Sometimes a level of human cruelty exists that is so profound one cannot conceive how such an abomination is tolerated by our judiciary system. One week ago German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County received a phone call from a concerned citizen, who chose to remain anonymous, reporting an incident of animal abuse: A three-year-old German Shepherd had been tied up on a chain to a tree in for an estimated 5 to 6 weeks without food or water.
When GSROC found the dog, he was lying depleted on the ground too weak to physically lift his own head! At 37 pounds, he was literally skin and bones. A healthy German Shepherd his age normally weighs between 75-85 pounds. He bore the vacant gaze of an animal so overtaken by the war waged upon him that the ghost of his own death had long since been beckoning. In fact, to look at him one couldn’t even be certain he was still a living dog. His was the image of a creature who had all but given up mentally and physically. However, it was a sheer force of will that allowed this dog to survive for as long as he had. And for that he was aptly named “Courage.”
The GSROC rescuer raced against the clock trying to get Courage to the emergency care at the Community Veterinary Hospital in Garden Grove. She feared he might not even make it to the hospital. Once there extensive emergency treatment was immediately enacted upon him including a thorough GI flush, blood, plasma, electrolyte and vitamin transfusions, antibiotics and fluids. Numerous tests were also conducted to determine organ functionality. This initial examination revealed that he, literally, would not have been able to survive one more day in those conditions. He’d held on as long as he could. When flushing out his intestinal tract to remove blockage found in the system, the vet learned it was full of dirt and rocks – Courage had been eating dirt and rocks to survive. Dirt and rocks.
Vet holding up Courage's head (Photo courtesy of GSROC)
To counteract the possibility that perforations may have been made to his intestines by the ingested rocks and dirt, the vet put Courage on an “AD” diet which is high in nutrients but with a consistency similar to human baby food. Small, frequent feedings are necessary to re-acclimate his body to food. If he responds favorably he will be moved onto an “ID” diet which more closely resembles regular dog food. Over the past couple of days his care givers have noticed his appetite increasing (which is good) – so much so that he even tried nibbling the blankets and bowls! Since he’s been in the 24-hour care of GSROC and the Community Veterinary Hospital he has gained five pounds.
During the day Courage remains in the ER clinic amid bounteous fluffy pillows, regular feedings and the kind strokes and surveillance of sympathetic staff. He is no longer on IVs or being fed via syringe. Come nightfall he goes home with a trained veterinary technician, who continues to feed him small meals at regular intervals. Transporting him involves placing him on a stretcher and carrying him to and fro. Since he has no remaining muscle or body fat whatsoever, were he to fall he could seriously injure himself. However, as of Tuesday this week he triumphantly took a few baby steps.
Courage one week later, 4/13/10. (Photo courtesy of GSROC)
While he is expected to survive, his recovery will be lengthy and costly. It is currently unknown the extent of permanent damage done to his system; renal or pancreatic complications remain a possibility. As a result, GSROC needs all the help it can get to weather the barrage of impending medical bills. Donations can be made to German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County through their customary donation page or their new First Giving page erected especially for Courage.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about this dog is that despite being a victim of one of the most egregious examples of human cruelty imaginable, the loving little guy still manages to be sweet and mild tempered, showering all those who come near him with friendly kisses.
Both German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County and concerned animal lovers from around the world who’ve caught wind of the story want to see the dog’s abusers prosecuted. One anonymous donor has offered a $1,000 Cash Reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the heinous crime. While leads had been slight this past week, it was announced yesterday that a 26-year-old woman is under investigation by authorities. If you or someone you know has any information on who may have done this to poor Courage, you are urged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help increase the chances of Courage finding enough donations for his extensive medical care by posting this article to your Twitter, Facebook or MySpace page.
To learn more about him, call this number: (714) 974.7762 at German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County, a registered non-profit 501c(3) organization serving Orange County, Greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and more.
To See Courage’s interview with KTLA click here.
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