Our mission is to provide a home to animals that have been adandoned or abused, to show them what it is to live in a home where they are loved.

On possibly my second trip to Puntarenas Yesenia told me that someone had reported some abandoned dogs. She urged me to go and see. When we arrived we were taken to the back of the house where we saw 4 dogs, 2 were lying down and didn't move and the other 2 were barking and hopping around. The two that were lying down we scooped up right away. These two were later to be named sally and Dely. Harriet was bouncing off in the background, obviously petrified. The 4th dog was theirs.

We tried to grab Harriet, but she ran off and bit Ruby. So we left her to her devices.

All 3 of the dogs were skin and bone. Sally and Dely were hardly able to even hold their heads up. At the vet they were given Distemper tests, both negative, and put on IV with the idea of staying there over night.

24 hours became 48 hours and over the course of the next days the vet explained to me that Dely had not improved, in fact she was convulsing and had been for the entire 48 hours that she was on an IV. She had also been on muscle relaxants and the moment they took her off she would start to convulse again. He suggested euthanasia and I agreed that whatever had affected her was already too far gone to be able to save her. Dely was euthanised with dignity and buried in Puntarenas.

Sally stayed on IV for another 24-36 hours. By the time she was ready to be discharged she was eating and drinking on her own. The vet did her blood work and said that her results were not compatible with life. He determined that she had erlichia. Again he suggested euthanasia but I know that erlichia is treatable and so is anemia and that Sally was showing progress and a desire to live. I asked him to send her to the place where she came from promising to pick her up the following saturday.

Sally spent one night in her foster home where Harriet still was. I was so worried since I was unable to get in touch with the lady of the house. Apparently she had no phone. I asked a local rescuer to go and check on her, paid for her taxi etc. Nicole told me, after a brief visit, that if I left Sally there she would surely die. So I took my lunch break to go and pick up Sally and her sister Harriet.

Sally was home for 4 days and on day 2, despite how skinny she was, she was standing, walking and hopping on and off chairs. She didn't seem to be very active or very happy. On day 4 I got a tail wag, but within a couple of hours Sally was no longer moving or eating and refusing everything that was given to her.

I gave her another hour and then took her directly to the vet where she was hospitalised on suspicion of distemper despite another negative test. By Monday morning the on duty vet was convinced that Sally showed all the clinical signs of distemper that he did a third test which came out positive. The test line was very very faint and he explained to me that the test line picks up antibodies to the virus and sometimes the immune system is so weak that despite the presence of the virus, the body simply isn't able to make antibodies.

The first suggestion was euthanasia. The vet explained that this is the most common 'treatment' for distemper since it was such a long acting contagious disease often leaving permanent effects such as seizures or a limp. I decided to let Sally continue. She deserved to have a shot at life where she could be happy. I felt she wanted to live that life. Sally was to stay at the vet for another 4 days and we would monitor her progress. The vet explained to me that any deterioration and we would have to make a decision - euthanasia.

With Sally it was all or nothing. It had to be. It made no sense to hover anywhere in between.In the 4 days that she was admitted she made only progress, albeit very slow progress. She was given plasma on day 3 and on day 4 she was eating and drinking on her own and discharged with very strict instructions.

  • Quarantine
  • Strict set of meds
  • Re-hydration
  • Disinfection of hands and clothes after handling her

Since coming home, Sally's progress remains slow, but steady. We need to constantly mix it up when it comes to her food. Some days she drinks water willingly, other days not. Sometimes we mix blended liver with water to encourage her to drink, sometimes she is not interested. Sometimes I feel her neck spasms are affecting her ability to direct her head to her water bowl. Either way, she eats well and drinks well, even if it is with a syringe.

Although Sally wasn't walking, she started lifting her head, moving around, coming closer for cuddles and in general picking up weight. I was following a protocol I had found by Austin Pets Alive through their facebook group, but it was still hard for me to gauge what was normal and would soon pass, and what was a case of worsening symptoms.

The screaming was apparently normal and something that could last between 2 - 4 weeks. It made me feel very desperate and I was very seriously considering putting her down during the times. She'd scream and then bite her lips, I'd put a chew stick in her mouth and she'd bite down on it and fall asleep. I couldn't understand if this was the end or just a bridge to cross.

Last days

From Saturday the 26th Sally yelped almost constantly. By Monday things had quietened down and by midnight on Monday Sally was peaceful. She fell into a restful state and while I was worried that she was too peaceful I also knew that sleep was the best way for her to heal.

I had started to hear a raspy sound when Sally was yelping over the weekend. It was coming from her chest area. Dr Lara came and explained that it was not yet in her lungs but very possibly moving down. Sally was started in antibiotics, Vitamin C and homeopathic drops.

During her last days everyone got to spend time with her, either just cuddling her, being with her as she slept or dropping food or water into her mouth. Her poops were well formed and frequent. She was being hydrated with subcutaneous fluids.

Sally slept on my bed with me where I was attentive to her every need and movement. She was not in pain nor did she experience any discomfort.

April 2nd 2021

Today Sally crossed the rainbow bridge. Her last days were peaceful. She spent them mainly resting, no spasms or cramps, no yelping. There wasn’t a moment that she wasn’t with someone. When she passed she woke me up, nothing audible, just a telepathic nudge. She was lying peacefully in my bed with me where she has been for the last 10 days. I cleaned her eye and she looked at me. And suddenly stopped breathing. I rubbed her side and she started up again. She kept looking at me and again, she stopped breathing. Once again I rubbed her side and she continued breathing. She was asking to go but she was fighting because she knew I was still fighting.

This is when we had our chat. I told her that I will fight as long as she does. And the moment she wants to go is when I let her go. I held her little head in my hands and gently stroked her. She took her last breath and I stayed with her until she went. 3 seconds.

Sally could have died on a cold metal table at the vets office with a bunch of strangers holding her down. Instead she went with mutual agreement. I can’t imagine a more peaceful way for Sally to go.

Sally’s life was not and will not be in vain. She taught me what distemper is and what a cruel disease it is. Because of her every single one of my other 17 dogs got their booster vaccines. I now know more about caring for dogs, I can give a vaccine and a vitamin C shot. I know there are a variety of holistic treatments for distemper.

Because of Sally I’m going to put my all behind vaccination campaigns in Puntarenas.

Sally was abandoned with her 2 sisters when their owners moved and left them there. I found them skin and bone. They were scared and had not been cared for. Of the 3, Harriet survives. She’s a bundle of joy.

Sally’s month with me was full of unconditional love and care. When she walked, she got to explore, when she couldn’t walk anymore we took her for car rides or holding her in our arms. She ate chicken tuna and beef. Chicken was her favourite.

Death does not discriminate, we all die, every last one of us. It cannot be a bad thing. Today it was Sally’s turn. She has left a mark on us and in turn we will leave a mark on this world in her honour.

Ride Sally Ride

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