What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Dogs of HELP FIDO

(admin note: This is the first in a series of stories about the dogs who belong to the members of HELP FIDO. These stories will help you to understand why we do what we do. If you would like to share YOUR story - please send it to helpfido@gmail.com !)

Sasha's story:
Around November 2005, my job was managing a cancer genetics counseling program at OhioHealth. The counselor (Susan) who worked for us had a friend (Liz) who worked as a teacher in a low-income part of town, nicknamed "the bottoms" because of its propensity to flood. Liz sent this email and a bunch of photos (including this one) out to Susan and some others:
"She was tied up outside of an abandoned house down here by the school and I think that this caused her to have some separation anxiety. She likes to be by your side at all times. She probably would do best in a home with another dog or dogs . . . She is so smart it is scary and somewhat headstrong so she needs someone with alot of patience and knowledge of puppies. If I didn't already have 2 dogs, I would keep her. She really will make a loyal, loving pet for someone. "
Brian and I had another dog, Maggie, a Catahoula who we had adopted from Capital Area Humane Society. We were starting to think about getting another dog and had looked around a little but hadn't taken the steps to venture to CAHS because we knew... once we went we would surely come home with a dog! So Susan forwards this email to me...and I forwarded it to Brian. And both of us basically fell in love at first sight with that big goofy face. Over the next couple of days we learned more we learned more of her story. . . she was initially given to a young woman who ran an unofficial daycare and Liz saw all these kids running all around, hanging on Sasha and pulling on her (as kids will do). . . she weighed less than 20 pounds . . . although she was putting on weight quickly.


Liz brought Sasha by and she and Maggie got along great so we decided to keep her. Maggie was not aggressive but she definitely had enjoyed being queen of the house. Her BFF was a black lab named Madison who, while older and wiser, submitted to whatever plans Maggie had for playtime. Now here her parents are bringing in this young little upstart with endless energy...let's just say it took some work but they quickly became inseparable.

On our first weekend with Sasha, while taking a group dog-nap at a cabin in Hocking Hills, Sasha urinated in her sleep. This happened many times over the next few weeks. We called our vet (at the time -shall remain nameless) and he put her on a drug called phenylpropanilamine (PPA) for incontinence. It sorta worked - but not really.

On New Year's Day we came home from dinner with family. Brian and I each disappeared to change into comfort clothes leaving the pups unattended. I came in to find Sasha had pulled the PPA bottle off the counter and eaten an uncertain amount. Terrified, we called the ASPCA poisen control hotline. They instructed us to have Sasha drink hydrogen peroxide (which she did quite easily!). She regurgitated about 20 tablets...all about half their normal size. Meanwhile the ASCPA folks were still on the line with me and as I was talking with them Sasha's entire body turned bright red and every hair stood straight out. They told us to leave for MedVet immediately. As we rushed in they immediately took her back. If you have ever been in this situation you know the terror of sitting in the waiting room...filling out paperwork through crying eyes...not knowing what is taking place. It is awful and we felt awful! Eventually they came out to tell us that they had used charcoal and gotten whatever else might be left in her stomach - however her blood pressure was still sky high. This was complicated by the fear that when it dropped it could plummet so quickly as to send her into a coma. So they would actually have to keep her pressure elevated at least overnight. We were allowed to see her briefly - still beet red and a little crazy eyed at this point. They sent us home with assurances that they would call us with any changes. Early the next morning I called to check on her - no real changes. We went in and she LOOKED much better. As the day went on her pressure normalized and they kept her one more night for observation but released her the following day with some gentle urgings to find a new vet (which we did!). Thankfully, she recovered fully.
Sasha looked very "bully" to us and others and we were immediately faced with people's instant discriminatory looks and fears. Many people assumed she was a pit-bull. Many people acted frightened of her without getting a chance to know her. This too, provided challenges. When Sasha and I completed an all breed obedience class though, with about 20 other dogs, she was the unanimous choice for most improved! But that experience gave us a taste of what so many bully-type dog owners must face all the time.
We had about one whole year together with Maggie and Sasha. About 9 months after adopting Sasha, our dear sweet Maggie was diagnosed with kidney failure. The photo at the right was taken about 2 weeks before one of the hardest days of our life for our little family. After Maggie's passing, Sasha became depressed and was starting to get grouchy (that is the only way I can describerher). I began searching for a new addition to our family and found Sparky....but that is a story for another day!

1 comment:

Christian said...

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These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...