A special thank you goes out to Buddy's sponsor: John Stein who generously covered all of Buddy's medical costs.
Written in August 2006 by Elizabeth Riddle, president of the Central IL GSD Rescue
To our loyal German Shepherd Rescue supporters and German Shepherd breed enthusiasts..
We believe that you all deserve to know what is going on in our family, as we feel all of you are extended family. This month has been a tough one for us and it has been difficult for me to get around to writing about the following. We feel this represents a good teaching opportunity and we want to share this story with all of our readers and supporters. Part of why the food issue has come up so quickly (though it has been alleviated significantly by Uncle Bruce and Aunt Kim once again, thank you) is that our funds were depleted by some sad events.
In the middle of July we were called to rescue a stray puppy that had wandered to a local farm and was being fed and cared for by the family. They were leaving for vacation and feared for his care and were kind enough to call rescue for help. We picked him up and brought him home later in the evening and estimated him to be about 9 months old.
He was an adorable black/tan pup with the most amazing knowing eyes you could ever look into. This little guy didn't even have a name. I was working 2nd shift at my paid job and met him for the first time when I got home about midnight. I had been warned that he was very skinny, but I wasn't quite prepared for the skeleton that pranced towards me. This little angel was in such disgusting shape, it almost made me physically ill to see him so sick.
He had gobbled up the snack my husband offered him prior to my getting off work, but, by the time I got home, he had vomited several times in the isolation kennel.
After assessing him from head to tail, I really did not like the way he was retracting in order to breathe. He was arching his back several times over a minute in what appeared to be helping him to breathe. I discussed with my husband how he'd been for the last couple hours prior to my arrival home from work, and we decided medical attention could not wait until morning. This baby was suffering. We loaded him into the car and I took him to the Emergency Clinic. Sadly, my husband had to stay home because our little human sweetheart was in dreamland.
Our webmaster met up at the vet, because this pup had touched her life (she picked him up originally) in the short time she had known him. The vet did an initial exam and we discussed the benefits of doing X-rays, blood work, etc... We said yes, of course we want this done, and he was taken in the back.
Even during restraint, the poor baby cried in pain for these tests and our hearts broke in the waiting room. Hoping he was in treatable condition, we waited anxiously in the waiting room.
Megasophagus is a condition where a dog’s esophagus is enlarged due to the muscles losing their strength. Because the esophagus doesn’t work as it should to move the food down to the stomach, food just sits in the esophagus and oftentimes comes back up. There is no surgery or medication to treat the condition. All that can be done is to find the best way to manage it.
When the vet returned, it was not the news we wished to hear. Our little young one had a serious and lethal condition. Observing his X-rays, we saw the worst case of Megaesophagus I had ever witnessed.
After pointing out his young growth plates in his spine, confirming his young puppy age, we saw a grotesque image of an esophagus so distended that the food and fluid in his throat were applying enough pressure to pin his heart and lungs to the bottom of his chest cavity against the ribs. There was actually liters of solution in his throat, trapped.
There is no treatment in this advanced stage and euthanasia was the kindest and only option. We took a moment in the room to cuddle and love on him. His fluid eyes were sweet and loving, but racked with pain and suffering to breathe. We called the veterinarian back and he was quietly and peacefully sent to the Rainbow bridge to hang out with the gang until we see them all again.
As we checked out and made his funeral arrangements, it occurred to us this baby hadn't even been named in the few hours we loved him. Our webmaster said that the small child at the farm said he had been calling him Buddy, so that is what we kept. Who better than a child to name this young dog.
Learn more about Megasophagus: My Dog has a High Chair: The story of Jasmine, a pup with Megasophagus written in 2006 by the Jasmine's owner.
We picked up Buddy's remains the other day and felt sorrow for a lost soul who never knew the kindness and love that so many of you provide for your beloved pets. We felt sorrow for the fact that if he had been owned by kind people, his condition could have been caught as a small puppy and been treated. We felt sorrow that he was probably dumped in the country by people who didn't like their skinny and sick dog and didn't want to take him to the vet. We felt sorrow that he was left in the corn to luckily find his way to kind people who at least, provided him the resource for a merciful sleep. We felt sorrow to imagine how hungry he had felt and never been able to get the food he needed.
We could be angry, and I'd like to say we've grown past that. However, deep sadness permeates us more every time we have to care for a suffering, discarded pet. Many of you have lovingly adopted and discovered obscure veterinary issues and carefully dealt with them in consult with the veterinarian.
Most pets are discarded due to mere inconvenience, but several are dumped every year for simply being sick. These people probably tell their kids the dog ran off, or went to heaven or some load like that when they get home. But there is no vet involved, only a car, an empty road and sick human that can kick an ailing pet to the curb because they are too stupid and selfish to provide the needed care.
Read about buying from a breeder...
"What constitutes a good breeder?"
At least many people come to the vet and honestly cannot afford care. They either have the animal humanely euthanized or sign over ownership rights so that the veterinarian can treat and find another home for the pet. If they are scared of that, the pound will at least provide a humane end rather than withering under a bush in the country alone or being hit by a car. These are the low times.
Our webmaster took many photos of Buddy that show his condition and sweet face. There is no way the owners didn't know he was sick. (See a top down view of Buddy's waist.) So, Buddy has left us for now and we only hope that somehow, his life will not be in vain, that someone will learn, make the right decision to care for their sick pet, and take the animal to a safe place.
We hope someday there will be severe punishment for these sick humans. We are learning everyday that animal abuse and neglect is a reflection of how humans treat other humans. We need to provide swift and severe punishment for cruelty and neglect of the animals before these sick, sick people move on to human victims. Animal neglect and cruelty needs to be mandatory felony with prison time, no bargains, no buy outs.
Read about puppymills...
Puppy Mills and Auctions written in 2003 by Karen of BARK Rescue
If your neighbor has a dog one minute and not the next, call the pound, visit. See if the poor thing suddenly came in as a "stray" and notify the authorities that the person dumped the dog and put the dog in the sad condition in which they were found and then help prosecute them. If you see someone toss a bag of kittens or puppies out the window, write the car description and license plate down first, then save the babies. It is draining and exhausting to know how hard everyone in rescue and animal professions work to better the lives of animals, and there seems to be an ever greater group of people causing pain, damage and suffering without retribution.
Get involved, adopt, transport, cuddle your babies at home, discuss a stray and low income fund for your veterinarian to provide for these pets, report abuse and neglect, challenge your neighbors to better care for their pets, talk to your local animal control about low cost spays and neuters and low cost vaccinations, DO NOT BUY PET SHOP DOGS OR DOGS BRED BY BACKYARD BREEDERS!!!!!, educate, educate, educate, speak to local mental health professionals about recent literature on the connections between torture, abuse, and neglect of animals and future abuse and criminal acts against humans and work on catching people early and providing mandatory treatment and observation.
Learn how to fight animal cruelty: Fight Cruelty on the ASPCA website.
One puppymill in a couple months, undoes the work of about 5 rescues over an entire year.
There is so much people could do, but we have to do it together. A finger may be strong and useful, but two hands accomplish more. Prevent this pain on the future, by preventing the occurrence. If one animal is helped by Buddy's story, his life will not be forgotten and his pain not suffered in vain.
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