Gibbs - A Story of Abuse
On Friday, March 26, the Refuge received a phone call from a veterinarian at the NY Animal Medical Center requesting help. A good samaritan found this poor fellow - we call him Gibbs - on a NYC street corner looking dazed and confused. The dog was obviously in pain due to the severe trauma he suffered; his tail was skinned and bleeding and he could barely stand. His case is considered a cruelty case because of the extent of his injuries. Since the NY Animal Medical Center is a clinic and not a shelter, they can only stabilize a stray dog and seek placement. The Refuge was recommended by the ASPCA and the NYC Mayor's Alliance for Animals. We immediately made plans for his arrival and the Mayor's Alliance transported him to the Refuge on Monday morning.
Gibbs came with extensive medical information regarding the treatment he had received and recommendations for further care. Taken to our own veterinarian the same day, he stood stoically and with grace for the examination. What a good dog! A treatment program has been put in place, including two different antibiotics, daily soaking of the affected areas, administering of soothing ointment, and pain medication as necessary. The plan is to reevaluate in ten days. Prognosis is optimistic and the neurologist who examined him believes there is a good possibility that the nerve damage he has suffered might regenerate. However, his tail will have to be amputated when he is up to the surgery. Thus he is not up for adoption at this time while we tend to him with the loving care he needs.
We know many of you already donate to the Refuge and we appreciate the help you have given us and thank you for whatever you may be able to do for this terrier. We look forward to reading your messages to him.
Just so you know Gibbs a little better...He is Beautiful! A tallish, broken coated terrier with classic head markings and soft eyes that look you through and through, sometimes questioning, sometimes "other worldly". He has a bit of age and a lot of elegance; lays on his dog bed with front legs stretched out and takes in all around him with a quiet acceptance, never complaining. Appearing somewhat mystified by the country, he will often stop while on his daily walks and simply contemplate the scenery. It's as though he's saying, "What is this beautiful doggy place?"
Yesterday, Gibbs dropped while being walked around the pasture and rolled in the newly sprouting green grass. "Oh joy! Oh joy!" Today, he discovered a discarded tennis ball in the play area and looked at it quizzically. "What is THIS?! Something tells me I should be doing something with this marvelous thing!" He mouthed it some and set it down but kept looking at it. A dear soul who has just begun to live.
Dale Mountan, President, Russell Refuge
June 19, 2011
By now many of you have heard about dear Mr Gibbs whom I recently put to sleep. You were so kind and supportive of him and deserve to know what happened. To the unknowing eye of one who did not know Gibbs, he may have seemed fine. But Gibbs was a stoic dog and did not show his painful side to others. He would always rally. Recently, he began to show signs of discomfort, especially when I asked him to get up to go walking. There were times he would cry out and he also began to refuse to sit fully down on his haunches.
Decided to take him to my vet for a look, thinking it was due to some of his old injuries. An Xray showed possible problems and an ultra sound was suggested. We did that immediately, and there, plain as day were two lemon sized lymph nodes. Gibbs had cancer and his behavior was due to pain caused by the tumors pressing on his spinal column. How tolerant he had been and tried to please despite his pain. The tumors were large, the prognosis terminal. It was likely the cancer had already spread to other parts of his body. It would have been unkind to continue and I certainly did not want to put Gibbs through any more in his already tragic, painful life. I brought him home and called my husband who came and eased him into the next life in a quiet, comfortable, dignified manner, knowing it was the best we could do for him. Love has many faces.
When I took on rescue I knew there would be times such as this. Occasionally I take a case that no other organization will touch. There is always the possiblity that the outcome might be poor. Sadness yes...but sorry I did it? Never.
September 18, 2010 - Hi Everyone!
Gibbs is hanging in there! His condition continues much the same. Some days good, and an occasionally "iffy" day. His urine problem is doing very well and no longer is a significant issue. Rarely wet bedding and the urine stains are finally beginning to fade. His biggest problem is his obsession with his tail, which he refuses to leave alone. Wants to chew it constantly. We have tried just about every preventive collar on the market and he hates them all. He can even get some collars off in the night and I find him in the AM with a chewed tail. Occasionally he will cry out and snap at the tail, which indicates to me that he may be getting feeling back. It's tough to watch him and despite every creme, spray, antichew stuff, and drugs, he will not leave it alone. I plan on contacting Dr Berg this week to ask if he has any more magic.
For now, I'm afraid he may have to go back to the old plastic collar which is a 20" and the only one that will keep him from the tail. If we could stop him from chewing and it could heal, the problem would be solved. I hate having to put the collar on him as he cannot eat or drink with it on, resulting in constant putting on and taking off and putting back on again.
