Lean on me: A lifetime of dogs11/2/2016
Who do you call when you find an abandoned dog, just 4 months old, tied to a stake in a yard, stuck in the freezing temperatures at what appears to be an abandoned home?
The dog’s stomach was sucked in, and its body was taut, its muscles were too lean. It was starving to death, and water wasn’t anywhere in sight.
If you don’t know, then keep reading, because you soon will. Her name is Nancy Walter, and she’s been rescuing animals for her entire adult life. When her veterinarian found the aforementioned dog — affectionately known as “Doug” — tied up in these conditions, after leaving a sign on the door with a number to call if the person wanted the dog back, the vet called the same person who she’d called many times before when help was needed for a furry friend — Nancy Walter.
“He was a big boy,” she recalls. “He grew to 90 pounds or so.”
After taking the Husky mix into her home, the second-grade teacher did the best she could. She nursed it back to health for six years until it became ill, and then the search was on for what was wrong. It seemed Doug was allergic to food, and in the pantheon of things to be allergic to, food is one of the worst.
“We think, at the end, he was allergic to potatoes,” she said. “And most dog food has potatoes.”
They had not tried kangaroo yet, she laughs. They shot a deer, and that seemed to work. And she added a little treat from the Mexican store, Yucca.
“I was cooking deer meat for him two times a day,” she says.
She would photograph the pile that would come out the other end to send to the vet for analysis.
Doug had always had irritable bowel disease, but it worsened.
“Had we known sooner, he might have lived longer,” she says.
But in the end, it was too late. Too much damage had been done. Doug passed away in January. The dog was survived by its canine friends and housemates, Koda and Jazzy Eileen, the latter named so because of the broken leg it had when the vet found it, forcing it to lean to stay standing up.
Koda is a runt, rescued from a puppy mill. It has been with Nancy since 2010.
“He’d been through a lot when I got him,” she said.
Nancy’s heart has been through a lot as well; it isn’t easy watching misery walk through the door. But her home is where abandoned pets find a warm home, out of the cold.
“You can find an animal that needs a home,” she said. “You don’t necessarily need to buy one.”
R.I.P, Doug. ♦