When I look at my two rescue dogs, I often wonder what they had to go through before they were rescued and eventually ended up as part of our family. Naively, I hope that at some point they were loved and that unfortunate circumstances led to them needing a new home. I hope that my hugs and kisses weren’t the first they received. Although they were discarded by somebody, I hope that they never had to suffer. Their background and their history is a mystery . . . a part of their past that has no impact on their future. Sadly, with River, we really don’t have to wonder, his medical history tells a story of cruelty and neglect.
In early January 2012, a true hero rescued River near the Colorado River, where River was clinging to a rock. The extent of his medical history tells a heartbreaking story. River endured more than any one dog should ever have to. He was emaciated, heartworm positive, suffering from hypothermia, and one side of his body was covered in deep, gritty wounds and scratches. His injuries suggested that he may have been hit by a car. River had a fractured hip, a broken toe, and had BB pellets embedded deep in his chest from where he had been shot at some point in his prior life.
He received daily hydrotherapy for his necrotic hip wound and we believed he would need surgery to repair his fractured hip and afterward, he would need heartworm treatment. A few days after his rescue, River collapsed, and stopped breathing. This led to the discovery that River suffered from a heart condition called an atrioventricular block (or AV block), which impairs the conduction between the chambers of the heart. Although it was unclear what caused this condition in River’s case, we knew that it could be exacerbated in any incidence of high stress or excitement, which could potentially lead to another collapse. We reached out to the community for support and boy did you all step up!! River received an overwhelming amount of support from our community. We were touched when supporters donated money and toys to keep River mentally stimulated while recovering.Initially, because of the extent of his medical issues, we thought it would be best for River to remain at the vet’s office. His constant need for medical treatment and the need for him to be in a very calm environment made it difficult to find the perfect foster home for River. The best scenario would have been a home with no other dogs (River couldn’t afford to get excited or play) and nothing too stimulating (small children, etc.). This had nothing to do with River’s temperament; it was a matter of necessity given River’s heart condition, including his heartworm positive diagnosis. Fortunately we have great news to share … River will not need additional hip surgery!! This means that River is ready to start his heartworm treatment. Unfortunately, to date, River is still in boarding and this is not an ideal situation for him to receive heartworm treatment. The kennel is not conducive to the calm environment he needs to undergo treatment.
River’s wounds have healed nicely and his hair has grown back! He has gained about 13 pounds and looks great. His heart condition seems to have disappeared and we suspect that consistent food, shelter, and love might be the cause of the disappearance. Our trainer suspects that he was a chain dog due to his lack of manners. Although we don’t have to wonder about River’s history, we can use it as a guide to help him in the future.
River needs to find the ideal, calm foster or adoptive home. River isn’t fond of cats, but he can go with another dog, one who can help him learn manners and won’t get him overly excited as he will be going through heartworm treatment in the foster home. He seems eager to learn and is food driven. He is already learning his basic commands and doesn’t react to barking dogs while on walks. He is just happy to be out of his kennel enjoying his new life!! Do you think you might be River’s guardian angel?? If so, fill out an application here.
–Ofelia, Love-A-Bull Volunteer