In rescue, you dread the emails, messages, texts starting out with "Can you please help this dog?" which is an escalation on the standard message of "Do you have room for this dog?"
When I opened the message, there she was, a photo of a nameless stray dog living on the streets of a desolate, crime-ridden rural town in Illinois, named Cairo. Her advocate calling her April and begging for help. They had worked months to get her to come to them from the row of abandoned homes and now two monsters had shot and crushed her head with a beer bottle in a matter of days.
Blood on her head and back, holding her back leg up only utilizing the three others to move in the dirt and garbage filled the yard came next in video form.
The sight of Ivy's fragile body followed by the words, "she has been shot in the leg and had a beer bottle cracked across her skull, can you help?"
How do you say no? You don't and instead, begin calling out for a transporter to bring this dog 6 hours north to your veterinary hospital for medical care. You don't think about the medical cost, the length of time she will need to become whole again, you only think about how fast can you get her out of that town and to safety.
Your eyes well up with tears and your heartbreaks as she cowers down inside the vehicle paralyzed with fear and her body shaking in response.
After 10 minutes she allowed me to pick her up and place her in my vehicle to finish the next 3 hours of the drive. She sat tethered with a seat belt harness, unable to see outside the window despite staring upward. Not making a single sound, not moving from the spot the entire 3 hours, not taking the assortment of treats offered.
From coming out of the vehicle-to going into the vet hospital-to heading to the exam table and then the suite awaiting her with warmed comforters, fresh water, doggie stew and kibble are challenges as she looks at you helplessly afraid to trust.
Eventually, she lays down next to me in her kennel, lets out a sigh and slips into sleep. Not wanting to disturb here I sit quietly allowing her to rest for 2 hours pressed up against me.
I promise I will be there tomorrow to again sit with her and when she is ready we will begin exploring her new world. A world where she is safe from being shot, having things thrown at her, being hit across the skull hoping for a death blow, searching for food or a place to hide away from dogs looking to fight and humans seeking to end her life.
Humans tried to take her life, they abused her, made her suffer and now it is going to take humans standing by her to rebuild her body and trust and life where she is able to be a dog with a family and never worry again.
Now comes the reality that vet care, training, boarding all take money, money we don't have sitting around.
Any donations to her care are greatly appreciated. Although her body is injured and starved, you can see it in her eyes she wants to trust again, not all her innocence has been stolen from her.
Ivy April is estimated to be 1.5 to 2 years old. She left the streets unspayed, unvaccinated and malnourished. Surgery to remove the knot on her skull from the bottle wound can be done in conjunction with her spay. The bullet did not exit the leg but instead exploded leaving shrapnel inside the leg.
Thank you for taking the time to read the beginning of Ivy's story, we hope you will contribute to fulfilling her happily ever after ending.
~Cynthia Lynn Guzman
K9 Enrichment Initiative