I found this dog lying on the side of the road with his left front leg broken and the bones sticking out. He was just able to move about on three legs but was very emaciated. I went back to the same spot every day for a week, bringing him food and water, and gradually won his confidence until he was wagging his tail when he saw me. The vet told me to bring him in, but I was nervous about hurting him on my own. A friend agreed to help, the vet gave me tranquilisers and I sat and stroked and cuddled the dog for 50 minutes whilst the pills took effect.
We had got him to sit on a blanket and then carefully lifted it and the dog into my car. The vet said his blood count was too low for an immediate operation and he also had suspected tetanus and heart worm. The latter is a common affliction of rescue dogs here in Antigua: the disease is borne by mosquitoes, which are rife, but can be prevented through the monthly application of an inexpensive pill. Treating the disease once it has taken hold can be a lot more costly and even risky, and many people will not adopt a rescue dog if it has heart worm.
Eventually the rescue dog – or “Guinness” as I had called him (the colour of his fur and the frothy white streak at his neck prompted this handle – three of my own dogs have names associated with drinks!) recovered enough for a successful amputation. This then presented another problem: I could not have Guinness myself as my “pack” was already male-dominated and aggressive ( I tried so I know!) and people who had said they would take him backed out at the last minute. I was getting really worried about what to do with this poor rescue dog who had come so far but which nobody wanted…until my good friend Carrie stepped up to the mark. She had just lost the only male in her female-dominated pack (she now has eight dogs!) so she said she would give Guinness a try (most of her own dogs are rescue dogs). Thank goodness Guinness fitted in perfectly with her posse and over the next few months, Carrie treated him – successfully – for heart worm. His coat, which had been dull and sparse, is now thick and shiny and he dashes around on his three legs like he had been born to it…whenever I see him, I get a very loving greeting and he gets big hugs from me. I am so grateful to Carrie for giving him such a wonderful home where he has obviously settled in so happily.
Watercolor 12×16″ 30x40com