This story, like most rescue stories, starts out bad. And then it gets worse.
Dottie and Joe were two Italian Greyhounds living in Arkansas. Their owner moved into a home that didn't allow dogs and the pair soon found themselves living outside. In October. In the cold. With a Nor’easter fast approaching. The Craig’s list ad said the owner couldn’t bring them in – no matter what -- and they were in danger of dying.
The call went out SHUG’s resident Italian Greyhound guru, Missy Viars: Urgent, needs immediate action.
Missy asked the owner to bring Joe and Dottie to a local vet immediately and sign the necessary surrender forms. The vet agreed to board the two dogs at SHUG’s expense until transport could be arranged.
When the two dogs arrived, the pitifulness of their condition was obvious. The vet had to immediately numb their feet and cut their toenails, which had curved so much that every step they took was painful. They were also brought up to date on their shots and had blood work done.
They spent 10 days at the vet’s clinic while volunteers from multiple rescues across the South tried desperately to line up transport. Finally, it was set. Volunteers from the local Weimaraner rescue picked up Dottie and Joe and gave them a soft bed for the night before getting them to a commercial transport group. Dottie and Joe finally took the long drive north to Missy in Virginia.
When Dottie arrived, Missy took her straight to the emergency vet for evaluation. And when things didn’t look like they could get worse, the Arkansas vet called with the news that tiny, weak, senior Dottie was heartworm positive.
Poor Dottie also was just, generally, in poor health. She had fatty tumors, bad teeth, a nasty cough and an enlarged heart. And someone, at some point in Dottie’s life, had kicked her in the head so hard it permanently relocated her jaw and one ear.
As you would expect, Dottie was terrified and untrusting. All Dottie had known in her life was rejection and mistreatment, and she hid in her crate and wouldn’t come out. It was heartbreaking to see the tiny girl shivering in fear, unaccepting of the good life that she was being offered.
But her new foster mom Missy was patient -- and stubborn. She wouldn't give up on Dottie. Missy also trusted her own pack of four Italian greyhounds to work their magic. And they did. They gathered around the crate and keep Dottie company. In their doggie way, they told her, "You're with us now, baby. You're going to be okay."
For the rest of the story of Dottie and Joe, check back tomorrow.