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Rebel's Return!
It’s been a long road for Rebel, and this weekend was the end of a long marathon for us both. Rebel completed his heartworm treatment and is finally a healthy dog! To celebrate, we went to the woods for a long walk. I took him on the same path we took over 3 months ago when he first came to stay with me.

Rebel's Return!

 

Rebel standing tall and healthy

It’s been a long road for Rebel, and this weekend was the end of a long marathon for us both. Rebel completed his heartworm treatment and is finally a healthy dog! To celebrate, we went to the woods for a long walk. I took him on the same path we took over 3 months ago when he first came to stay with me.

Now, just as he did then, he trotted the whole way and even ran when the snow would allow us. At one point he stood with his front paws up on a snow bank looking up at a squirrel. I thought I had never seen such a beautiful sight. His back extended upward, neck stretched up, lifting his head and gaze towards the sky, he looked regal and healthy. It was particularly meaningful because I never would have thought the dog who hung his head down at all times, would ever gaze upward.

Rebel’s personality has also come out over the last few months. I’m happy to report his sweetness remains intact. He loves carrying his toys around, he likes to roll on his back and wiggle and when he’s really happy, he does a little hop. He likes to play fight by gently using his mouth and uses his paws to grab your leg. Our once silent boy is now comfortable enough to bark along with the other dogs when someone comes to the door and he’s shown he can be a bit obstinate when he wants to.

One thing that has never changed since day one, is his love for being loved. Starved for affection and desiring to be the center of your dog love is his truest desire. Cuddling on the couch or sleeping on the bed with us is his favorite thing. When he does, he sighs with contentment as he drifts off to sleep.

We have one more minor hurdle and that’s his neuter and dental, before he’s ready to find his forever home. I’m not too worried about it. After all Rebel has been through in his life, I think this will be a piece of cake for him.

Rebel would like to thank everyone who donated to help cover his medical fees. Also everyone in MassARPH, especially Anne Zononi who gave much needed encouragement and moral support and to Kate Olsen for taking him over the holidays and showing him the ocean for the first time in his life. It takes a village, and sometimes a raw marrow bone helps too.

 

Read about Rebel's time with us and see how far he's come in "Rebel" and "A Foster Dog's Journey."

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A Foster dog's journey: Rebel's update
Rebel had his final heartworm treatments last week. It was especially rough because h...

A Foster dog's journey: Rebel's update

Rebel had his final heartworm treatments last week. It was especially rough because he had receive treatment two days in a row and the shots are quite painful. It was hard leaving him on the first of his two visits. The last sight of Rebel that morning, was of him with a vet tech who had to practically drag him away as he looked pleadingly at me to save him. It broke my heart.

As bad as that was, day 2 was even worse. That second morning, when we went out to the car, he wouldn’t get in and had to be lifted. At the vet my husband had to practically push him through the door and again, he would not go with the tech. We felt like we were leading the lamb to slaughter, but this time, the lamb knew exactly what awaited him. He didn’t struggle or nip at anyone, instead, he quietly acquiesced to our wishes. If that wasn’t heart breaking enough, when we arrived home that evening, instead of being happy to be there, he didn’t want to get out of the car. Was he afraid of what we might do to him? It simply broke my heart. I coaxed and pleaded with him, promising I wouldn’t let him be hurt again. When I tried to reach for him he laid back to escape my reach. Finally after some tugging on his leash, he decided to move. Once inside the house he looked tentative.

I gave him some pain medication; he ate his dinner and went to lie down. A soft barely audible whimper came from him as he lay in the darkened room. I sat with him, stroking his head wondering how many times he sat, enduring his pain alone. I could only think of all of the people who hurt him in the past. The gun shots, the bullets, the missing teeth, all of the pain he was left to endure alone. I whispered to him telling him he wasn’t alone any more, while wishing he understood me. It was a long night and each soft, almost inaudible cry, broke my heart a little more than the previous one.

Day two was better, but he looked as if his spirit was broken again. It looked as if all of our progress was gone and I felt helpless to tell him we hadn’t abandoned him. Day 3 and 4 passed, and with them, the pain from the injection. On day 5, I saw a little spark return to him. I picked up his leash for a short walk to go potty and he brightened up and did his little happy dance. My heart jumped with delight. I think I was happier than he was quite frankly. Knowing he hadn’t given up meant the world do me.

