Rescue at Work

                                   Pet Tales
                                          by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.
Rescue at Work

Mindy is a ten year old female spayed black and white Sheltie. Until a few months ago, she lived in northern Ontario. When she came south, her caregivers immediately fell in love with her gentle, undemanding manner. She was very interested in her new surroundings. She took special delight in the companionship she received from the two female Shelties who were already part of her new family unit. I'm sure Mindy felt refreshed, rejuvenated and invigorated by the new emphasis on her grooming and personal hygiene that became a part of her daily routine.

It was discovered on a fecal examination that Mindy did have some intestinal parasites that required elimination. A few weeks later, when she had some wellness testing done on a blood sample, her veterinarian found that she was affected with chronic renal disease.

Flash By Again is a six year old male, black and white Greyhound. He began life in the southern United States. He had 5 brothers and sisters and lived on a farm with many other greyhounds. When he was just a few months old, several times a day he was let out to romp and play and run with his siblings and other dogs his age. He was fed well and housed comfortably and he grew up tall, well muscled and strong. However, most of the hours of his day were spent in a cage. He did not know that dogs come in any other model than a greyhound. He knew nothing of cats. Stairs and televisions and other inside the house stuff were completely foreign to him.

Before very long Flash By's exercise sessions became quite a bit more focused. Actually, they became downright intense and his long agile legs were soon operated by some impressively large muscle groups in his upper thighs and shoulders. He became familiar with travel and the calm, relaxed, quiet behaviour that was characteristic of his style was always evident as he rode throughout the countryside and visited new racetracks. The only problem was that he never quite lived up to his name. In fact, it was much more common for him to be flashed by than for him to flash by anyone else. 

Seaman is a nine year old male wolf grey, Alaskan Malamute. He displays the XXL body size, the long, thick haircoat and the friendly, confident nature typical of his breed. He lived with his first family, in the Niagara region, for over seven years. Why the relationship with them failed is uncertain and not easily explained. It is probably a story not unlike any other where commitments falter, love dissipates or is directed elsewhere and bonds, strong at the start, weaken and collapse slowly over time.   

Regardless of the reasons, Seaman was living outside in the yard all the time throughout the year. Neither he nor his people were getting what they should from each another. The final breakup with the family came when Seaman tested positive for heartworm disease. His owners were unable or unwilling to provide the health care he would require.

These three dogs would appear to have little in common. Different breeds, different  birthplaces, different backgrounds yet they have one important similarity. They each had the good fortune of being saved from the circumstances they found themselves in by a breed rescue organization. Such a group of people is organized to respond to the need of help by rescue for any identified individual of a particular breed. Seaman was entrusted to the Alaskan Malamute Help League( www.malamuterescue.com ).  Flash By Again found an adoptive home through the Greyhound Lovers of Hamilton Wentworth (www.glohw.on.ca). Mindy can be thankful for the efforts of Southern Ontario Sheltie Rescue (southontsheltierescue@yahoogroups.com).  I am happy to report that just about every breed of dog now has just such a group of dedicated, caring people working on their behalf.

Also, all these stories have happy endings. Mindy's caregivers decided that such a wonderful little dog deserved a reversal of fortunes. Despite her health concerns, they adopted her into their family. They are providing the diet, medications, healthcare and love required to achieve the best quality and quantity of life for her. Flash By Again seems thrilled to have left the competitive racing career behind. He is learning all about lying in front of a fireplace, walks in the park and all the other new things in his life that come with being a housedog living with a loving family. Even the fleece lined jacket that helps him forget those Florida winters, he wears with pride! Seaman has been adopted by a kind, caring lady who is providing all his healthcare needs. This includes resolving the heartworm disease and making sure it never again threatens his health. He even has a friendly Samoyed housemate with whom he can share "bad hair day" stories, grooming adventures and tales of their Arctic ancestors.