Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Tale of Gumby, Part 1

I know that everyone gets a ton of crossposts, but please take the time to read this one and send it on. I don't get emotional about stray dogs very often as I know the hard reality, but sometimes one just reaches out to you and you can't look away.

I live in SW Atlanta and the area isn't very friendly for stray animals. There is a small handful of us doing what we can for the strays, but we can't do it alone.

This weekend my neighbor came to get me to help her get a pit bull out of her yard. So, I went out there and one of the saddest things I've ever seen was in front of me. He was old, hungry, filthy and full of sores, but as sweet as pie. He had a luggage strap tied around his neck for a collar. He looked up at me with these sad, hopeful eyes and I couldn't walk away from him. So, I put a leash on him and tried to find out where he belonged (not to return him so much as to yell at whomever would allow their dog to be in such a sorry state), but no one had ever seen him. Finally one man said he had seen him up at the gas station looking for food a few weeks ago. I was determined not to take this dog home with me, but the minute I put a leash on him I was doomed. I already have 4 pit bulls at my house, 2 of which are horribly dog aggressive and approaching their senior years.

I was so distraught over this dog that I was sobbing on the phone with my husband. Not only are we not in a position to take in another needy soul, but this dog is sick and needs help and we can't pay for the kind of care he may need. He told me that it would be ok and we'd figure it out like we always do. When my husband got home we took him in the house and bathed him. That's when we discovered he had no front teeth on the top or bottom, and only a portion of a broken canine. So, we named him Gumby. He was so anxious when we were bathing him. We couldn't tell if he was grunting from anxiety or pain, but we got him nice and clean and set up in a crate in a separate room of our house. We also put a real collar on him. He was so excited to get a collar it almost broke my heart.

My neighbors who also rescue did a snap test on him for us last night and he is heartworm positive. We aren't sure of the extent of the heartworms since that can only be determined by a veterinarian, but it's obvious he may also have a problem with his prostate due to his very prominent anus. We don't think it's just an anal gland issue as he doesn't scooch or scoot to relieve himself and he doesn't mess with it much. He also is not comfortable in a normal sit position and prefers to lie down. He is going to the vet tomorrow. If they tell us that his blood work indicates cancer or some other serious illness, or if they feel he won't survive heartworm treatment, then we will most likely have him put to sleep. However, I am determined to give this dog a chance to have a normal, loving life. He probably doesn't have much time left and his last years need to be comfy.

To make matters worse, we found another needy pit bull yesterday. We were doing yardwork and she was walking down the street, with no collar or tags, of course. She's also a sad case, but nothing compared to Gumby.

K9 Rescue League
PBRC Volunteer

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