Thanks to everyone who emailed and expressed concern about Missy, a terrier-mix we are fostering with Planned Pethood. She visited the veterinarian yesterday, and in spite of years of abuse and neglect, she has no major medical issues beyond her skin infections and malnutrition.
Missy weighed only 12 pounds when I put her on the scale. The vet believes her ideal weight should be somewhere in the 18-20 pound range, meaning that she is between 40 and 50 percent below her normal weight. To put that in perspective, that would be like a 180-pound man being starved to 110 or 120 pounds.
Like Auschwitz starvation, if you prefer.
We are optimistic that Missy will make a healthy and full recovery, and she is already starting to come out of her shell. Initially she was reluctant to move around the house, but she is now exploring and no longer acting like an inmate. When I spoke with the kind person who tipped off Planned Pethood about this abused dog, she told me that the former owners let the dog out of the cage no more than 20 minutes a day for the last 6 months. While I cannot disclose the reasons for her inside knowledge, I am quite confident that this assessment was not an exaggeration.
Missy is now sunning herself on the deck on this warm spring day, perhaps the first time she has been able to relax and enjoy a stress-free environment in years. Yet loud sounds cause her to jump, and sudden movement causes her to cringe, and it will be many, many months before she recovers from her years of terror.
And another quick plug: to learn more about adopting Toledo-area rescue dogs, or to financially support Planned Pethood's animal rescue efforts, visit the Planned Pethood website for more details.