Sometimes, the news at the rescue is not what we had hoped. On Christmas Eve, a dedicated troop of volunteers moved mountains to get a sickly senior shepherd rescued from the Downey Animal Shelter. Many people rallied to help the boy that we named “Pax” because of his peaceful demeanor. Pax arrived disturbingly thin, dehydrated, drooling, with runny eyes. He could barely walk, which we attributed to advanced age. Pax ate well that night and slept on a pile of warm blankets. But it was obvious that he needed urgent veterinary care.
As always, GSROC was prepared to do whatever it took to give Pax comfort and quality of life. After the preliminary blood work came in, Pax was diagnosed with renal (kidney) failure. Blood/urine/nitrogen levels that should be between 6 and 30 in a healthy dog were at 272 in Pax, telling us that he had been very sick without care for a very long time. For comfort, Pax was hydrated with IVs that contained pain medication, however it was obvious that his entire system was failing. Sadly, we made the difficult decision to end his suffering. A GSROC volunteer was by his side, stroking his brow and telling him what a brave and beautiful boy he was.
We are all relieved that Pax is no longer suffering, but we remain sad that such a noble and loyal dog was tossed away when he was old and ill. GSROC is currently planning to create a special program to provide senior shepherds with ‘hospice’ care and comfort in their final days, weeks, months. With the continued support of fellow animal lovers, we plan to launch this program in the year ahead.