SPCA

Swift Current

That doesn’t happen in Swift Current…. or does it? Please be advised the photos included display severe neglect.

During the past year or so I found myself drawn to watch the various television programs depicting what other Humane Societies and SPCAs encounter as cases in their jurisdictions. Unbeknownst to me at the time this was actually preparing me to commence work with our local SPCA. Many of the very tragic cases shown in Philadelphia and New York exposed the horrific neglect people can inflict upon their animals. After starting with the SPCA here in Swift Current I was very grateful to not witness any animals in such poor conditions, that is, until this week. Thursday morning as I arrived at work I made my usual check of our outside pen where some people leave their cats or dogs after hours instead of coming into the Shelter to surrender them to us. Staring back at me and being very vocal about her general displeasure about being there was a small cream and tan long haired adult dog. From a distance she appeared to need a good bath and haircut (we could not really see her eyes so she must not have been able to see much either). Although she was trying to be fierce I soon learned she was simply scared and very anxious. Eventually she allowed me to slip a leash on her to lead her into the building after much snarling and barking. When I finally got her to the kennel we would temporarily house her in until we could get her cleaned up later in the day, she reluctantly allowed me to pick her up and place her inside. I discovered that she certainly was in need of groceries and that her coat was pretty matted. However nothing prepared us for what we would discover once we started to get her cleaned up. From the base of her skull to the end of her body, she was covered in a single large mat of hair about 1 1/2 inches thick. Her legs and feet were not spared either. Each of her little legs looked to be a minimum of 2 inches in diameter and her little feet slightly larger. Lifting her paws to check her nails and pads we saw nails that were severely overgrown (slightly over an inch long) and the pads  had disappeared beneath the mats encasing them. The fur between and around her toes had encased the soles of her feet because it had grown so long and had not been groomed or trimmed. Upon more thoroughly checking her body condition we were horrified to learn that she was not just thin, but severely emaciated. The horribly matted fur encased her body and was pulling at her delicate skin.  As we started to carefully use scissors to snip her matted coat from her body, more and more of her skeleton was revealed under her very thin skin. She had no remaining fat and very little muscle. As we worked on her through the afternoon I am sure that she must have experienced some discomfort (like combing a young child’s curly hair that has not been tended to for a day) but she remained quiet without any attempts to bite us or even growl. The matted remnants of what must have once been a beautiful long silky coat were enough to fill two grocery shopping bags.  The whole process with two staff members took about 6 1/2 hours from the start by removing her dirty matted coat to finishing by giving her a gentle massage during a warm bath. 

When I first gently placed her into her kennel early in the morning she took to her food very quickly and had no troubles eating or drinking, so it seems that if her previous owners had actually placed food out for her she would have very likely not been so severely emaciated.  It did not take long to decide that until she is well on the road to recovery from the severe neglect that she experienced, I will foster her at my home and take her to work with me the days I am scheduled.  She had several small feedings on Thursday, always looking for more immediately after swallowing the last morsel from her bowl.  She slept with me in my bed with my dog and kitten and settled in fairly quickly. However we were up several times during the night as she felt it necessary to make these unusual sounds similar to short purring sounds. It seems she needed to go out a couple of times and the other times she just needed some attention. During the evening we decided to name her “Ming” which can be translated as brilliant light or alternatively as fate or destiny. Her obvious will to survive must have burned as strongly as a brilliant light with a new fate now set forth before her. Although I know that these photos are very disturbing I have chosen to include them so that we might be able to locate her previous owners. If anyone in the community might know who this little dog belonged to please let us know. We will not reveal who informed us of the owner’s identity but please consider what she has suffered. We only hope that her previous owners have no other animals under their care.

 

Ming prior to starting to remove her coat

Ming prior to starting to remove her coat

Ming's very matted coat

Ming's very matted coat

Ming's face prior to trimming

Ming's face prior to trimming

Ming's matted back

Ming's matted back

After an hour or so of trimming

After an hour or so of trimming

The very outer layer is now trimmed off but much to go.

The very outer layer is now trimmed off but much to go.

The mats were so bad that we had to trim her almost bald.

The mats were so bad that we had to trim her almost bald.Her body is slowly getting there but her legs and feet have a lot that needs to be trimmed yet.

Ming's poor little emaciated body; it is obvious she was very recently nursing pups

Ming's poor little emaciated body; it is obvious she was very recently nursing pups

Ming after a bath and a day later; her skeleton is so obvious

Ming after a bath and a day later; her skeleton is so obvious

 

Ming after a bath and a day later

Ming after a bath and a day later

As you can see in the photos Ming has almost no muscle tissue yet she still manages to get around. We had a visit with a vet on Friday to ensure that Ming has no underlying health concerns. As horrible as her obvious starvation is she is fortunate to be otherwise healthy. She apparently was recently nursing pups and must have been removed from them within a day or two at most of when she was left with us. Ming will be receiving several small meals per day to encourage weight gain and to not stress her digestive system.  At this time she is about 10 pounds but we hope to see her around 14 pounds. To put this into human perspective: if a man should weigh 165 pounds to be at a healthy weight, to be as emaciated as Ming this same man would only weigh 115 pounds.  Essentially she only weighs about 70% of what she should. She will not be up for adoption until we are satisfied that her body condition is back to being acceptable for her size and breed. We believer Ming to be a Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso mix. She seems to have the potential to be a wonderful little dog for whomever ultimately welcomes her as a family member into their home. We will continue to post updates as her condition improves, we learn more about her personality and finally when she becomes available for adoption.

5 Comments

  1. Poor Ming:( Our neighbor has a Bischon/Shih Tzu cross, and seeing this almost made me cry. I hope you guys can get her back and healthy. She looks much better without all that rat’s nest all over her. Please keep me updated on her condition. I think she is well on her way to a great recovery. MERRY XMAS MING! You’re in good hands:D

  2. Thank god for people like you. Thank god the owners surrendered her and they did so even though they did not take the time or have the compassion to care for her properly they placed her where she needed to be and as i have seen and heard on the media her fate could of been more awful and shameful. She is now in the hands of our angels. God bless you all and merry christmas.

  3. That is so sad!!!! That poor girl, used and abused to have puppies I’m thinking! Those previous owners need to be found and charged. I cannot stand people like that, must have been torture for her. I cried just reading your blog…

  4. Hey, How’s Ming doing now?

  5. ming is looking wonderful. good job to you all. god bless.

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