In March, nine dogs were released to me from a breeder. Two were Keeshonden, who some of you have come to know as Frieda and Marta.
About three years ago I stumbled across a website–National Mill Dog Rescue–and there I found Ziva’s story, a little Keeshond who had no back feet but was still used to breed more puppies.
On a whim, as a Keeshond lover, I called the number listed, and Theresa Strader answered the phone. We talked for nearly an hour that first time. Since then we talk once a month or so, and several times my group has met the rescue wagon to take dogs from Theresa during their sweeps through the central states.
So about a month ago, on a Wednesday, Theresa called to ask if I could help. Could I travel to a breeder to pick up two Kees?
“Sure,” I said. “When?”
“They need out by Saturday, or they probably won’t make it out at all,” Theresa said.
“Okay. . . . Where am I going?”
“That’s the thing,” Theresa said. “This is the same breeder that had Ziva.”
There was silence on the phone line for several heartbeats.
“Um, yeah. Well, tell me where I’m going,” I said, stomach churning.
Theresa gave me the contact details, and I scrambled to arrange the trip across two-and-a-half states. Some of you know the rest of the story. You cheered and supported me as I drove. You all lifted me up as I secured the dogs and shook hands with the devil.
I will never forget her. That woman’s face is imprinted in my brain.
Would I go back there? Absolutely. I’d grit my teeth, try not to vomit on her shoes, grab the dogs and head back for home. What other alternative is there?
Marta and Frieda both tested positive for heartworm (HW). Marta had mammary tumors, ovarian cysts and a number of uterine tumors. All were surgically removed. Both girls were started on medications in preparation for heartworm treatment.
Frieda’s heartworm load was severe, and she was blind. Eight days after rescue, her blood pressure dropped, she collapsed and we had to let her go.
Radiographs revealed a smaller than anticipated HW load for Marta but also showed two tumors in her chest. She is now on a drug cocktail to do what we can to prevent the HW from proliferating, while also monitoring the tumors. We hope and pray for her. Join us if you will.