A few months ago I got a call from a very concerned gentleman from the Salem County Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) in regards to a dog that was in serious need of help. In responding to the needs of an elderly citizen, they had come across an old dog tied up in the back yard that was underweight and suffering from conjunctivitis and poor coat condition. It was the end of December, temperatures were below freezing every night, and this senior dog, in his compromised physical condition, was not in shape to face the elements ahead in the long winter months.
The owner, unable to care for him herself, had been depending on the younger occupants of the house to take responsibility for him; unfortunately, that wasn’t happening. Thanks to the very caring people at SCDHHS, his plight was brought to our attention and through a cooperative effort, we were able to rescue ‘Rascal’ and get him into the shelter.
He was a big yellow Lab mix and in spite of his skinniness, he still weighed in at eighty pounds. Being a large dog and at the ripe old age of nine years, we knew we had some work to do to get him into shape for adoption. Two days after his arrival at the shelter, we put him into a foster home to make him more comfortable and hopefully speed up his recovery. Getting weight on him and addressing his eye problem turned out to be just part of the health challenge he was facing. He was also dealing with an upper respiratory infection that had turned into pneumonia as well as a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract infection was easy to deal with and cleared up quickly, pneumonia is a more serious issue and as well as requiring a long recovery, it was effecting his appetite making it more difficult to get his weight up to par.
Thankfully, he is sweet, mellow and loves anybody and everybody that will give him attention. He even loved the cats and dogs that were part of his temporary foster home. The family that cared for him during his recovery absolutely adored him and found it difficult to part with him when the time came for his adoption; but finally, eleven weeks later, he was ready to roll.
Last week, a couple and their two teenagers came to the shelter looking for a new best friend, they had lost their Lab a little while ago and were ready to welcome a new family member. Although Rascal was still in his foster home, our office
manager, after talking to the family, thought Rascal might be a good fit. A family meet was scheduled and a few days later, Rascals wait for a good home was over.
Rascal’s story is a great example of how fortunes can change for a pet when people pull together to help bring about change. He had the aid of workers from the health department, the animal control officer, our staff and veterinarians and of course, his foster family to help him along on his journey. If only all homeless pets could be so lucky…