Welcome to This One Wild Life’s series on adopting senior dogs. In the coming days, you will learn specifically about Georgia, a senior mixed-breed rescue, and the dedicated team of handlers committed to supporting Georgia time and time again. It is our collective aim to celebrate and appreciate senior dogs. These beautiful souls need the comfort of a loving home in their final years and they have their whole hearts to offer in return.
FROM GEORGIA TO NEW YORK
As with many adoptable dogs, Georgia’s early history is unclear. According to her vet records, a spay scar suggests she may have been in a home at some point. All we know for certain is that she was living in a Georgia shelter, she was displaced by Hurricane Katrina pet evacuees, and she made her way through the rescue system to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society in Menands, NY. There she was listed as a 50 pound Airedale Terrier mix and put up for adoption.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Georgia had been placed in a home at least once through the Menands shelter but was returned due to a severe case of separation anxiety. After all the jostling back and forth, this poor girl was deeply upset when people left her, even if for just a few minutes. All she wanted was to know was that she wouldn’t be alone.
With more animals coming in, Menands reached out to Tim Clune, then director of dog adoptions at AnimaLovers, asking if he had space for Georgia. Tim immediately agreed to take her and says:
I remember the day that I met Georgia. She was in a small crate that was stacked on top of other crates. I knew she had been displaced from “Georgia” due to the hurricane and I knew she was heartworm positive. It was a no brainer for me – she had survived this far and she deserved a real chance.
EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL CARE
With no available foster homes, Georgia stayed at a kennel. Although she was in the excellent care, Georgia was sick and didn’t do well without constant personal contact. As her caregiver Dawn recalls, “There were moments when she was happy, but she was mostly nervous.”
As if she hadn’t been through enough, Georgia’s heartworm treatment began in February after assessment of her heart, lungs and liver. If you aren’t familiar with the effects of Heartworm, the heart (of dogs and cats) is attacked by rapidly reproducing worms which typically enter the system by mosquito. Once infected, the organs must be healthy enough to successfully endure the treatment.
To kill these worms before they killed her, Georgia received an injection of Immiticide in her lower back. As explained by veterinarypartner.com:
This is a painful injection with a painful substance. … Be careful of the injection site as it may hurt enough to cause a dog to bite. An abscess may form at the site, which requires use of warm compresses. Approximately 30% of dogs experience some sort of reaction at the injection site that resolves in 1 to 4 weeks. Some dogs develop a permanent firm lump at the site of injection.
Georgia received two more treatments after the first. (These are staggered over time because, if too many worms die at once, circulatory shock occurs.) After her last injection, Georgia was confined for 6 weeks. No walks. No running. Nothing.
While confinement minimizes embolism-related problems by allowing the heart to rest, it also created further anxiety for Georgia who does not do well in a crated situation. Still, this had to be done. The aim was to impede the dead worms from breaking free before the body absorbed them, preventing them from entering Georgia’s lungs and spurring her demise.
In April, Georgia’s tests came back negative and she was more than ready to move about. Her favorite activity was traveling to adoption clinics where she could sit with a human for several hours at a time. The pictures featured here were taken at the first clinics she attended. You can see, after all she had been through, Georgia’s eyes were full of life and her heart was obviously healed, ready to love again.
Hope is on the horizon!
Come back tomorrow for more twists and turns. While Georgia’s story eventually ends in a positive light, this string of unsettling events emphasizes exactly why older pets need a family. No living creature of any sort deserves to struggle through so much difficulty. Please, keep that in mind the next time you consider adding a new member to your family.