What happens to those shelter dogs who have “problems” be they physical deformities or are dogs known to have “nasty” temperaments or if they are a little "different"?
Then we have heroines in the form of Stacey Velting. Three daughters at home, working part time, a husband in Iraq, a household full of several litters of orphan puppies who required bottle feeding, Stacey had her hands and arms full.
Dixie arrived at the Francis R. Willis SPCA. Kathy Eckels who coordinates the foster care program. Her goal is to place these special needs pups in homes to receive individual care. Hopefully, with extra care, they can become more adoptable.
Stacey volunteered immediately to assist with the very strange little pup named Dixie. According to Kathy, there is no way poor petite Dixie could have survived without Stacey. In the shelter, Dixie would have been the sad victim of "failure to thrive."
Read the story in Stacey's own words.
Editor, Charleston Doggy Town
A Little Different
by Stacey Velting
Dixie came into the Frances R. Willis SPCA on a September afternoon.
I happened to be there on this particular day at this particular time. She was one of 13 puppies weighing only 1 pound 9 ounces at 6 weeks old. After being looked over by the shelter staff, I took Dixie home with me to stay until she was ready to be spayed and go up for adoption.
After having Dixe for a couple of weeks, I knew something was different about her. She seemed to walk in circles a lot and wasn't doing the same things other puppies her age were doing. At 11 weeks old, Dixie was spayed and placed on the adoption floor. But after spending a few days at the shelter I could tell Dixie was not going to "grow" well at the shelter.
I then brought her home to be in our foster program that would allow her to stay with me until she found her forever home. Dixie had issues with her legs, almost like she couldn't control what she wanted them to do. She continued to walk in circles. Dixie was extremely difficult to house-train and would often urinate and have bowel movements in her crate, followed by walking in circles and having a nice mess for me when I came home.
At about 13 weeks, I took Dixie to the vet. After studying Dixie for a while, he determined Dixie had at some point had an injury to the right side of her brain. He told me that Dixie’s future was uncertain. He said she could get better with time but she could always have seizures in the future as well.
Dixie proved to us that she was capable of learning. She eventually was almost never walking in circles and after 4 months was house-trained. She learned to hold her bowels and bladder in her crate as well. She still has some problems with her legs. She can't really make her foot work so that she can scratch or clean her own ears, but I believe she can outrun the best of them. She is a pro at the stairs too.
After being in my home for 5 1/2 months, Dixie's family found her. She has been with them for almost 3 weeks now and they are thrilled to have her. She is fitting in perfectly with her new mom, dad, 2 brothers and her 4- legged sister.
I have to say out of over 50 fosters, Dixie was my biggest challenge. But she will always have a place in my heart. She is just that way.