Several months ago, I drove to the NC border to pick a "throw away" breeder dog named Zoey.
There was a puppymill raid in SC, and all the other dogs got a rescue-except this poor girl. Nobody wanted her. What they saw was a mange infested, emaciated, older bulldog. What I saw was potential. What I saw, was a loving girl who needed someone to believe that her life mattered. And so off I went....to pick up poor Zoey. We decided to rename her Nikki...
Nikki was a 5-6 year old bully who was used for breeding over, and over, and over again. She was practically breed to death. The people that ran the mill, allowed her skin to become infected with mites and so she was practically bald when I got her.
Once I drove her back to Montgomery Animal Hospital where she was vetted, we found out more on her medical condition; Things that had gone untreated for God knows how long.
She had mange, mites, worms, a raging ear infection, yeast all over her feet, some rotted teeth, scabs everywhere...she was a mess. And so we/the vets/ the foster family, all had a lot of work ahead of us to get her well. We spared no expense in getting her well.
As time went on, Nikki made improvements. She went into a foster home that nursed her back to health. She was getting daily medicated baths, and all the meds she needed. Her hair was starting to grow back in. She was getting love, she was getting care, and she was becoming the dog she was always meant to be. The dog she DESERVED to be...
This is Nikki the day I picked her up. Sad, emaciated, and broken spirited.
In my car, I put a big soft bed down for her and gave her a bone to chew on. She had probably never had a bully stick before-or a bed.
After a few months, once we felt she was well enough, Nikki was adopted out to a forever home. But after a few months, they brought her back saying her medical conditions were just too much for them to handle. She had regressed as the family did not keep up with her daily baths and Ivermectin treatments. This was a huge let down to all of us. The last thing this poor dog needed was to regress in her care. Needless to say, we were all furious and upset. But I remembered the foster mom who had nursed her back to health, Shelly Bloodsworth, say to me the day she went to her forever home, that if she ever came back into our rescue, she would take her back. So back she went to the foster family that truly loved and cared for her. She was back where she belonged. And so she got well again. Shelly and Mike took excellent care of her and loved and adored her. Nikki's foster family fell in love with her. And so they had decided they were going to adopt her. She was meant to be with them.
All of us were so happy because we knew how much they loved and cared for her. She was a different dog in their care. She was the picture of health. We made her the center of our MMR holiday cards this year. She was an ambassador to what rescue is all about. Taking what's broken, and fixing it. She exemplified that. She was a survivor.
Yesterday morning, Nikki's foster parents brought her into the vets to have a routine dental done. As she walked through the door of the office, she collapsed. She was rushed back and given oxygen. She was fine. They though it may have been a seizure. But to be sure, we took her to a cardiologist a few hours later to check her heart. After hours of waiting and tests, they couldn't find anything wrong with her heart. They thought maybe she fainted or that she had a small tumor somewhere. Regardless, whatever it was that caused it, could not be identified. And so off Nikki went, back home with her foster family.
She rode in the car and was happy as could be. When she got home she was fine for a while. But then she went to the back door to go outside, and collapsed again. Shelly rushed her to the ER and gave her CPR on the way. By the time she got to the vet and was given oxygen, she was already near death. The doctor suggested letting her go since the amount of oxygen she lost to her brain would have caused brain damage. But Nikki must have know that a decision like that was one that we were not prepared to make. We didn't want to let her to go. So she made it for us. She stopped breathing and crossed over the rainbow bridge.
I have cried today. I cried last night. I cry for her and I cry for all the other dogs out there still living the life that Nikki had. This needless suffering has to end.
Nikki was an angel on earth. She brought a lot of joy into our lives, and touched everyone she met. Now Nikki's wings are real.
I saw you pass away. Although I loved you dearly, I couldn't make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands at rest. God broke my heart to prove to me, he only takes the best. Heaven is lucky. I will miss you every day.
RIP SWEET ANGEL