But he never made it back to the shelter. Dr. Danielle Boyd was working at at the hospital as part of her ophthalmologic veterinary internship when Dr. Conway asked her to get a dog named Zar for an examination. The twisted face staring at her with one big, brown eye mesmerized her. As she carried him to the examination table, he melted into her arms. “I was enamored by this little one-eyed pup who clearly endured so much pain,” Boyd told The Dodo. She was amazed because he acted like any other happy-go-lucky pup.
Boyd decided to bring him home that night, just to give him a break from all the kennels and cages. “He watched out the window of my car as the world blurred by, wagging his tail, [and] looked as if he was smiling!” Boyd said. Once home, the shy and mellow puppy became what Boyd referred to as a “living, breathing puppy tornado.”
Gray says more and more dogs are being dumped because the cost of surrendering an animal to the county shelter has increased greatly in the last few years — from $20 to $160. Gray originally started the rescue as a breed-specific rescue for boxers, but with so many pit bulls and pit bull mix dogs being euthanized in the shelter, the rescue has expanded to include any dog in need of rescue. The small nonprofit usually has 30–40 dogs in need of homes at any given time.
“Everyone knows who we are,” Gray says. “I never want to say no.”
For example, Roxie joined the rescue after a call from a shelter volunteer three years ago. She been adopted and returned to the shelter twice because her separation anxiety is so acute that she can’t be crated and needs someone with her all day, every day. Lisa Gray eases Roxie’s fears. Bill Gray calls Roxie a “compassionate peer dog” because she helps welcome new dogs into the rescue, acting like a mama dog to them.
The rescue assured her it would get better. Often, new adopters don’t realize there is an adjustment period for both owner and pet. Adopted pets are thrust into an entirely different environment and feel unsure of their surroundings at first. Everything is different, from the food bowl they use to the bed they sleep in. They may not eat, they hide and even the most housebroken dog may have accidents in the home. And they need time to get to know you.
Lizik committed to Buttons and sought resources for help. She read about the Shiba Inu breed and reached out to trainers for advice. Buttons continued to scream through the night. It was physically and emotionally exhausting for Lizik, and the training methods she was trying weren’t working.
Deciding she had to change her way of thinking, Lizik says she stopped thinking about what she needed from him.
“Trash ingestion, such as plastic bags, balloons and other nonbiodegradable plastics, are virtually impossible for us to detect with X-rays, CT scans or other diagnostics until it is too late,” Lauren Bell, a associate sea turtle and aquatic biologist at CMA, told the Dodo.
The team watched Chex very closely. His rehabilitation included monitoring his food intake and keeping him in shallow water, increasing the depth of his pool a little at a time as he became stronger.
Mariesa Hughes tried to remain optimistic about using human contact lenses for Gremlin. “I said I would try anything if it improved her quality of life,” she says. And in the exam room at Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital, “I had many questions, but before Dr. Lackner had time to answer most of them, the contact was in, Gremlin was off of the table and pulling me down the hall!”
Dr. Lackner recalls that moment, too. “I think all of us had tears in our eyes when she looked up, as if coming out of a daze, and took off!” she says. “It still gives me goosebumps.”
Now Gremlin can find her water bowl without a problem.
“Since she’s had the lens in, she hasn’t run into anything,” Hughes says. “She no longer flinches when the other dogs walk by her and she found her water bowl without stepping in it and dumping the water out.”