|Meet Forrest K. Gimp|
I know what you're thinking...
"Whoops! They did it again!"
Yes, we did. Here's why...
I think it's obvious we are both animal lovers. Our animals are our kids, and every one of them is a rescue. Believe me, if it were up to us, we would save every animal in need that we could.
Sig is an animal control officer for the city, which makes things doubly hard - mainly because she sees animals every day that are neglected, mistreated, abused, and unwanted...and her only choice is to take them to the shelter, where I think we all know what happens to most of them. On the upside, though, she is also able to educate people about how to treat animals ("What do you mean I can't leave my dog in the car when it's 100* outside, Officer? I left the windows cracked!") and remove animals from harmful situations.
Currently, we have three dogs and one cat, so our house it pretty full. Adding another dog to the family really wasn't the plan...until little Forrest came along.
Sig called me this morning as I was dropping some friends off at the airport and asked a very strange question.
"How hard is it to take care of a dog with only three legs?"
My response: "I don't know. I've never had a dog with only three legs. I know people who have, though, and the dog just adapts and lives a normal life."
I thought she was asking in general, but after we talked for a bit, I realized she had something else in mind.
She had answered a call to pick up an injured dog, and when she got to the location, found this black lab puppy who had clearly been hit by a car or, at the very least, someone had run over her back left foot. She said there was bone and tendon exposed and that she was in pretty bad shape, but that she was a real sweetheart and there was just something about her...
Now, to be clear - Sig gives and gives of herself and doesn't really ask for much. I could tell by the passion in her voice that saving this dog was very important to her, so I agreed to go out to the shelter and take a look. I knew in my heart, though, what the decision was going to be.
Here's the thing (Sig is the only one I have told this to until now, because it still hurts me so much). A couple of weeks ago, heading back to my school from one of my feeder schools, I passed a dog that had been hit by a car...and was still alive (at least, its tail was flopping). I won't go into gory detail, but it was awful. I knew there was not a thing I could do short of putting it out if its misery, and even if I'd had the means to do that, I couldn't have. I was devastated and cried all the way back to school, then all the way home, then AT home, thinking about that poor dog and how I wished I could have helped it.
Needless to say, to me, saving this little black dog felt like karma to me. I went to the shelter to take a look, and honestly, I don't know how this dog was still functioning. Her back left foot was absolutely shredded and what was left of it was swollen to about three times its size. In spite of that, as soon as I stepped into the cage to say hello, she wiggled right up to me and leaned on me, put her head right in my hands, and I knew there was no way I was going to turn my back on this one.
Just then, Sig drove up into the bay with another injured dog (a German Shepherd with a mangled tail) and took care of her business, then walked over to me and asked me what I thought.
My response: We're taking her.
So - a phone call to the vet to make sure our guy was there, which he was, and I filled out the necessary paperwork to claim the pup. Mary, the shelter worker who, sadly, is in charge of euthanizing the animals who can't or won't get adopted out, got so emotional about us saving this little cutie that she had to walk away and get hold of herself. .
"You just made my entire day," she said.
Sig and I discussed names for her, and she said "Forest" - thinking of black forest cake. I misunderstood and thought she was referring to Forrest Gump, and since it was pretty clear to all of us who saw the injured leg that it would have to be amputated, I thought that was pretty appropriate. We decided on "Forrest K. Gimp" (K for karma) since she will likely be a three-legged dog after today. We briefly considered naming her "Tripod", but thought "Forrest" was more dignified ;-)
We got her in the car and I could immediately smell the wound - not good. Luckily, I'm not squeamish or the smell alone would have sent me running, much less the sight of the gruesome injury. Forrest leaned her head on my arm and sighed, looking at me with big brown eyes. I think she knew she was finally going to be taken care of.
I got her to Banfield, our vet, and put her in a shopping cart to get her inside. The receptionist took one look at her and immediately put us into a room after another tech helped get Forrest on the scale to get her weight (33 lbs). We waited for quite a bit, and I think she was starting to hurt - she kept trying to lick her foot and started groaning a little, but calmed right down when I petted her and talked to her. When Dr. Nelson came in, he took one look and said we had two choices: amputation or euthanasia. He said he was only bringing up euthanasia because he knew she wasn't ours, and I responded, "She is now."
He used a hemostat to check her response and was shocked to see that she still had feeling in her toes. He briefly considered the possibility of trying to save the leg, but after a lot of discussion we determined she would be better off without the leg. I asked him how old he thought the injury was, and he estimated at least 7 days. This poor pup went a week (at least!) with her poor leg crushed and her bones and tendons exposed - and she was STILL sweet-natured and trusting of people.
Based on the amount of necrotic flesh surrounding the wound and the smell of it, the danger now is septicemia and gangrene. She is having tests done to determine whether she has a massive infection and would survive the surgery, so now it's a waiting game to see how she does. Sig and I discussed the options and decided we need to at least give her a fighting chance.
So, please keep your fingers crossed for this sweet little black pup. She deserves a chance at life, even if she is short one leg. Hopefully, we'll get the chance to give her that!