Arthur was found crawling in fleas with much hair already scratched off, and with maggots in his ears. The shelter tried to remove the maggots and to treat all the infection in ears and skin. This old man also had “dry eye” and a black growth hanging from a lip, and was pretty thin. Signs of extreme neglect – but he also had a lovely haircut done within the past 4-6 weeks so the neglect must have been recent. We took him in and found a very stressed, very old dog who was all too willing to bite if touched somewhere painful and fought any attempt by the vet to examine him. Thanks to a very skilled and gentle vet, we got a little glimpse of the problems and started treating him for pain and infection. Lab tests showed that his kidneys were starting to fail and he was anemic, perhaps from the fleas. In a week he’d relaxed a lot and we could get chest xrays which showed some cancerous lesions in his lungs. By this time he was very comfortable in our home – clearly used to sitting on the sofa with his dad, barking for treats, sharing dinner and following dad around or riding shotgun in the car. He’d been someone’s best friend and was used to being treated like it! We could treat his eyes but sadly he wouldn’t allow any touch of his ears so we couldn’t clean or medicate, and he still would bite if pushed. Anesthesia would likely have killed him but we couldn’t even look at the damage to his ears or mouth without it, much less treat. When he started to kick at his ears again we made the really sad decision to let him go to a peaceful and pain-free rest – right after two cheeseburgers.
A sweet old man with way too much pain, who didn’t know what had happened to an obviously happy life. We loved you Arthur, and we grieve for you.