Elderbulls Melt My Heart

November 12, 2013

…and maybe my common sense too!

Saturday night as I was sitting on my sofa, watching a movie and randomly checking in on Facebook, a photo came across my wall that made me stop in my scrolling tracks.

Kemo shelter pic

If that face wasn’t sad enough, the description was the final straw:

Kilo owner surrender because of the landlord?? You have had him 12 years and landlord problems?? He is so sad his info A4651183 please he is a senior, a pit bull and owner surrender Carson shelter.

A 12 yr old pittie was stuck in a shelter, turned in by his owner???  I could not imagine it. Who would do that to a dog that had spent their entire lives with them? Whatever the situation, he needed out – NOW!  I checked the Carson shelter website to see what their adoption policies were. Some shelters have hold times even for owner surrenders. Carson does not. And he was already neutered, so in theory he should be able to go right away. I headed to Carson first thing Sunday morning!

At the shelter, it was clear that the poor guy had some major arthritis going on in his back, hips and rear legs. He also had skin tags all over his belly and a large tumor hanging from his penis.  Large in this case is about cherry tomato size. I could also tell he had a cataract in his left eye and the start of one in his right. He’s a BIG boy – 97.8 lbs! – and carrying all of that weight around had taken its toll on his poor body.  Judging by the scars on his elbows and knees, he had spent a lot of time sleeping on something less than soft.

He also reminded me of Rufus.  In fact, except for the ears, they’re almost identical!  When Rufus passed, I made a promise that I would take in as many compassionate care elderbulls as I could but this is the first chance I’ve had to follow through on that promise. There was no question, seeing him look so sad behind that gate in his kennel, seeing how much he reminded me of Rufus and remembering what an awesome dog Rufie was, this boy was coming home with me!

Once we got on the road, I decided it was time to change his name. His name had been Kilo, but there was no way in the world I was going to keep that name with all of its drug-laden history. Given his age though, I thought it would be best for the new name to sound similar. So as we’re driving down the freeway back to San Diego, I start going through the alphabet: Kibo, Kico, Kido, Kifo… finally I got to Kimo and I thought to myself “Wait, that means something!” Smartphone to the rescue, I was quickly reminded that Kemo Sabe is what Tonto called the Lone Ranger, and it means “Faithful Friend.”  EUREKA! It was perfect for this new sweet boy. So Kemo he became.

First stop for any new dog is the vet for a quick check up. We use a vet that is open 24/7 but evenings are considered emergency hours and rates are higher. We got to the vet after normal hours, so I decided to leave him there overnight so that the doctor(s) could examine him at their leisure. There was a long list of stuff I wanted them to look at, so I wanted to give them ample time to check him out.

Not an hour after leaving, they called me to say they believed he had bloat and needed to examine him right away. They also suggested that I come back so that I could speak with the doctor directly while everything was going on. I told them to go ahead with the xray of his belly that they requested and I was on my way.

The xray showed there was indeed a LOT of air in his stomach, and not much of anything else. The vet had gotten an xray that included part of his back too, and found that he had a collapsed vertebrae in his lower spine. Her best guess was that the pain from his back was causing him to gasp for air and also causing a decrease in his appetite. We needed to make him comfortable on super strong pain meds and administer antacids to reduce the air in his tummy.  She also wanted to run blood work to see if there was anything else going on, like with his liver, kidneys, and adrenals. The estimate she provided was over $1200!! Given his age and his physical condition, I had a really hard time justifying that expense, but he had JUST gotten out of the shelter and hadn’t even started his happy life yet.

kemo at vet

A friend mentioned to me that there were already some donation pledges on Facebook for him to the rescue that pulled him. I didn’t know anything about the pledges and I don’t ever consider them when deciding whether to pull a dog or not. I’m not in this for the money. But if any of that money actually came through, it would be a huge help in offsetting these costs. So I OK’d the treatment and then kept my paws crossed that he would be feeling better by the next day.

While I was at the vet, that same friend was telling people on Facebook about what was going on and everyone was asking for a YouCaring page. I hadn’t set one of these up before; I hadn’t done any major medical fundraising since ChipIn shut down. While Kemo and I were waiting for the results of his blood work, I set up a YouCaring page for him (smartphone to the rescue once again).  If you’re interested, you can find it HERE.

The blood work showed that he had some kidney issues, but the vet thought they were from his not drinking enough water lately. There were no liver problems that she could see. His glucose levels were a little elevated which was strange since he hadn’t eaten anything. The vet wants to recheck him for diabetes once he’s more stable. The results seemed to confirm her thought that this was pain-related, so we proceeded with the treatment plan she had outlined previously.

