We spent the last week dog-sitting a previous foster named Madeline, who is just the sweetest thing (you can meet her if you go back a few blog posts). She left on Saturday, and on Tuesday we got a new foster named Max. I was only told that he was rescued from a high kill shelter in Kentucky by a family who wanted to save him but couldn’t keep him. They held him for four months trying to find a family for him but ultimately had to turn him over to MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue’s care. Max is heartworm positive and began treatment on March 18th.
Well, the woman who sprung him has family in Colorado, so she delivered him to my doorstep on Tuesday. I thought I had prepared for him, borrowing a large crate from my wonderful neighbor and outfitting it with a cozy bed, food and water bowls, toys, and chewies. Max would be spending his next four weeks in there because with the heartworm treatment he has to be kept “quiet.” If he moves around too much the worms can migrate to his lungs or clot his blood, really causing problems. What I wasn’t ready for was a dog with two cherry eyes (the third eyelid gland is pushing up into his eyes – needs surgery), a broken front right leg that is now fused at the elbow, and an obvious neurological disorder in which he can’t get all of his legs to work together. This poor four-year-old dog should have been named “Rocky” because he’s apparently a fighter to have survived this far!
On the upside, Max is adorable and very friendly, although he gets a little “too excited” and bites my chin every time I take him out of his crate (ouch!). I really like him and want to see him thrive, though I’m baffled at where to begin helping him. I was thinking that first I would help him get through the heartworm, and then we would tackle his legs. After that we could deal with his eyes.
However, this morning when I awoke, Max was not responsive. He had pooped himself, his eyes were dilated and he was limp. Luckily my vet is open for regular business hours at 7am, so with tears in my eyes I rushed him to the vet (thanks, Dylan, for getting up early and holding him in the passenger seat). By the time we were at the vet, Max was responsive, moving his head around and responding to sound. His gums were very pale and the vet is concerned that he’s anemic on top of his heartworm. My concern is that he’s going to clot because just moving around is an exhausting activity for Max. The vet is doing some blood tests (he’s got the previous vet report so as to not repeat anything), and he’s got a fecal sample.
Please cross your fingers for Max. It was a terrible morning, but I’m more optimistic now that he is getting some care. He truly is a beautiful, loving dog, and after all he’s been through, he deserves to have some time in loving arms before going to the Bridge.
This is the hard thing about fostering. Max is our 26th foster dog, and though I haven’t lost one yet, it’s inevitable that it will happen sometime. This morning’s events really drove that point home. Regardless, I’ll love them until the end, and I’ll cry for them when they’re gone. But I WON’T STOP helping every lost little soul that crosses my path to the best of my ability.