We got the call from Lincoln County Humane Society in mid August 2014 about a pair of chihauhaus they were unable to home that were not thriving in the kennel environment. We agreed to have a look at the pair.
When we arrived the pair of chis seemed chipper, if a bit shy and after a few moments of interaction, the volunteer and I began discussing a different dog in need.
The LCHS volunteer said quietly “can I show you another dog?”
Her eyes grew wide and serious as she motioned me towards the very last kennel where I saw a terrified bulldog, her head buried under an old dog bed. Her only visible response to our presence was a slight tremor to her body.
The volunteer said “she’s not good. She won’t eat.”
The tears burned in the back of my eyes as I could see and feel the hopelessness. Were we too late? Had she really given up?
Before I could think these words came out of my mouth “this is the dog that needs to come to the sanctuary.”
The volunteer smiled slightly and nodded as her own tears welled. We stood outside that kennel, and together, our hearts broke for Daisy.
I’ve seen dogs recover from some horrible ordeals and I had faith we could help her, but then I got her story.
She was locked in a dark barn and gave birth to litter after litter after litter of puppies until her insides gave up. There were no lights, no windows, and no contact. She was a breeding machine that brought money to the people who owned her.
They would throw food on the ground amids the feces to give her just enough energy to create life. The barn was never cleaned and she spent five years in the dark, laying in feces and having babies. Who knew how many babies died in such horrid conditions? Who knew how many of their bodies she had to lay with over her five years in hell. This is her punishment for being beautiful.
Daisy Mae had never seen light, never set a paw in fresh green grass and had never felt a kind hand.
It was a Thursday afternoon and I was driving to St Catharines to take responsibility for a broken dog. For a dog I desperately hoped we could bring back to life.
In complete contrast I had Taffy in the car. Taffy is a beautiful black cocker spaniel riding shot gun, so I could take take both dogs to the vet after I pick up Daisy from the Humane Society.
Taffy is loving, delightful and gregarious. She loves everyone she meets and was cared for in her five years. I left Taffy in the car as I walked through the door of the shelter and cringed at the sounds of howling and wailing of desperate caged animals.
I entered the building and waited for the volunteer to come and help facilitate the transfer. Once the paperwork was signed and emailed we went to pull Daisy Mae out of her kennel.
The volunteer went in and put a leash on and she gently pulled and dragged Daisy Mae towards the door to the outside. She let her off leash and Daisy Mae took off for the corner of the fence farthest from people.
The volunteer and I and both took deep breaths as we caught and loaded Daisy into my truck.
Taffy immediately came forward with happy wagging tail and lolling tongue to spread her love. Daisy Mae looked on in fear with the stench of the kennel radiating off her skin. She smelled of feces.
Daisy made herself as small as possible and crouched on the floor behind the driver’s seat and panted in distress. There was not much to do, but drive and ensure her safety.
The vet shook her head and we discussed Daisy’s future. We knew LCHS had to do an emergency spay because she had pyometra – a lifethreatening infection of her prolapsed uterus.
Daisy Mae’s teeth were also a point of discussion. They were worn down to the gums – likely from chewing herself from severe flea infestation, grinding her teeth due to stress or from chewing hard things like bars or rocks.
After her vet assessment I took Daisy Mae home to the sanctuary. I let her off leash in the backyard and she ran to the farthest corner of the fence and laid there for days.
Daisy Mae refused to eat. She refused to move. She refused to lift her head and look up at her new surroundings. We watched and waited. We force fed her a little chicken on the third day, but it was a puppy named Boston from Northern Ontario that first had her lifting her head.
How can you ignore a twleve week old german shephard cross puppy who would lick your face and sit on your head for attention? One morning I glanced out the window and saw Daisy standing holding a purple kong in her mouth. I laughed and she must have heard me because she dropped the toy and returned to her corner of the yard. She became a statue again.
After a week we took the step of attaching a leash and taking Daisy for a walk. To our surprise she followed the pack and bounced along glancing at us and the other dogs unsure what to do, so she followed.
When we got back to the farm the walk must have stimulated her appetite because she ate her first full meal. We began feeding her canisource – a dehydrated raw food that is gentle on stomaches and tasty.
We had a new volunteer join us at BCFS during Daisy’s recovery named Laura who did massages with flower essences to help heal and release stress from Daisy’s body. We could seen an improvement immediately after the first few visits.
There are peaks and valleys along Daisy’s road to recovery. She’s just learning to be a dog. She’s learning how to run without fear, how to play for the first time. She’s learning to trust people, but is incredibly wary.
We weren’t sure we could find a home that was a good fit for Daisy, until Jen came along with a quiet voice, soft hands and gentle soul that seemed to soothe Daisy.