This poor dog was abandoned as a baby, living on the streets and completely neglected. When he was found, he was in terrible shape. Fortunately, thanks to a great vet clinic and a new loving home, he has gotten better and can enjoy a happy dog’s life.
When Watkins was found, he was an exemplification of the saying, “It’s a dog’s life.” He was hairless, sick, starving, and his skin looked like he had been burned—in fact, it was a serious case of demodectic mange. This little dog was on the verge of death.
Fortunately, Watkins was found by Stephanie Smith-Justus, president of the Buchanan County Humane Society. Fortunately, the vet she regularly worked with lived on the same street. After she found Watkins, she took him in for the treatment he needed.
“His skin was oozing from every pore. He winced in pain when we touched him,” Stephanie wrote in her Facebook post.
She wrote: “On May 7, 2015, Watkins was found. Before this date, we know nothing about him. He was found by my neighbor who alerted me to a ‘dog who was in terrible shape.’ My husband and I went to find him. He was found on the street where we live. He had been abandoned and severely neglected. My husband’s first words were, ‘He’s not going to make it,'” she wrote.
When Watkins was taken to the veterinary clinic, the doctors confirmed his poor state. “Dr. Rasnake diagnosed him with Demodex, a type of mange he had caught from his mother. He was severely malnourished and dehydrated,” she wrote.
“He had an infection in his eyes, his kidneys, his ears, and a bacterial infection on his skin. The next few days saw him lose every hair on his body. He continued to lose fluids and weight. He was in the ICU for over 50 days.”
The recovery process of Watkins was long and full of challenges—Watkins had stopped eating. The X-rays showed that he had a twisted bowel and needed an operation. After the operation, he ate a little but then quit eating again.
He had more surgery to insert a feeding tube, but he continued to lose weight. Watkins went to a nutritionist and an orthopedic vet. They kept him for 6 days and then sent him again to his vet, Dr. Rasnake, to continue treating him.
Watkins dropped from 32 pounds (14.5 kg) to a mere 17 pounds (7.7 kg).
Stephanie said: “It was a scary time. He continued to be cared for in the ICU unit at Dr. Rasnake’s office. He fought hard to stay alive and thousands were praying for him. He finally started eating and he pulled his feeding tube out. This required yet another surgery to remove the “balloon” that remained in his stomach. His recovery was much easier than the previous ones and we were relieved. He “turned the corner” and finally started getting better.”
Finally, after more than 2 months in ICU, he was taken home. He still requires regular visits in the vet clinic, but now he is in much better shape.
He learned to play with other dogs and people, to share, and to retreat to his crate whenever he feels tired. Still recovering, Watkins gets tired very easily, especially when it’s hot. Now Watkins has actually gained weight—he weighs 38 pounds (17.2 kg) and has stopped having eating problems.
After a successful recovery, Watkins started to enjoy life. He has his favorite things to do like any other dog.
“He loves to pile up blankets to be comfortable with his stuffed lobster and his dog siblings. He gets excited when we tell him he’s going to the “doctor.” When we take him in the clinic, he is always happy to see the staff and Dr. Rasnake,” she said.
“He remembers where his kennel is in ICU and they have it waiting for him when he goes for treatments. He loves riding in the car, playing with foster puppies, and chewing on his many toys that were sent to him when he was so sick. He’s a happy, inquisitive puppy who is smarter than the average bear.”