By the time I got home from the vet, the YouCaring was already up to $440!!!  HOLY COW! I was flabbergasted, truly. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for every single dollar that has been donated. I thought I would be lucky to raise $500 altogether, but apparently word was really getting around about this sweet elderbull who needed a fighting a chance.

The next day, Monday the 11th, the vet called to say that Kemo was doing great!  The antacids were doing their job; the pain meds were doing their job; he was eating and drinking again; and he had a little spring in his step. I would be able to pick him up that night!

Now that he’s home, Kemo is even more like Rufus than I thought he was before. He gets along GREAT with all the other dogs in the house, regardless of size or temperament. He seems to particularly like Sophie just like Rufus did. He does seem to be housetrained, which is a bonus. He follows me around like a not-so-little shadow. He loves to lay on the sofa and just sleep sleep sleep. He tried to get on the big bed last night but at 98 lbs, I couldn’t help him get up that high so he had to make due on the floor. He has no interest in the dog beds whatsoever. He likes laying outside in the fresh air and sunshine. He’s a little camera shy, but so far I’ve managed to get a few pics of him snoozing away:

Since he takes up the entire sofa, guess who was sitting on the dog bed last night?

Somehow, the donations keep coming!  Kemo will require regular blood work to monitor his kidneys and his glucose levels. He’ll need to be on pain meds the rest of his life. And he requires a special diet because of his excess weight and his kidneys being slightly compromised. His final vet bill was just over $900. Anything donated over that will go towards his aftercare.

Kemo is a very special dog. He’s exactly what you’d expect from an elderbull – sweet, loving, docile, lazy (lol!). I look forward to helping him enjoy his final days, weeks, or months in as much comfort as I can provide him.

A lot of people have asked me why I pulled him. To me, it wasn’t even a question. I went to get him because he needed me to. He will thank me every day for the rest of his life, just by snoring loudly on my sofa every night.

Mid-2009 we rescued a pittie pup from one of the shelters in Los Angeles.  She was a tiny little thing, and we paid full adoption fees for her because we were really concerned about a dog her age being in a shelter and who might adopt her.  We named her Violet.  Here are pics from her original photo shoot back in 2009.

Violet, now named Sadie, was adopted by a very nice woman who lived in PB. She received a lot of basic obedience training as a puppy. She grew up to be a very good girl.


Unfortunately, Sadie’s mom has fallen on some very hard times and some behavioral challenges started to arise. Her mom wasn’t able to work with her, so Sadie has come back to the rescue.

Right now she is in boarding. She NEEDS to be in a foster home because she needs someone to work with her on her behavioral issues.  We will pay for her training but the foster must be willing to work with her and meet with the trainer on occasion. She would probably be best suited for a home with no smaller children darting around, definitely no cats, and preferably no other dogs.  If there are other dogs in the home, larger dogs would be better than smaller ones, and you must be able to keep them comfortably separated as we believe there are issues with other dogs.

She’s housetrained, up to date on her shots, has not been crated in her former home and we’re told she wasn’t a chewer. She bonds very strongly with her people and loves to snuggle. She’s 50 lbs but very tall, thin, and leggy.

We’ll provide food; a crate if needed; cover all vet costs and all training expenses.

We are begging for a foster home for her in the San Diego area, and we really, really would like to find one by the end of this weekend, 8/4.  Please contact us at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com if you can open you heart and your home to Sadie.  We know we’re asking for the moon for this girl. but we commit to our dogs for their whole life, and this little girl needs us again.

Another day, another overwhelming number of pleas for help in our inbox.

There are a few people whose emails I always open and read, because they are very good at assessing dogs. If they say this dog is gold, I know we’ve got to do whatever we can to help them get out of the shelter alive.

Today is one of those days.  Here’s the email:

I have little time to save this 8 year old gentle giant’s life—the shelter vet emailed me and said how gentle and loving, goofy and sweet this boy was—-but she asked me if I thought it was possible to find a good place for him as they cannot keep him long they are so crowded.


I met him today and loved him. He is a loving gentle boy who seemed to be good with every dog he met—another dog kissed him on his nose through the bars. He was patient and non reactive to the little and big dogs he met, even those barking wildly at him.

I am asking to please be the contact for this boy as I would die a thousand deaths to have him sent to a bad place, or some stranger on Facebook to rot in a crate—-

His rear legs are a little weak due to age and I roughly estimate that he only might have a year or two left in him. How I wish that we could give that to him in a loving environment, and so his last moments are filled with memories of being loved and not alone in a shelter. But he does NOT need hospice—he walks fine and will be happy for quite some time. Is there a miracle out there for this gentle, noble giant?

We don’t have any open foster homes at the moment, but we really want to save this boy. Is there anyone out there who can help us help him?

