Dog Given a Second Chance at Life

August 16, 2016
Kristi Rosa

A Salem veterinary clinic as well as a few animal rescue groups from the area partnered up in an effort to save an emaciated dog that was found wandering in Lyons, a city in Linn County, Oregon, on Tuesday afternoon.

According to an article in the Statesman Journal, a Salem veterinary clinic as well as a few animal rescue groups from the area partnered up in an effort to save an emaciated dog that was found wandering in Lyons, a city in Linn County, Oregon, on Tuesday afternoon.

Rebecca Wallis, president of Family Pet Partners, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping pets by partnering with families in the mutual effort to keep them healthy and safe, was the first to be notified of the dog, what looked to be a Chihuahua mix.

Family Pet Partners, had recently taken over the Lost and Found Pets of Salem, Oregon effort, so Wallis was able to send out an alert to volunteers through the “Lost and Found Pets of Salem Oregon” Facebook and Twitter pages that called for volunteers to assist in the issue.

Rhonda Murray and Cherry Collins were the first volunteers to respond to the call, and after meeting, they were able to locate the dog. Upon first look, the volunteers described the dog to have shown signs of dehydration in that one of his eyes were ulcerated. In addition, the dog appeared to be in a state of starvation, suggested by the fact that his bones were severely pronounced beneath his skin.

Upon finding the dog, Murray and Collins started to search the surrounding neighborhood for his potential owner. The women went door-to-door but to no avail; no one had recognized the dog and no one claimed ownership of the dog. Having not found an owner, the volunteers then decided to bring the stray dog in need of urgent care to a veterinary clinic located in Salem, Oregon.

Despite having found that the animal hospital was closed, Collins was able to access and use a portable microchip reader to scan the dog for a microchip identifier that could further help them in their search for the dog’s owner. This time, the women were in luck; the dog had a microchip. After contacting the microchip company, AVID Identification Systems, Inc., they proceeded to explain the situation of the dog to which the company then made their own attempt to find the dog’s registered owner through the number found on the dog’s microchip.

The results were a little unsettling: AVID found that the dog’s first owner had passed away in May of 2015 and the name that had been listed second as guardian of the dog, who they were told was named “Houdie,” belonged to someone who had been incarcerated, Murray said. Learning this, the volunteers decided to take Houdie to schedule a veterinary appointment for 8 AM the following morning and took him home to provide him with food and water.

According to the press release, “Murray and Wallis [said that] it was the most starved dog they’d ever seen. His ribs were showing, his nails were overgrown to the point [that] they were curling under the paws, and there were lesions on his rump. The dog’s penis was distended and white, dried up beyond its sheath to the point that he was unable to retract it.”

According to Murray, the vet had estimated that Houdie was probably 2 to 3 years old and his normal weight should have been around 12 to 15 pounds, yet, Houdie weighed just 5.7 pounds.

After the volunteers, following customary practice, reported the situation to the Oregon Humane Society as well as the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, they experienced a few setbacks. Between Tuesday night and Thursday morning, an owner had reported Houdie as stolen to the sheriff’s office.

Due to the conflicting interests for Houdie, the sheriff’s office had to differentiate if this particular case was one of theft or if it was just one of a good samaritan with no malicious intent. While the preliminary investigation was conducted, the dog was transferred to the Marion County Dog Services shelter to be held until further notice. As this was happening, Wallis and her team delved deeper into an investigation of their own regarding the dog’s condition.

In speaking of what they found upon closer examination, Wallis said, “We had to get it IV fluids, and learned through blood tests that its blood sugar levels were extraordinarily high and that it had pancreatitis, which can be fatal…We were convinced that this dog had been neglected to the point of near death and we couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen again.”

Working with the deputy, on Friday, Family Pet Partners and volunteers sought to get an affidavit from the veterinarian that would confirm the severity of the dog’s condition and on Saturday, the owner had surrendered the dog to the county.

Murray then went and picked up Houdie from the shelter and transported him to Evergreen Veterinary Hospital located in Salem, Oregon. After discharge, Houdie will be taken care of by a local foster family, one that will consist of a guardian who will be home all day in order to optimally attend to Houdie’s many needs as he recovers.

Dr. Laura Magruder, one of the hospital owners that treated Houdie, reported that the dog “was stable but fragile.” Houdie will not be put up for adoption until the vet releases him and any potential new owners will have to be screened, educated of Houdie’s past, as well as have the ability to meet with all of his medical needs in order to adopt him.

Murray said, “This dog will require a lot of love and care. In my eight years of volunteering with rescues, I’ve never seen an animal so close to death. He’ll stay in foster until he’s ready to be re-homed, but I hope that he will get a chance at a real good one soon.”