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.

Kemo shelter pic

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.

kemo at vet

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.

Advertisements

Another day, another overwhelming number of pleas for help in our inbox.

There are a few people whose emails I always open and read, because they are very good at assessing dogs. If they say this dog is gold, I know we’ve got to do whatever we can to help them get out of the shelter alive.

Today is one of those days.  Here’s the email:

I have little time to save this 8 year old gentle giant’s life—the shelter vet emailed me and said how gentle and loving, goofy and sweet this boy was—-but she asked me if I thought it was possible to find a good place for him as they cannot keep him long they are so crowded.

IMG_9548

I met him today and loved him. He is a loving gentle boy who seemed to be good with every dog he met—another dog kissed him on his nose through the bars. He was patient and non reactive to the little and big dogs he met, even those barking wildly at him.

I am asking to please be the contact for this boy as I would die a thousand deaths to have him sent to a bad place, or some stranger on Facebook to rot in a crate—-

His rear legs are a little weak due to age and I roughly estimate that he only might have a year or two left in him. How I wish that we could give that to him in a loving environment, and so his last moments are filled with memories of being loved and not alone in a shelter. But he does NOT need hospice—he walks fine and will be happy for quite some time. Is there a miracle out there for this gentle, noble giant?

We don’t have any open foster homes at the moment, but we really want to save this boy. Is there anyone out there who can help us help him?

Link to video to see  him in action: http://youtu.be/66Lcl40a5xs

Please keep in mind that Elderbulls are slower to place than younger dogs, so this could be a long-term foster. Puggles & Pitties will cover all vet expenses until he is adopted. We also provide a crate and a starter 30-lb bag of food (if needed).  If you can open your heart and your home to this sweet boy, please contact us right away at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com.

Many thanks!

Behind the scenes…

December 2, 2012

We here at Puggles & Pitties generally prefer to work behind the scenes to get stuff done. We’re not good about updating this blog or our Facebook page, because we’re really busy rescuing dogs, or finding a rescue to help a dog we’re not able to help ourselves.

Case in point:  Tyson the Elderbull.  We posted about him a little over a month ago and then again last week.  We really, really, REALLY wanted to help him. We like helping senior pitties, or elderbulls as we call them. They are usually pretty calm dogs, just looking for a place to rest their sweet little heads (OK, big blockheads, but sweet nonetheless).  Yes, they may have some medical issues, as any senior dog will, but generally they have little to no behavioral issues.  They are incredibly grateful to be rescued and will love you more than you can imagine. The love you find you feel for them will take your breath away.

Ever since we had to say good-bye to Rufus, we have been on the lookout for another senior who would be a good candidate for the rescue, and we were sure Tyson was it. So one way or the other, we had to save him.

Well, we are happy to announce that Tyson left the shelter yesterday!! Through a frantic series of texts and emails, his rescue was coordinated last week – finding a foster, arranging the shuffling around of some dogs so that foster could help, finding another foster, arranging the shelter pull, coordinating times for the pull and subsequent hand off…it takes a LOT of work and a LOT of help from wonderful volunteers to make a rescue happen!

But yesterday it all came together for Tyson.  Here he is during his ride from the shelter to his foster home:

Tyson

Free at last!!

His foster mama said his breath was HORRENDOUS and he needed to be seen ASAP. So today she took him to an anesthesia-free dentist who was able to pull one of the teeth that was under that tongue of his. It was so rotted, it just came right out. She also cleaned all his other teeth and said he needed to come back in about 3 months for a check up.  We also discovered that his tongue hangs out because his jaw is malformed. We can’t tell if it was a genetic problem or if it was broken at some point at not treated, but his lower jaw doesn’t align correctly to allow his tongue to stay in his mouth.  Because the salivary glands are located under the tongue, the teeth that are constantly under his tongue are exposed to more saliva than they normally would be, which will lead to excessive decay and tartar on those teeth.  So we need to keep an eye on them to make sure they stay in good shape.

But the BEST news, is that Tyson gets along with his foster brother and sister really well, and the foster mom wants to keep him!!  So in the process of finding a foster for Tyson, we ended up finding his forever home!!  HURRAY for TYSON!!

And that is what we call a happy ending!  Thank you to Sarah, Anna, Yvonne, Chela, Paula, and Cathy for making this happen!!

Help Us Help TYSON!!

