'Naked' puppy battles back from the brink in Superior
Justice arrived at the Animal Rescue Federation naked and feverish. The hair along the 3-month-old puppy's body was gone, with only the brown-furred tail left to give any indication why the American Staffordshire terrier had originally been named...
Justice arrived at the Animal Rescue Federation naked and feverish. The hair along the 3-month-old puppy's body was gone, with only the brown-furred tail left to give any indication why the American Staffordshire terrier had originally been named Cocoa.
"She itched herself naked, but you can't not pet her," said Adrienne Kilsdonk, Animal Rescue Federation interim shelter manager. "She needs love even though she's naked."
This week, clad in a purple hooded sweater, the pup was on the road to recovery.
"She's starting to look fuzzy, like a peach," said Judie Phillips, Rescue Federation interim president. But it will be another six months before the puppy looks like a regular dog again.
A trip to Superior Animal Hospital showed that Justice had a severe case of demodex mange, a noncontagious form of mange caused by a mite normally found on healthy dogs. The mites can proliferate and cause mange when a dog's immune system is weakened through illness or stress. Justice also developed an infection from areas of skin the pup had scratched until they bled.
Identifying and treating the disease was not expensive, Kilsdonk said. Phillips urged any pet owners who think their dog or cat has a skin condition to get it checked out early.
"Run, do not walk, to the vet," she said, as it can get worse quickly.
The puppy's owner tried home remedies such as bathing the dog, but the product she used didn't help the condition.
"The owner seems real responsible," said Chris Wagner, community service officer for the Superior Police Department. "She didn't know what to do. I'm glad she brought her here." Another owner might have given up or turned the pup loose instead of surrendering it, Wagner said.
On Wednesday, the 21-pound terrier snuggled into the lap of ARF board member Tracy Kilpela. The young dog still takes many naps and moans occasionally, but has begun to show signs of playfulness.
"She definitely deserves to be treated so she can get a new home," Kilpela said. "The discomfort is outweighed by the fact that she's getting better and has a future."
Once the mange is under control, Justice will be added to ARF's current roster of 17 dogs and 60 cats in search of permanent homes. September has been a good month for adoptions, Kilsdonk said, with 18 dogs and 19 cats adopted as of Wednesday.
"Those are good numbers," Phillips said.
Before adopting a pet, Kilsdonk said, it is important to do some research so you can get the right pet for your home. Remember, she said, a cute puppy will turn into a boisterous dog. Phillips said ARF also has been stressing the need for further training. Taking a dog training class, she said, helps owners understand how to better communicate with their pet, which can prevent bad behaviors.
Meanwhile, ARF members are preparing for their Fourth Annual Craft Show and Sale from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. today at the Superior National Guard Armory. The event features many local handcrafted items and offers visitors a head start on holiday shopping.
They also have opened the Marmaduke fund to raise about $500 needed for a surgery to ensure a Great Dane/Mastiff mix puppy will retain its vision. The dog, named Marmaduke, has a condition called bilateral entropion, in which the eyelids on both eyes curl in. Because of that, the eyelashes scratch the cornea, eventually blinding the dog.
For more information on ARF, call (715) 394-7387 or visit www.animalrescue