Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. -- Anonymous
12/29/03 - 5/30/04
5/30/04 It is with much sadness that I let you know that Willie crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 12:10 a.m. this morning. Saturday evening, when Willie's temperature suddenly spiked to 106.4 (his foster mom was taking it throughout the day/evening), he was rushed to the emergency clinic where more tests were run. His prognosis was poor, his life expectancy was short and his condition was painful. So we made the agonizing decision to end his suffering. Thank you everyone for all you've done to help Willie. He is now pain free and at peace!
Willie deserved a chance and many compassionate people worked together to accomplish that, but in the end, we had to let him go. I can't imagine what his short life must have been like. Since he was left at the Sacramento City Shelter doorstep during the night, it's hard to believe that his family could have cared about him. Obviously, he had been taken to the vet, since the areas shaved on his body indicate IV and some attempt at testing. We'll never know what was done or discovered since Willie was left on the doorstep with absolutely no information. I have to wonder what they were thinking by simply abandoning this sweet little boy during the middle of the night. The shelter took him in, tested him for Parvo and gave him fluids, antibiotics and lots of love.
When Kim Kuelen (NorCal Aussie Rescue) discovered him at the shelter, she immediately contacted us to take him into our rescue. As we were securing transport, his temperature rose to over 105. Kim called the emergency clinic (Sacramento Veterinary Surgical Services, Inc.) and a shelter worker delivered him to the clinic. They ran many tests, he was given antibiotics and when Kim picked him up on Friday night to take him home to spend the night before flying to AZ, he literally walked out of his kennel and down the hall :-) We were VERY hopeful! Here is a short video of Willie on Saturday morning at Kim's house. Although he walks a little gingerly, there was much improvement from when he first showed up at the shelter. However, by Saturday night he certainly had taken a turn for the worse. Maybe this was Willie's "calm before the storm", but we're grateful to Kim for taking the video, as this is how we will remember Willie. You will need RealPlayer to view the video, to get a free download, click here.
We all have second guessed ourselves about the decision to bring Willie to AZ, but I would like to think that everything happens for a reason. I know that in the short few weeks from the time he was found on the shelter doorstep, this little boy has touched MANY lives! And I also believe that during these weeks, Willie experienced more love, compassion and devotion than he had in the entire 5 months of his life. As he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, I held him in my arms and put my mouth on his head so he could feel the vibrations when I told him how much we all loved him and that we would see him again.
Willie is one of the best examples of why NOT to breed Merle-to-Merle. Besides his deafness and vision impairments, Willie had much more wrong with him...things we just couldn't fix. Willie, may you now run freely and without pain.
Below is Willie's original story! A special thanks to everyone who helped give Willie a second chance.
5/29/04 Willie is here :-) Mel and Udo (pilots) arrived in Sacramento about 10:30 a.m. this morning to start Willie on his journey to AZ. Kim (Willie's true lifeline) met them at the airport. Kim decorated a kennel for Willie to travel in, but it didn't fit in the plane, so he spent his time in the air in the arms of the co-pilot. Here are a few pics.
When "Aunt Kim" was sure that both Mel and Udo understood everything they needed to know about Willie's needs are, they were "allowed" to take off :-) Due to the high winds and a fuel (and potty) stop in Kingman, Willie did not arrive until nearly 5 p.m. Here are a few great pics of his arrival in AZ.
Meeting Willie today was both wonderful and so sad! How this sweet boy, barely 5 months old, has come to be in this condition is beyond our comprehension. We have rescued many...from many different situations of near death, but none that actually LOOKED near death. In all of Willie's pictures, his eyes show his true story! Whether his condition is a result of the breeding or neglect, we will never be sure, but there is no excuse for a pup this young to be in this condition. He is skin and bones, legs are large, feet are flat and his body is small. He may have been born this way or may be a result of poor nutrition when he needed it most. What I do know is that he's had a rough few weeks (and I'm sure his prior existence was even rougher). Today was a very long, stressful day for him (can you imagine what a car ride would have been like for him?), but when I bent down to kiss his nose, I got a kiss right back!
Below are a few pictures taken that show how boney (and sore) he is. Just trying to sit was painful and his pain does show in his eyes.
Willie is now safe and comfortable at Kelly's. He had a slight fever (most likely due to the stress of traveling) and Kelly's family has been wrapping him in a cool towel, holding him close and taking his temperature every 20 minutes...it continues to come down. He will be monitored (Kelly is a nurse and Lorraine is a Vet Tech, so we do have some medical expertise) for the entire weekend before his vet visit on Tuesday. Should a problem occur, he will immediately be taken to the closest emergency clinic.
