Fair warning-this blog is PG13. I am heart broken and pissed off.People called last summer for help with food. They said they had 4 bully breeds and were having a hard time feeding them. They lived in an apartment. I didn’t know what I was going to find when I went over there to check this out. Surprisingly, the pits were in good shape. The people had a bottom floor apartment with a patio that the dogs could go out on. The patio had a pretty high brick wall all around it so the dogs couldn’t get out. They liked to look out over the wall, but none of them had come over it. None of them were fixed. I explained our program and the city ordinance saying that all pit bulls need to be spayed or neutered. I offered them free spay and neuter on all the dogs. I even told them I would do a free rabies for all of them and then they could go and get their city licenses. The animals were happy, social and looked great.
The woman proceeded to tell me that the big boy (third from the left), who I think was really an American Bulldog, belonged to some other family member and he was only going to be there for a couple of weeks and the guy was coming to get him. She said she didn’t have the authority to ok the neuter of his dog. We hear this all the time! There’s always a dog or two that “isn’t theirs”, someone’s coming back for it, blah, blah, blah.
The other 3 pits were 2 females and a male. I decided to go ahead and get those in and get them fixed and vaccinated. I told the woman that that was all I was going to help her with until they decided to neuter that male. A couple of weeks later, the male was gone. I guess the guy did come and get him. I was helping this woman with food for her 3 pits since they were all fixed now (thank you donors!). One cold winter day, I delivered some food and treats. They had me step into the apartment because it was so cold out and I couldn’t believe what I saw. These people had screwed handles into the walls around the living room and entryway of the apartment and each of their 3 pits was chained on a 3 foot chain to one of the handles in the wall. I really was speechless. I’d never seen this before. I asked them why the dogs were being kept like this and they told me that in the mornings when they are getting all of the kids ready for school, the dogs always run around and tear stuff up, etc. They claimed that they keep them like that until the kids get off to school and then they let them off or give them turns being off the chain or whatever. I told this woman that they absolutely could not keep their dogs like that. They had a pretty big apartment, so I told her that I was going to bring her 3 large wire crates and that when they needed the dogs to be put up, they could use those instead of the inhumane thing they were doing. They seemed receptive and grateful.
After a while, the big male American Bulldog was back. He still was not neutered and they still claimed it wasn’t their dog to decide on. Chain of Hope needs to set boundaries out there and I told her that we were not going to be able to help them anymore because they wouldn’t neuter the American Bulldog, whose name was Deuce. I told her that we don’t support animals that aren’t spayed or neutered with food and supplies because we believe so strongly in spay and neuter and we know that’s the only way out of this over population mess that we’re in. We offered the neuter for free and we pick them up and take them back home for free, but they declined.
This woman did not call anymore and we did not go over there. Several months went by and this past weekend, this woman left 2 messages on Sunday morning about one of the dogs being very sick. She said on her message that he needs to be neutered, but she didn’t think that any vet would neuter him right now with the shape he was in. It was then that I knew it was the big boy and he must be pretty sick. She said that the dog had been throwing up all last week and that she had been pouring Pedialyte down him. She claimed the vomiting had stopped, but he kept getting worse. I jumped in our van and headed over to see what was going on. When I pulled up to their apartment building, they were all outside having a party on the corner. They had a couple of grills fired up, about a dozen adults were hanging out, drinking beer and playing their music. Lots of kids were riding their bikes and running all around. It was a Sunday afternoon party. I saw the woman that had called me when I pulled up. She was in the middle of the party, holding a toddler. I parked around the corner and ran over to them. I asked her where the sick dog was. She said that he was laying on their patio and that he was really bad. We had to go through her apartment to get out to the patio and this is what I saw when I got there: Deuce was almost dead. He was flat out and could not even lift his head. When I went out on the patio and said “hi buddy” quietly to him, his tail thumped a couple of times. Help had finally arrived. He was covered in urine stains and he smelled. He obviously had been laying there for quite awhile urinating on himself. He was emaciated, dehydrated, really not even fully conscious. Except he knew I was there and he responded when I talked to him. This was so incredibly sad. The fact that this dog was laying on that patio dying all by himself, covered in urine was INFURIATING.. No one was with him, no one was talking to him and stroking him-they were all out front having a fucking party. I was very angry and deeply saddened, but I had to concentrate on getting this boy to the emergency clinic. I told them that I was running to get my paperwork for her to sign and that she needed to get one of those guys to come up there and carry Deuce to the van. I ran to the van, ran back through the apartment and when I got back out there, the owner was still just standing there, some guy was standing there and poor Deuce was still laying on the patio. I shoved the paper at the woman for her to sign and I bent over and picked up Deuce. The guy started stuttering that he was “going to get him”, but I had just stood up with Deuce in my arms. He said, “oh-you got him?” and I said no-and shoved him in his arms and told him to hurry to the van. Truthfully, Deuce was dirty and he stunk and I don’t think anyone wanted to pick him up. Assholes.
