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Unforgettable: Consider Yourself ... One of the Family

OBG COCKER RESCUE

O

n a bitterly cold Saturday in December 2011, a homeless man carried a hairless dog into Montgomery County Animal Shelter in Rockville, Md. The dog was too weak to walk, and the man was crying. So were a lot of people in the lobby.

The dog I renamed Oliver Twist had demodectic mange along with yeast and secondary bacterial infections. It was a tough decision to take him in and make him my “personal project,” but three different vets convinced me that he wasn’t contagious and I should make the effort.

I fostered him for seven months. He was on a regime of oral medications and had to have medicated baths several times a week. He was malnourished and, since he had no fur, cold. At one point in early January, about a week after I started fostering him, the medications were interacting and poisoning him. We almost lost him, and he spent 30 hours at the emergency vet.

  • Oliver Twist with his adopter. OBG COCKER RESCUE

Through everything, Oliver remained such a positive, upbeat, happy dog. His “regular” vet still asks about him whenever I am there with another foster. He never complained, no matter what we did to him. Oliver never met a stranger, human or canine. (Cats, however, were fun to chase!)

My group did a lot of fundraising for him. Donations came in from around the globe (including Russia and Great Britain), and he got a lot of attention. Supporters mailed him coats and dog food. We would go to adoption shows before he was really ready to be adopted, just to meet his fans.

When I met his adopter, Liz, she just knocked me over. She found us. She wanted the dog who needed her most. Money wasn’t an issue, and she had owned challenging dogs (one had been a cocker) in the past.

Liz still had to do the medicated baths (although less frequently), and take him to the doggy dermatologist. She adopted him in July 2012, and he came back to visit in November (a Thanksgiving gift!). His skin was still bad in spots, but his hair had grown back all over.

I am so glad that I took him in. He taught me a lot during the months I fostered him, and as his health improved, his energy and vitality returned. I know he’s thriving in his adoptive home, where he is the center of his mom’s universe.

—Kathi Alexander 
OBG Cocker Rescue
Damascus, Maryland

Read the rest of this issue from Animal Sheltering magazine


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