One of our volunteers throws the ball for him every day and he seems to enjoy that, but is hesitant to return it. He also likes to go on walks on leash. I think I mentioned last time that he does much better if he's leash walked at least 4 -5 times a day. Gibbs is a food hound and barks whenever he hears the food dishes clank. He also loves his bedtime bisquit as well as chewies. A good chewie will keep him occupied and away from his tail for awhile. He continues to give me that "look". I'm not sure what he's trying to tell me, but it appears important to him. Wish he could talk. He's spent alot of time outside lately in the large, grassy play area. It has a nice big apple tree, under which is a dog house and he likes the comfort of this favorite hiding spot. Now he comes when called out, which is a big improvement over his former behavior of totally hiding all the time. If I didn't have so many dogs in the house I would try him in here. Would be interesting to see what his reaction would be. I feel he would be much happier in a home if the right one becomes available. I hope that day will come for him.
Keep up your good thoughts for him. I welcome any suggestions you may have, and thank you all for your ongoing support of this dear, somewhat strange little guy.
July 26, 2010 - Hi to all Gibbs fans!
When writing the last Gibbs up date, I was full of doom and gloom. Gibbs had seemed "down" and disinterested. Well, maybe it was the heat, I don't know. He is a fooler that Gibbs!
Upon arrival at the Dr's, Gibbs delighted in sniffing and peeing on every post prior to going in the building. When we entered the waiting room, he lit up like a Christmas tree, hopped up into the chair next to me, rolled over while on the chair and asked for a belly rub. People waiting were all taken with him and he seemed to like the attention. One of our board members, Anita, went along with us and took a couple of photos of Gibbs in the waiting room (see pictures at top right).
He even charmed Dr Berg who said he was a nice dog and could possibly have a life if we can come up with a management program for him and some good drugs. Dr Berg said it was coincidental that Gibbs visited that day as he was giving a talk on that very subject the following evening. I think we were the rehearsal for the talk as he spent nearly an hour and a half explaining about bladders, what could be done and what to expect. Bottom line is that we are going to try. Gibbs is being put on a "cocktail' of drugs for his bladder control. It won't cure it, but hopefully will help. His food has been changed to help with the bowel issue.
We are getting a bed for him that is mesh and up on legs so that urine can pass through it and keep him dry. As Gibbs always "tries" to go when he is taken out, (probably out of habit, as he cannot feel when he has to go) we are making an effort to get him out more often on leash. It would seem that he was used to going out on leash and connects it with elimination. When he goes out in the play area loose, he goofs around instead. The good news is that in just a few days, he has improved somewhat. His bedding has not been soaked and he has been successful eliminating outside much of the time. He continues to have "accident's" but not as often. I had recently gotten him a "bite not collar" to replace the horrible cone he had to wear to keep him from chewing at his tail. This seems to be helping the tail heal and is not as uncomfortable for him to wear, especially in this hot weather.
I'm feeling better about Gibbs now and hope we can manage him to the degree that he could eventually become adoptable to some angel who has the time and patience to continue to follow his regimen. Dr Berg suggested we try this for one month and see what happens. There are no guarantees and his condition remains guarded. There could be side effects to the drugs as well. Gibbs simply takes it all in stride and says, "I'm worth it"! Please continue to send your positive thoughts!
With thanks to you all for your support and caring.
July 18, 2010 - Gibbs continues much the same. I wish I could say that I see an improvement, but I don't think I do. Sometimes, I think I am imagining that there is a change because I want it to be. This dog is a heartbreaker. He continually looks at me with soulful eyes, but rarely offers interaction. I wonder if he'd been abused for so long that he simply got into the habit of being still and waiting for whatever came next. He has ventured out the doggy door only several times in months. I take him out daily to run in the play area where he runs for a brief time, rolls in the grass and then wants to hurry back to his kennel slot. He also is leash walked, but eventually pulls to go back. Was he kept in a crate for years? Don't know. I only know that he must feel a sense of security in the kennel slot. In his prior life , his prison must have become his refuge. He continues to show interest in the tennis ball however, but cuts it short to return to his safe place.
Sadly, Gibbs has had little or no bladder or bowel control. I was told that this was due to nerve damage that had a chance of regenerating. He must be washed several times daily and he hates it. I insist, as I don't want him to get urine burns that will surely come if he is not kept clean. I have developed a system that is fairly quick so not to prolong the procedure. Once I let him go he makes a beeline for his safe place once again. He loves his food and his daily treats and will bark for more. Of course, I indulge him.
