Woman who adopted malnourished dog is glad she did
As the owner of two dogs, Lindsay had no intentions of owning another one.
One trip to the vet changed all that.
It was Sept. 16, 2012, and she was sitting in the waiting room at the Avalon Animal Hospital on Logy Bay Road with her two Yorkies, which were scheduled for routine checkups.
That’s when two women from the Humane Society walked in with a Rottweiler mixed-breed female dog. She was underweight, frail and despondent.
“I was sat across the room and I could literally count every single rib in her body,” said Lindsay, who didn’t want to give her real name to ensure her privacy.
“It was the worst thing I had ever seen in my life — absolutely heartbreaking.”
She said she knew she had to do something.
“She was absolutely awful looking. It was just horrible,” Lindsay said. “I have my own two dogs and I never planned to own another dog. But the way she looked up at me, I couldn’t resist.”
She walked up to the dog to pet her. A wag of the tail and welcoming response was all it took.
“Oh my gosh, she was so friendly,” she said. “I knew I had to help her.”
The dog, named Lady, had been seized from a home in Lakeview, near Harbour Main, where she had been chained to a tree, was flea-infested and malnourished.
The animal was discovered by a neighbour, Loretta Carns, who was so shocked and appalled by the dog’s condition, she called the Humane Society. Representatives of the SPCA and an RCMP officer also showed up.
The dog’s owner, Christopher Whelan, has been charged with animal cruelty. During his trial, which began last week in provincial court, Whelan testified that he did feed the dog, but she didn’t gain weight.
Whelan said he knew the animal was in bad shape, but couldn’t afford to bring her to the vet for treatment.
That explanation didn’t sit well with Lindsay.
“How someone could do that to a dog — just let it go like that — is beyond me.” she said. “I just don’t understand it. If the dog was sick, he should have asked someone for help to get treatment.”
Lindsay said she believes in helping animals in need. It’s the main reason she adopted Lady — to make sure the dog had the best chance possible for a good life.
“I was afraid no one else would adopt her,” she said. “I had the means to do it, so I felt I should.”
She wasn’t permitted to take the dog home right away, since she needed further treatment.
But she did offer to pay the vet bills to ensure she got all possible tests.
Lindsay visited Lady at the SPCA for 2 1/2 weeks, and brought her other two dogs. She even hired a dog behaviourist to work with Lady.
“We wanted to figure out her demeanour and how to best handle things when she came home, especially with the other two smaller dogs,” she said.
“(The behaviourist) tried to get her to become aggressive and snap at him, but she wouldn’t. All she wanted to do was play and be rubbed.
“(The behaviourist) even said to me ‘If you don’t take her, I will.’ She’s just so lovable.”
On Oct. 3, Lindsay finally got approval to bring the dog home.
“She settled right in,” she said. “All she wanted to do was sit on her lap. The only trouble I had was feeding her. She was jumping at it to get at the food, since she went so long (at her original home) with no food.
“But when she figured out that she gets fed regularly, she was better.”
Eight months later, Lady is a happy, healthy dog.
When she was first brought to the vet, she weighed 35 pounds. She now weighs 65 pounds.
She gets walked every day and goes to “doggie day care” three times a week.
“We only heard her bark for the first time in November,” she said, laughing. “Now, she barks all the time. I guess she feels comfortable enough now.
“She feels safe now. She knows she’s home. She’s so happy. She’s come full circle.”
Lindsay said she’s perfect around the two dogs and loves children.
Lindsay is thankful to Carns for reporting the dog and credits her for saving Lady’s life.
“She was definitely days away from dying,” Lindsay said of Lady.
She encourages other people to do the same and report any animal they suspect is mistreated.
“There’s no harm in false alarms,” she said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Lindsay is also grateful to the people at the Humane Society and the SPCA, who she said do “amazing work.”
She also hopes others will step forward and adopt animals, like Lady, from the SPCA.
“I know it’s scary for people to adopt a dog they know nothing about,” she said. “But I’m saying there are neglected animals out there who are great and would make wonderful pets,” she said.
“Lady is a perfect example. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog.”