Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Success Stories - Taz - Miracle in Camden


Many times in the past as a volunteer with one of the animal humane enforcement officers in Camden, I have reached out to help local citizens who either cannot afford to take care of their animals or do not have a car with which to transport their animals for vet care. Such was the case on a hot night in late June when I received a call from a Camden animal control officer that a resident needed help transporting her dog to a vet.

Arriving in Camden, the temperature was a scorching 96 degrees. No breezes cooled the hot cement that doubled as “backyards” nor were there any grass or trees to offer respite in Camden that night. I entered the tiny house with no air conditioning late in the evening and saw a thin German Shepherd lying with its head on its master’s lap. I immediately sent my husband to the CVS to purchase a thermometer to take the dog’s temperature. While it was hovering around l03, which is a little above normal, we all decided the best place for Tazzie, the shepherd, was to come home with me so I could transport him to my vet first thing in the morning.

Once at my home, Tazzie slept in a soft bed with a gentle breeze in a backyard full of trees in a safe, quiet environment, away from the chaos and cacophony of Camden.

The next morning at 7:00 am, when I went to check on Taz, he was dead. Dead in the literal sense that he was almost not breathing, he was in shock, he had no capillary response, his eyes were fixed and dilated, he was totally limp. Taz was lying in and covered with blood and diarrhea..

Still in my nightclothes, I scooped him up and put him in the back of my SUV. Minutes away from my local vet I reached the office just as they were opening.

We carried Taz into the hospital on a stretcher. When asked “how far do you want to go to save this dog”, I didn’t hesitate. I advised my vet to “do whatever has to be done to save this dog.”

Tazzie was plunged into a bath of cool water and an iv drip was started. Taz’s temperature was a staggering ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT DEGREES!!! Taz should have been and by all rights was dead.

Urgently, the doctor and the vet tech pumped Taz with antibiotics and fluids. Ice packs were placed around his body while I used a hose to keep cool water flowing on him and rinse away the blood and feces covering his limp body. I was told Taz would probably not make it and to be prepared to make the decision to put him down.

Miraculously, Taz survived that day and into the night. The next day Tazzie was trying to hold up his head. Each day that went by, his will to survive was stronger and stronger. He spent four days in intensive care and was released to me because it was a holiday weekend and I lived very close to the vet in case Taz would go back into a coma again.

Tazzie had survived the mean streets of Camden, a temperature of l08 degrees and four days in intensive care. Almost two weeks after Tazzie’s near death experience, he was surrendered to me so that I could provide him with a safe environment and a loving family.

As summer continued her sojourn and Taz regained his strength, he started to gain weight and began to play and discover his new surroundings. One day Taz decided to venture a paw, with trepidation, into our pool. One paw, two paws and off Tazzie went the rest of the summer swimming in our pool, with or without us, it didn’t matter. We had to buy him a life vest so that he would be safe while he swam all the time.

We knew the family Taz would be adopted to had to love the water and that is the family we found. Although I received literally dozens of requests to adopt Taz, only one stood out among them all. One family I knew almost immediately would be the family I would select to provide the love and a second chance at a happy life for Taz. The fact that they had emailed or called me every day for two weeks to see if they had been selected certainly made me feel that I had made the right decision.

Almost two months to the day on Labor Day weekend, I delivered Tazzie to his new home. He could not be more loved, adored or spoiled. Taz swims with his new brother and sister, Nicky and Samantha and they even brush their teeth together!!!

Taz’s story is a miracle and demonstrates what all of us can do when we are willing to go the “extra mile”, put ourselves out for an animal and never give up even in the most extraordinary circumstances. Tazzie, didn’t.

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