A kind and concerned couple have offered to pay for Gibbs to have a consultation with a highly respected neurologist at the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, NY. I recently took another dog there and was very impressed. This is a great place and Dr. Berg was right on target. If you get a chance please visit their web site at www.animalspecialtycenter.com. I could go on and on about the center which has departments for everything with specialists in each. While there the last time, there was a woman in the waiting room from Florida who had brought her dog there for cancer treatments. They have a wonderful staff, very knowledgeable and professional, yet caring and "user friendly".
Hopefully, Dr Berg will be able to ascertain whether or not there has been a change in the nerves and come up with a prognosis. Gibbs does not appear to have any pain at all, and frankly that is what worries me. It would seem that if the nerves were regenerating, that he would be beginning to feel something. In the meantime, I continue to read to Gibbs, sit with him and in general just keep him company whenever possible. His appointment is Tuesday, July 20th at 1:15 PM. I'll inform you of the results as soon as possible afterward. I continue to be grateful for your interest and support.
If you are so inclined, please say a little prayer for my "Gibbsy".
June 4, 2010 - Summer has arrived and with it even more dogs needing homes. However, the weather, although it's been hot is much preferred to winter and I just finished doing window boxes on the kennel and some pretty planters in view of the dogs. Gibbs continues about the same with some slight improvements. He is now very much into the routine and has a bark for "cookies", a bark for breakfast, one for dinner and one to get your attention. I guess you could say he is definitely more enthusiastic! He also has perfected "the look", which catches and keeps one in it's hold. I wish I could be more optimistic about his physical condition, but have decided to not dwell on it and take each day as it comes. Gibbs will have the sun, green grass and some wonderful lazy summer days to hopefully help restore his health; and what better medicine than that, along with an abundance of "cookies" and knowing you are there for him? We just have to take a wait and see approach. In the meantime, dear Gibbs seems content to wait and see as well.
We ALL thank you for your continued support of this good boy and will have a more detailed update for you very soon.
May 2, 2010 - We've posted some new pictures of Gibbs playing with his new friend (the tennis ball) and sitting in his kennel.
April 26, 2010 - In just 14 days we have raised $2,000 to pay for Gibbs' medical expenses. Amazing! The Refuge is blessed to have such wonderful support. Please continue to send messages to Gibbs as Dale is reading all of them to him. She says he really likes being read to.
April 25, 2010 - Gibbs is coming along, at least emotionally. When he first came he showed little personality. He was simply quiet and appeared somewhat confused. However, his demeanor was extremely sweet natured and accepting. Remember him staring at the tennis ball? Well, he has learned to fetch it and now keeps it as his own personal possession. Today he leaped in the air to try to get it from my hand and when I gave it to him, he proceeded to tear the covering off it. This is good news! He is coming more alive every day!
However, he continues to lie in the kennel, never using the doggie door, of which he has constant access. I'm thinking that he was probably contained in a crate as he has dark yellow urine stains over much of his body that will not wash out, indicating that he was left to lie in his own waste for long periods of time. The only time I've seen stains like this was with little Tinker who came here several years ago from an Amish puppy mill where she had been kept in a 12" wire crate for three years without ever being let out. The stains are the least of it. I wash his injured area several times a day with warm water on the gentle shower setting with the wash stall hose in the stable. I just wish I could wash away his memories.
Gibbs is beginning to give me "the look". He is grateful and beginning to understand kindness. This brings me to mention all the wonderful computer gifts you folks have been sending to him. Dare I admit that I printed them out and sat in the play area with him this afternoon in the grass and read them to him? He appeared to be listening, as well as the dogs close by that were looking on. (A few of these are ones I call "my little street fighters", and I can only imagine their language.) I'm convinced they were saying, "What's she doing now? That dame has a loose screw, I'll tell ya!"
After our session, Gibbs walked back to the kennel in his usual dignified manner, fortified by all your good wishes. One never truly knows what a dog understands, but I'm sure he said "Thank you"! I couldn't agree with him more!
April 18, 2010 - We took Gibbs for a walk on Saturday (see picture above). The big collar around his neck is an alternative to the E-collar he usually wears to keep him from licking at his injuries. He is such a good natured terrier... loves attention and getting treats. Thank you all for your messages and donations... We have received 66 messages for Gibbs in the last 6 days!
April 12, 2010 - We took Gibbs in for his follow up visit today and the vet suggested waiting another 4 to 6 weeks before making the decision to amputate his tail. This is good news for Gibbs and we are cautiously optimistic. Please send a message to Gibbs
Donate to Help Gibbs
We estimate that the medical care for Gibbs will cost the Refuge approximately $2,000. Because of your generous donations, we have raised $2,000 in just 14 days! Please make sure you continue to send your messages because Dale reads every one of them to him.
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