VETMED Cares – Success Stories
Read through some of the inspirational tales of strength, resilience, love and second chances as we share the success stories of local rescues who are close to VETMED’s heart!
What’s the old saying about when life gives you lemons? Poor little Eva is the poster dog for this saying. But just like lemonade, Eva is as bright and full of sunshine as you can imagine. She’s a happy 7-8-month-old German Shepherd, who unfortunately, has a serious, life-threatening condition called Megaesophagus (Mega E).
Mega E is an enlargement of the esophagus, a muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Dogs with Mega E are unable to get food through from the throat to the stomach and can easily die from complications associated with this condition. Poor Eva was already very skinny before she arrived at Saving Paws Rescue because she wasn’t able to get the nourishment her body needs.
Saving Paws is proud to be a part of the close-knit rescue community that extends throughout Arizona, which includes our friends at VETMED, PACC911’s LuLu’s Angel Fund and the Miracle GSD Network, who worked with us to help save this sweet girl, despite the challenges she’s starting out with. We have never believed that age, medical condition or behavioral issues should mean a death sentence for a dog. There was never a question: Eva would be brought to Saving Paws Rescue.
Calista was found in horrifying condition by a police officer on June 30, 2013. She was a suspected bait dog. The officer took her to Maricopa County Animal Care & Control – West. The staff there immediately began advocating for her and contacted Mayday Pit Bull Rescue who immediately agreed to take her in and get her the medical care she needed. Her ears were severely damaged and the remaining tissue was infected and decaying. The wounds to her ears looked like bite wounds and her body was covered in old scars. She was also emaciated and dehydrated and the veterinarian said she had been like this for a while. Her body was covered in ticks and she tested positive for nearly every tick borne disease including, ehrlichia, babesia, and anaplasma. She needed a blood transfusion, multiple surgeries to clean and debride her ears, and lots of medicine. Today, Calista is all healed up in body and mind and is a cherished and much loved member of her family.
While they knew very little about the sweet 8-month old boy found in the Westside shelter, Arizona Golden Retriever Connection knew he had been exposed to parvo. He was rescued in March 2014 and admitted to VETMED right away where he was treated for parvo. The VETMED team discovered he had developed pneumonia, but he responded well to treatment and was feeling better in no time.
“As it was St. Patrick’s Day, we needed a good, strong Irish name, hence Sean. When we got to VMED there was another parvo dog in isolation named Ron Burgandy, so we decided that our dog needed a last name: Sean became Sean Connery,” said a representative from Arizona Golden Retriever Connection.
Today he lives with his forever family and his best friend, a German Shepherd.
When Wren was about 6 months old, she was taken to the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control shelter as a “stray”. She had a severely swollen right leg that couldn’t bear weight as well as hard swelling on her left leg and jaw. Wren also had a rash on a good portion of her belly. She was scheduled to be euthanized but Mayday Pit Bull Rescue & Advocacy fell in love with her and stepped in to help. She looked like a tiny little bird with broken wings, so they named her Wren. X-rays were taken and they initially seemed to indicate that she had Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. The X-rays also showed her stomach was full of rocks. After additional testing, blood work and a bone biopsy it was determined that she has an extremely severe case of valley fever. Soon after being rescued, Wren had to be rushed to the vet twice for high fevers around 105 degrees. Oral Valley Fever medication was not strong enough to manage her condition. She needed nine IV treatments of Albacet and is doing better. She is able to run and play, keeping up with her canine friends but she will be on Valley Fever medication long term.
Diego was 9 years old when his owner’s took him to the shelter to be put to sleep. The owners stated that Diego had Valley Fever and seizures. Arizona Golden Retriever Connection rescued him from the shelter and brought him to VETMED for an evaluation of his seizures and Valley Fever. Diego’s Valley Fever titer was 1:32, so he was put on medication. Fortunately, Diego did not experience any seizures!
Diego’s second chance at life includes a home with another Golden Retriever who he adores, and his forever mom and dad who love him dearly!
Teddy Ruffxpin (named after the children’s doll, with a bit of a play-on-words twist for canine humor) was a senior Weimaraner who’d spent a long time being neglected. He had likely lived outdoors without any shelter for so long that his fur had bleached completely orange. He had been starved of food and water for so long he was barely recognizable as a Weimaraner. He had open wounds and pressure sores across his body.
Teddy was found by a good samaritan and brought to a local shelter in California. The shelter knew of the work Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue did for special-needs, traumatized, and injured dogs, and contacted the group to help. Volunteers drove to bring Teddy to their Arizona chapter of rescue. He was so dehydrated and frail that he could not walk on his own, and needed subcutaneous fluids to be given by volunteers on the car ride. Due to the lack of proper nutrition to help maintain immunity to sickness and disease, in addition to exposure to illnesses, Teddy came down with a terrible case of pneumonia. He was brought to VETMED and put under the most intensive treatment plan available. Much of the time when dogs so old and so frail develop pneumonia, they don’t survive. Yet, thanks to the care of VETMED staff and to the strength of Teddy and his determination, he overcame the pneumonia.
