By Dr. Shelly Gomulak
Editor’s note: This is the second half of a story about Sam, a severely injured lab mix, who was rescued by staff and supporters of Noah’s Ark animal shelter.
Many of you, I know, are waiting patiently to hear what happened to our hero, the injured lab mix, Sam from last week’s article.
You will recall that Sam had been seriously injured and his owners were contemplating allowing the dog to be euthanized.
Noah’s Ark raised the money for Sam’s orthopedic surgery, blood transfusion and treatment for ehrlichia, a disease transmitted by ticks.
He was sent to the surgeon and returned to the local vet clinic the next day. The surgery was a success and the broken bone, was lined up perfectly with plates, screws and wires.
Sam was already gingerly walking on it. A soft-hearted veterinary technician at the local vet clinic brought Sam to her home for his recovery over the next eight weeks. Sam thrived! He was easily house brokem and got along famously with the other two dogs in the household. As he began to feel better, his adorable, fun personality began to surface. He loved to carry a ball in his mouth and a tummy rub was nothing short of ecxtasy. He had the happiest tail anyone has ever seen and he never knew a stranger.
At eight weeks an x-ray was taken of the injured leg. The plates and wires were still in place but the bone did not seem to be healing as quickly as expected, especially considering Sam’s young age. He was pain free though and was getting around really well. His ehrichia had been treated and he was putting on weight. It was time to find Sam a permanent, loving home.
When funds were being collected to send Sam for surgery, one generous woman expressed a real interest in making Sam her dog. She had a fenced yard and a lot of time to give him. It was love at first sight. It seemed like a perfect happy ending to our story.
Then disaster struck. Sam was unaccustomed to the slick wood and tile floors that were in his new owner’s house. He slipped hard and fell on his injured leg. A radiograph revealed broken screws and shifted plates.
The healing fractures had separated slightly and Sam did not want to bear full weight on the leg. The surgeon was notified. It did not look good for Sam. The pieces of bone were too small to try to put more screws into to stabilize the leg. The surgeon suggested keeping Sam in a crate for a few weeks. We were to take x-rays in four weeks and see if there was any bone union, if not the leg needed to be amputated.
During the next four weeks, Sam refused to put on weight. He hobbled around when taken out to potty and resigned himself stoically to his confined and painful life.
We all waited hopefully. At the end of four weeks the x-rays gave a grim picture; Sam would not keep his leg. Sam’s leg was amputated the next day at the local veterinary clinic. He took about two weeks to get used to not having his fourth leg for balance but then, never looked back. He enthusiastically chases a ball and wrestles with the other dogs in his new owner’s home.
His new owner, by the way, ended up being the vet technician that took him home initially to recover. He has put on weight and is just the most beautiful dog you will ever meet. If you don’t look closely, you would not even know that he has three legs. His boundless joy, as he squeaks his squeaky ball and races around the yard, brings a smile to everyone he meets.
Sam is the hero of our tale, but Noah’s Ark is the real hero. This is but one tale of rescue that would not have happened at any other shelter. Noah’s Ark goes the extra mile to save lives, to give hope and make happy endings.
The economy is in trouble and so are most of the charitable organizations in our nation.
Donations to Noah’s Ark have dropped significantly in 2012, while animal numbers coming through the doors are at a record high. People are having to get rid of their pets as they leave their homes to move into apartment buildings, or just cannot afford the care their animal requires. Please give and help make more happy endings like Sam’s.
Donations can be sent to Noah’s Ark, P.O. Box 405, Gainesville, TX 76241. The Noah’s Ark phone number is 665-9800
You may adopt a friend or volunteer!