April is a young (age unknown) red smooth female. April was found in the Bahamas at the marina, cowering by some rocks. She was emaciated, dehydrated, obviously injured and had major skin problems. A kind samaritan picked her up and took her to a vet and began crucial vetting care. FLDR was contacted to assist in finding this sweet girl a chance for a better life and a loving forever home, which cannot be found in the Bahamas. Both of her eyes have issues.
One is “dry eye” and will require drops for the rest of her life and the other eye has an ulcer that is being treated with antibiotic drops and such every 2 hrs. She is on Doxycycline for the Ehrlichiosis, which is apparently a big problem in the Bahamas. She was diagnosed with the non-contagious mange and is being treated with ivermectin once a day and “tetra” shampoo bath several times a week. Cornelia says you can almost see her hair growing back already. The vet took x-rays of her back, which is VERY hunched and he feels it is an old injury that healed improperly. She is able to “hobble” around the house, following Cornelia, but sits down to rest every few yards. Cornelia is working on housetraining her, as she doesn’t think she’s been in a home environment for a long time, if ever. She has gone potty on newspapers by the door and seems to know that she is to go potty outside. April is eating “like a horse”, but Cornelia is being careful with her diet. She is sweet and has shown no aggressive tendencies whatsoever. April is mobile on all four legs, getting around well, despite her back curvature. The family reports that April is a very sweet girl, is interacting well and playing with the other dogs in the family, learning what a loving environment can be like.
UPDATE ON APRIL (5/22/11): April just flew in from the Bahamas today…and boy are her arms tired…lol. She will be fostered in Central Florida. Many thanks to Connie and Regina Meyes who found and cared for her and contacted FLDR on her behalf. April is walking and her skin and eye issues are resolving. A broken back doesn’t slow her down. She will continue treatments and will be looking to find her forever home soon.
In May of 2011, I was contacted to foster a “special needs” dachshund. Due to my medical background as a Paramedic, she thought that I would be a great candidate to care for a dog with multiple medical problems that was extremely sick and battered coming from the Bahamas. The details of her life prior to us are horrific and don’t need to be described in this story. I was apprehensive to say the least. It is one thing to take care of a sick person but a sick dog was an entirely different experience which I did not know if I was ready for. I spoke with my wife, Melinda and we decided that it was something we would do. That decision has changed our lives. It is amazing to see what love can do for a sick little dachshund and how much a sick little dachshund could do for us.
When I first saw April, my heart was filled with an ache that can’t be placed in to words. Her frail body weighing it at 7 pounds, recessed eyes, torn up ears, and hump caused me to tear up instantly. I watched as she staggered sideways to walk. I saw the small ulcers in her eyes where the sea salt had eaten away the corneas. Her ears had pieces missing from them and she was covered with the worst case of mange I had ever seen. Her back has an arch that we believe was caused by her former owner kicking her and breaking her back. I believe this abuse occurred when she was young because she has adapted to her disability quite well. April was brought across to the states by two ladies who found her. Their love and dedication to the breed was immeasurable. They saved our little girl. I forgot their names but I would love to thank them, again.
I was filled with a certain hate for humanity when I loaded April up in our truck to take her to new home. I asked myself over and over how someone could hurt such a gentle little girl. She seemed so frail in her crate. When we got home later that night we learned quickly that April was not house broken. We also learned that because of the arch in her back she has to immediately go out after eating because she can’t control her bowel functions with a full stomach. It was then time to introduce her to my other animals. Gator, our other FLDR rescue was first to take to her. He knew that she was very sick and he protected her while she slept. I was astounded to see Gator encouraging her to eat, cleaning her, and teaching her how to go outside. It was almost as if he realized that she was walking the path that he had already taken a year before. My German Shepherd Samantha was next, no problems there. Our two cats weren’t even phased at her. I credit this to her gentle demeanor. Several days passed and she then had the strength to start to run around the house. I recall my wife and me freaking out when she tumbled on the wood floors. She looks like a turtle on its shell when she is turned over. We thought she was hurt but then stood speechless as she spun herself a full 360 degrees and somehow managed to get on all four legs again. It was then I knew we were on the right track with her.
April’s first visit to the vet went as expected. She weighed in at 7 pounds, she had terrible mange, and she was blind in her right eye. He took x-rays and said not to expect much because she was so sick. We left there with 4 medicines. We went home and fed her a strict high protein diet and intensive medicine regimen. One month later the vet was impressed with a 5 pound weight gain, no more eye ulcers, and no active mange. I believe he was quoted as saying “I think we are out of the woods”.
For just under a year now we have rehabbed her. We have strengthened her muscle structure. She now walks and runs better than ever. We have discovered she is self-conscious about her “hump” (arch) in her back. She will hide if she doesn’t have a sweater or shirt on. We have purchased several outfits and she has become a huge fashionista, thanks to my wife. Life often gets in the way and I have not been able to send daily updates on her progress however, I believe that the pictures speak for themselves. I asked my wife if we were going to put her up for adoption on the FLDR website and she started to cry. She said “No one can take care of my little girl the way I can, please, no”. I knew then what the answer to my question was. NEVER!
We have decided that Melinda and I will be her forever home. She will live out her days with us and without the possibility of ever having to worry about another thing. Currently she is sunning herself by the pool with her new pair of sunglasses (purchased by the wife), a tropical drink in her paw, and tropical music serenading her afternoon nap and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Andrew and Melinda