“Roarke’s Hope” an abused stray’s journey to becoming a therapy dog…
Saturday August 20th 2011
He showed up as a stray wounded pup wandering our neighborhood. My son came in and told me about him. “Momma he is hurt pretty bad.” We looked for him and couldn’t find him, and then he came back. Boy was my son right, he was hurt bad. He had an awful open wound down the length of his back. We didn’t know to whom he belonged or what had happened to him. Of course we tried to guess. Maybe a car had hit him. No, that wouldn’t work; he didn’t have other wounds or bruises. He could have dug out from under a pen and scraped his back off, that didn’t quite fit the visual wound either. We considered a fire but his hair wasn’t singed. Someone could have poured a caustic chemical on him, nope no chemical smell. He wasn’t telling. All we did know is he needed help or he would surely die. It was the end of August in Alabama, HOT and flies were lighting on his open wound. He would surely die from infection or being in a weakened state, killed by another dog or the coyotes we hear at night. The least we could do for the poor beast was clean and doctor his wound and give him some food & water; until we found out where he belonged and what had happened to him.
He was hurt so bad we were afraid anything we did might harm him worse. We quickly made calls, posted on facebook and a few forums looking for advice on how to treat him. He did not belong to us, as much as we wanted to help – it was the weekend and we couldn’t afford an urgent care vet for someone else’s dog. Mercifully we were given some wonderful advice. With that and good ole common sense, we bathed his wound in cool water, dressed it with ointment and sprayed it with livestock spray borrowed from our neighbor. We didn’t want him to run off until he was stronger. Still he wasn’t ours. So we tied him beside our house, that way people riding down the road looking for him would be able to spot him. Enter Mr. Crack head. A man high as a kite stopped and said he knew whose the dog was…my husband God love him said, “Have the owner come claim him”. (Don’t forget this is rural Alabama, these dogs are fought and WAY over-bred. Puppies sell for $400-$800 at flea markets while adults die in shelters OR WORSE). The poor puppy liked people being nice to him. He chewed through the rope we had tethered him with. He came up on the porch, getting him that much closer to the people. I didn’t feel comfortable letting him inside. We have a small dog and a cat. I had no way to know if the pup had been vetted. He may have been a bio-hazard to our pets. I put a blanket on the porch for him to sleep on.
Sunday, he was still here. THAT IS WHEN IT HAPPENED. He looked up at me with eyes that said, “Thank God for you people, I was gonna die”. CRAP! We have a teeny tiny house, a small dog and a cat in residence already. Not really room for another dog, especially one that could clearly grow (with the correct food and loving) to be close to a hundred pounds. TOO LATE HE OWNED ME. I named him. I know bad mistake. The giving of a name brings responsibilities. Ones I wasn’t sure we would be able to live up to. His “owner” had yet to claim him. When I went to work Monday I left him loose, in case someone was looking for him. Noah, my son, called me at work when he got home from school. ROARKE WAS GONE!!! My neighbor had called Animal Services and had him picked up. That blank-a-tee-blank-blank KNEW we had been taking care of him. Her reason, “I didn’t want that dog around here”. I do not think I have been THAT mad in recent history. What would possess someone to have an animal sent to animal control which obviously needed help and someone was caring for him?
I worried about being able to spring him from “doggie jail” because he didn’t actually belong to me. Luckily a friend put me together with a wonderful and very helpful man, who just happened to volunteer at the shelter. I have to admit he scared me a bit at first. He said the only way Pits leave the shelter is if their “rightful owner” claims them or they are pulled by a rescue. I didn’t want to lie, but did want to help that baby. So, Tuesday I called out of work, went to animal services and explained the situation. How he had shown up at our house neglected and abused, I explained we had been caring for him and wanted to keep him. They let me pay his bail and TAKE MY DOG HOME!!! I took him straight to the vet’s office, without an appointment. They were nice enough to fit me in and spend an hour with us. The Vet and Staff @ Flint River Animal Hospital were amazing. Roarke was covered in fleas, had worms and mange. Luckily he was negative for heartworms. GREAT NEWS! Dr. Kevin Lowe said his wound needed nothing in addition to what we had been doing. It was starting to heal and already looked tons better than it had 3 days before.
GOTTA love a vet that wishes you good Karma!
Roarke continued to heal and has become a loving member of our family! You would never know anyone ever hurt him. He never meets a stranger and thinks everyone loves him. So much so, my husband and I have decided he has a story to tell and “work” to do. I will be enrolling us in classes to get him certified as a therapy dog. I want to take him to visit people in assisted living facilities. Stay tuned for our progress.
Roarke has his very own Facebook Page!!!