An owner came in today to surrender her dog. She said it was a poodle mix, and that her employment situation just didn't allow her to care for her dog the way she'd like (something I'd heard many times before). She said he hadn't been groomed for a while, and he had a few bad matts (again nothing new). This is what she brought in:
When we were done with the shave down were were left with what you see above. Each black speck is a tick. His paws were worse, and he had many ticks between each toe. As we were shaving, at one point we shaved a huge matt of his ear. It wasn't just a matt, though. It was, in fact, a tick nest. Hundreds of baby ticks had hatched on him and were making their home.
This sweet boy has been living outside for at least a year (probably more). This sweet boy did nothing to deserve this treatment. He was friendly and sweet. He was a little nervous, but he was patient with us. At this point, we're only partially done with his intake care. The next step is to let the tick medicine do its trick and to finish grooming him. We also need to administer vaccines to him since the only one he's had in the past 5 years is Rabies. Chances are he has a tick-born illness which will require some fairly costly meds, and I can only hope that he doesn't have heart worms.
In the few years I've worked with rescues, I've seen some pretty desperate situations. This week alone I saw two dogs, emaciated, whose owner had run out of dog food and had essentially quit feeding them; I saw a dog who had heartworms, lyme disease, and ehrlichia all because the owner hadn't given it preventative meds; and I saw a dog, terrified of everything, either because it had been beaten or because the owner just hadn't taken the time to socialize it. Still, none of that compares to this. This is more than just neglect. This is more than just an oversight. This is flat-out abuse. This dog was in so much pain he could not walk...all because someone had refused to take a brush or a pair of scissors to him.
The problem is, there are so many dogs like him. There are so many in shelters and in bad homes. They need help. They need someone to care for them, to love them, to play with them. Rescues need fosters and donations. If you're looking for a way to help, contact your local rescue, or contact me. There's no reason for dogs like this little guy to stay in this situation. We can help them. You can help them.