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A Rescue Dog's Story
Fred came to us on Sunday, June 30, 2003. An owner turn in, he was covered in mange, had numerous types of worms and a skin infection which was a result of fleas and the mange. At 4 years of age, he had never had any vaccines. We all held our breath awaiting the results of his heartworm test. When the results came back from the lab, we were ecstatic to find that he did NOT have heartworms. Thus, Fred began his journey back to good health. He began 6 weeks of Ivermectin treatments to cure him of the mange, along with a two-week course of antibiotics to cure the skin infection, and several weeks of an antihistamine to help with the insufferable itching associated with dying mange. Fred was neutered on Thursday, July 3rd, and that afternoon met his foster parents, Anita and Jerry Pritchard. Fred had no idea what was in store for him.
Anita and Jerry had already submitted an application for adoption, as well as a membership agreement to foster our rescue babies. They were determined NOT to fall too much in love with Fred, as they knew they would have to give him up. The following is Fred's Story, as told by Anita.
"Fred was my first experience with foster care after joining Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas. My husband, Jerry, and I picked him up in Asheville on July 3, 2003. Although I thought I had prepared myself mentally to see his condition, my heart was immediately broken. Fred is a four year old purebred miniature schnauzer that should have been in the prime of his life; but it was obvious that life had been cruel to Fred in many ways. When Fred's owners became bored with him, he was "thrown away" to fend for himself anyway he could. Divine intervention placed him in the hands of one of our rescuers, Debbie West, and his life took a turn for the better immediately. He had been diagnosed with every possible worm/parasite (except heartworms) and was eaten up with mange. His physical condition was terrible, but the emotional damage already done to this little boy was even greater.
Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas had Fred treated by a veterinary doctor and neutered before he came to our family. We picked up not only a sick little boy, but an abundance of continuing medication. The "dead" look in Fred's eyes(as you can see in the above picture) brought me immediately to tears. I wondered if it was too late for him to come back from the depth of depression that he obviously felt. The first week that Fred was with us, he was required to stay in an outdoor kennel because his mange was contagious to both other animals and people. Initially, Jerry took over the primary feeding duties because Fred seemed to be terrified of men in general. We wanted him to learn that people are good.
Within a couple of days, Fred was responding to Jerry's voice and beginning to perk up. With very little training, he quickly took to walking on a leash. It seemed that whatever Fred could do to please, he would put forth the extra effort. After Fred was no longer contagious, we had him groomed. (Two long hard hours by the groomer and this was not the first attempt at shaping his coat. The initial rescuers found that he had not had a haircut in over three years and the worst of the masses of tangled hair were trimmed off.) Fred seemed to take pride in the fact that he had a new haircut.
The next step was to bring him inside to begin his socialization with our other schnauzer and our cats. He seemed very glad to be around the other animals and before long, they in turn, accepted him. Fred had previously given up on life and just existed on a day to day basis, so it took a couple of days for Fred to even realize that when we spoke, we were talking to him. He had apparently been completely neglected. Loud noises and sudden moves caused him to panic. Within a couple of days of consistent love and attention, Fred began to soak it up like a sponge, and his extraordinary personality began to shine through. When we initially held Fred, he would insist on standing rigidly in our laps (apparently prepared to run if he felt threatened), but slowly his muscles relaxed. By the end of the second week, he crawled up in the bed and laid down on my arm. There was a release of tension in his body and he rolled over on his back in order to let me rub his little belly. He went to sleep on my arm and snored loudly. I held him and let him sleep for over an hour with the secure knowledge that our bonding had really begun.
As we spent more time with Fred, it became very apparent that he has a special way with people. He is quiet and exceptionally perceptive, and has a way of winning the hearts of anyone he meets. Love and attention is so cherished by him that he returns every kindness with an abundance of love and affection. When he gets attention, his little nub of a tail begins to wag and then his whole body acts in conjunction. His eyes light up with a new realization that life can be a new and promising adventure after all.
We have begun socializing Fred with people on a regular basis. He wins the hearts of the elderly and small children with his sweet and simple disposition. An elderly lady that he met yesterday let us know that until Fred came along, she did not even like dogs. She could not resist his soft approach and gave her heart to him within minutes of their meeting. We are in the process of making arrangements for Fred to become a therapy dog and offer hope and love to others that feel the depth of depression that Fred once experienced. He will be attending behavioral classes and will start nursing home visits in the near future.
I joined Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas to contribute my efforts to a very
worthy program and to help place loving dogs in families that would benefit from
their sweet nature. Needless to say, although Fred was to be our "foster" child,
we have opened our home and hearts to Fred on a permanent basis. When he first
got here, we would tell him that he had a mommy or daddy waiting to give him a
happy home very soon. Now Jerry and I are proud to announce his addition to our
home, one Fred has already made a much happier place to be!"
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