I had a chance to visit with Hope today. The pictures do not do her condition justice. Even after a week of intensive veterinary treatment, she still looks completely emaciated. Petting her side, you can feel each and every rib; her spine and hip bones are clearly evident through her fur. In fact, she is still at only half her estimated body weight.
But as terrifyingly thin as she looks now, she is a hundred percent better than she looked about a week ago when we first met her. We received a call from Hoke County Animal Control about a retired law enforcement K9 that had just been seized for neglect. The dog was in very bad shape and needed immediate medical attention. T.A.R.A. took responsibility for the dog, named Hope, and immediately transported her to our emergency vet.
Hope was dehydrated and emaciated; our emergency vet rated her a 1 on a scale of 1 to 9 for body mass. This is the worst case we have personally been involved with and we are staggered by the amount of neglect this dog has endured. She was started on small amounts of food to get her body used to eating and had to be treated for a massive infestation of intestinal parasites. This is a good indicator that she was forced to eat dirt and/or feces to survive along with whatever rainwater may have collected where she was tethered.
She was doing better through the week and was able to stand on her own after about 24 hours of care. Then she took a sudden and frightening turn for the worse on Thursday. After consultation with specialists at NC State, Hope was given a blood transfusion. Later that day she rallied and has since been doing much better.
Today, when I visited her, she was accepting pets, drinking water, and walking on her own. She even made it vocally clear that she believed she should be fed every half an hour rather than every four hours. Hope will be able to go home to her foster’s house tonight and will remain under veterinary supervision until she returns to a normal body weight. We estimate that should take about a month.
While Hope still clearly has a long road ahead of her, we are finally able to breathe and optimistically look towards her future.
Hope is an 8 or 9 year old retired law enforcement K9 who should have been able to spend the rest of her life dozing on the couch watching reruns of her favorite sit-coms. Instead she has spent the last week fighting for her life as she struggled to come back from the brink of starvation.
T.A.R.A. is a local foster-based 501(c)3 pet rescue that is dedicated to helping the homeless animals of Hoke and Cumberland counties.
Tax ID number for tax deductible donations is: 46-07364922. Donations for Hope’s care can be made via PayPal to: email@example.com or directly to one of the two vets providing her treatment.
Small Animal Emergency Animal Clinic, 5091 US-1, Vass, NC 28394, (910) 246-0405.
Pine Tree Animal Hospital, 2352 NC-5, Aberdeen, NC 28315, (910) 944-7892.