There have been quite a few neediest cases in the past ten years. Many of the dogs in rescue are needy and require operations, special procedures and medications. But most importantly, these dogs survived and thrived on the love their fosters gave them and the donations of our many supporters who make rescue possible. Here are the stories of a few of our most memorable neediest cases of the last decade.
Aiken (2010) Kentucky: Aiken came up to New York in January 2010 from the Bowling Greene, KY kill shelter. He was seen wandering on the highway, unmistakeable because of his truncated tail and the limp in his left hind leg, but hard to capture. NGPR brought Aiken up to New York's Hudson Valley to be fostered by a caring New York volunteer. He was seen at Flannery Hospital in Newburgh, NY and was one of the first dogs to have TPLO surgery to fix his anterior cruciate ligament. A kind donor from New York gave $1250 to cover the cost of his surgery, which seemed like an awful lot to us at that time. Aiken was not an easy patient but his foster Mom, Sarah, fell in love with him and ended up adopting him.
Gabriel (2011) Missouri: Bearcreek Rescue in Missouri received a call about a pyr who was being surrendered right away by the caller's neighbor "because he has ear mites". When rescuers arrived at a tiny tar-paper shack surrounded by garbage in hill country, they were shocked to find a dog who was so emaciated he could barely stand; whose skin was bright red with one of the worst cases of mange we've seen, with open sores, he cried when touched; dewclaws fused together; a long, wide burn scar that was hidden under the fur that remained on his back; and a growth on one of his front legs that needed to be removed. His eyes were yellow from infection, but kind, this was a dog who deserved to be saved. As terrible as the situation was, we were happy that the family (who had no phone) cared enough to contact rescue. With time, vet care, good nutrition and love, he healed. The light came back into his eyes, and the spring into his step. It took a while before he wouldn't automatically duck his head when someone reached to pet him. Within six months, he was adopted by a family in Michigan that included a pyr sister to play with.
Spiro (2012) Georgia: He was starved, filthy and hurt. He had been washed down with motor oil which some people believe cures mange. The shelter called him "Time's Up" because they didn't think anyone would take him. We did and found his injury was much worse than an injured dew claw; the metatarsal bones in his foot were so damaged they required a bone graft and plate to repair them at a stunning cost of $3,500. Our foster volunteer re-named him Spiro, which means "Hope" in Latin, and we started fundraising for him. We were amazed to find that we could raise the money through the tremendous support we received through email and social media. Spiro recovered from his injury and was adopted by a family in Tennessee later that year.
Sage (2013) Idaho: Sage was found wandering in the desolate Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho. Thanks to generous donors, in 48 hours the goal of funding Sage's X-rays, his ulna fracture repair surgery, and the physical therapy necessary to help him walk again was reached. He had surgery to repair his elbow fracture, tolerated all his medications well and was a model patient who did not even require the dreaded cone of shame! He was adopted by Great Pyrenees Rescue Society volunteer Terry McCabe and lived with her in Oregon until he passed in 2017.
Marshmallow (2014) Tennessee: Marshmallow was born with a congenital defect (bilateral patella luxation) in his knees and came to us just before Christmas 2014. He had multiple surgeries to try to correct the problem but never gained the full use of his rear legs. He mastered bunny-hopping and was fitted with a wheelchair for walks to keep his spine straight. His every-ready smile and valiant spirit inspires us all. When his original foster could no longer care for him, a kind family in Florida, where he lives now, agreed to adopt him and care for him.
Link (2015) Oklahoma: Link came to the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Oklahoma (GPRO) after he sustained life-threatening injuries as a pup in an serious accident. He was partially paralyzed, without bladder or bowel control and his left rear leg had every joint and tendon dislocated. His right rear leg was broken in two places and had to be amputated. This pup turned out to be a real fighter and after his surgeries went through weeks of physical therapy and finally received a wheelchair to help with his mobility. He found wonderful adopters in Washington State, where he went to live as Murphy in 2016.
Judd (2016) Alabama: We felt this was no way to treat a Pyr! His people had no respect for him so they called him Jughead. When his owner died, his family didn’t want him so they turned him loose and he got hit by a car. He ended up in a tiny cell in a kill shelter on death row. We couldn’t leave him there. We gave him a new name, Judd, and the promise to start him on a new life. It took one 4-inch plate, 13 screws, $3500 and several weeks of recovery to get Judd back on his feet, but to us he was worth it. Judd was adopted by a family in New Jersey.
Simon (2017) Kentucky: He was surrendered to a Kentucky shelter at a year-and-a-half old, matted and covered with cockleburs. They emailed asking for help for him because he had a hurt foot and seemed to be in a lot of pain. A vet finally saw him and his hurt foot turned out to be a dislocated hip. X-rays were done at the local vet clinic and although they tried to pop his hip back into place, it did not stay and the area around the hip socket showed signs that he had been in this condition for a while. He was moved to Ohio State for an exam and FHO (femoral hip osteotomy) surgery. Simon's story doesn't end there. He was sent to a Kentucky foster home to recover and while he was there, a contractor entered the property unannounced and Simon bit him. Simon was then moved to our Springfield kennel where volunteer and kennel owner of Lucky Mutz, Susan Brennan, fell in love with Simon and adopted him in 2018.
Ghost (2018) Michigan: Ghost came out of a Michigan shelter in September 2017. He was beautiful and although he was thin there was no hint of a serious ailment. When his foster, Alyssa, brought him into her vet to be neutered, it was found that he had a level 4 heart murmur and was at high risk of congenital heart failure. One valve was too tight, one valve had a leak and unfortunately, he didn't have much time. He started to decline last December. When Ghost stopped chasing the squirrels and wanting his time outside, it was time to say goodbye to this special boy, who had one good year in rescue to enjoy life.
Rosebud (2019) Tennessee: Rosebud came to rescue from a crowded shelter. A few weeks later, when she started limping, she went to the local emergency vet. The skin on her leg had turned black with lots of necrotic issue, her temperature zoomed up and down and she could hardly raise her head. A spider bite was suspected. Despite antibiotics and an overnight monitoring, her condition worsened. She was rushed to the University of Tennessee Emergency Veterinary Clinic. Since then Rosebud has had two surgeries to remove necrotic tissue and heal the 12" incision on her leg where tissue was removed. She received wound vac treatments to remove fluid buildup, IV antibiotics and advanced techniques like fish skin placed over the wound to help it heal. When she first arrived at U Tenn we were hoping to save Rosebud's life; the amazing care from the U Tenn team saved her leg, too. Rosebud's costs exceeded $10,000, even with much of the care donated by the vets on staff. Rosebud's leg healed and she made such a successful recovery that she was adopted and traveled to her furever home in New Jersey earlier this month.