Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

The Power of Rescue

by User Not Found | Aug 10, 2014

Once upon a time, those crazy people at NRGRR gave me my own blog, to talk about medical things and dogs.  But today is a special occasion, there are medical tidbits sparsely sprinkled in, but today I just want to tell you a rescue story.  A great rescue story.

On July 25th we received a call from an owner who had a sick dog.  Owner surrender dogs are not usually in immediate danger (because they are with a person) unlike our shelter dogs that are on a ticking clock before making their way to death row.  But this was a bit of an emergency since the poor pup had obvious signs of illness.  NRGRR sprung in to action and a local volunteer, Jane, was able to pick the dog up the next morning.  That morning we also discovered that there were five other dogs living in pens outside in a field.  The owner had happened upon the mom of the pack as she was about to deliver.  Two of the puppies died and she housed the remaining pups, and mom, two in each enclosure and has been doing her best to take care of them for the last 3 years.  It was clear that this woman loved these dogs very much and wanted to do everything she could to make sure they were taken care of.  Unfortunately, because of a recent tragic family event she was overwhelmed mentally, physically and financially and bid a heartfelt goodbye to her dog.  That morning, Jane didn’t stop with the transport of Miss P to an NRGRR vet office.  She shared with the rest of us their story and started the ball rolling with what would be one of our largest rescue movements to date.  In the meantime, another volunteer, Julie, began working closely with the owner to write-up stories and get pictures in the hopes that we could help her find rescues for the other five dogs.  And our wonderful Jane offered to water and feed the dogs so that the owner didn’t have to keep running back and forth to the hospital daily.  She cleans their pens and recruited her husband to replace one of the tarps that had been shredded and had large holes and was no longer offering the dogs protection.  Julie and her faithful companion Dexter made the trip to conduct temperament testing information as well.  This is an exceptional tool to have to make sure the dog is placed in the right foster home and to make sure we set these dogs up for success.  They did a great job and it is a testament to the effort of the owner to take care of them.

As we began to contact various rescue groups in hope of placing these dogs in foster homes, the question that loomed over our heads was what if these dogs are heartworm positive?  Considering they hadn’t been on proper preventative, the odds were not in our favor, but we and the rescues needed to know.  Heartworm treatment is an extremely expensive, painful procedure that dogs must endure and with the recent shortage of the only drug that is able to treat the disease, it becomes more and more of a burden on rescue groups, their fosters and especially the dogs.  We discovered that the sad reality of the internet had reared its ugly head.  Without the proper resources available to pet owners, they often take to the internet in search of recommended medical advice.  The financial constraints of vet visits and horror stories embellished by anyone and everyone posting on the internet grab people’s attention and lead owners to a false sense of what is proper medical care and what is completely ludicrous.  An easy trap to fall in to, for anyone, it had snagged this owner and she was giving garlic and pumpkin seeds to protect her dogs from heartworm disease.  Neuse River and other local rescue volunteers stepped up again organizing a weekend of action and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.  It just so happens that Jane was able to coordinate with her local vet office to get supplies and purchase heartworm tests for these dogs.  They had never been to the vet and five scared dogs surrounded by strangers does not make for a good transporting situation.  Instead, they would allow us to draw the blood “in the field” and bring back samples that could be used for testing.  I was so excited when I heard about what was happening and didn’t think twice about offering to drive out and put my blood drawing skills to use.  Jane was a whiz with the dogs!  The key to a good blood draw is the right hold and Jane took the hard work of making my job a piece of cake.  These dogs were amazingly good considering what we were doing to them and that I was a stranger…..even in the pouring rain.  Yep, the morning everything was set, we woke to a regular steady supply of water falling from the sky.  All. Day. Long.  Once our task was complete, I loaded my soggy self in the car and drove to the vet to drop off the samples.  As I was pulling away, a wonderful foster from Best Friends Pet Adoption had arrived to meet one of the dogs, Hope.  Within a short time, we received the happy news that Hope’s heartworm test was negative!  And with that, her new foster loaded her up and drove away! 

Two more dogs went with our volunteers to meet potential fosters that day and one more will meet with a rescue group tomorrow.  Two dogs were not so lucky in the heartworm lotto and tested positive, but the remaining three were negative.  We have the information we need to continue to work with local rescues to place these deserving dogs. 

And what’s a blog without me climbing back on to my heartworm-shaped soapbox?  Heartworms occur naturally in every state but Alaska.  It is spreading and heartworm-positive tests from dogs and cats are on the rise. Environmental changes are paving the way, but rescue efforts in regions where heartworm is a known problem (the warm and wet south) are contributing by trying to relocate dogs to get them adopted and save them from shelters.  This fall Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue is partnering with Blue Buffalo to host our first ever 5K event.  The money raised at this event will benefit shelters and rescues in eastern North Carolina.  Many of these shelters are not funded well enough to purchase and test dogs for heartworm disease.  Our hope is that providing these tests will not only allow us to help make dogs who test negative more “marketable” to rescues who can’t afford to treat for heartworm disease, but also allow us to safely move these dogs to other parts of the country. 

My special thanks to Julie, Kathleen, Donna and Jane for an incredible effort to make this right for a woman who is trying to do everything she can for the dogs she loves.  These volunteers are what rescue is all about and every day I am proud to be a part of it.

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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