April 17th 2011 5:41 pm
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I have fostered close to 50 dogs in the last two years, but this pup has really worked her way into my heart. This is her story:
One cold, late February morning, I went out to walk my rescued dogs, Lizzie and Sarah, plus my foster dog. It was garbage pick up day, and one of my neighbors had put their recycling bin out. Curled up against this bin, was a creature. It was emaciated, balding, shivering, and terrified. I didn't even know it was a dog at first.
I took my dogs home and came back with a travel crate and some liverwurst. The dog was so weak and cold it hadn't even moved from the small shelter it had found against the bin. When I got close the dog gave a weak growl and took a few feeble hops away from me. Luckily, liverwurst is magic and I was able to lure her into the crate. Half of my neighborhood came out to watch. I spent a good chunk of time that day calling various animal controls to find her home, but no one was looking for her. When I asked about taking her in, I was told they had "limited budget, space, and time" for a dog as sick as this dog was. I had only spent a few minutes with this dog, and I already knew I couldn't let her be euthanized.
That night I contacted the rescue I foster for, who agreed to take her on as a foster dog. I ran her out to the vet, who so kindly stayed open an hour and a half late to accommodate me and my work schedule (Thanks Doc!). She was absolutely crawling with fleas. One glance and you could see 10 fleas running around looking for somewhere to bite this poor, anemic dog. Because of the fleas, she had no hair from her shoulder blades to her tail. Her whole body was covered in yellow scabs, and her skin peeled off in nickel sized flakes, because of secondary bacterial and fungal infections. Thanks to Rover Rescue and Doc, she got the medical treatment she needed.
I named her Lyra, after a character in The Golden Compass, who is strong and brave against all odds. Lyra means lyre or harp, and is the name of a constellation. For the first week, Lyra lived in the laundry room so that I could keep her separated from my own dogs. She ate everything she could fit in her mouth. The poor thing was 2lbs underweight, quite a bit for a dog who only weighs 10lbs! For the first few days, her stools were entirely made up of the dirt and small rocks she had been eating to stay alive. If the fleas and starvation wasn't bad enough, she was also diagnosed with a Grade 1 heart murmur, and Grade 3 patellar luxation in both of her knees. None of this keeps her down or holds her back, and she loves to run and play hard.
I have now had Lyra in my house for about two months. She has gained a pound and a half. The thick yellow scabs have disappeared, and the fur is growing back in, even on her leathery, frostbitten ears! When I look back at her old pictures, I can't believe how much she has changed. Lyra truly has a remarkable temperament, especially given what she had to cope with. She goes to the dog park, and loves to run and play with the big dogs. Her favorite thing to do is snuggle on the couch, but she also likes to play fetch and steal toys from the other dogs in the house. She takes her job of guarding the couch from cats very seriously!
Now that Lyra is healthy, she has been spayed and vaccinated. Lyra is officially on the hunt for a perfect forever home. I would love to keep her myself, and it is going to be really hard on her and on me to give her to her new home. However, I know that if I keep her, I won't be able to foster anymore, which would mean the euthanasia of hundreds more dogs. It will break my heart to give her up, so I am on the hunt for her perfect home. She has made a remarkable turn around from a street urchin dog to a happy house dog.
To me, adoption means looking beyond first impressions. Several people in my neighborhood had ignored this dog in need. One even kicked her out of the garage. By looking beyond the patchy, flaky, pussy skin, crawling with fleas, and seeing the dog inside, I was able to save her life. Countless dogs out there need people to look past the fact that they are 'shelter dogs', or that they aren't adorable little balls of fuzz. They need you to look into their eyes and see the possibility within!
If you are interested in adopting Lyra, please contact me.
Thank you for considering her story in the Adopt 2011 Contest.