Time and patience, good food, warm blankets, soft voices and the loving attention of other dogs are good medicine. For Joe and Dottie, two mistreated Italian greyhounds from Arkansas, it meant the difference between a happy life and a lonely death.
It was Joe, 5 years old and in better health, who bounced back first. He played with toys and wrestled with the resident pack in his foster home and began enjoying life again. He wanted to be with people. He wanted to cuddle, although picking him up still left him trembling. He showed himself to be independent from Dottie and the decision was made to make him available for adoption.
Joe already has his happy ending. He was adopted by a lovely family in Virginia and is enjoying romping with his new iggie brother. It was, as his foster mom says, love at first sight for all concerned.
For Dottie, sickly and about 8 years old, the path is more difficult. The vet proposed the least difficult heartworm treatment. Even though it would take longer, her little body couldn’t bear the more aggressive, quicker treatment. Every Friday, she goes to the vet and stays overnight for her treatment. She is also on a cough medicine/pain reliever and 36 weeks of doxycycline.
When Dottie gets home from each treatment, her foster mom Missy gets very little sleep. She stays up the next night monitoring Dottie’s condition and gauging her level of coughing and discomfort. And Dottie is on strict crate rest as any exertion can dislodge heartworms or blood clots and prove fatal. For anyone who has treated heartworm, keeping the dogs quiet for months on end is a challenge in and of itself.
But now for the good news -- Dottie shows an interest in life again. She wants to be around people. She still can’t be held, but she will bump your hand for petting. When she has coughing fits, the resident dogs in her foster home stay with her and take their nursing duties very seriously.
Dottie's foster mom, Missy, hopes her heartworms will continue to disappear and that she’ll continue to improve. When the burden is off her heart, it’s expected that her cough will disappear. When Dottie is fully recovered, perhaps sometime in February, she will likely lose all her teeth. After all she’s been through, it’s the least of her worries, says Missy. So her tongue will fall out the side of her crooked mouth. Well, she won’t be the first iggie with that problem.
And then, Dottie will start looking for her forever home.
“She has a lot of love to give,” Missy says. “She’s trusting again. She just wants to be loved on.”
Rescuing Dottie and Joe took many dedicated volunteers, some luck and an open checkbook. So far, their care has cost some $1,600 with more ahead. (Our thanks to the Virginia vet treating Dottie now, who has donated much of his time and medication.)
SHUG is thrilled that Joe has happy years ahead, and wishes the same for Dottie. We are determined to do whatever is necessary to make sure she gets the same happy ending. If you are willing to help with Dottie’s treatment, please click on the new donate button on the blog. If you are interested in giving her that happy ending in your own home, please submit an application.