Animal Control was called in by a hysterically crying relative of the homeowner's who found Sweetheart near death from starvation with the rope and chain wrapped tightly around her back leg. An officer responded to the house, immediately realized Sweetheart's desperate situation, and called for another officer to assist her. With the help of a neighbor's bolt cutter's, they freed Sweetheart from her bonds. Only then did they realize that both the rope and the plastic covered chain had rubbed a wound on both sides of the leg down to the bone. As they examined the wound on the scene, maggots began pouring out of it. In addition to being extremely emaciated and having a leg with an exposed bone covered in maggots, Sweetheart was covered in literally thousands of fleas.
|Shot of wound down to the bone. It is this way all around her leg|
Animal control took her to the shelter and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. She was given food and water and the search began for a rescue group to take her. I was called by a wonderful shelter volunteer around 6 p.m. that night. The volunteer begged Fasthound to take Sweetheart. The volunteer firmly believed Sweetheart had the will to live and she wanted desperately to see her saved. She had her daughter take and email pictures of Sweetheart to me. The picture on this blog is one of those pictures. Of course, after seeing this picture, I had no choice but to agree to take her no matter what the outcome might be.
So, at 8 a.m., I called the shelter. The animal control officer said that Sweetheart had made it through the night and could and should be picked up immediately. My dear friend Paul and I rushed to Chickasha and immediately took custody of Sweetheart. I cannot tell you the horror that I saw when I first glimpsed her. She was lying on the floor of the shelter kennel and flies were buzzing all around. Fleas were crawling ALL OVER her and she had virtually no meat on her bones: NONE! ZERO! Yet, when she saw us, she lifted her head and gave a weak thump of her tail. Immediately upon seeing her my heart was in my throat and I started shaking. I stood there in shock for a moment just taking in what I was seeing. After several seconds I went into rescue mode. I gingerly picked Sweetheart up and carried her outside and into the van.
|On the road to Dr. Kolar's and hopefully the road to recovery.|
Now this girl is a full grown greyhound, she should be difficult for me to lift a carry a mere foot, yet lifting Sweetheart was like lifting a bag of bones. I could have carried her a mile without getting tired she was that light. We loaded her into the van and immediately headed to our vet's office in Prague Oklahoma (about an hour and a half away). During the drive there (speeding no less) I kept asking Paul if she was still alive. I was so scared we wouldn't make it to the vet in time. Yet, Sweetheart surprised us both by making her way to the front of the van to be pet not once, not twice but four separate times. The rest of the time she tried cleaning her wound and getting those fleas to stop bothering her.
|Sweetheart on the examination table.|
We made it to the Prague Veterinary Clinic at 11:30 a.m. and carried her into the examining room. I sat her on the examining table and waited for Dr. Kolar to give me the verdict. Let me tell you, when he examined her and was silent for several minutes, I could barely breath. I finally asked him what he thought. His response was that sometimes it was more cruel to try and save them than to let them go. My stomach dropped. I looked at Dr. Kolar and told him that I trusted him and would do what he said was best but I wanted to know the truth: was there a chance for Sweetheart to be saved. He looked at me for what felt like an eternity but was actually seconds, and told me yes, he felt that she had a chance and he wanted to give her that chance. Oh Dr. Kolar I can tell you that no words could have sounded sweeter.
|A chance for a second leash on life.|
With that, he gave her several shots of different things (I was too dazed to asked what they were) and she was carried to the scale to be weighed. She weighed 31.4 pounds. A greyhound her age and size should weigh 50-55 pounds at the very least. She is 20-24 pounds underweight. After being weighed in, I carried her back to the bathtub. No way was I leaving without helping them bathe and dip her. Three of us bathed her and Paul took pictures of the process.
|The bath begins.|
Fleas were flying off her left and right and the maggots in her cut were pouring out into the tub. We got her washed and it was time for the dip. I was so excited to see all of those fleas die. After her dip and bath, I carried her to the dog run and we toweled her off and picked off every dying flea we could. Another vet came and cleaned her ears and more pictures were taken. After she was dry she was given a nutrient packed pudding like mixture. She eagerly ate every bit. I then carried her to her indoor crate (notice I wasn't letting anyone else carry her!). I laid her down in the crate and we left her to the capable and caring hands of Dr. Kolar and his staff.
|All cleaned up.|
|Bathed, dipped, dried ready for something to eat and a nice long nap.|
At 3:45 p.m. I called the vet's office and asked how she was. To my surprise, she was eating and drinking and was doing well. YAY!!! I spent the evening emailing and facebooking her pictures and story to all I could. Finally, I fell asleep about 10 p.m. but woke up every two hours worrying about whether she was going to make it through the night. I finally woke up for good at 6:45 a.m. and was watching the clock until Kolar's opened at 8 a.m.
8 a.m. slowly came around and I called. Fingers crossed, I asked if Sweetheart survived the night. She had and better yet, she had eaten everything they had given her, had drank her water and had pooped. Now for those of you in the dog world, you know a sick dog having a good poop is better than anything, it means things are working and moving like they should be. Dr. Kolar said he was pleased with her progress in the short time she had been there. I immediately made the drive to Prague to visit Sweetheart. I cannot begin to describe the difference in her from the previous day. She was lying in a dog run, soaking up the sun, while her indoor crate was being cleaned. When she saw me she wagged and wagged her tail and lifted her head up. She was alert, bright eyed and wanted to be petted. She was clean, flea free and her leg was wrapped in a bright red, CLEAN bandage. I immediately sat on the floor beside her and petted her until she laid back down in the sun. Her crate clean, I carried her back inside and set her into it. She stood there being stubborn like a good greyhound who doesn't want to be crated should be. :) She finally allowed me to maneuver her fully into the crate and I closed the door and said goodbye. I pretty much floated in a happy fog up the hallway to the lobby.
So, after reading this very long narrative of Sweetheart's last 48 hours, you are probably wondering what is next. Dr. Kolar feels that she is doing so well that she most likely will not require IV fluids or a blood transfusion. He feels that as long as she keeps eating and drinking her weight issues will slowly correct themselves. Her leg is another matter. It will take a long time for the tissue to regenerate. He is going to do all he can do save this leg and to get the wound fully healed. She will also undergo a battery of tests to see if she has any diseases, heartworms and other internal parasites. If she has any of these, they will be treated when she is strong enough to tolerate treatment. Barring a turn for the worse, she will most likely be at the vet's office a minimum of 1 week but most likely 2 weeks. I am happy with that. She is in a safe place with lots of food, water and love.
I cannot say enough about Dr. Kolar and the staff at the Prague Veterinary Clinic. They are awesome people and truly care about every animal they see. Fasthound is so thankful to them for giving Sweetheart a chance. I will be calling him tomorrow (I have his cell number so I can hunt him down any time) to see how she is doing. I am trying to stay cautious in my optimism but I AM optimistic. Through this whole ordeal, Sweetheart never once growled, snapped, snarled, barked, whimpered or cried. She was stoic and strong through it all. She is a fighter and will give it her all to survive. I will be visiting her after work on Monday and will take pictures. I will post them to the blog and will give an update on her condition (I will try not to write a novel lol). Please keep her in your thoughts. Positive thoughts make a huge difference. Getting angry at what caused her condition will not help her get stronger. Please keep praying for her. If you would like to make a donation for Sweetheart's veterinary care, please contact me and I will let you know where you can send a donation. We appreciate any size donation, be it a dollar or a thousand dollars. It all helps. Thanks for taking the time to read Sweetheart's story and please share this blog with all your friends and family. Check back for daily for more news and pictures. Jess