Rebel began to return to us and started to enjoy his quiet life again. He began carrying his ducky around and came trotting over at the sound of the treat jar. Things had returned to normal and I was thankful that this ever-forgiving soul chose to forgive one more time.

So we continue, Rebel and I, taking pleasure in our short walks, and hopefully giving him reasons to have faith in humans again.

 

He was shut down and nothing from this world went in and no response came out. Despite all of this, he was the gentlest, sweetest dog who only wanted to love and be loved.

Rebel

Rebel is my very first foster. A volunteer for ARPH (Australian Shepherd Placement Helpline) did his evaluation and transported him to me last Wednesday night. She tried to tell me what I was getting, and I thought I understood. But I really had no idea.  What walked up my sidewalk to my door was quite possibly the saddest soul I have ever seen. It was if he was a broken dog. Broken in spirit and body.

The rep had assessed that he was deaf and I agreed with her. No response was given to anything. Loud noises, his name... and even the tell tale cookie jar. Nothing. What I had in front of me was a train wreck. A dog who smelled to high heaven because of two raging ear infections and bad teeth, add to that, that he was filthy, his back end was so weak it gave out on him, you could feel his spine and his waist was so thin he would have made Scarlett O'hara jealous; and finally, he walked so slowly with his head hung down that I sincerely thought he wouldn't make it to the corner of my street and back. He was shut down and nothing from this world went in and no response came out. Despite all of this, he was the gentlest, sweetest dog who only wanted to love and be loved. He broke my heart.

So, we began our journey last Wednesday. He started Thursday off with what was most likely the first bath of his life. He was put into a crate – a first. We then went to the vet in the early evening - another first. He had blood drawn and they clipped his extremely long nails. (Just having his nails clipped allowed him to walk a little better.) I picked up some wet food and he finally ate - like a starved dog would. His second day was the same really.

Friday: I noticed some life in his eyes, so later, I decided to take him for a short walk. I didn't think we'd be going far, but he surprised me. He had a little hop in his step and he picked up the pace. Next thing I know he started pulling me along and I was shocked. He did so well on our walk that morning I decided to take him on my usual walk with my guys in the woods up at the Fellsway. I had planned to turn back when I noticed any signs of fatigue but instead, he trotted along the entire 2.6 mile loop, pulling the entire way.

Saturday: I watched for any lameness that night and the next morning. Since I didn’t see any, I decided to take him on a second walk in the same location as the first one. He was bouncing along and sniffing everything he could. Then I noticed something. He was turning when he heard his name! He began reacting to sounds. I was astounded. Rebel could hear!

Sunday: My dogs get up on the bed for cuddles and to try and get me out of bed. I look behind them and Rebel is standing on my bed! I said “How did you get up here?” The dog whose back end was giving out just jumped up onto the bed! WOAH!

Monday: I had bad news. Rebel tested positive for heartworm and his blood levels were off. They wanted him back for x-rays to check his heart and lungs and to draw more blood to decipher the cause of the blood levels.

Tuesday- today: I took him into the vet and they took him in back to do the x-rays and take blood. When my vet returned, he said that Rebel was a good candidate for treatment. No shrinking of the heart and there is some swelling which you would expect with heartworm. He also said the x-rays showed that "He has an alarming amount of bee-bees in him." I was confused. I didn't know if this was a term used for some heartworm stage or something, ... he continued and said "... and a bullet lodged in his chest." It suddenly clicked. Bee-bees.. a bee-bee gun… a bullet… a gun…. they shot at him. I literally covered my gaping mouth with my hand because I was HORRIFIED!

He said they pose no threat, but it gives you a glimpse into what his life was prior to this. I wanted to cry. I really did. He said he's seen dogs with a few bee-bees but never in his life has he seen one riddled with so many as in Rebel. They cover the upper back. His sternum stopped the bullet so it didn't penetrate his chest and also posed no threat. He's an extremely lucky dog to even be alive. I'm just hoping his luck continues.

I then I mentioned how much he's improved over the last few days and my vet said, "they are amazingly resilient if you just give them the opportunity."

Well Rebel... your opportunity is here. We will make you better.

I am thankful I stumbled upon him on Craigslist. I’m thankful I’m part of a group that can help him and I’m honored to watch him unfold like a beautiful flower before my very eyes.

Rebel after one week at our home.