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Ruggles was 2 days old and weighed barely a tenth of a pound when he came to us. He was a shih tzu puppy, born in a cage in the woods. He, his two siblings and his mom were part of a major puppy mill case last summer—357 dogs were transported to the Cherokee County Animal Shelter. He was severely dehydrated, underweight and struggling to survive. No one was sure he would make it through those first few days of life.
My daughter, animal care technician Katherine Kekel, started feeding and caring for him, then fostered him until he was able to eat on his own. He was immediately given subcutaneous fluids that first day and was hand-fed for several days after. He needed vitamins and penicillin to help him start thriving, and was also given daily nebulizer treatments, three different antibiotics and regular amounts of subcutaneous fluids.
He became a part of her family because, due to a soft spot on his skull, he needed more medical attention than the average pet—the spot encompassed his whole head until he was 4 months old.
Ruggles was born with several strikes against him, but he survived! And now he is a wonderful ambassador for shelter pets. Today he is an 8-pound, 8-month-old, happy, healthy puppy, and Katherine takes him with her to visit Cherokee County schools to teach kids about basic animal care and dog bite prevention.
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