I have been a volunteer with Planned Pethood for several years now, in both a foster and adoptive role. I have seen some dogs suffering from serious abuse and neglect, but I doubt I have seen a dog as miserable as Mistletoe, pictured on your left. I should add that I took the picture a day after giving her a bath and scrubbing dead flesh, scabs, and foul-smelling greasy cheese-like gunk from her scalp.
Most of this dog's hair has been scratched and bitten off in her efforts to relieve the maddening itching that tormented her. Mistletoe's owners, you see, could not bother with such matters as veterinary care for the mite infestation that caused her skin conditions, and as a result she also has festering sores on her skin. It is difficult to determine her breed, given the serious nature of her problems, but I suspect she's some sort of spaniel-terrier mix.
Oh, before I forget: the dog has serious tartar on her teeth, ear infections in both ears, and acts as if she has been beaten regularly. You know that look, right? Head down, tail between legs, flinching when a hand comes near.
When I saw this poor wretch yesterday, I have to admit that the following selfish thought popped into my head: "Walk out the door. Now." I thought that this stinking, pus-encrusted pooch was beyond salvation, and I was not sure that I was up for weeks of rehabilitative care and socializing a neglected animal.
Yet when this dog - this smelly, friendless, scarred dog - looked up at me, I knew there was no way I could turn my back on her. Heck - even the animal hospital where she was dumped off didn't want to deal with her, at least until I opened my wallet and yanked out the debit card. Bingo - nothing gets action like cash, right? I'm not going to call out this particular vet, since it is not their job to treat every mangy dog that gets dumped on them, but let's just say that care comes at a cost, and it was $156 for the initial visit and prescriptions.
Que será, será, eh? Animal hospitals are business first, just like any other enterprise, and there are hundreds of dogs like Mistletoe just in Northwest Ohio.
So I bring you the story of Mistletoe not to trumpet my own dubious claims to virtuousness, but instead to highlight the plight of abandoned, abused, and neglected animals. You see, the world is filled with idiots who think nothing of allowing their pets to suffer. Moreover, given the lousy state of the economy, perhaps Mistletoe's previous owners simply could not afford basic veterinary care (though the fact that she ended up in a rather posh animal care center makes me doubt poverty as a cause of this dog's condition).
Yet in spite of all this maltreatment, Mistletoe is a docile and affectionate dog, at least when she ventures out of the corner in which she has been hiding. She gets along well with the other dogs, and appears to understand the basics of being housebroken. Unfortunately, I do not know when she will be available for adoption, as she is probably looking at many weeks of restorative care.
No, I penned this post as a request for donations to help Planned Pethood continue saving pets like Mistletoe. Any amount you give can help the group continue to save abused, abandoned, and neglected pets, and frankly - the population of animals in need is only going to increase as the economy sputters along. Follow this link to donate to Planned Pethood, and thank you for taking the time to read this post.