On a cold and snowy day in early February, a distraught woman rushed into our lobby with a little dog she said she found by the side of the road. The pup was clearly in trouble; she would not attempt to stand. We rushed her down the road to Dr Puerling.
Xrays showed no broken bones, but the bloodwork told a different story. This little girl had a raging systemic infection. Her situation was very touch and go. Luckily our vet tech, Tiffany, agreed to hospitalize her at the shelter, on IV antibiotics and fluids.
In the meantime, we posted a “do you know me” on social media. A man came to the shelter the next morning to inquire, said it was his sister’s dog. “What will happen to her?” he wanted to know. We told him we were trying to get her better, but if we failed she would be humanely euthanized.
It wasn’t an hour after he left than the woman who had brought the dog to the shelter burst in, weeping. “Please let me be with her if you euthanize. I’m all she’s known for ten years.”
Then the story came out. Selece and her late husband found the puppy in the 9th Ward in New Orleans, covered in mold. They got her vet care, and ever since, Lil’ Bit has been part of their family. Things got tough for them recently, and they moved here to live with Selece’s brother. Then her husband died on Christmas Day, and now they were losing their home. She was hopeless, had no money, and her beloved dog was desperately sick.
“I didn’t think you would help me, so I decided to lie to get help for Lil’ Bit. I couldn’t bring myself to give her up, so I made up a story.”
We explained Lil Bit’s situation, and invited her to visit with the sick little girl. We promised to let her know if she took a turn for the worst.
But Lil Bit rallied. We put her into a foster home where she would get lots of attention, and she continued to get better. As she improved, so did Selece. She kept in touch from time to time. Then one day she messaged us to say she had moved back to New Orleans, had a job and a home, and wanted to know what she could do to get Lil Bit back.
As you may imagine, we had invested a sum in Lil Bit’s care. Over $1,000 to be more precise. But Selece did not hesitate to say she would pay every penny.
She did just that. Once Lil Bit’s bloodwork showed the infection was gone, arrangements were made and Selece travelled back to Michiana Humane Society to be reunited with her pup (video here).
What if Selece had been able to get care for Lil Bit when she first realized she was sick? What if their family had never been torn apart? We think that would have been better all around. And that’s why we are Building Hope. Hope for the community to be able to hold their four-footed families together when things get tough.