Teddy went on to enjoy several months in a loving foster home before unfortunately his heart gave out. The solace brought to Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue through our assistance with Teddy and many dogs like him is that his end of life was filled with warmth, comfort, and compassion. His end of life was not filled with suffering or pain, but instead with love and adoration.
Lolly was turned into the shelter by her owners with a tumor hanging from her abdomen.
She was brought directly to VETMED for an evaluation and surgery, where a pre-surgical workup was done including a chest x-ray which looked promising since there were no lesions in her lungs.
Lolly had a 7.5lb tumor removed that sadly came back as cancer, but even through her illness, she was given a second chance to be loved and happy.
The heavens got a new star on June 24, 2014, when Lolly trotted across the Rainbow Bridge with her head held high and her tail wagging.
Lolly was still enjoying her treats literally until the minute before she crossed. Lolly never struggled to breath (that was our goal) but she was panting more and sleeping more. Her back leg had started to swell (the cancer was blocking the lymph nodes). Her stomach was starting to get distended and a new mammary tumor was growing very fast.
The Arizona Golden Retriever Connection had spent so much energy on giving Lolly quality of life that they did not want their selfish desires for quantity of life to override Lolly’s happiness.
Lolly was standing and finishing a bit of her treat when the vet started the injection that would set Lolly free of her cancer ridden body. Even then Lolly did things on her own terms.
Thank you to Karen and Mike for giving Lolly the time of her life. Thank you to all of Lolly’s supporters that made it possible for us to give Lolly the veterinary care she deserved. Lolly was a special girl and she will be forever in our hearts.
Hobbs was found as a stray and when his finders could not locate an owner after a couple of weeks, they reached out to Mayday Pit Bull Rescue. His finders knew there was something very wrong with him but weren’t sure what was wrong with him. He kept collapsing and sometimes couldn’t move or get up at all but other times he was completely normal and playful, running and jumping around. As soon as Mayday heard about this young dog’s potentially serious condition, they agreed to take him in and requested the finder take him directly to the vet. After running multiple tests, X-rays and scans, the cause of his collapsing was identified. Hobbs has narcolepsy cataplexy. When he gets overly excited or stimulated, he falls to the ground in a deep sleep. Other times he will collapse awake but unable to get up or move around for a little bit. Hobbs is now on medication that has these episodes well under control and he is leading a “normal” life as a very happy, playful and loving dog.
Lurlene is from Racine, WI. She was hit by a car as a puppy and it left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her owners took her to a vet hospital after she was hit by the car but they never returned for her. Everyone at the hospital fell in love with Lurlene’s sweet, gentle nature and they were determined to find a rescue to take her. Knowing that Mayday Pit Bull Rescue & Advocacy focuses on dogs with special needs, they reached out in hopes that Mayday would be able to take her. It was perfect timing because Mayday was having another special needs dog transported from New Jersey and the transporter was able to drive through to pick up Lurlene on the way. Lurlene will never regain the use of her legs and will all be incontinent but it doesn’t slow her down at all. She is a bright, happy, friendly girl who can keep up with anyone.
In March 2013, Sunflower was sitting in the Eastside shelter, scared and confused when Arizona Golden Retriever Connection shelter walker, Stephanie, saw her. At first Stephanie of Arizona Golden Retriever Connection thought Sunflower was laying down with a toy in her mouth, but as she slowly coaxed Sunflower to get up and come to the front of the kennel for a treat, she realized that what she had thought was a toy in her mouth, was actually a very large tumor growing from her face.
Sunflower had been turned into the shelter by her family because they could not afford to have her treated.
It was the Saturday of Easter weekend and Arizona Golden Retriever Connection had no place for Sunflower to go. They called VETMED, whose team performed surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.
Today, Sunflower, now named Maxie, is living her life with her forever family who adore her!
With debilitating front leg deformities, Johnny Rico was taken to the county shelter at just 7 weeks old and, subsequently, placed on the list for euthanasia. That’s when Mayday Pit Bull Rescue stepped in to help. They saw the larger-than-life personality in the little pup. Johnny Rico’s elbows are 90 degrees rotated from where they should be and they are not able to be surgically realigned. He knows he is the cutest boy in the world and, despite his legs, he sees no obstacles in his path and doesn’t left anything slow him down.
Beautiful Posey was found as a stray and ended up at risk of euthanasia at the county shelter due to her deformed front and rear legs. When the folks at Mayday saw her, they immediately fell in love and knew they had to help her. She was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of dwarfism. Despite her diagnosis, this happy girl sees no obstacles in her path….
Nola was likely hit by a car and suffered a severely broken back, nearly severing her spinal cord. She went through multiple surgeries to repair the damage. One day she stood up on her own. Then she started walking. Then running! She even overcame the incontinence that came with paralysis. Nola has struggled with issues with her back legs and even had an E-coli infection on her back left foot. It was determined that amputating her leg would give her the best opportunity at a healthy and happy future.
Nola is smart and feisty, and silly and super playful. She can’t catch a break but doesn’t let it keep her down or stop her. She is truly a miracle.
Check back soon for even more pet rescue stories with happy endings!