There’s a questionable street that we try not to spend a lot of time on. Of course, there’s several animals on that block. We may roll through once in awhile and give out some supplies, but we didn’t really know the people very well and there was a lot of comings and goings.
I knew that behind one house was a brindle, male pit that I had taken in for neuter a long time ago. He was fed decently. We might hang a fly bag in the summer and drop off ear gel for the dog’s ears or something, but we didn’t hang around much over there. I never even knew his name-couldn’t remember it anyway.
The older girl that lived there was out the other day, so we pulled up and asked her if they needed hay for the pit’s house. She said yes, so we got out. She started telling me that his stomach was really huge. She said he wasn’t eating very well, either. I asked her to go get him so I could see him. She brought him out and it was then that she told me his name was Chato. What a beautiful boy! I hadn’t seen him in awhile. He was bony and emaciated-looking except for his belly. His belly was huge. He looked like one of those goats in a children’s petting zoo-he was very wide with that huge abdomen hanging down.
I pretty much knew what it was-advanced heart worm disease. I have seen so many of these. His abdomen was full of fluid because his heart and lungs couldn’t do their jobs anymore because of the heart worms. I talked with the girl’s dad and explained everything to him. I said that we could take him in and have him checked, but that it sure looked like the final stage of heart worm disease. He said that he didn’t want the dog to suffer (hello???) and that if the vet felt like he should be put down to go ahead and do it.
I took Chato over to Bannister Veterinary Clinic. I knew what we had to do. The vet knew too. It was a pretty day, unseasonably warm and I decided to take Chato for a walk on a grassy area near the clinic. He loved being able to smell all the smells and walk in the grass. He’d been chained in his dirt circle, as thousands of them are everyday. I was glad to give him this time. It wasn’t long, though, before he started having deep coughing spells. He was having difficulty at times, but he also was loving all of the stimulation of sounds, smells and touches. I had taken some satin balls with me (yummy dog treats made out of hamburger, flaxseed, garlic, etc.) and put some down on the ground for him. (I thought of you, Julia and Marci-thanks for all the satin balls.).
They finally had time for Chato and me to go back into the clinic. I held his head in my lap and told him how handsome and sweet and brave he was and that I loved him. I held yet another precious soul in my arms as they slipped out of this difficult world.
When he was gone, the vet pulled out a syringe full of bloody fluid from his abdomen. His abdomen was so full and tight, it looked and felt like a balloon that you could pop with a pin. Thank God he didn’t lay in the backyard and die on the end of his chain. There are so many needing help, we are working our asses off and thank you so much for keeping us out there. Run free, Chato!