Willie may have a long recovery ahead of him, but we feel that he deserves a second chance. We had hoped to use the few donations we received, in addition to $250 for today's flight's fuel towards Willie's hospital stay, but, due to the high fuel prices, Willie's flight cost us $350.
5/28/04 YEAH! All things are a go! Mel and Udo will fly into Sacramento to pick up Willie tomorrow morning and he should arrive in Phoenix sometime tomorrow afternoon. Please check back for pictures and updates!
5/27/04 Willie is too ill to travel from Sacramento to Phoenix by car, the long ride would be too difficult for him. We have an offer to fly him here for a cost of $250 (fuel costs).
5/26/04 This is Willie...and he needs your help! The "story" of how we found Willie (deaf and vision impaired) is listed below from emails sent, but his need now is URGENT! During his stay/treatment at the shelter, he became quite ill and was taken to Sacramento Vet Surgical Services with a temperature of 105 and swollen joints last night. Blood and urine was tested, but the report does not indicate any thing specific. His temperature had decreased to 103.5 this morning. The Vet will do a joint fluid test today and it will be at least 2 days before we get the results. They will also be running a full tick panel this evening. Kim visited him and while he did walk on a leash to potty, he is quite lethargic. Here's a few pics of Willie at the hospital when Kim went to visit.
We are hoping that Willie is well enough to travel here to AZ in time to be seen by our Vet before the holiday weekend. We believe that Willie deserves a chance that his owner's didn't give him by simply dumping him during the night at the shelter's front door. He could have died then, but he didn't...and we're not about to let him die now!
Latest update: 5/26/04 at 4 p.m. (AZ time)
I just got off the phone with Dr. Steven Tarver who did the joint tap(s). He said Willie’s fluid was very cloudy and he’s very swollen, especially his front joints. He said the fluid shot out of there. They tapped all four legs and his hind legs at knee and ankle. The results take 2 days to come back. I asked him to fax the tap results to Dr. Brady.
Little Willie walks gingerly cause he’s got severe joint pain from the swelling and the infection. Poor guy…what a trooper.
Dr. Tarver said it may be Immune-mediated Polyarthritis OR infectious polyarthritis – both of which pretty serious and entail long-term medication. Immune mediated means his own cells are attacking his joints, and infectious is treated with anti-inflammatory meds. Hope I’ve got all this right!
So….I’ll call back this evening to see if his temp has gone down from this morning’s reading of 103.2 I’m assuming you want him to stay there tonight? What’s next?
This story may be a little difficult to follow, but Ill try to piece it together with emails received. We were contacted about a special Lethal in CA by Kim from NorCal Aussie Rescue, Inc., located in Sacramento, CA, in the email below: (5/21/04)
I visited the little guy this afternoon and took him for a spin...he walks like a new born deer. His legs are not sturdy, but he walks....albeit gingerly. He's got very little muscle-tone, but is a big boy...he's "got bone"!
He was lying down in his basket in his kennel and didn't get up when we walked in - but he did look at us. Kathy picked him up and put a little slip lead on him and I walked him about 35 feet to the grass where he took a little pee and then lay down. He seems listless, but she said he's MUCH better than when they found him.
They do not have the ability to take an X Ray...so I'm thinking maybe a blood panel? In any case...he's safe till this weekend, and if they get in a jam, he'll come to my house.
NorCal Aussie Rescue, Inc.
DONATORS FOR WILLIE
A special thanks to Kim Kuelen (NorCal Aussie Rescue) (CA) for all that she has done right from the start. She found this boy at the shelter and contacted everyone she could think of...to save him. When we agreed to take him in, she continued to help us (just didn't walk away thinking she had done her "job" of saving an Aussie) by monitoring his care at the shelter (while transport was being arranged) and was the main contact when the shelter workers discovered his illness. She personally called the emergency clinic to arrange for his intake (a wonderful shelter worker delivered him) and Kim checked on him later that evening. Kim visited him every day, reported his condition and will be delivering him to the pilots on Saturday. This woman deserves a special recognition for all her love and dedication to the Aussie breed, especially for what she has done for one of our very "special needs" babies!
*Mark & Luanna (Lawrence) paid for the entire fuel cost ($350) to bring Willie to AZ. All other donations will be used toward the cost of the tremendous bill from the emergency hospital in Sacramento, CA where Willie is receiving wonderful treatment, tender loving care... and being spoiled! His flight is being scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 2004. Please check back for details!
Pilots Mel Futrell (she is owned by 80 lb "white" Aussie, Romeo) and Udo Knauer for volunteering their piloting skills and time to fly "Lola", the plane donated for this flight by pilot Jeanie Cunningham ( (all from CA)
Valerie Hastings (CA) donation will go towards costs of emergency vet clinic(s) bills
Kim Kuelen (CA) donation will go towards costs of emergency vet clinic(s) bills