For both humans and animals, there is no predictable timeline as to how many years we grace this earth. Some of us live charmed lives, others of us struggle day to day to deal with life's "speed bumps". Others for no apparent reason face adversity, abuse, neglect and abandonment on many levels.
For every life description, there are individual reactions and coping mechanisms. How one evolves in emotion, love and the need for others is often marred by life's misfortunes.
So, one would ask if this in fact describes the condition of animals?
Certainly, they have less control of their circumstances and ability to change them. They depend on the love and compassion of humans to protect and nurture them.
Sadly, some of us fail to meet our beloved animals' needs on both an emotional and physical manner, leaving them to be victims of indifference and abject disregard.
Meet Courtnie the Rottweiler
So, please take a moment to meet a wonderful dog named Courtnie who came to PAWS a couple of months ago. She is a 4-5 year old female Rottweiler who exudes love for all people in a contagious manner which immediately forces you to pet her and have her respond in kind with a big kiss.
Large in stature and gentle to a fault, she was taken in by Animal Control and we in turn took her in. If there ever was a dog in need of rescue, Courtnie was the one. We quickly saw that Courtnie needed medical attention for a variety of superficial problems.
Courtnie, who had not been spayed was in "heat", but more troublesome, she developed an urinary tract infection with visible blood.
Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer?
Courtnie was treated accordingly by our veterinarian, but it worsened and she was taken to a specialist for an ultra sound and sadly, the presumptive diagnosis was bladder cancer. Upon further testing to determine the type of cancer we were very happy to find Courtnie did not have cancer.
Courtnie, however did require a spay, but this procedure was not typical as she was anemic and there was the potential for a transfusion, as well as the need to “tack” her stomach down, as bloat can occur in large dogs. In addition, there were multiple sites that needed to be biopsied. With that being said, Courtnie came out of the surgery with flying colors, but did require a stay of several days in intensive care.
Back to PAWS - Transition to the Heintz Home
After all of this, Courtnie returned to PAWS prepared to recuperate and heal in anticipation of going to her permanent home with Greg and Allison Heintz.
This wonderful couple had stepped up to the plate to foster Coutnie when it was thought that she had cancer, but now were committed to adopting her!
Much to our dismay, a few days later, Courtnie was seen to be bleeding internally as she vomited blood. Blood soon became apparent from her nose as well, so we rushed her back to Animal Specialty Center.
Once again, this poor girl was hospitalized in intensive in order to stabilize her. It was determined that she had developed ulcers from previous medication.
Again after several days she returned to PAWS to the arms of staff and the Heintzes. She is doing well and thriving in her new loving home. At long last, the chance she so deserved.
Courtnie had a previous life that we can't undo, nor could we have had any
control of it. She is a very lucky girl who has been blessed with a wonderful adoptive family to help her through her recovery.
Another wonderful pet that has joined PAWS is Spud.
Spud is a kind and gentle 10-year-old Jack Russell Mix who came to us from Animal Control. Spud had the normal medical issues that needed to be addressed in older or “senior” animals, such as dentistry and some gastro-intestinal problems. It was not much later, however that he displayed exercise intolerance and labored breathing when walking. There were no cardiac or lung issues to support these symptoms, so we were lulled into a false sense of security, which unfortunately did not last.
One of our wonderful volunteers decided to foster Spud, but shortly after his arrival Spud collapsed, warranting emergency care. After a thorough exam, he appeared to be his normal self and the thought was that he had experienced a “vagal nerve reflex” which is common in animals and people.
Simply put the pulse rate is reduced and there is weakness or “fainting”.. At the time he seemed fine, but he would have to be watched closely. He unfortunately had a subsequent severe episode where he displayed seizure like tremors, weakness in the hind quarters on his left side and other neurological issues.
Spud, just as Courtnie, needed to be seen at the specialty center, this time requiring a neurologist. His presumptive diagnosis was either Spud had a brain tumor or suffered a vascular stroke, which could only be determined by a very expensive diagnostic, an MRI. Although this was a huge financial undertaking so soon after Courtnie, nonetheless we knew it was the right thing to do for Spud in order to be able to treat him correctly.
It was found that there were no tumors, but that Spud had suffered a small stroke. Luckily, there were no residual factors such as paralysis and he would be placed on an aspirin regimen for the rest of his life.
Spud is still looking for his forever home, although he is presently in an extremely loving foster situation. Spud is such a low maintenance guy, who loves nothing more than to play with squeaky toys and have a game of catch with his favorite ball. He is quite adept as a “pitcher” when he throws the ball back. He can entertain himself and adjusts extremely well to any environment.
Spud Provides All the Pluses
Spud provides all the pluses in owning a “senior." He is housebroken, sleeps through the night and he likes other dogs, as a bonus. Spud is simply a compact bundle of love! Spud’s life could have been shortened very quickly if there had been a tumor, but, like Courtnie he was not meant to leave our world graced and blessed so touchingly and permanently.
To know that we have rescued these two wonderful creatures not just once when we found them, but again pulling them through medical emergencies is payment beyond dollars and cents. It is saving their lives in every sense of the word and the reward is redemption for them and gratification to the very core of our souls at PAWS.
The realities of running a not for profit however is dictated by dollars and cents.
PAWS strives to meet all the medical needs of our dogs and cats, simply because it is our mission and responsibility. We will never allow expense to alter our acceptance of all animals, regardless of their age, special needs, or medical history.
This unique commitment that we have pledged to our animals truly makes us stand out as a leader in the shelter arena. One of our biggest assets is our extremely generous network of donors who truly are the part of the PAWS family on which we depend and rely.
The stories of Courtnie and Spud, we hope will inspire you to continue to assist us in our endeavor to always go above and beyond when a life hangs in the balance.
Can You Help Us?
We ask that you afford us the opportunity to treat all the Courtnies and Spuds that have and will pass through our doors. Let us continue to honor the sanctity of life.
If you can find it in your heart to contribute to our medical fund, please call PAWS at (203) 750-9572. Any amount helps and is appreciated.
“Animals are reliable, full of love, true in their affection, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to – Alfred A. Montepart
Let us all widen this circle of compassion between animals and people.
By giving to these animals, you will indeed live up to their standards. You will make their lives better, and in doing so make yours all the more fulfilled.
Thank you for your generosity on behalf of all the members of PAWS, but most especially, our animals.