A woman called Chain of Hope for help with her dog. She said that he was sick and she didn’t have any money. She didn’t know what was wrong. She also needed dog food. She had kept our number from seeing us on TV one time. Thank goodness she did!
We headed over and met Rita and Cuddles. Rita was a very frail, tiny woman. Unfortunately, she was hooked up to an oxygen machine with a very long hose on it. She had to be connected at all times, so she had tubing that was long enough to allow her to maneuver around the entire house. She had a large machine in her living room. She told me that she had COPD, a lung disease. She really wasn’t that old-it was very sad.
Cuddles was a little chow and he was missing half 0f his hair. He was chained in the backyard with just a chain around his neck. He was skinny and he just looked terrible. This was not a good situation. I told Rita that it looked like he had mange, but that he needed to get to the vet. I told her I would take him in and see what the diagnosis was and we’d go from there. I really was not happy about Cuddle’s condition and I was really thinking that I needed to push Rita to sign Cuddles over to Chain of Hope and we could treat him and find him a better home.
When I told Rita that I was going to go out and unchain Cuddles and put him in the van, she asked me if I could bring him through the house so that she could say good-bye to him. I did that, and he was so happy to see her and to be inside. He jumped up on the sofa with Rita and she put her arms around him and hugged him. It was very obvious that Cuddles loved Rita and Rita loved Cuddles, she just needed some education and some resources. Something inside of me just told me to work with them and keep him there and help improve things. I knew she cared about him-she did make the call to us asking for help.
Dr. Kennedy diagnosed Cuddles with a testicular tumor that causes abnormal hair loss. It has a big long name that I can’t remember. She said that by neutering him, things would straighten out. I’d never heard of such a thing! We neutered, vaccinated and de-wormed Cuddles. We gave him a medicated, soothing bath while we had him with us. He is a really cool dog. He is friendly and sweet and he desperately needed help. We put him on a anti-itch medication and an antibiotic and I took him home.
I had a long talk with Rita about where she was keeping Cuddles, was he house-trained, could she possibly keep him inside? We decided that if I could bring her a crate, she could keep Cuddles inside. It was November at this time and it would only get colder. Cuddles did not have the hair coat that a Chow should have-he could not keep warm. I took Cuddles a large, wire crate. I set it up for Rita and gave her lots of treats and raw hides to help coax and train him to go in his crate. I told her how much she needed to be feeding him and I gave her a large bag of food. I left a couple of toys so that Rita could play with him. I told her that he could be her best friend, her best companion that would love her unconditionally-if she’d just bring him inside and let him!
Rita called a couple of weeks later and said that Cuddles had finished his medication, but then had started itching again. We refilled her prescriptions and I took another round of medication over to her. Cuddles was in the house with Rita and he was looking good! He was a happy, happy boy and he was beginning to grow some hair!
I’ve been back over to this house a lot. I really like Rita and I just love Cuddles! He is adorable! Every single time I show up over there, Cuddles is in the house! He has gained a lot of weight. His coat has finally grown in and he is GORGEOUS!
Rita and Cuddles are best friends. They really, truly are. He keeps her company all day long and she loves on him, plays with him and tells him how handsome he is!
This is a success story. We patiently worked with Rita and she totally stepped up. How refreshing!
All of us together totally turned this dog’s life around-and this woman’s too! Those of us on outreach, in the living rooms and back yards, and those of you behind the scenes, keeping us funded and prayed for. Chain of Hope transforms hundreds of lives a year for the better. Thank you for keeping us out there!