November 27, 2012

Oh no!  Remember Tyson, the sweet elderbull that we posted about a few weeks ago?  He’s STILL sitting in the shelter!!

Tyson the Elderbull

Look at those ears!! Look at his silly tongue that’s always sticking out and ready for a kiss!!

Here’s the original email we received:

TYSON – ID#A1127037

Tyson is a boy with a reputation- a good one, that is. He has a cute face that you can’t help but love… and oh, those eyes! How sweet they are!

Tyson was an owner surrender because the family moved away and he was not part of their plan. Heart broken and lost, Tyson marched forward and he’s now made lots of new friends at the shelter. But before the family left him, they wanted to let us know just how wonderful Tyson.

According to the family, Tyson loves everyone; gets along with other dogs, lived with children and was great with them as well.

Tyson has a gentleness and sweetness about him. He loves people, and loves to spend time with his volunteer friends. We’ve seen him around a couple of smaller dogs and he had no reaction towards them. He’s not all that athletic; no fetch, no swimming, but boy, does he love to cuddle up next to you and be showered with lots of attention! By the way, don’t ever look back when you walk away from him, he will look at you with those sad puppy eyes… and the guilt will get you.

Tyson is about 8 years old. We all know the harsh and sad reality that older dogs have a harder time finding homes- but we must keep trying- especially for a wonderful boy like Tyson, who’s wonderful in more ways than one.

Well, guess what? Tyson’s time is UP.  The shelter is giving him til the end of the week – NOVEMBER 30th!! – to be rescued or adopted. After that…

Senior pit bulls are truly the BEST dogs ever. Look at our post about RUFUS.  They are sooooo lazy and relaxed and really just want a soft bed to chill out on.  They have tons of love left in their hearts, and they are more than happy to share it with you.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pittie but aren’t quite sure, Tyson is a great option. Well-mannered, gets along with other dogs and with kids, and doesn’t require a ton of physical activity. PERFECT!!!

We really, really, REALLY want to rescue Tyson.  It’s breaking our hearts that he’s still stuck at that shelter. But we can’t – CAN NOT – help him without a foster home. Please, please, please…

Yes, we’re begging.  Tyson’s life is on the line. We’re begging with our whole hearts. Please help us save him.

Contact us at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com if you can find it in your heart to open your home to Tyson.

A Glance at Our Inbox…

October 26, 2012

We’ve received 3 pleas for help this week that are just BREAKING our hearts.  We really REALLY want to help, but we need fosters in order to do that. Here are the dogs tugging at our heartstrings this week.  If you are willing to foster them, please let me know ASAP at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com.

EMAIL 1:  SONNY & CHER (bonded pair)

A bonded pair, adorable as anything. The only thing better than a puggle and pittie pair is a pittie with a chi.  There’s a Facebook page just for pictures of these wonderful combinations!

Here’s the email about them:

CHER (ID#A1343043)- female white stafffie
SONNY (ID#A1343046)- male chihuahua

Sometimes, I dread bonded pairs. It’s just so hard in so many ways… It’s heartbreaking to separate them, especially when they’re deeply bonded. But what are the chances of the pair getting adopted or rescued TOGETHER?? Are we lessening their chance by insisting that they stay together or are we better off letting them go separate ways? But what if one cannot live without the other? And what if one gets adopted and the one left behind is euthanized? Oh, the darn what if’s…

And it’s as if things aren’t complicated enough and the odds aren’t small enough.. what are the chances of even one adoption when one is a chihuahua and the other is a staffie?? It’d be easier if we could just keep walking and not stop. But how do you ignore the sight of two dogs cuddling together, with confusion and sadness in their eyes? The only thing that made it bearable is because they have each other… They are all each other have.

Now you understand my pain.

But no worries, Sonny told Cher, “I got you babe”.

Sonny is the Mr. Social Butterfly who possess a flair for the dramatic 😉 He always has an exaggerated (but happy!) smile on his face. He sits by the kennel door and tremble because he knows he’s going out for a walk, and he can hardly contain his excitement. He’s always happy to see everyone, and he loves to hang out with people! He’s funny in a clownish way because he has so many facial expressions. And boy, does he have a cute face or what?! I LOVE his smile, so genuine and with such lightheartedness.

Cher was terrified when we first met her. I had to lift her up from her bedding to give her a new blanket because she was scared to move 😦 She was so gentle though, and with each pet on the head she relaxed. It didn’t take long before she’s blossomed into a happy, sweet girl and we just love to see her smile!

