Thursday, October 4, 2012

Behind The Scenes

                  Act One-

He was wandering around rural north Georgia rummaging through garbage cans and garbage in ditches by the roadside to find something to eat.  Animal control was alerted when people were throwing sticks and stones at him to chase him out of their garbage. His teeth are cracked down to the gum most likely from chewing on a chain all his life, his flea-bitten skin from head to toe rubbed raw and infected, his eyes infected oozing with pus - it is a wonder he could even see, his ears bitten and bleeding from flies, his elbows calloused and swollen - a telltale sign from laying on cement for years, lesions on his back from deep scarring, and starving.  

I ask you, what rescue in their right mind would take this dog? It was heading toward the last few hours of his life. He was not considered adoptable. This dog would be destroyed never knowing any life except pain and hunger.

It's was a year just this past September 24, 2012, that Major, previously known as Cage #584, came to us from a rural animal control in absolutely deplorable condition.  No dog or animal is immune to stupid, uncaring, or just plain ignorant owners.  

Major is a beautiful purebred yellow lab and for his mere age estimate of seven years, was in despicable condition.  It is no wonder he was never claimed by his owners, they would have been charged with animal cruelty, at least I would hope they would. Animal control picked him up as a stray. Animal control officers are so over run with   unclaimed dogs and family pets turned in because the family found a free puppy or the kids are tired of their once beloved pet. Like an old toy, the dog is discarded. Our society looks the other way as millions of pets are killed at shelters, afraid, alone and dragged into a gas chamber to suffer until their last breath. 

It is unfortunate but with this economy, we smaller rescues have little money, rely on donations as we are not state-funded, and do not have enough foster homes to help all the dogs we would like, but Major was one we couldn't let be euthanized at animal control on a steel table all alone not knowing love at least one more time.  It wasn't his fault he was in this condition, it was because of a human; he deserved better so we just made room for "one more."  We weren't even sure if Major would live, but we knew we couldn't just leave him there.  This once  noble soul deserved more dignity.

Once Major arrived at home to our rescue, we made him a nice fluffy bed to rest his weary and emaciated body, and a nice bowl of quality dog food along with some chicken soup since as we all know chicken soup always makes you feel better.  Major seemed to be so relieved he slept so soundly for three days straight only to get up to eat and go outside, at times we would check him to make sure he was still breathing.  It seemed he was relieved he didn't have to scrounge for food, look out for predators, or find a place to sleep for the night out of harms way and the elements, after all the seasons were changing, winter was coming.

We scheduled Major for a check up with our vet.  He had a series of x-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds.  Along with the obvious infections as stated above, he was anemic from starvation, was diagnosed with megacolon (a condition in which waste remains in the colon causing the diameter of the colon to become abnormally enlarged. It can be a congenital or acquired condition; it can also be caused by trauma to the body, limbs and/or pelvic/spine area), was noted to have had extensive trauma and arthritis along his spine, and may have cancer.  He had intestinal blockages, which had to be removed before he was interested in eating. Perhaps he is older than seven, we just are not sure.  On a positive note, Major was determined to survive, and was surprisingly heartworm negative.  

What could Major's life have been like?  What had he gone through?  And for how long?  Was he just let go?  Was he "taken to the country" and left to fend for himself?  Where was he for so many years of neglect?

After months of research, testing, medication, good food, the love and devotion of his foster mom, Major is slowly gaining strength and endurance.  Along with the use of standard medications and holistic treatments, Major's megacolon has come under control.  We do still have to watch what and how he eats, but he has improved immensely. Having gone without food and companionship for so long, Major is still an indifferent eater and has to be tempted with variety. He will leave his food immediately if his foster mom leaves the room. He is determined he will not get left behind or abandoned again. He is happy, active and enjoying life. We will continue to work on Major’s health and ensure that he stays happy and healthy as long as possible.

Major is now the "grandfather" of the pack and schools all the young puppies.  He still follows his foster mom around from room to room, inside and out, as if he is still afraid of abandonment even after all this time, but that is "just dear Major," as his foster mom refers to him. 

Since we cannot guarantee his health, Major will remain a permanent resident of Canine Adoption Network to live the rest of his life loved and cherished with his foster mom.

If you would like to make a difference in a dog's life consider fostering.  If you cannot foster, consider sponsoring Major for a monthly donation of whatever you can afford, or a one time donation to Major or any other dog.  Every dollar helps.

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