Link to video to see  him in action: http://youtu.be/66Lcl40a5xs

Please keep in mind that Elderbulls are slower to place than younger dogs, so this could be a long-term foster. Puggles & Pitties will cover all vet expenses until he is adopted. We also provide a crate and a starter 30-lb bag of food (if needed).  If you can open your heart and your home to this sweet boy, please contact us right away at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com.

Many thanks!

When it Rains it Pours…

December 17, 2012

…and right now it’s raining PUGGLES!!

Just this morning, we’ve received emails and phone calls from FIVE people who want to surrender their puggles to us!   We are full to the brim, so can’t take any more dogs in right now at all. Most people have said they can hold onto the dogs if we put them on the website and start screening people, which we’ve agreed to do. But this one in particular needs a foster home ASAP, so we need your help!

Here’s the email we received:

I have a puggle I would like to see placed in rescue. His name is Bailey and he is three years old. A neutered male that is house trained, walks on a leash and gets along with other dogs and cats. I took him from a friend about a year ago who could spend no time with him and he was always stuck in a crate. Since living with me I have worked on his social skills and house trained him. He prefers to be an indoor majority dog. He learned to love running the two acres and other dogs that I have. He has done nothing wrong other than I had to move and the number of dogs allowed had to be cut down, and no dogs are allowed in the residence. I wanted Bailey to have an exceptional fun loving life. I gave that to him in the beginning but do to circumstances I can no longer provide this for him. I too have to obtain employment and can not spend the time with him he is used to. He deserves better. I saw your site on the internet and decided to contact you. I hope you can help. I live in Hesperia, Ca and am willing to do whatever it takes to get him the best. Hope to hear from you.

This 3-yr old puggle boy is currently living OUTSIDE in Hesperia!! If you’re not familiar with Hesperia, it’s high desert, and it’s COLD!! I’ve been there a couple times myself, and it was a very rude awakening. We gotta get that boy inside!

Here are pics of Bailey that she sent:

We’ll provide a crate and food if needed. We cover all vet expenses and we pick him up from you and drop him back off with you for any home visits he would need. He just needs a warm place to lay his head at night and a gentle touch to scratch his head. Maybe a belly rub or two.

If you can foster this boy, who sounds like a dream, please contact us at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com.

Thank you!!

Help Us Help TYSON!!

November 27, 2012

Oh no!  Remember Tyson, the sweet elderbull that we posted about a few weeks ago?  He’s STILL sitting in the shelter!!

Tyson the Elderbull

Look at those ears!! Look at his silly tongue that’s always sticking out and ready for a kiss!!

Here’s the original email we received:

TYSON – ID#A1127037

Tyson is a boy with a reputation- a good one, that is. He has a cute face that you can’t help but love… and oh, those eyes! How sweet they are!

Tyson was an owner surrender because the family moved away and he was not part of their plan. Heart broken and lost, Tyson marched forward and he’s now made lots of new friends at the shelter. But before the family left him, they wanted to let us know just how wonderful Tyson.

According to the family, Tyson loves everyone; gets along with other dogs, lived with children and was great with them as well.

Tyson has a gentleness and sweetness about him. He loves people, and loves to spend time with his volunteer friends. We’ve seen him around a couple of smaller dogs and he had no reaction towards them. He’s not all that athletic; no fetch, no swimming, but boy, does he love to cuddle up next to you and be showered with lots of attention! By the way, don’t ever look back when you walk away from him, he will look at you with those sad puppy eyes… and the guilt will get you.

Tyson is about 8 years old. We all know the harsh and sad reality that older dogs have a harder time finding homes- but we must keep trying- especially for a wonderful boy like Tyson, who’s wonderful in more ways than one.

Well, guess what? Tyson’s time is UP.  The shelter is giving him til the end of the week – NOVEMBER 30th!! – to be rescued or adopted. After that…

Senior pit bulls are truly the BEST dogs ever. Look at our post about RUFUS.  They are sooooo lazy and relaxed and really just want a soft bed to chill out on.  They have tons of love left in their hearts, and they are more than happy to share it with you.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pittie but aren’t quite sure, Tyson is a great option. Well-mannered, gets along with other dogs and with kids, and doesn’t require a ton of physical activity. PERFECT!!!

We really, really, REALLY want to rescue Tyson.  It’s breaking our hearts that he’s still stuck at that shelter. But we can’t – CAN NOT – help him without a foster home. Please, please, please…

Yes, we’re begging.  Tyson’s life is on the line. We’re begging with our whole hearts. Please help us save him.

Contact us at pugglesnpitties@gmail.com if you can find it in your heart to open your home to Tyson.

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