by Kathleen Hartman
I had told myself after finding a very high energy little Whippet in my neighborhood that I would not be getting any other dogs! He showed up on my porch, and hasn’t left my side since. He’s a great dog, but loves to send you on a wild goose chase after him! It’s exhausting! That was about 5 months ago. How quickly things change!
Recently a friend on Facebook shared a photo with me of what appeared to be a bulldog in horrific conditions. The rescue center called “Paws Ranch Rescue & Animal Sanctuary “of San Antonio, Texas was looking for donations to try and help with the dogs Vet bills. His name was Buddy. He was left outside by his owners in the hot Texas sun just before the 4th of July. He collapsed that afternoon at around 3pm when they asked Ashlea from Paws Ranch Rescue to pick him up. Buddy was full of fleas, mud, excrement, and his nails never trimmed. He was dying from heat stroke! He had been throwing up all day and was lifeless.
Ashlea took him to her Vet. They gave Buddy fluids thru his skin and Ashlea was keeping him in her bathroom tub to keep him cool when I had called her around 9pm. Her rescue center only had $100 for each case that came in. I knew it would cost nothing less than a night at the Ritz Carlton to get this dog the emergency care he needed to make it through the night!
I called my friend Virgil. He has 2 bulldogs. For the last 2 years I have been helping him with the care of both Tucker and Hank. Tucker is an 8 year old Champion bulldog, with 18 blue ribbons and dozens of other accolades. Hank is a 3 year old bulldog, the son of Tucker. I love these dogs with all my heart. So when I saw this horrifying picture of Buddy (who looks a lot like Tucker) I flipped out!! I asked Virgil if we could help Buddy. I would take care of him and he would sponsor him. He did not hesitate for one second. He knew Buddy did not have time. Yes, go pick him up, Virgil told me. My adrenaline was pumping. I wanted him in the hospital yesterday! I called Ashlea and told her I would get him and adopt him. I just needed directions to Somerset where she had him. It was south of San Antonio and by this time it was late so she said she would meet us at the Animal Hospital in San Antonio. I probably would have been lost so I’m grateful she met Virgil & I at the hospital.
Buddy was in her back seat spread out and lifeless. The hospital was very busy at 11pm and it took way too long to get a Vet tech to come get this dog from her car. When they did come get him, he threw up once again. He was not able to keep any fluids down. They admitted him and we all left pretty tired from the ordeal. I prayed all night, cried all night and just was so angry at why this poor dog was being put through this, all because someone wouldn’t let him back in the house. Maybe because he had fleas, maybe he peed in the house, I don’t know why! But I found out more. I asked Ashlea what else she could tell me about Buddy. She said the owners say they found him. They had him for 5 months and NEVER ONCE took him to get shots! He appears to be around 4 years old. They never should have taken this dog in if they could not even afford to get his basic needs met! I knew Buddy was a fighter. I told him that night that I loved him and I was going to take him home when he got better!
The next couple of days were hard on Buddy and me for sure! I posted pictures of him on Facebook to let friends, and friends of friends know how he was doing. They were very supportive and positive, and Buddy had a great prayer team on his side! The 4th of July his blood results were drawn. The test showed his kidney, liver and pancreas levels were all too high. He was going to be on continuous IV fluids and antibiotics. I went to see him in the hospital. He was surrounded by sick and injured dogs, all crying in pain and scared. He was very quiet but I could see in his eyes how terrible he was feeling. His eyes had been damaged from the sun as well. Blood red eyes and cornea damaged, I was told. I don’t know if he could even see me or not, they were so cloudy and torn!
Either way, I sat close to him, and petted him gently. I assured him he would be OK. That he would get lots of treats when he got home. That is something Tucker would perk up if he heard. It didn’t seem to faze Buddy. He didn’t respond because he was so sick!
The next day was more of the same. That night I cried myself to sleep, and woke up crying. I couldn’t get him out of my head. I was so worried. I would call and check on him morning, noon and night. They did more blood work. This time his liver, and kidney were better, but he had Pancreatitis. Maybe brought on by the heat stroke, or from a high fat diet. A Vet on call said if he was fed scraps he could have developed this condition. I saw him again on Thursday, he looked better but we needed his blood to be normal. This time he had been outside to pee. A good sign. He was also sitting up much better and looked more alert to me.
Friday morning I called and was told his kidney levels went back up. I sent the word out on Facebook and Buddy’s prayer team went to work. Friday at about 2pm, after I had been trying to call all day to get the newest results, I called Virgil and he said... Good news, I talked to the Vet, but I’ll have to call you back. I couldn’t wait I called the Vet myself. I was used to being on hold for 20 to 30 minutes sometimes just to see how Buddy was doing. When I spoke to the Vet, he said all of Buddy’s blood work was normal and I could take him home, TONIGHT! Just like that my prayers were answered! So quick, all of a sudden, everything turned around! Buddy had eaten and was drinking and they felt he could leave with me tonight!! I was so nervous, so excited! Everything was kicked into high gear then.
Virgil and I had been discussing a new name for Buddy’s new life. We decided he would be formerly known as Buddy. Now to be called Gunner. Gunner means warrior and battler. He definitely had won this battle and was the bravest and most courageous bulldog I have even known! I also decided his new birthday would be the 4th of July too, since no one knows. He got a whole new identity, a second chance at a happy life! He may be an “English” Bulldog, but he’s my canine “American” hero, reborn on the 4th of July!
I took my sister with me to pick Gunner up. The Vet on call went through a few things, gave me his medicines, and sent us on our way. Gunner was not the same dog I had seen the previous 3 days in a row. He was energetic, walking, peeing on everything (like Hank does)! He was very happy to walk out of that hospital! He pooped outside twice! I put him in the back seat with me and he sat in my lap all the way home!
Gunner is the sweetest dog in the world! I am so saddened every time I think of what could have happened to him, or how this could have played out if he had not received proper medical attention soon enough! This could have ended in tragedy! It makes me sick to see how one persons trash is another person’s treasure! I was determined to turn this around and forgotten bulldogs life around. He went from a life of loneliness, to a life of happiness & love! He is a survivor and now enjoying life! Now, he is the light of my life! Gunner and I want everyone to know a few things.
Dogs are wonderful companions with hearts of gold! They are not toys! Your dog needs & depends on your for everything! Their life revolves around you. If you cannot care for an animal, please do not get one! Animal abuse and neglect is one of the biggest issues facing these helpless creatures today. It requires great responsibility to be a pet owner and must be taken seriously.
Secondly if you do want an animal, please check out the countless shelters in your area. Before we bring new animals into this world we should take care of the ones we already have. Dogs adopted from rescue centers are remarkable. They sense that second chance at a loving family or person, and are grateful and deserving. Our pet population is out of control and spaying and neutering your pet should be your priority!
Gunner is now an advocate for Animal abuse and neglect. He is proud to represent the bulldog breed. Gunner hopes to inspire, and promote responsible pet ownership and accountability. Dogs are our best friends and love us unconditionally. We should speak for them, when they can’t speak!