Saving Janie

The Tire Track Terrier

“How many rescuers does it take to save a dog?” You might think this is the beginning of bad rescue joke, but it’s actually the start to a beautiful story.

Janie was brought to the shelter as a stray on April 14th. She had been run over by a car and was seriously injured.  We know this because of the tire track that ran across her back. She was scared out of her mind, in agonizing pain and, understandably, wouldn’t let anyone near her. Shelter volunteers and workers jumped into action networking Janie, trying to get her out of the shelter and into a rescue where she could get more than basic medical care.

However, there were two major problems standing in the way of Saving Janie…

She had a registered microchip, which means by law, the owner has 10 days to “claim”  Janie before she could legally be rescued or adopted. The shelter went the extra mile not just trying to contact the owner by phone several times but also by sending their staff to the address registered to the chip. Nothing but dead ends, leaving Janie in limbo til the10 days were up.

Even pain medication did little to ease Janie’s pain, which worsened without the private medical care she required. She became aggressive with anyone who tried to touch her or come near her. Again, understandable given the severity of her injuries, but making it all the more difficult to find someone willing to take a badly injured dog that has also been labeled as aggressive.

Jennifer Krause found out about Janie on April 16th  when she received an email plea through her rescue network. Jennifer decided to make it her mission to find a way to save Janie. Jennifer reached out, far and wide, to all of her rescue friends to see if by combining their efforts, they could get Janie out.

By the time I got the call on April 19th, Jennifer had a decent amount of money pledged in case Janie needed surgery, but she didn’t have a foster equipped to care for Janie. Knowing Janie would need cage rest and someone with the right experience dealing with scared dogs, and even aggressive dogs, this presented a big hurdle. Thirty minutes and 5 phone calls later, I had an amazing paid foster ready and willing to take care of Janie.

Eldad from Hope For Paws caught wind of what Jennifer was trying to do and he immediately offered to chip in towards any medical Janie might need.

I called Holly from United Hope For Animals to see if she had any insight on how to get Janie out right away and she too jumped into action. She agreed that United Hope For Animals would pull Janie under the Good Samaritan Law while continuing to look for her owner.

Early on the morning of April 20th, Holly and Jennifer met, for the first time, at the shelter and successfully rescued a terrified and broken Janie.

Janie was immediately brought to ASEC in West Los Angeles, where Dr. Balfour and his team took on the daunting task of assessing Janie’s injuries. Janie was so fearful of the world that she couldn’t see loving, healing hands in her doctors and nurses, and would not allow her medical team close to her. With a little luck and a lot of patience, the medical team was finally able to sedate Janie and run all the tests they needed.

Dr. Balfour discovered that Janie has a broken back. All her pain, and her fear, explained. Luckily for Janie, the fracture is of the 7th lumbar vertebrae, which can be fixed with surgery. Had it been much higher, she would have been paralyzed for life.

Janie was also having difficulty controlling her bowels, and while we were hopeful it’s not permanent, It was too early to tell if she has nerve damage and/or if they will get stronger once her back has properly healed.

So what do you do when you discover you rescued a dog with a broken back, who’s surgery would cost thousands more than have, and may require extensive rehab? You keep your promise. You say “yes” and proceed with surgery immediately. Then you look around at the incredible community you created and smile, knowing just how many people (most of whom have never met) already have come together in the name of Saving Janie. And then you say a prayer and hope that the beautiful spirit of community will continue to blossom as you ask others to join you…by donating towards the cost of Janie’s surgery and rehab.

So how many rescuers does it take to save a dog?

Zero. It takes a village.

Please watch the below video of Janie learning to trust a loving hand. This video, and the progress she made was possible because of the incredible community that stood together and did everything possible to heal her broken back and wounded spirit.

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