|One of the unique
characteristics of GSRNE is our lifelong commitment to the German Shepherds
we rescue and place. When one of our rescue dogs is
adopted, our contract says that if the owner can no longer care for the dog
or the dog is no longer functioning well in the household, he/she must be
returned to us. Last month several of our guestbook
contributors notified us that they saw a shelter ad for a GSD in which it
said the dog was originally placed through GSRNE. We
sprang into action and contacted the shelter immediately.
Janice recognized Kelsie as one of the nicest young females we ever
had. She was GSRNE # 30, adopted in 1998.
We took Kelsie in as a 2.5 year old stray and placed her with a
single woman who was perfect for her. Kelsie and her
owner were devoted to each other and did everything together.
Kelsie in the shelter
Kelsie now at 8 years old
|We were mortified at
the thought that Kelsie (now 8 yrs old) may be in a shelter as that is
exactly why we exist….to prevent our dogs from ever seeing the scary inside
of a shelter again. Fortunately, Kelsie was still at
home. The shelter ad was a courtesy posting for Kelsie’s
owner, now married with a child having allergies to dogs.
Sometimes people’s life circumstances change….and that is why we need
to exist: to be the safety net for our wonderful GSRNE
dogs who have been homeless once, and should never be in that position
|After we got in touch
with Kelsie’s owner, she was relieved to remember that we were there to
help. Kelsie’s life had changed a lot; she spent much
more time alone and outdoors than when she was younger.
She had been lame on and off for about a year. We could
tell that Kelsie was hurting, even though she had a sparkle in her eye and
would immediately love up to you for some much needed attention.
Our transport volunteer found that Kelsie yelped when given an
affectionate pat on the rear end. As with all our dogs,
the first thing we did was give Kelsie a thorough vet exam.
Poor baby had a urinary tract infection and was really sensitive on
her back/hips. She went on antibiotics, got scheduled
for x-rays and settled into her new foster home.
Kelsie with foster Mom
Kelsie at her foster home
|Kelsie has a great new
foster home with two young male dogs (Golden and GSD), a teenage brother and
(halleluiah!) her own kitty for excitement. She has an
obedience instructor for her mom, and a terrific
grandpa who goes the extra mile by hauling crates and other supplies for her
new home. Everyone fell in love with Kelsie…and she is
thrilled with so many new people and critters in her world.
After getting Kelsie’s x-rays, we got
the bad news. While we found out her hips were fine, our
Hospital told us he
thought Kelsie had Cauda Equina Syndrome. This happens
when something is applying pressure in the spinal column to the complex
bundle of nerves that exits at the last lumbar and first sacral vertebrae.
Our hearts sank, as this is what Bonnie had (see
Bonnie’s story). This problem ultimately
results in devastating symptoms similar to DM (degenerative myelopathy) but
with the added insult of a lot of pain. We knew that
just to confirm the diagnosis would entail a costly MRI and spinal tap.
If confirmed, the likely treatment would be spinal/back surgery.
Kelsie gets ready to go in for testing
Kelsie with shaved back and neck from her
MRI and spinal tap.
Once again our Board had to face the
decision of using precious resources for an expensive diagnostic workup and
surgery, especially at a time of year when our resources were very low. It
has been an expensive year for us with:
testing and injections, antibiotics and medicated baths for both Darby and
(knee) surgery for Darby
escape proof crates ($800 apiece) for Roman and Bella who both had severe
and medications for Sophie who has seizures
boarding with our behaviorist for Bella to learn to deal with her
separation anxiety and for Gretchen to learn how to socialize with people
and dogs after living her first 6 years tied out or in a kennel. They’re
both doing great!
more than $3,000 for several hospitalizations and treatment for a rare
tick borne disease (Babesia) to save King’s life
(see The Inside Story)
after he was unprotected while tied to a tree for most of his life to
“guard” a drug dealer’s house and produce puppies.
costs for spaying and neutering, treating urinary tract infections and
skin infections in other dogs, etc.
lastly, we had needed to spend funds for the cost of many supplies
(crates, food, leashes, toys, evaluation kits, etc.) to double the number
of evaluators and foster homes helping us so we could rescue more dogs
We really did not have the money left in our
budget to cover another expensive treatment for one of our dogs.
But how could we commit one of our dogs to a life of pain?
Kelsie is the second of our all time nicest dogs to have this
horrific problem. Kelsie is just too wonderful to give
up on her…..and she deserves the love and caring that we promised her as a
homeless, young dog when we first took her under GSRNE’s wing.
So, as we did with Bonnie, we decided
our only choice was to turn to you to help us raise the money to pay for
Kelsie’s diagnostic workup and surgery, if it was necessary.
Kelsie was scheduled to go to Tufts for her MRI and spinal tap.
The neurological team at Tufts confirmed
the diagnosis we all expected and told us our options. The
good news is that the sooner you have a surgical intervention with Cauda Equina,
the better the outlook for success. They gave us an 80%
probability of good functionality after surgery. The other
option was to give her medication for the pain and inflammation, but at most
that might give her some relief for only a few years. And,
the possibility of successful surgical intervention would have decreased
Kelsie had been in pain for probably up to
a year. The last thing we wanted was to extend that
experience, so she went in for surgery last week. All the
people at Tufts fell in love with Kelsie! No matter what
they did, she was gentle and loving, always with a wag of her tail and offering
a little kiss. We held our breaths waiting for the news.
It was a HUGE relief when the neurologist called and said the surgery
went as well as it possibly could and was a success.
found a bulge in one of her discs and removed the excess material to reduce the
pressure on her spinal column. They also removed part of the
top of her lumbar and sacral vertebrae to allow more room for that critical
bundle of nerves coming out of the spine low in her back. We
were told that Kelsie should be mostly pain free from now on after she recovers
from surgery. She will still have some arthritic changes in the lower portion of the vertebrae, but it was minor
compared to impact from the Cauda Equina.
Kelsie's staples (ouch!)
Kelsie with Kevin
Kelsie’s foster family visited her at the
hospital the day after surgery to keep her spirits up. She
was a bit sleepy from all her pain medication but happy to go outside already
for a little walk with her brother.
We got the news that Kelsie was doing so
well in her recovery that she could go home only after two days!
She was really happy to be in her new foster home, perking up to be back
in her own crate. It will take Kelsie two months of strict
rest to heal. Because her use of stairs should be limited,
Kelsie’s loving foster family even built her a ramp to access the yard.
The caring people at Tufts bid a fond farewell to Kelsie saying “ she is
a wonderful dog and we hope she will find some equally wonderful people to
provide her with the forever home she deserves. It has been
a pleasure working with Kelsie.” We hope so too.
If you are interested in giving Kelsie a home when she is ready for
Can you help me?
Can you help Kelsie by giving GSRNE
a donation to pay for her care? We need to raise $4500.
We have a very generous donor who has offered to MATCH every donation from now
until Dec. 1, 2004!
So your donation of $5 automatically becomes $10!
And $20 will become $40, and $50 will become $100!
We accept all financial donations. GSRNE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit
group. All donations are tax deductible! Please make
out checks to GSRNE, Inc. and send donations to:
P.O. Box 299
Wayland, MA 01778
or use this button to pay by credit card.
We did it!
After counting up this weeks
donations, the Grand Total is
Thank you to everyone who was able to help us with Kelsie.
Because of your generosity, we will be able to continue to help other German
Shepherds in need.