While I had been inside the apartment, I didn’t see any other dogs. I asked the woman where her other dogs were. She replied that animal control had been down the street one day handling another call and she claims she walked down there and asked them if they could take her pit bulls and find good homes for them, so they did. Who the hell knows what really happened? I said “you mean the 3 pit bulls that Chain of Hope spayed and neutered and vaccinated for you and brought you 3 big wire crates for?” She replied that she “couldn’t deal with the dogs anymore”. Nothing surprises me anymore. I hope to God that those 3 pits all got good homes because they were all very sweet dogs.
I drove Deuce to the Animal Emergency Clinic up north. Dr. Mischke and his staff are excellent and I take all of my emergencies there.
Deuce was very, very ill. We ran blood work, took x-rays, did a fecal, and ended up tapping both his abdomen and his chest. The x-rays were funky and it was hard to tell what was going on. They thought that the most likely thing was that he had some kind of blockage possibly. He had not been eating, obviously, for quite a while. We opened some smelly food and he just turned his head. He didn’t want anything and he was exhausted from fighting to stay alive.
His white blood cells were elevated. They decided to get him on an IV and get some fluids and antibiotics into him. They were puzzled as to what was going on, but we pushed to get him through the night.
The next morning I picked him up to take him to Independence Animal Hospital. He walked very slowly outside of the emergency clinic, peed in the parking lot, and I lifted him up into the car. He seemed maybe a little perkier-at least he was holding his head up. I’m sure the fluids helped him feel a little better-he had been dehydrated. Independence Animal Hospital decided to give him barium and then re-xray him after a few hours.
When they x-rayed Calvin again, it showed that the barium was moving through his system. He did not have a blockage. Dr. Wingert thought that Calvin was septic (over run with bacteria). Whether being toxic had already damaged his liver and kidneys, we weren’t sure but it was highly suspected because he just wasn’t rallying, He also had ulcers in his mouth. We began to fear that we really had gotten to him too late.They were flushing his system and had him on multiple antibiotics. I went over Monday late afternoon to see him and he was hanging in there, but barely. He was flat out in his kennel with his IV going. He didn’t look good at all. We discussed what to do and we decided to give him the night. I didn’t want him to possibly lay there and die in the night, but he had fought so hard, we wanted to keep giving him a chance-he just might pull through. He was pretty out of it, but we prayed he’d be alive the next morning. He was. I called over to check on him and they said he had gotten up and walked a little bit. He still would not eat and was generally very lethargic like the day before. This poor boy did not feel good. I was angrier and angrier with the woman who had failed this dog. She waited much, much too long to call for help.
I went over to see Calvin that afternoon and he was still in terrible shape. He got up and walked, ever so slowly outside. He finally made it over to the grass to pee. And then he just laid down. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the wind was gently blowing. It was the perfect temperature. People saw him and came over wanting to know his story and they stayed and pet him and talked to him and wished him well.
When we went to go back inside, Calvin could not even get up. I carried him back into the vet clinic. I got inside the back door with him, set him down and he basically collapsed. His breathing became labored and we knew it was time. We just couldn’t let him go on suffering. He had struggled for 3 days and had even gotten worse. He was wasting away. It broke our hearts, but it needed to be done. We let this boy go, as I comforted him. I told him that he WAS loved in this world, that I loved him and that he was going to be free of his pain and his struggle. Thank you to Dr. Wingert and his wonderful staff at Independence Animal Hospital for their care and efforts to save this boy.
Our hearts break just about everyday. Calvin’s story will stay with me forever. No dog deserves what he went through. Once again, I hold the dog that another owner has failed while it’s euthanized and a little piece of my heart breaks all over again. The fact that this dog laid over there extremely ill for days on end in his own urine and diarrhea, wasting away and no one gave a shit about him-I can’t tell you how upset and angry I was when I saw him. If they would have called earlier, we might have been able to save him. Letting him lay there and pouring Pedialyte down him for a week is inexcusable.
We had extended so much help to this one address and we still had 3 pits gone to the shelter and this poor guy suffering unimaginable suffering. Disappointing, maddening and sad. As tough as it is, our work is necessary and vital to animals living in the inner city. We must continue to be in the inner city everyday-there is much work to be done. Thank you for keeping us out there.