‘He will be loved’: Starved, nerve-damaged, mange-ravaged street dog fights for life in rescuers’ armsPosted: August 23, 2012
By Katerina Lorenzatos Makris
“This is Daniel,” wrote Kelle Mann Davis in a Facebook post yesterday under the photo of a wretchedly emaciated, nearly bald young hound-shepherd mix.
“Shelly Smith and I came across him while out in the field last night,” she went on. “He is starved, almost to the point of death. But this boy has something I have never seen out there: severe, constant jerking of his head and body.”
What Davis meant when she said “out in the field” is a deeply impoverished, high-crime part of Houston’s inner city, she explained to Animal Issues Reporter (AIR).
Davis and her volunteers in their group regularly patrol the area, feeding the strays, delivering pet food donations to local residents, and trapping dogs to take them to the adopters, foster families and other rescue groups who have agreed to help.
“We took him to two vets and both said the same,” Davis continued. “He has had distemper and this is the end neurological result. It is difficult to eat, as his nose bangs into the bowl, over and over. He gets water up his nose while drinking. He is severely dehydrated and anemic.”
‘No one cared’
Although Daniel staggered around a densely-populated neighborhood for a long period of time, possibly throughout Houston’s brutally hot summer, and although he was clearly ill, famished, and rendered almost hairless by both demodectic and sarcoptic mange, “no one there reached out to him,” said Davis. “No one gave him something to eat, a drink of water. No one saw his pain and suffering. No one cared.”
Now Daniel has people who care about him very much. The vets have run all the necessary lab work, and Davis and her volunteers are treating him for the dehydration and anemia.
But it’s probably too late, said Davis. “The vets tell me that he will never have quality of life, will never be without the jerking, will never get better.”
The dog is skeletal, weighing 41 pounds when he should be at about 65 or 70, said Davis. And he must be fed by hand because his neurological palsy, the involuntary twitching and jerking, makes it hard for him to eat from a bowl.
‘No one to live for, and yet he survived’
Davis has decided to give Daniel another two days to “make sure.” She doesn’t want to prolong his suffering, but hopes that perhaps his general condition can improve enough to make his life one of comfort rather than misery.
“What amazes me is that he’s had the will,” Davis told AIR. “He had no one to live for, and yet he survived.”
Therefore, she wrote in her Facebook post, at least “for two days he will live like he should have the whole two or three years he has been alive. He will have a soft blanket, he will have all the food he wants, when he wants. He will be on meds to soften the jerking of his starved, furless body. And most of all, he will be loved.”
Davis, who quit her 28-year-long career as an ob-gyn nurse so that she could dedicate her life to animal rescue, makes this plea: “Please rescue a dog. They are out there, waiting. Don’t wait until it is too late. Give them a chance, a chance that Daniel never got.”
And no matter what happens from here on out, Davis wrote in a mournful note to the valiantly struggling dog—a dog who is her group’s 120th rescue, and is perhaps the worst case of neglect she has ever seen: “I am so sorry Daniel. I am sorry that we let you down, that no one helped. I love you, boy, and I will never forget the honor of helping you, in life and in death. When it is time for you to fly, Daniel, I will be there with you, loving you and letting you know that some of us—many of us—do care.”
Contact to learn more about their work or to help with donations or volunteering.
by Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward along with partner groups.
Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Credits include hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for outlets such as National Geographic Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelers’ Tales, NBC’s , and Examiner.com (), a teleplay for CBS-TV, a short story for magazine, and 17 novels for Avon, E.P. Dutton, Simon and Schuster, and other major publishers.
Together with coauthor Shelley Frost, Katerina wrote a step-by-step guide for hands-on, in-the-trenches dog rescue, (The Lyons Press).
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