we were told it was the only food they could eat?
The day before their deadline (we were given less than 2 weeks, I kid you not) we did find a foster. We were and are still so incredibly thankful to Dawn, who had recently lost one of her own dogs and had spent every dollar she had trying to save him. If Mary & Bear hadn't found a foster, the only option was for them to be put to sleep, not by me but by their owners. So Dawn was willing to help, and even though she had no money left she wouldn't see the dogs die.
They've never been apart, but as they are over ten years old now, their chances of adoption together are of course greatly reduced. So, I knew it would be nigh on impossible to find them a home or foster together and that was before I saw them. We weren't prepared for the condition of the dogs on their return. They were both emaciated, Mary with a large area of hair loss, half her body actually - we were told it was a bad grooming session. They walked slowly and stiffly as if in a trance, it was a sad sight I'll tell you. Dawn told me Bear stumbled and fell more than once and she was really concerned about the steps at her place, they are small but still cause for concern.
They've now been to the vet and had a health check with shocking results. Both dogs weighed 13kg - 5 kg less than the last weigh-in. The vet said they were underfed, their teeth weren't too bad so it was unlikely that would have prevented them from eating. Their limbs were stiff and they both stumbled as they slowly moved round, they have arthritis for which they had been given no supplements or pain killers. Mary's spine and every rib was visible. Bear is just as thin, you could feel all his bones, but he's lucky his hair covers the frail creature below.
After 2 weeks on high quality food and fresh meat, painkillers, probiotics and supplements, the difference is there already.. WOW - Dawn we love you, you saved them!
Thank goodness they are back under Kirsten's Zoo's care now, but we need help to cover food, medical and grooming costs. They will be on painkillers and supplements until the end of their natural lives. If you'd like to begin the year of the dog by giving to two of many in need, then you can so via any of the methods here.
Happy year of the Dog,