‘He will be loved’: Starved, nerve-damaged, mange-ravaged street dog fights for life in rescuers’ arms

Starving and alone on Houston’s inner city streets, Daniel managed to survive distemper, but the disease left him with severe neurological damage–jerking and twitching. When he tries to drink, water goes up his nose. When he tries to eat, his snout bangs against the bowl. Photo: Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward Project

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 TravelerThe San Francisco ChronicleTravelers’ 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).

Please respect copyright law. Sharing AIR links really helps! But copying more than a couple of paragraphs of content without permission is a no-no. If you’d like to use one of AIR’s articles or one of our photographs, kindly contact us at [airinfo AT yahoo DOT com].

Copyright © 2012 Animal Issues Reporter and AnimalIssuesReporter.org.
All rights reserved.


12 Comments on “‘He will be loved’: Starved, nerve-damaged, mange-ravaged street dog fights for life in rescuers’ arms”

  1. Oes says:

    Heart-breaking story. And how amazing that she quit her job to do this (and sad that it’s so necessary)!

  2. Anonymous says:

    good job there are people like her, hope she get all the help she needs to keep on doing what she is doing

  3. Anonymous says:

    What the hell is wrong with people that they could see this poor dog wondering around and not help in any way–no water for him, no food, no call to a shelter, no one willing to take him to a veterinarian? This kind of neglect of any living being says something very bad about the society in which it occurs.

  4. linda badham says:

    A DISGRACE ! HOW ON EARTH “COULD” ANYBODY IGNORE SUCH SUFFERING IS BEYOND ME. WHETHER ITS IN A POOR AREA OR AFFLUENT A BOWL OF WATER IS NOTHING. THANK GOD HE WAS RESCUED BUT HIS QUALITY OF LIFE SEEMS POOR THANKS TO THE IGNORANT PEOPLE WHO LEFT HIM ON THE STREETS. HOW I DETEST THE HUMAN RACE WHO TREAT ANIMALS THIS WAY. THANK GOD FOR THE LOVE HES RECEIVING NOW AND MAYBE IN TIME HE WILL HAVE A LIFE OF QUALITY.

  5. Grando Ng says:

    Heart-breaking.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank You & God Bless You for what you are doing for Daniel. Please, if possible, try to give him a little more time, more than 2 days. He’s made it this far, he has a strong will. I’m sure he would rather live with some discomfort and get love & attention than the alternative. I know it won’t be easy to care for him, but I think in time he’ll make great strides.

  7. Marion Smith says:

    Please let us know the outcome for Daniel………..thank you for all you are doing

  8. kelle says:

    To Help Daniel

  9. Anonymous says:

    How wondeerful there are people like her that care

  10. Gary says:

    Sending prayers his way…Hang in there buddy…

  11. [...] He will be loved’: Starved, nerve-damaged, mange-ravaged street dog fights for life in rescuers’… [...]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers