Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Before" vs. "After"

So many times Heartland is asked to take in dogs or cats who have been mistreated or neglected. Lately we've had several of these cases - dogs with mange, dogs with hair so matted they can't walk, dogs with missing teeth and overgrown nails that curl under their feet. I admire the volunteers that take on these tough cases and work with these dogs to give them the care they need - multiple baths, shaving, veterinary care and a safe place to recover. We have a few of these dogs in foster care right now, and I'd like to tell you a bit more about them.

First is Kevin, a Maltese. He doesn't look the way a Maltese should look. He has suffered years of neglect, but finally he's somewhere safe where he will be looked after. He will have perhaps his first bath, a good shave down, teeth taken out that hurt him, neutering, vaccinations, good food and a soft bed, friends, and anything else to make him feel better and regain his health. One day, Kevin will have a real home with loving people. Thank you Karen for making that possible!

Two other dogs we have in foster care are Patch and Rags. You may have read about Patch on another foster blog. We took in Patch from a busy Animal Control facility. He had a very bad case of mange, which causes itching and hair loss. He was miserable until a Heartland volunteer took him in, got him to the vet and got medication for him, and is now treating him. About a week after we got Patch, another dog came into the same city Animal Control where we got Patch. He looked just like him, even down to the missing hair on his head. We knew right away they must be related. Due to the missing hair and wrinkles on their foreheads, I call them Klingon puppies (I'm a Star Trek fan). Patch's foster mom named the second puppy Rags, because he's such a ragamuffin. Rags was also held at Animal Control and was scheduled to be put down. During this time the mange continued to get worse, and at this point is much worse than Patch. When I pet Rags, handfuls of hair come out, and in many spots he's missing hair altogether. The top of his head is bleeding in several places from where he's scratched it so much, and he just looks miserable. In spite of that, he wags his tail when he sees me, and licks my hand when I pet him. We struggled to determine if we could help. Our foster homes are all full, treating him would be expensive, and he would be a longer-term foster due to the medical care he would require. But he is Patch's brother - a sweet adorable 8 week old puppy who has no one else. He can grow up to be a wonderful, healthy, happy dog if we can just give him some help. So we came up with a plan. I took Rags home to my house temporarily to get him through the quarantine period, and then he'll go to the same foster home with his brother Patch. Since they came into Animal Control at different times, we can't put them together until they both finish being quarantined to make sure they don't get sick. So for now, Patch is hiding in my house (don't tell my neighbors) in a quarantine area and his "real" foster mom comes over to visit and take him to vet appointments and such. We'll put out a public plea on our website for donations to help with the cost of their treatment. Right now I'm giving Rags some really expensive medicine for mange, as well as medicine for the secondary skin infections he has, and anti-itch medicine. He also has to get medicated baths two to three times a week. He got his first bath this morning and didn't enjoy it. I am an expert now though since I had to treat Noelle for the same thing a few months ago. She had a very minor case of mange in comparison. Patch is going through the same treatments at his foster home. Rags is so sweet - he wags his tail so hard every time he sees me, and he's kind of shy but with a little encouragement he comes running to me and loves to be held. I can't wait to see the reunion when we put Patch and Rags together again. Here is a "before" picture of Patch. I'll add another "before" picture of Rags soon.

If you'd like to help by making a donation to help cover the cost of medical treatment for Kevin or for Patch and Rags, please click on the Paypal Donate button at the bottom of our website, or you can mail donations to Heartland Humane Society of Missouri, PO Box 113, O'Fallon MO 63366.

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