It was April 13, 2013, the final day of the Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue (JBAR) Free Spay & Neuter Clinic in Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico. Over 200 dogs and cats had already been cared for in 3 days. I had been feeding a street dog I named Corona, waiting for my chance to get him to the clinic and hopefully adopted (which did happen), when out of a neighbor’s house came a young man whom I had had conversations with. He had a beautiful gray Weimaraner / red Doberman cross puppy clutched to his side. “Can you help me? She is sick!” Off we rushed to the clinic… and the story begins.
The little gray puppy was in terrible septic condition caused by a bad infection. She had recently had her “TAIL” chopped off. She was over a month old. A procedure normally done within 24 hours of birth. It is a surgical procedure, with anesthesia and stitches… this poor puppy had NONE! Dr. Malcolm immediately saw the trauma and asked if there were more puppies. The young man, who spoke perfect English, hung his head and said “yes.” I grabbed him and away we went to get the two remaining puppies that were still alive.
As soon as we arrived back at the clinic, special care was given. Jessica and I sat and pulled off 150 ticks from each puppy, They were totally malnourished, had huge bellies and were boney. IVs were put in place by Dr. Cal and the life-saving fluids of antibiotics started. Jessica sat with the three puppies the entire day. They were in a super critical state. Since this was the last day of the clinic, I had to drive Dr. Cal and Dr. Carmen to the airport with 4 little dogs they were taking to their hospital in Burnaby, BC later that afternoon. I often volunteer to transport the clinic vets to and from the airport.
When I arrived back home that evening, Victoria (the gray puppy) and Victor (the red puppy) were on IVs in my garage. Not moving. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I sat up the entire night. They at least made it through.
The next day, I drove Dr. Malcolm and all of our other vets and dogs to the airport in Puerto Vallarta, in several car loads. I learned that the first puppy brought into the clinic did not make it through the night. So sad. But it made me want to save the two other puppies even more.
I removed the IVs and started them on good high-protein foods with olive oil. As usual, starved dogs eat dirt… and out it came. Dr. Malcolm had them on heavy antibiotics and said “don’t fall in love with them…” meaning the worst. WELL I DID. I fell deeply in love. I was not going to let them die!
LOTS OF GOOD LITTLE MEALS every 3 hours. Lacy told me DO NOT WORM THEM. Their little bellies were HUGE, but they were skin and bone. She said that was caused by worms. If the worms all let go at once, the puppies will bleed to death internally. What a wise lady.
Each poop was a HANDFUL OF WORMS AND DIRT for the first 3 days. Then it slowed down a bit. Poop tells you everything. It started to become solid, no blood, no bad smell. Maybe making progress.
Then, the eggs and liver and hamburger and rice all started to kinda work. Until…
Victoria’s feet started to swell so bad she couldn’t walk. She stood and shook in pain. I couldn’t stand it. Piroxicam is what was prescribed for Reyna, my 9-year-old Lab. She limps sometimes and it helps her. I split the capsule and gave it to Victoria in some hamburger. To my total amazement and great thanks, it seemed to break the cycle. She began to walk, and her swollen feet and knees went down and she could move without pain. But something still wasn’t right.
I took her to Dra. Marianna in Nuevo Vallarta. Her blood was tested, but it was hard to get a vein. The blood test came back so low, she said she didn’t know how she was alive. Dr. Marianna gave her an injection for Ehrlichia and then handed me 2 more injections for the next 2 days. Then she asked about the other puppy. OMG! I took off to get Victor and drove back with him, 6 hours later through the mountains. He got his injection and 2 more for me to give over the next 2 days. They were both prescribed Doxiciclina for 20 days.
That was the turning point. Progress was being made and… they began to grow.
On June 20, I took them to Dra. Marianna to be sterilized. She cried big, big tears when I walked into her clinic with these two BEAUTIFUL PUPPIES. Dr. Marianna told me that she thought she would not see them alive again!
She also tested Victor’s urine and he still had a bad infection. He continues to PEE EVERYWHERE. I was giving the meds 2x a day and it was suppose to be 3. So I will up the dose and hope that helps.
The following week, I booked my flight to Vancouver to attend the 2nd Annual Mexi-Can Vet Project Dog Reunion in Victoria, BC. I was so excited. Oh, this will be so hard to let them go. They are gentle loves. They are finally HEALTHY AND GROWING!
The puppies stayed with Melanie at her dog boarding and salon in Lo de Marcos for a few weeks while I went on vacation. Oh thank you Mel. I could never have done this without you!
Then on September 5, Mel drove us to the airport in Puerto Vallarta and we sent Victor and Victoria on their way to the SECOND CITY… VANCOUVER! My goal was to get them to Dr. Cal in Burnaby to be adopted… as she had said “IF THEY LIVE.”
When I arrived at the Vancouver airport later that night, the agent asked me where these dogs were from… gulp. I said with my crazy big smile… “They are from Mexico…” I didn’t skip a beat. “And we are going to my friend’s farm in Langley! “We are going to let them out to run and we are going to DRINK WINE AND WATCH THEM!” He sighed, looked at the books and asked, “then, what are you going to do?” I said, “I will fly mine back to MEXICO and she is flying her doggies down in November. WE WILL LET THEM OUT ON THE BEACH AND… DRINK MORE WINE!” He just shook his head and said “we normally charge $35 a dog, but for you… YOU… JUST GO, JUST GOOOOO. I will help you push!” And he did!
I guess it pays to be old, gray haired and helpless!… hahahahaha!
The next morning, we took Victor and Victoria to Dr. Cal’s South Burnaby Veterinary Hospital in Burnaby, BC.
Tears of goodbye… and they knew.
A few days later, Dr. Cal informed me that Miss Victoria found her new forever home. Within 24-hours of going to her foster home, the foster family requested to adopt her (of course they did!). And by the end of the week, Victor was also snug in his new home.
Thanks to so many involved. With the help of those mentioned and many more that just support me from the side, these pups will NOW have a life. Lin, Jim, Ally, Antonia, Daniel, Bob, Sofia, Tom, David, Rob, Mimi, Sharon, Donna and more I am sure, who all supported me during these trying months. Thank you Ben for the photography in Burnaby, Cinnamon for the late night transport and early morning delivery to Dr. Cal for adoption, and to Deb who was there to hold my hand as I released them into a new life of safety, love and a FOREVER HOME.
Oh how I hope to see them again one day… maybe at the Reunion next year! I miss them, but I know WE changed their world… FOREVER!
Until next time… from La Peñita de Jaltemba, Nayarit, Mexico to Vancouver, BC, Canada… Tails of Two Cities!
by Sarah Walker
“If you save one dog… you won’t save the world… But to that one dog… It’s world is changed forever.”
If you enjoyed reading this story, please consider making a donation to Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue (JBAR) to help pay for food, medication and vet care for the animals they rescue and care for throughout the year.
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