How Mikey found love

(Written by Pets Alive volunteer Monika Roosa)

Earlier this Spring, I had heard about a Rottweiler that was brought in to Pets Alive by the police a few nights before. He had been brought in on a snare pole because the police weren’t sure if he was aggressive and they needed to take the extra precaution. The dog had been tied to a tree with a cord and left on the side of the road with a dog bed by his side. He was completely emaciated and extremely lethargic.

While I was out rolling with Robert, Kerry (our Director at Pets Alive) yelled down to me from her office and asked me if I had met the Rottie that the cops brought in the other night. She asked me to go take him for a walk and told me where they were keeping him and she cautioned me that he may be a little growly.

After I finished up with Robert, I went to find the Rottie. Although I was told that he was in pretty bad shape and that he was Lyme positive, I didn’t expect to see what I did when I opened the door to his room. A skeleton had appeared before me. I had only seen dogs in this condition in photos and on T.V., but never in person. He was nothing but bones. His head was just a skull covered in fur. His eyes were completely sunk in. He had no energy and in spite of his bony condition, he wouldn’t eat a thing. It was truthfully, the saddest case of malnourishment that I had ever seen. I had some soft chicken treats with me and I offered him one. He took it with hesitation, but he took it, and he ate it. I quickly gave him several more, and he ate them too and that’s when our friendship began. I was able to get him up and out for a short walk even though he stumbled several times. After our initial walk, I put him back in his room with a fresh bed, fresh water and I gave him whatever I had left of those chicken treats. It was then that I knew that I had met a dog that I couldn’t give up on.

20120624-083242.jpgEvery time I went back to Pets Alive, I brought him a few packages of the chicken treats because that’s all he would eat. Then I started cooking chicken and rice for him, and we learned that he WOULD eat, but that he was just selective. It was still a little chilly and he was so sickly when he arrived at Pets Alive that he didn’t get to go outside much. Within a few days, word had gotten out about him.

Linda, another volunteer, brought him a coat so we could take him outside on the warmer days and let him soak up some sun and get some fresh air. Volunteers quickly responded to his needs and started cooking for him at home and before we knew it, the refrigerator was filled with containers of food prepared with love by so many people. The days would soon become warmer and Mikey was able to spend more time outside and eventually, he didn’t even need his coat anymore. He was eating much better and grew to love cheeseburgers more than anything else. He would take the cheeseburger and peel back the bread and only eat the meat and the cheese. He was a funny boy. He would sit in his run on his blanket and cross his legs like a pure gentleman. He was so affectionate. All he wanted to do was just be near people. He would burry his big bony head in our laps and snuggle up against anyone he met. It was hard to believe that this lovely dog was brought in by police with a snare pole.

He quickly became a volunteer favorite and he made many friends. There were three of us though who completely fell in love with this dog and we took turns doing whatever we needed to do to get him bulked up and healthy again. Mikey would eventually have three moms; Patti, Linda, and myself. We were determined to get this sweet boy up and running again. Sadly, his health had deteriorated once again. The staff at Pets Alive found him in his run completely covered in blood. They immediately took him to Dr. Furman’s office where it would later be determined that he had bilateral renal carcinoma (cancer in both of his kidneys). This was a hard blow to many of us, but we decided to keep him comfortable and to do the best job that we could possibly do for this poor dog. He returned to Pets Alive and much to our surprise, he started doing so much better. Was it the food? Was it the medicine? Was it the sunshine and the fresh air? Was it simply the love that he had finally felt? We weren’t sure, but we continued doing what we were doing because we were convinced that he was on the right path. We knew he had cancer, but it was evident that he was fighting back to beat it.

Another few weeks went by and Mikey’s health had deteriorated once again. He didn’t want to eat much and he had a hard time getting up. We knew that the cancer must have been getting the best of him. We felt like he was giving up, but we weren’t ready to give up on him. We were scared that he would pass alone in his kennel, so we were given permission to stay with him overnight at the sanctuary. Patti, Darcy and I stayed overnight with him. Realizing that this probably wasn’t the best situation for any of us, Patti graciously decided that she would provide a home for him in his final days. Mikey had his very own “bachelor’s pad” at Patti’s house, and we took turns cooking for him and looking after him. Before we knew it, the dog who was once stumbling was now running to us when we called him. He was going for long walks and rides in the car. He was climbing stairs, and he was eating so well, that we were finally able to get him to eat regular dog food (with the occasional cheeseburger of course). He was no longer a skeleton. He had filled out nicely and he had gotten to a point where you would never have known he was so emaciated at one point in his life unless we showed you pictures. He loved the sunshine. He loved his walks. He loved chasing bugs in the yard. He loved food, especially his cheeseburgers, but most of all, he loved his three moms.

20120624-083128.jpgEarlier last week, we noticed that he was walking more stiffly. He had lost the gleam in his eyes and the bounce in his step. He wasn’t eating as much and he was having frequent nosebleeds. It was evident, that he was starting to feel pain. We took him to see Dr. Zgoda at Otterkill Animal Hospital where he had a battery of tests performed. His blood work actually came back okay, but the ultrasound on his kidneys wasn’t good. The masses on his kidneys had gotten bigger. He was prescribed medications and he returned to his bachelor pad once again. We were hopeful that he would rebound as he had done so many times before, but this time it was not meant to be. He wouldn’t get up to eat. He had to be lifted by two of us to get him outside. He wouldn’t eat his beloved cheeseburgers, and that’s when we knew that this was the beginning of the end.

We gave him several days to allow the medications to kick in, but he was showing no improvement. We realized that this just wasn’t fair to him any longer, so this morning we made the final call for our sweet Mikey. We realized that he was in pain and we couldn’t let him continue like this. Linda and I went to Patti’s house this morning to say our final goodbyes. Darcy came to comfort us. Kerry came out to thank us for all we had done for Mikey.

We lifted him up for the last time and helped him up the ramp and in to Linda’s car and we headed to Otterkill. We had a few peaceful minutes outside with him where we sat under the trees by the waterfall and said our final goodbyes before we took him inside and sent him off to be with the other furry angels in heaven. Mikey is now pain free and he died knowing how much we all loved him. While we all miss him terribly, we know that this was the best decision for a dog that we knew for only a few months, but we loved him like we had him forever. Once he was gone, I kissed his head and looked up at the scale. It read 83 pounds. It was a sure sign that we had done a great job with him as he was only about 60 pounds when he first came to Pets Alive. We had done all that we could possibly do.

20120624-082634.jpgAs I sit hear typing this, I look over at my Kodi, lying comfortably by the fireplace. My first husband and I adopted Kodi from Pets Alive in August of 2000. As many of you know, Kodi is not well. He is 12 now and was diagnosed with cancer last January. He has a nasal tumor that ruptured again earlier this past week. He is home now, but I know that he is not long for this world. Unlike Mikey, Kodi is eating like a horse, he gallops through the yard, he still greets me at the door with a toy in his mouth when I come home…but, his nose has not stopped bleeding. I know that he can not live like this for too much longer and can’t help but wonder if Mikey went first in order to pave the way for Kodi. It would be so like Mikey to say “Mom, you’ve done this before, you can do this again.”

Thank you, Mikey for being the sweetest Rottie that I’ve ever met. Thank you for trusting us and for letting us show you love that you never felt before. Thank you for becoming such a big part of our lives, even if it was only for a short while. We love you with all our hearts and we will never forget you. I promise to help as many animals at the sanctuary as I can, in your memory.

Many thanks to Patti for providing him with a loving home so that he didn’t have to spend his final days in a kennel. For taking off so many days of work, just so she could be by his side when he needed someone the most, and for cooking him all of those yummy meals that he enjoyed so much. Just thank you for being you, Patti. I am honored to be your friend.

Thank you to Linda who was so instrumental in getting him up and going to begin with. She showered him with love. She cooked for him, she bought him cheeseburgers, took him for car rides, long walks and overnights at her house. I know that Mikey is grateful that he had you in his life.

Thank you Kerry, because if it wasn’t for the work that you do at Pets Alive, we would never have had the opportunity to have Mikey in our lives. It is an honor and a pleasure for us to volunteer at the sanctuary and if given the chance, we would do it all over again.

Thank you to Darcy, for being our angel and for always being there when we needed a friend the most. Mikey was blessed to have known you.

Thank you to all of my volunteer friends and the awesome staff at Pets Alive who took the time to cook for him and care for him while he was at the sanctuary. There are just way too many of you to list. You know who you are, and more importantly Mikey knew who you were. Thank you all, and may we find the strength to get through this so that we can get back to doing what we do best and that is saving the animals and making them feel loved while they are at the sanctuary until they find their forever homes. May God bless each and every one of you for what you do for these beautiful creatures. Mikey was truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in his life.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 24, 2012.  There are 4 Comments

4 Responses to “How Mikey found love”

  1. Joseph Knipp Says:

    Via con Dios, Mikey. You gave much love and you received much love.

  2. Dianne Krulick Says:

    A wonderful tribute to Mikey who pulled at your heartstrings. He knew he was loved by all of those who showed special care.

  3. Rachael H Says:

    what a beautiful story, thanks for sharing it. Mikey was very lucky to have found you all

  4. Lisa Gendron-Bioski Says:

    How very lucky Mikey was to have so many people to love him. RIP, Mikey.

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