Angel, a 4 year old brown and white female jack, is a study in miracles; but a case where the outcome is still undetermined.
Many weeks ago a Facebook page from a shelter appeared all over the Jack Russell FB sites: Please save, please pull, please help! Brought to a shelter after someone tried to help her heal, a little jack russell girl, rightly named Angel, had one rear leg missing and her other foot badly damaged with an open wound that would not heal. Not much was known except the person who brought her into the shelter thought she’d been caught in a trap so the word spread thinking she’d chewed her leg off to escape. Several rescues stepped up to take her, including Jacks Galore. With our rescue partner in place, Dede arranged to get her to a clinic, Angel was whisked off to the vet. X-rays were taken and no bone damage detected, so she was put on pain meds and antibiotics and then sent to our foster while we waited to connect her to a trip up north to join Jacks Galore.
Angel arrived on a Sunday, and was certainly in much worse shape than we had anticipated. The afternoon before Angel arrived, our dearest friend, jack of all trades, and dog lover Dave, came to make two ramps for her on the inside and the outside of her kennel slot. With special carpeting on it, she can scoot through the dog door without a problem; and that she does whizzing in and out whenever she sees one of us coming to greet her. On Monday she went directly to our fabulous vet Dr. Ray Reiners, who on seeing her was gravely concerned.
After a thorough examination and several x-rays, it was determined that she was probably never in a trap, but was either hit by a car or severely abused. Her back has been broken, and the nerve damage is extreme, so Angel has no use of her back end from the middle of her spine down. The wound festering on her intact hind leg and the leg that was either chopped off or chewed off cause her no pain. Angel has extreme muscle atrophy in the hind quarters, and shows no sign of using her intact foot. She “walks” extremely well with very pronounced muscular strength with her front legs and just drags her rear behind her. Angel is also not able to go to the bathroom on her own, resulting in a urinary tract infection with a lot of gas in her bladder, and she is not aware of going to the bathroom. This of course poses all sorts of cleanliness problems, and discomfort for her since she has no sensation of when she goes or where she is sitting.
With our vet, our rescue partners, and the staff that worked with Angel, we discussed at length whether she’d have any quality of life for her and whether anyone would adopt her. Given all the work involved to keep her clean, not knowing if an adopter would ever step up to take her in, we all knew we wanted only what was best for her; but the decision is painful and always very difficult.
The next morning deciding that there was possibly not much we could do, JG mom went up to the agility field to let her roam around in the grass where the softness of the field would not open her wounds. What Angel did next brought me to tears and made me decide we would not give up on her quite yet; JG dad agreed we will do absolutely everything possible until we feel there is nothing more we can do. Angel survived whatever befell her, she has fought this hard and has come so far to stay alive; we’re going to give her every chance we can. If we then find that there’s no future for her, we can at least say we gave it our all.
So what did Angel do, you ask? Angel ran across the field dragging her hind legs, grabbed a tennis ball, came running back to me and dropped it at my feet. She looked up at me as if to say “I MIGHT have a life ahead of me, I haven’t given up, I’m happy, don’t you give up yet; will you throw the ball? “ We played ball! And oh my can that little girl run; the joy, the smile on her face, and the beauty in her eyes made us realize that we will give it the good fight. We discussed it with our rescue partner , who agreed; let’s give it a try.
We are all aware that there are no guarantees; so the Angel story begins here. With lots of worry, lots of work ahead, and much help needed, we will see if we can make it happen:
Step 1: Medication to rid Angel of her urinary tract infection, then back to the vet for a thorough re-examination, more x-rays, and a plan of attack to debride the wound on the partial leg, and treatment to heal the open wound on the viable rear foot.
Step 2: We go to our local water therapy clinic and see if we can stimulate her nerves to allow her to learn to use her intact rear leg once again. It is a real long shot, and we’re skeptical, but if we can make her a tripod and reverse the nerve damage then it is well worth trying.
Step 3: Angel moves into our house with all the sanctuary jacks. This way she can be watched 24/7, we can help her go to the bathroom and be part of a family and can monitor for any improvements . Our dear friend Dave has once again built ramps for both sets of dog doors leading to the garden.
Step 4: We need wheels for Angel. This is where we need our supporters’ help. Can someone donate a pair of wheels for her, so she can run around all day long and we can help her go to the bathroom so she stays clean? You can contact us through the website or donate through our PayPal button. Just go to the DONATE link on our home page.
We have a long journey ahead; Angel has a lot of fighting still to do. Our goal is to work with her and make it possible for Angel to be adopted into a forever home. Will we find that person; will that family be ready to bring this little girl into their lives? We hope so; we’re certainly going to make every effort to make it a reality. There are no guarantees in life, so at this point Angel still faces an uncertain future. But we will certainly all hope for the best. To be continued……