by Azreel | July 11th, 2010
Late on the 4th of July, this little angel found her way onto our front porch.
Walking out to my truck late at night, I heard a rustling in the bushes planted in a garden in our front yard. Emerging from the shadows walked another odd looking shadow. It was dark, and late at night, and this creature made a bee-line for me, initially giving me a fright. But I soon saw the head down/tail down posture and recognized a horribly submissive dog. She came right up to me and sat down at my feet, looking up at me with these sad, deep brown eyes. We named her Liberty.
Liberty literally came to us begging for food, water, and a safe place to sleep. This took a lot for such a timid dog. While we don’t know her history, she had been spayed at some point before she found herself on the streets. She’s very shy and cowers at the slightest touch, and yet she’s incredibly affectionate and wants nothing more than to be pet and cuddled, though it takes her a while to warm up and relax.
After taking her inside and letting her get accustomed to our other rescue dogs, Espresso and Rascal, we inspected her and found her covered with fleas and ticks, her hair falling out, and her ears infected and filthy. Her claws had not been trimmed nor worn down for some time – they were so long that her toes for forced to splay out. That couldn’t be comfortable. First step: grooming and bathtime!
I can’t recall the last time I saw water that brown. She was a very dirty girl! We also washed off and killed literally hundreds of fleas and a half dozen ticks. It took a couple of treatments of permethrin based dips to kill all the fleas, but after successive baths she was finally flea free. We took the time to trim her nails, being careful not to trim too far and nick the overgrown cuticle.
Finally, it was time to take a trip to the vet for a checkup. Everyone at the vet’s office immediately fell in love with our shy little angel. But the news was not good. Her ears were inflamed and possibly infected from the dirt and grime in them. They found tapeworm evidence in her stool, and the skin problems looked like more than just a flea allergy. It was very likely that she has demodectic mange as well.
Then came the worst news. She tested positive for heartworm. It wasn’t so long ago that heartworm was a death sentence for a canine, and my heart sank when I heard the news. The Dr. said that it wasn’t a death sentence, that there were cures, but they weren’t cheap and would take weeks, even months, before she would be cured. Costs could exceed $1,600 just for the heartworm.
My head dropped. I was prepared to spend hundreds of dollars to get our little angel healthy and happy, but we just don’t have the thousands it would take to cure heartworm. The vet told us that starting her on a heartworm preventative would reduce the lifespan of the parasitic heartworms that made their homes in the blood vessels between her heart and lungs. While that would reduce the amount of damage they would do, it would not prevent it all, and she could still suffer horrible damage to her heart and lungs. Damage that would seriously impact her health and quality of life, or possibly even kill her.
We’re determined to find a solution however. I spent the few hundred dollars we could afford for the vet services and started her on a flea treatment and heartworm prevention regime. In the meantime I put the word out to friends of ours across the internet and across the nation. We’re exploring our options right now, but time is limited. Every day and week that goes by is more damage that is being done to her heart and lungs.
Edit: OK. Too many people are asking to help, and as much as my pride says not to, I’m going to open this up for donations. I feel bad doing it, so here’s the deal: If you donate $50 or more, I will host a website for you for free for up to two years at my webhosting company. If you are in the Dallas / Fort Worth or North Texas area and donate $100 or more, my wife’s catering company will prepare and deliver a custom designed cake (serving up to 30 people) to the event of your choice.
Any funds received in excess of the amount of her vet bills will be donated to a local animal charity or no kill shelter.
This paypal account is linked to my Web hosting company account, so that’s the email you’ll see if you choose to donate.