A few days before Thanksgiving 2009, I received an email asking if I could help a stray that had shown up on a porch in southern Missouri. The woman requesting the help was 100% positive the dog was a wheaten Scottie but in very bad shape. She was concerned he might not make it through the night.
I requested pictures to help identity and upon receipt, I still wasn’t sure it was a Scottie but thought it was possible. One of our foster moms and I made the two-hour trip to pick up the dog, and upon arrival found an emaciated and matted Westie boy. He could barely walk; he had no upper front teeth and his front bottom teeth were worn down to loose nubs. He was scratching and underneath the mats, his skin was almost completely bare. The mats on his hind legs were so huge and barely attached that it looked like he was wearing “chaps”. With heavy hearts, we put him in the car, thinking that we were bringing him home to be euthanized.
Back in St. Louis, I backed out of the driveway after dropping the foster mom at home and looked in my rearview mirror where I saw Ralph (we had named him during the trip back) standing up, wagging his tail. With tears in my eyes, I headed to the vet’s office, dreading what might come next.
Ralph’s examination determined that he had a major bacterial infection, a possible heart murmur, luxating patellas in both back legs, slight cloudiness in both eyes, and the sweetest disposition. As the vet looked in Ralph’s eyes, Ralph rested his chin in the vet’s hand…I knew we had to do everything possible to get him healthy again.
The mats were removed, antibiotics started, shot given to control the itchiness, and Ralph went to his new foster home. On the vet’s recommendation, the heartworm testing was delayed until Ralph had some time to recuperate.
It didn’t take long to find out that Ralph had been someone’s pet at some time. He is housebroken, loves car rides, begs for food, and has decided the best place to sleep is on top of the back of the couch. He enjoys walks with his foster Scottie sister. He has gained weight, his hair is growing back, and since he was showing overall improvement, he went back to the vet’s office for his heartworm test. To our dismay, he tested positive for heartworms.
After considering the alternatives, it was decided to wait a month for Ralph to get in better health and then begin the preliminary testing to see if he could withstand the heartworm treatment. We hope to begin his treatment in January 2010.
Ralph has snuck his way into our hearts. His name has changed to Ralph Henry. We call him RH for short but then refer to him as HRH (His Royal Highness). His age is estimated at nine to ten years old and he deserves to live the rest of his life in a loving home.
He will remain in foster care until the treatment is done, and we are hoping that a door will open to a perfect “furever” home.
Many thanks to WestieMed for their help with Ralph’s veterinary bills!
Vicki Frazier St. Louis Scottish Terrier Rescue
Update January 7, 2010
I wanted to give a quick update on Ralph. Took him in today for blood work. We will find out tomorrow or Friday if we can proceed with the heartworm treatment. His hair is growing in pretty well. He still has an aggravated spot at the base of his tail but the vet was overall pleased with his progress. We were able to get him trimmed up (especially on his head) today and think he looks very dapper. Thanks again for your assistance,
St. Louis Scottish Terrier Rescue
Update June 26, 2010
We lost Ralph Henry on 3/9/2010. I had been to the foster mom’s home that morning and he greeted me as usual – happy and smiling. He was fine in the afternoon and greeted his foster mom the same way when she got back home from running errands. Just a little later, he threw up blood, etc……his foster mom grabbed him in her arms and ran a block up the street to her vet’s office. He passed shortly after.
He had finished the worst part of the HW treatment; received the final treatment for the baby heartworms and we thought we were home free. We were both devastated. When the foster mom called me hysterically, I drove to the vet’s office and said my goodbyes.
He truly enriched our lives and we are grateful to WestieMed for the financial aid. We console ourselves in the knowledge that he was happy and loved in the too-short time he was with us.
St. Louis Scottish Terrier Rescue