Sonny and Cher do everything together. They love to go walking together, and they love to play fetch! Well, it’s more like, Cher catches the ball and runs with it while Sonny trails behind her thinking that he’s chasing the ball 😉 They have fun, that’s all that matters!

Sonny and Cher need a home. So here I go- I’m just going to ask, but I won’t insist- that they stay together. All we can do is try, and the fact that we try means that they have a chance. And their chances just got better because you’re reading this. Maybe you know someone, maybe someone you know knows someone…

Personally, I want them to stay together.

Email 2: TYSON the ELDERBULL

There is something magical about a senior pittie.  It’s really the perfect age to adopt one.  All they want to do is snuggle, and pitties are the BEST snugglers!!

Look at those ears!  Look at that tongue!

Here’s the email we received:

TYSON – ID#A1127037

Tyson is a boy with a reputation- a good one, that is.  He has a cute face that you can’t help but love… and oh, those eyes!  How sweet they are!

Tyson was an owner surrender because the family moved away and he was not part of their plan.  Heart broken and lost, Tyson marched forward and he’s now made lots of new friends at the shelter. But before the family left him, they wanted to let us know just how wonderful Tyson.

According to the family, Tyson loves everyone; gets along with other dogs, lived with children and was great with them as well.

Tyson has a gentleness and sweetness about him.  He loves people, and loves to spend time with his volunteer friends.  We’ve seen him around a couple of smaller dogs and he had no reaction towards them.  He’s not all that athletic; no fetch, no swimming, but boy, does he love to cuddle up next to you and be showered with lots of attention!  By the way, don’t ever look back when you walk away from him, he will look at you with those sad puppy eyes… and the guilt will get you 😉

Tyson is about 8 years old.  We all know the harsh and sad reality that older dogs have a harder time finding homes- but we must keep trying- especially for a wonderful boy like Tyson, who’s wonderful in more ways than one.

EMAIL 3:  Human Family Killed, Dogs Taken to Shelter (bonded pair)

UPDATE:  I have definitively committed to these 2 and will be picking them up on Saturday (10/27).  They really, really need a foster home to go to, but I just couldn’t leave them in the shelter any longer.

Their world has just been turned completely upside down.  They CAN NOT die in a shelter now!!

Here’s their video:  http://youtu.be/Qo6axXmodk8

Here’s the info about them:

Estrellita A1339583
Chocolata A1139588

I remember seeing this on the news: a mother and her 2 small daughters were killed when she lost control of her car, the father was taken to the hospital in very serious condition. They had been returning from a birthday party I believe, the little girl was surely feeling safe and happy and tired. She was probably talking to her mother about the party, she was sitting in the front seat, her head turned towards her mother, she was smiling. She thought of her little dogs, Estrellita and Chocolata, waiting for her at home, and what she was going to wear to school tomorrow.

In a split second, her future was taken away from her. I imagined the grief the father must feel…..

Yesterday I met Estrellita and Chocolata at the North Central shelter. Estrellita was sitting and shaking in the little plastic bed. I opened the cage and went in to say hello. Estrellita is a 5 year old spayed Chi/Doxie x and Chocolata is a spayed Chi/Pug x. They looked so lost and sad and confused when I first saw them through the bars of their cage.

When I entered the cage, their whole demeanor changed. You can tell they were very loved dogs….they are so sweet and gentle. They were so starved for love, they must have been very attached to their people. I can only imagine what it must feel for them…..one normal night like so many others their family went out, they waited patiently like they always did, how joyous was it when they came home…..only this time their family never came home. The father is still in the hospital a month later and will never be the same.

The family’s sister, overwhelmed and grief stricken, took the two dogs to the shelter……Estrellita and Chocolata look at everyone who walks past their cage wondering if their family has finally come for them. They are just little dogs, there is no way to explain the magnitude of the tragedy that has befallen their family.

But they are scared, I could feel their little hearts beating, they don’t understand why they are here or what is going to happen to them. Please don’t let their lives too end tragically.

~  ~  ~

I don’t imagine we can personally save ALL of these dogs this week, but if we can even save just one (or one pair), I will be able to sleep better. Please please please…All they need from you is a warm bed. We’ll provide food, a crate if needed, and cover all vetting expenses. All of these dogs are URGENT, so please contact us RIGHT AWAY!!!  pugglesnpitties@gmail.com

Thank you!!

%d bloggers like this: