Rescue Watchdogs(TM)People and Rescues working together for the betterment of Rescue
Hello to everyone.
I've been in the group for a while, and have been meaning to say hello to everyone, introduce myself, and tell a bit about my story.... just been so busy with work.
But, when I read this email from Trish, it motivated me to make time and write now.... because it really made me sick.
The last Dane I had, I ended up finding out I rescued her from a rescue group (which should not be the case). Like Trish, I was there late at night. They brought out a few dogs, and I liked them all. But, then they brought out the dog I ended up adopting. This dog ran right up to me (I had a couple people with me, sitting next to me...she wasn't super interested in them), got right in my face, licked my chin and with the most desperate look (and i am not exaggerating), was telling me "get me the heck out of here lady." I couldn't say no to that. It was difficult to really see her well, since it was so late (I was there from about 8-10pm), but she looked so sweet and so energetic (I ended up finding out why it seemed that way)....and she picked me. So, I went through the paperwork, paid the money, watched as she was micro chipped in the dark, and listened to a ridiculous speech on feeding only Pedigree & using paper towel rolls as a discipline tool (no way....I remember thinking to myself "I just have to sit through this, so I can get out of here....don't agree with any of it but I'll just keep my mouth shut"). I was told the vaccine records would be faxed to me, so I provided a fax number. So, we pile in the car, and as soon as we began to drive away, my new dog laid out across the back of the SUV and passed out. I thought that was strange...been around enough dogs to know it would have been normal for her to sniff around, check things out, etc....but the whole 1.5 hour drive, she could've cared less. The when we got home, she went straight to the water bowl, tried drinking way too much at once (I didn't want to let her drink too much so fast), went in to the living room and urinated on the floor (new house...not so strange)....and went straight to the "dog sofa" and passed out. She was totally different... not so energetic anymore. She seemed lethargic, and only wanted to drink alot and urinate.....some pretty common signs for different problems. So, I took her to work with me first thing
in the morning (I have worked in Vet clinics for years).
And so it began....
I was told she was 5 years old, but after seeing her in better light, and a physical examination....no way; at least 8. The drinking and urinating excessively...... kidney's weren't working at 100%. Her BUN/Creat were both high. Urinalysis....showed a raging infection. Bacteria in the urine is rated 0 through 4+. You usually always see a 1+ or 2+. well, my new dog had a +4 !!! It was beyond a UTI or bladder infection.... she had a kidney infection as well. It took 20 weeks of antibiotics to get rid of that nasty, painful infection. And, we did repeated cultures and sensitivites to know what we were dealing with, and what antibiotics to use. Finally, after about 20 weeks, it was gone for good. Her mouth was a complete mess. In the 15 months I had her (I no longer have her...she passed away), I had 5 anesthetic dentistries done...she lost 6 teeth....and had a gingivectomy too, since there was so much gum damage. Xrays....showed SEVERE spondylosis from her head to her tail. Her spine was completely coated with calcium....worst case of it the doctor I work with had ever seen in the 30 years he has been practicing medicine. She was also diagnosed with DISH (diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis). This involves spondylosis deformans and nerve compression. But, due to the severity and her age, she was not a surgical candidate.
Oh, yes....nose bleeds. These started a few hours after I had adopted her. After many different tests, it was figured out that she had hypertension/high blood pressure. Once she was regulated on Norvasc, the nose bleeds stopped. But, as she felt better, I started to see the real her....and found out she hated other dogs. That night, when I first saw her.... she was very hyper with lots of nervous energy...well, after having her for a while, she would get like this around other dogs....and everytime, a little while after seeing another dog...her nose would bleed a little. My theory? The dog was not only sick and in pain for the year or so she was at GG prior to my adopting her..... but her blood pressure was unregulated and thru the roof during that time, because she was around so many other dogs.
And....she had a lump I had to have removed. When I tried to talk with GG about getting my adoption fee back (wasn't even complaining about the medical bills, because I was told they would be covered if I was willing to drive 1.5 hours to their Vet), it turned in to a 2 hour shouting match. I was told "she was fine while she was here....playing with other dogs, showing no signs of any problems." I tried to
explain that the types of problems this dog has, don't happen overnight. I told her I could send all the medical records and xrays. And she gave me some BS about not trusting any Vets other than the one she uses. Well, my argument was.... I can not believe any Vet even saw this dog, and if they did, they should be ashamed of themselves. I tried telling her that the results can not be argued...the lab work is pretty straightforward, and the x-ray is clear. I even had the xrays reviewed by a specialist. I got no where. All I heard about was policies....."it is our policy.... you can return her and get another dog.... we can not give $$$ back..." Blah, blah, blah.
Well, I reminded her that she also states another policy on the contract....that is, healthy pets are being adopted out....which was clearly not the case with the dog I had. And, I was actually supposed to adopt 2 dogs!!! But, I never got the 2nd dog, because I had a very ill dog to care for. My agreement states that I paid an adoption fee for dog #2, and that dog #1 (the one I took home) was "FREE."
So, I basically never got my adoption fee back for a 2nd dog I never kept. She kept arguing that I was welcome to get dog #2 whenever I was ready. This made me so mad. I was literally yelling at her. Here I am, committing to this dog, not wanting to return her, doing the right thing....knowing she was going to cost me a fortune. I remember saying to her "so you want me to return this dog to you, so she can be neglected even more???? No way !! " Anyway, it was an ugly conversation.
I was amazed that these people are handling hundreds of dogs, yet.... they dont know that excessive drinking, excessive urination, and nosebleeds are signs that something is seriously wrong??? My God..... unbelievable.
There is more...
I ended up finding out that my dog was adopted out twice prior to me, and both times the dog was returned....once because she didn't get along with the persons other dog, and she seemed sick....and the second time she was returned, that person told GG "something is wrong with this dog." And judging by the severity of her infection, they did nothing. It takes a long time to get a +4 bacteria. And, it was also told to me...that my dog, did not receive medical care while there. I don't know if that is true. But, it sure is believable.
Well, I had her for 15 months. And, I just loved her so much. I did everything I could....many tests and procedures....many treatments and antibiotics....endoscopy for her nose....ultrasound for her heart and bladder.....K/D diet for the kidneys, Tramadol & Zubrim for her back pain.....Norvasc for the blood pressure.....her own sofa, and 3 dog beds spread throughout the house.....you name it, I did it. But, I lost her back in March. There was nothing more I could do. I KNOW I gave her the best 15 months of her life. And I miss her so much. But, what she went through is NOT RIGHT. If I knew my adoption fee went towards medical care, that would be one thing. But, in the case of my dog, that was not the case. They are full of it.
And, by the way.... no vaccine records were ever faxed to me. I had a feeling day one, that this would be the case....which is why, that first morning I took her to work with me, I did all of her vaccines, heartworm test, fecal, etc..... And, when I scanned her for the chip info to enter in our computer system at work, I found that the chip I scanned didn't match the Avid tag I was given. When I called GG, at that time I was told " oh yeah...I accidentally double chipped her....forgot she already had one....so sorry....mail me back the avid tag you have and I will send the correct one." No way was I going to do that. I scanned her again, and she did have 2 chips....one of which matched the tag. I called our Avid sales rep, explained my situation....and I was able to change the registration on BOTH chips to me.
All I can say, is this. I went to GG, because it was recommended. I was still sad from losing my 10 year old deaf dane a few months before that... and, when this sweet dog picked me the way that she did, how could I say no? I had no idea. I feel like such an idiot, but at the same time I am glad I adopted this dog. I know I took VERY good care of her. And, I know my sympathy was played on that night. I was told "I show her every week, and everyone just loves her...but she is everyone's 2nd choice." When I asked why, I was told "because of her look....because she isn't the ideal looking Dane." And, that made me feel so bad for the dog, because I didn't care about that sort of thing. So, I took her home. And, even though it was the most stressful, and expensive experience I have ever had with a pet....I would do it all over again.
GG is all about quantity of dogs....and not quality of care. They've got it all wrong. You can not call yourself a reputable rescue group, when all you care about are the numbers...the number of breeds you have, the number of adoptions you have...and the number of dollars you make. They need to seriously downsize.....or stop entirely. I know my dog is not the only one that was neglected and suffered. I have been trying to find a way to do something about this. I even looked in to legal action. But, at that time, the problem was.... I was finding alot of things out, yet no one was willing to talk. I couldn't use info I had, with nothing to back it up...even though I knew it was true. So, I gave that up.
Then, a group was started earlier this year....took part in that, but when I relocated to NYC, I didn't think there was anything I could do. Plus, it seemed to be more about getting dogs from shelters before GG could....which is a totally good cause, but since I am not an owner of a rescue group, I didn't think I could do much there. And, here I am now....to be a part of this. I am also sending a complaint form to Norco Animal Control, along with copies of my dogs medical records (its a book). And, I am sending a letter to Animal Planet & the TV station. I have to do something....this has been bothering me for a long time. And, no...I have no problem with confrontation...and I am not easily intimidated. So, I am the ideal person to be in this position. I just hope I can make a difference. Plus, I have done NOTHING wrong.
Anyway.........this email is VERY long. I apologize for that...this upsets me very much, so when I start talking about it, it is difficult to stop. I hope you all understand.