Elderbulls Melt My Heart
November 12, 2013
…and maybe my common sense too!
Saturday night as I was sitting on my sofa, watching a movie and randomly checking in on Facebook, a photo came across my wall that made me stop in my scrolling tracks.
If that face wasn’t sad enough, the description was the final straw:
Kilo owner surrender because of the landlord?? You have had him 12 years and landlord problems?? He is so sad his info A4651183 please he is a senior, a pit bull and owner surrender Carson shelter.
A 12 yr old pittie was stuck in a shelter, turned in by his owner??? I could not imagine it. Who would do that to a dog that had spent their entire lives with them? Whatever the situation, he needed out – NOW! I checked the Carson shelter website to see what their adoption policies were. Some shelters have hold times even for owner surrenders. Carson does not. And he was already neutered, so in theory he should be able to go right away. I headed to Carson first thing Sunday morning!
At the shelter, it was clear that the poor guy had some major arthritis going on in his back, hips and rear legs. He also had skin tags all over his belly and a large tumor hanging from his penis. Large in this case is about cherry tomato size. I could also tell he had a cataract in his left eye and the start of one in his right. He’s a BIG boy – 97.8 lbs! – and carrying all of that weight around had taken its toll on his poor body. Judging by the scars on his elbows and knees, he had spent a lot of time sleeping on something less than soft.
He also reminded me of Rufus. In fact, except for the ears, they’re almost identical! When Rufus passed, I made a promise that I would take in as many compassionate care elderbulls as I could but this is the first chance I’ve had to follow through on that promise. There was no question, seeing him look so sad behind that gate in his kennel, seeing how much he reminded me of Rufus and remembering what an awesome dog Rufie was, this boy was coming home with me!
Once we got on the road, I decided it was time to change his name. His name had been Kilo, but there was no way in the world I was going to keep that name with all of its drug-laden history. Given his age though, I thought it would be best for the new name to sound similar. So as we’re driving down the freeway back to San Diego, I start going through the alphabet: Kibo, Kico, Kido, Kifo… finally I got to Kimo and I thought to myself “Wait, that means something!” Smartphone to the rescue, I was quickly reminded that Kemo Sabe is what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, and it means “Faithful Friend.” EUREKA! It was perfect for this new sweet boy. So Kemo he became.
First stop for any new dog is the vet for a quick check up. We use a vet that is open 24/7 but evenings are considered emergency hours and rates are higher. We got to the vet after normal hours, so I decided to leave him there overnight so that the doctor(s) could examine him at their leisure. There was a long list of stuff I wanted them to look at, so I wanted to give them ample time to check him out.
Not an hour after leaving, they called me to say they believed he had bloat and needed to examine him right away. They also suggested that I come back so that I could speak with the doctor directly while everything was going on. I told them to go ahead with the xray of his belly that they requested and I was on my way.
The xray showed there was indeed a LOT of air in his stomach, and not much of anything else. The vet had gotten an xray that included part of his back too, and found that he had a collapsed vertebrae in his lower spine. Her best guess was that the pain from his back was causing him to gasp for air and also causing a decrease in his appetite. We needed to make him comfortable on super strong pain meds and administer antacids to reduce the air in his tummy. She also wanted to run blood work to see if there was anything else going on, like with his liver, kidneys, and adrenals. The estimate she provided was over $1200!! Given his age and his physical condition, I had a really hard time justifying that expense, but he had JUST gotten out of the shelter and hadn’t even started his happy life yet.
A friend mentioned to me that there were already some donation pledges on Facebook for him to the rescue that pulled him. I didn’t know anything about the pledges and I don’t ever consider them when deciding whether to pull a dog or not. I’m not in this for the money. But if any of that money actually came through, it would be a huge help in offsetting these costs. So I OK’d the treatment and then kept my paws crossed that he would be feeling better by the next day.
While I was at the vet, that same friend was telling people on Facebook about what was going on and everyone was asking for a YouCaring page. I hadn’t set one of these up before; I hadn’t done any major medical fundraising since ChipIn shut down. While Kemo and I were waiting for the results of his blood work, I set up a YouCaring page for him (smartphone to the rescue once again). If you’re interested, you can find it HERE.
The blood work showed that he had some kidney issues, but the vet thought they were from his not drinking enough water lately. There were no liver problems that she could see. His glucose levels were a little elevated which was strange since he hadn’t eaten anything. The vet wants to recheck him for diabetes once he’s more stable. The results seemed to confirm her thought that this was pain-related, so we proceeded with the treatment plan she had outlined previously.
By the time I got home from the vet, the YouCaring was already up to $440!!! HOLY COW! I was flabbergasted, truly. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for every single dollar that has been donated. I thought I would be lucky to raise $500 altogether, but apparently word was really getting around about this sweet elderbull who needed a fighting a chance.
The next day, Monday the 11th, the vet called to say that Kemo was doing great! The antacids were doing their job; the pain meds were doing their job; he was eating and drinking again; and he had a little spring in his step. I would be able to pick him up that night!
Now that he’s home, Kemo is even more like Rufus than I thought he was before. He gets along GREAT with all the other dogs in the house, regardless of size or temperament. He seems to particularly like Sophie just like Rufus did. He does seem to be housetrained, which is a bonus. He follows me around like a not-so-little shadow. He loves to lay on the sofa and just sleep sleep sleep. He tried to get on the big bed last night but at 98 lbs, I couldn’t help him get up that high so he had to make due on the floor. He has no interest in the dog beds whatsoever. He likes laying outside in the fresh air and sunshine. He’s a little camera shy, but so far I’ve managed to get a few pics of him snoozing away:
Since he takes up the entire sofa, guess who was sitting on the dog bed last night?
Somehow, the donations keep coming! Kemo will require regular blood work to monitor his kidneys and his glucose levels. He’ll need to be on pain meds the rest of his life. And he requires a special diet because of his excess weight and his kidneys being slightly compromised. His final vet bill was just over $900. Anything donated over that will go towards his aftercare.
Kemo is a very special dog. He’s exactly what you’d expect from an elderbull – sweet, loving, docile, lazy (lol!). I look forward to helping him enjoy his final days, weeks, or months in as much comfort as I can provide him.
A lot of people have asked me why I pulled him. To me, it wasn’t even a question. I went to get him because he needed me to. He will thank me every day for the rest of his life, just by snoring loudly on my sofa every night.