Henry came to Safe Hands the same night as Angeline. To say that he was a mess would be an understatement. The shelter in Harlan had sent us his picture earlier in the week, and the moment I saw him I knew we had to get him here. He looked so sad and pathetic and…hairless. (For anyone who doesn’t know me very well, I am a sucker for the mangey hairless dogs.) I thought of little else in the days leading up to his arrival and waited anxiously to hear any updates. I knew he had been given fluids at the shelter for dehydration, and I was praying that his little body that had been through so much already would be strong enough to make it to Safe Hands, where he could heal and find the forever home that he deserved. My greatest wish that week was that he make it here and I could see him happy and wagging.
For anyone who doesn’t know his story from our updates, Henry was found tied up in a Walmart shopping bag in a dumpster. Thankfully an employee who took out the trash heard a squeaky sound and located the ailing little boy and took him to the shelter.
I was handed his crate the night he arrived and peeked inside to see the saddest pair of watery eyes staring back at me through the kennel door. Henry was nearly bald all over from sarcoptic mange. His stomach was enormously bloated. He had a raspy cough and wheezy lungs. He was dehydrated. He was, in short, a mess. But he was. He was still here, still alive, still wanting to be. We believe all life is precious, even 2 pound puppies with no hair. They want to live too.
I took him home that night and got him settled in the spare bedroom. Because of his upper respiratory I had to keep him quarantined from my dogs until it cleared up. I had never had a foster pup that slept as much as he did for the first 3 days. I knew his little body needed the rest to heal itself, but it was still nerve wracking for me, who just wanted him to be a normal playful puppy.
Caring for Henry was both easy and daunting. Easy in that he was a very good little patient when I had to give him sub Q fluids and antibiotics, which is not usually the case with the tiny pups. Daunting because I had to turn into a chef (a very big stretch) to try to entice him to eat. I tried nearly everything I could think of to get the baby boy to eat. At one point he had 10 little custard bowls with various canine and human foodstuffs in them…like a tiny puppy buffet table, in the hopes that while I was away at work he would eat….anything. After much trial and error on chef Janines part (liver was a big nose turning NO), he finally settled on boiled chicken, plain yogurt and nutrical as his foods of choice for the first 2 weeks. Not balanced, but nutritious enough on a temporary basis.
Gradually the wheezing and coughing has cleared up and his eyes have stopped watering. His hair too is nearly all back. I’m proud to say that he is very happily eating dry puppy food and gaining and thriving. He’s nearly 4 pounds now. The only real remnants of his former life are his slightly crooked front legs, a bit malformed from malnutrition, but even those have improved greatly in the weeks since he has been here. Henry is a little spitfire. He’s got the heart of a big dog in his tiny little puppy body.
I look at the pictures of him, before and after, and marvel that they are of the same dog. He’s turned into quite the handsome boy, but then, I knew from the moment I saw his picture that he would be with a little time and tlc. I get angry when I think about his past, but I try not to dwell on it.. the panic he must have felt before survival mode kicked in and the horrible kind of person that would just throw him away. What matters is that he made it to Safe Hands and he’s amazing. I’ve been caring for him for just over a month now and I gotten my greatest wish …to see him happy and wagging. It’s pretty much all he ever is when he’s awake. I have a new greatest wish now and that is for Henry to find the perfect forever home he deserves.