Finding forever homes--not the only thing Friends of Falmouth Dogs do

Emergency medical fund helps owners, dogs in need
Caper is still waiting for his forever home. Friends of Falmouth Dogs photo.

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Dogs turn to their owners for their well-being, for their safety, their health. And most pet owners would do just about anything for their pets. But sometimes things happen and finances, or lack of finances, place a major obstacle in the path of that care. That is when some owners turn to us for help.

We remember two recent instances where we were able to help in situations where dogs were facing acute medical issues; issues that were affecting their quality of life.

Jake’s story is particularly poignant. You see, Jake, a Labrador retriever, was filling the role of a therapy dog, but his days of service were ending when he developed severe back pain and was losing the ability to walk. Jake is also a pet and very much loved, but even life as a pet was getting to be untenable because of the pain he was suffering. In order to determine the exact cause of the pain, and the medical protocol needed, Jake needed an MRI and possibly surgery. Both expensive propositions. The owners approached us for help. We were able to help with the costs of the MRI, and guess what? It revealed that surgery was not necessary, that it was an inflammation causing the weak legs and severe pain. He is now being treated for the inflammation with an excellent prognosis. Jake’s owners were quick to thank us for our contribution. Here is an excerpt from their heartfelt reply:

“We wanted to thank all of you at Friends of Falmouth Dogs that helped us to find funding and made all the phone calls for our black lab Jake. We are so grateful for the money that helped us pay for his MRI. We now know what is wrong with him and aren’t sitting wondering because of not being able to afford the MRI. He has been a trooper through this all. The MRI showed that he did not have a compression or pinched nerve, so if you had not helped us with funding to do the MRI we would have been treating him for something he didn’t have. We would love to bring Jake in to meet you guys, so you can meet him and see why we love him so much.”

P.S. They did bring him in and we did see why they love him so much.

The other dog, a shepherd mix, was also facing a medical condition with an expensive fix. This dog had a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. Accustomed to long walks, slow jogs and lots of playing, this dog was facing a severe curtailment of his routine activities. His life was losing its fun. Faced with high veterinary costs for surgery which they could not entirely cover, his owners turned to us for help. And help we did. The dog is now back to a full life of fun. Here, his owners remind us how important our medical fund truly is:

“Just wanted to let you that [our dog] is doing great after his operation for the rupture of his cranial cruciate ligament. Your generosity has brought overwhelming emotion, that is hard to express, of gratitude and thankfulness. We will be forever thankful for your contribution and your love for animals in need.”

These are just two of the very real dogs with very real stories of having been aided by our medical fund. We may get the thanks, but all of you, our supporters, deserve them even more for it is your continued support that makes it possible: possible to help a dog regain a good life; possible to help a dog remain a family pet; possible to give a family more years with their cherished dog.

Fortunately, we were able to help these dogs. Unfortunately, the needs of other dogs in similar situations continue to come to our attention. Next week we will share with you another very special story of another very special dog.

Another way to help other dogs in medical need (and help replenish our medical fund) will be by enjoying yourself at our biggest fundraiser of the year at Grumpy’s Pub on June 6 with the Med Hedz performing music and some wonderful raffle items. This is the second annual event and we promise that you will have a good time. Promise.

We’re pretty certain that when Caper was born, someone somewhere assumed he would grow up to be a fine dog, someone’s pet, cherished throughout his life. At least, we hope so. We hope that in the years before he arrived on our doorstep, he had known love and fun and good food and long walks. Well, Caper, who is an older German shepherd, did grow up to be a fine dog, smart, loving, curious. But somewhere along the line, someone gave up on him and abandoned him. Fortunately he is now safe and happy with us and gets oodles of attention while we all wait for the perfect home for the last (and perhaps best) part of his life. Caper needs an owner experienced with the breed and who will be around much of the time. This dog is a very special boy.

[Update: Walter has been adopted!] Walter is our (requisite) beagle. He is so little and so thin and so sweet that you just want to scoop him up and hug him. Walter has some medical issues: in addition to Lyme disease, he is suffering from some sort of neurological impairment that severely limits his ability to walk very far. We would very much like to find a foster home for him while the vets pinpoint what is wrong. He will take up very little room in your home and does not need much exercise. But we know he will be happier and more comfortable in a home with someone to pay attention to him, for he dearly loves attention.

And again we’re reminded of how our littlest supporters give us the biggest smiles. Just the other day, two girls, ages 8 and 9, visited our shelter to give us $5, two toys, and several treats for the dogs. Gracie and Cady, we thank you for your kindness and generosity. Your contributions are vital to us and we promise you, we will put them to good use.

We are sponsoring the 2014 heartworm screening clinic in May. We will offer vouchers for the screenings, which will be held at South Cape Veterinary Clinic in Waquoit on Tuesdays and Thursdays in May from 2 to 4 PM. Appointments will be needed and owners will need to present the voucher at the time of the appointment. Vouchers are available at the shelter.

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