Muffled cries of distress were coming from a cardboard box in Prince George BC. It was 35 degrees below zero, and it was only by luck that a woman heard those faint cries. What she found in the box shocked her … a three-month old Yorkie-poodle pup with a thick rubber band around her muzzle. She must have been there several days because her lips and nose were so terribly swollen that they were almost beyond a vet's skill to save. She was weak and almost dead. Animal Advocates was asked for help. We said, "Yes, of course we will." Star would have died without Animal Advocates instantly offering to pay all the vet bills, because no one else was going to. Those bills have been very substantial, but we will keep paying them until we aren't needed anymore.
Ospika Animal Hospital, AAS's vets in Prince George, immediately put her on IV fluids, pain-killer and antibiotics and she was allowed to rest her exhausted little frame overnight. The vet told us that the rubber band had cut off circulation to her nose and mouth for at least several days causing the edges of her lips to die. To find out how much necrotic (dead) tissue would have to be cut away, and if she would have enough lip left to contain her teeth (which would flare out and have to be extracted without lips to exert pressure), she was sedated. There was far too much dead tissue to remove under sedation so the next day she underwent surgery.
Warning. Photos below may be upsetting, but the good news is that the vets are hopeful that new skin will form, allowing surgery to draw the edges together and be sutured.
On day three the vet removed all the necrotic tissue. Little Star is a real going concern, bouncing, yelping for attention, and gobbling her food. AAS is paying for boarding at the vet so that the staff can keep an eye on her wounds, make sure her mouth and her whole muzzle is cleaned properly after meals, and that the tissue is massaged many times a day to encourage blood flow and tissue growth. These photos were taken after the surgery. We hope to get daily photos showing her progress and video so that you can see what a cheerful little mite she is.
With the excellent daily care by Ospika Animal Hospital in Prince George, Star is making an astonishing recovery. After meals, the staff make sure that the wound and mouth is cleaned and hydrated and gently massaged to increase blood-flow to her muzzle to assist healing. AAS is paying for Star to stay under Ospika's care until such time as the wound is fully healed. Star's rescuer, Shawna Thrift, visits Star daily for play and to learn how to clean the wound after every meal to make sure the wound continues to heal. Shawna will be adopting Star as soon as Star is fully healed.
Although most of the muzzle is recovering there is still significant swelling and it will take surgery to pull the edges of her upper lip together.
Months later Star was back at the vet hospital to be spayed and to have the long-awaited surgery to pull her upper lip together. But it was not to be. The tissue is so fine that it couldn't be pulled and stitched together without it tearing.
But she did have to have some teeth pulled; baby teeth that hadn't come out and an adult tooth that was flaring sideways without a lip to hold it in.
We hope for wee Star's sake that this is the end of her ordeal, but if those injuries require more money from AAS, we are here for her.
Just a short time ago Star was dying, all alone … in a box … in the dark ….. and in the freezing cold. Now, she’s as alive as any dog could be. She has a family to romp and play with every day. She sleeps in a warm bed every night.
And she’s never more than a few feet from Shawna, who will protect her from ever suffering like that again. Her future health and happiness is assured, thanks to Animal Advocates, and Shawna, and donors like you. Animal Advocates is so happy to be part of that.
If you would like to be part of paying wee Star's hospital bills, click here
Star has gone from strength to strength. One side of her lip couldn't be drawn together, so for the rest of her life she will have a gap that displays her teeth and tongue, but as she doesn't know this, it doesn't matter. She goes everywhere with Shawna who adopted and saw her through the many weeks of surgery and after-surgery care.
November 2012 update from Star's new family:
Click pictures to enlarge
I have start by saying that Star has given a light in my life. She makes all that meet her happy, as her attitude is so positive.
She goes everywhere with us. She went boating this summer and even on a ferry to Vancouver Island.
One of her favorite things is going camping or out to the family farm were there's no fence and no rules.
In spite of starting her life almost freezing to death, she loves to play in the snow and dives right into it.
She has been to our local hospital when a friend of mine was sick and it made his day. I have been asked if I would be interested in getting her more involved in being a therapy dog. I know she and I would love that as we both love people and getting out.
One of our many admirers in town donated a safety seat for her when traveling so she is able to look out the window; and, in case of an accident, be harnessed in.
I thank Animal Advocates every day for helping us on our road to recovery. And even though she is not quite a year old, Star is so grown up for such a young dog.
What might have happened to Star if she had been taken to the local shelter where most dogs that will cost as much to save as Star did are killed? But she wasn't thank goodness.
Thank you all and please keep donating as many more animals need help.
- Shawna Thrift, Prince George B.C
We're an animal rescue, humane, and
advocacy society. Animal Advocates Society assists in animal rescue in BC
and all over North America. We have helped dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and
There has been such a flood of appeals for help this year that we may not be able to reply very quickly or at all to more appeals.
AAS is now so well-known for its high standards and experience in all animal welfare and rescue matters that we are asked for advice and help from all over BC, Canada, the U.S. and the world. For years I have answered each and every appeal with detailed advice that I have learned from 20 years of rescue, advocacy and animal law.
We are currently working on so many projects that I am sorry to have to say that we may not be able to respond to all the cries for help we hear as quickly as we want to. AAS ethical standards are simple and straightforward, but a lot of work: Every rescued dog is given the exact same love and care that I give my own dogs. Anything less can't be morally justified. To weigh the costs, to kill, or to rehome without paying to make the dog well in body and spirit is not true animal welfare: it's moving as much product as fast as possible and to demand money for unwell product is a business, not a calling.
- Judy Stone
Restore your faith in humanity. Read our heart-warming stories of brave people and their rescues of chained and abused and neglected dogs from extreme suffering and cruelty. We have many happy ending stories too. Many happy ending stories and video too: http://www.animaladvocates.com
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