When our shelter pets need extra help
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By Mickey Zeldes  August 23, 2013 12:00 am

The shelter has recently been flooded with special needs animals. Dogs and cats come in with severe injuries or illnesses needing extra time, money, and vet care to get back in shape in order to be put up for adoption. 

This is not only a financial drain on the shelter’s limited resources but an emotional drain on our staff and volunteers. We recently posted a couple of these needy dogs on our Facebook page and sent out an email blast to raise funds to allow us to help them. We’ve really never had to do that before, but with so many animals with issues coming in close together it was either do that or face having to pick who we could help. In addition to the issue of fixing their problems, there’s the next hurdle of finding homes for these special critters, so here’s some of their stories and updates to see if we can’t spur some interest in them.


• Spirit is a young kitten about 12 weeks old that was found with a compound fracture (her bone was sticking out through the skin) of her right hind leg. In spite of the pain she must have been in, this kitten purred and kneaded and allowed our staff to handle her to change her bandages. It was obvious that the leg would need to come off, so our veterinarian amputated it and she is in a foster home healing and learning to get around on three legs. It’s amazing how resilient kittens can be and how quickly they can adapt to this sudden change in circumstance. 


• Cleo was brought to us with her six kittens when she was found in May. She also had a leg injury that would require amputation. But because her leg was stable for the moment and the young mom had kittens that needed her care, we held off on her surgery until her babies were weaned. She nursed the kittens and let them climb all over her without any complaint. Once they were old enough, they were altered and moved up to adoptions and it was Cleo’s turn to get the care she needed. She had her right rear leg removed, was spayed and is recovering in a foster home. 


• Toothpix is a tiny “deer-type” Chihuahua – the kind with long thin legs, hence his name. He originally came to the shelter as a 12 week old pup and had no trouble finding a home. The problem came up when after just a few months in the new home, Toothpix, now an active teenager, took a jump off the back of the owner’s truck. It was a long way down and his thin little legs couldn’t support him. He was surrendered back to us with both front legs broken and splinted because his new family just couldn’t afford the cost of the surgery he needed to repair his legs. We had the surgery done – both legs were plated back together and you’d never know from his prancing around that anything had ever happened. In fact, the challenge is trying to keep this young active guy quiet for the next few weeks so that the legs can heal.


• Daisy was also an adoption return for personal reasons on the part of her adoptive parent, who may not have even realized that Daisy had torn cruciates in both knees. It was obvious to us, though, from the funny way she sat with her knee out at an awkward angle that something wasn’t right. Surgery to repair knees is expensive, and even with the generous discount Dr. Gurevitch gives for shelter animals, it would run to more than $2,500. Thank goodness for our non-profit group, the Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park (ASL), which helps out with expenses like this. Even so, this is more money than the group had ever spent on a single animal. It didn’t help that Daisy is a pit bull, which puts her in the “difficult to adopt” category anyway. She is a sweet girl with a great profile from her former owner, so we’re hoping someone will come forward for her. She’s available now as a foster-to-adopt candidate while she heals from the surgery.


So far we’ve raised more than $2,000 toward the cost of these surgeries. We really want to thank our supporters for your generous donations. We could never have helped these animals without you. While these animals and others still need your financial help, now they need someone to open their heart and home and adopt them. If you would consider one of these special animals give us a call. Or better yet, come in and meet them – you will be rewarded. with purrs and licks.


Upcoming events: 

August adoption special: This is the last week for our “Name Your Own Fee” adoption special. Come in and fall in love with one of our cuties and name your own adoption fee. All reasonable offers will be considered. Such a deal – don’t miss it!


Mutt Strut: Grab your friends and family and form a “pack” to participate in our fundraising Dog Walk and Pet Fair on Sept. 28. Start getting pledges and raise money to support the shelter. The top fundraiser and pack win great prizes. For forms and registration details, go to animalshelterleaguerp.org.


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.


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