A Sanctuary for Snoopy

October 15, 2012  

An elderbull finds peace and love in Pit Bull Rescue San Diego’s sanctuary program

Excerpted from Pit Bull Rescue San Diego’s blog

Part 1, June 18, 2012:

We first heard about Snoopy through an email sent to our Intake Director (Kim) from our contacts at the shelter last Saturday. The email included a photo and his medical information. He had been surrendered by his homeless human father and was not faring well at the shelter. Poor Snoopy had medical concerns that the shelter could not address in that setting. They asked us to make a decision by Tuesday.

Kim receives three to six requests a day from local shelters. She reads through all the ones that are sent and often has to let the shelters know that we do not have the resources to take certain dogs. She receives a report every week from the Foster Director (Ann) that showcases what foster homes are open and the types of dogs that they can house in those homes. She weighs each shelter request against the homes currently available. It’s also important to know if there are several open homes for a type of dog, just in case the first home doesn’t work out. Even though boarding is always an option, it isn’t an option for a dog fresh out of the shelter (they need to have been out at least two weeks), and it is not ideal for any dog that we’re pulling from the shelter because dogs don’t know the difference between the shelter and boarding and are often overly stressed about being placed back into a confined area.

While Snoopy’s profile didn’t exactly fit any of the profiles of open foster homes, there is a very human component of receiving all these photos and write ups every day, and Kim’s heart melted. She determined that Snoopy seemed like he could be a fit for our sanctuary program. Sanctuary is a limited program where we take in a senior or medically compromised dog that we are fairly certain won’t be adopted from our rescue. We pay for their care and medical needs for as long as they are treatable, and a foster parent agrees to commit to care for them for the rest of their lives. Currently we have one dog in our sanctuary program. She was also, however, very aware that no one had specifically stated that they were open for this intensive of a foster commitment.

Our evaluation team (Zaira, Alexis and Izzy) spent a good amount of time with Snoopy. Snoopy had certainly seen some of the hard times that lead to his dad’s homelessness, and they were evident in his very careful movements. Arthritis wracked his poor bones, and he moved slowly and deliberately across the cement floor. He was oh so thin. With multiple broken teeth, even watered down canned food seemed painful to eat, so he had simply stopped eating. His ribs poked through his thin skin in disarray as his body contorted to fend off the aches. However, his cloudy eyes eagerly sought out affection, and he was only too happy to plant his boney butt on the nearest soft lap. … It was determined that he seemed like a good candidate for our rescue.

We immediately posted a plea for a sanctuary foster on Facebook. A sanctuary foster parent is a special sort of person – one that realizes that they may need to love this dog for whatever time they have left and then to help us make the hard decisions when it is time for that dog to cross over the rainbow bridge. However, this special person, in return, will know that they were the one person who could keep June 12, 2012, from being that rainbow bridge day for Snoopy. They are the one special person who will have shown him comfort and love and care and dignity in his final days, whether they be weeks, months, or years. Thankfully, we ended up with not one, but two potential foster parents.

Due to multiple broken teeth, emaciation and potentially other senior dog ailments, combined with the severe depression of being left in this cold, noisy place without his human, Snoopy was not eating or drinking. The shelter vets were very concerned that he would contract worse issues or even die from malnutrition before we could get him out.

Once at his new home, he met the resident cats. His tail wagged feebly, and he almost smiled. Yes, our Snoopy was home, warm, comfortable and knew it. (To read the entire first entry as it originally appeared, click here.)

Part II, June 29, 2012:

Right now, Snoopy is living in foster care with a little senior Pomeranian, Wallace, and two cats who keep him in line. We had a little scare last week that he wouldn’t make it long enough for us to get all the tests done, but he has rallied, maybe thanks to all your good thoughts and definitely thanks to the amazing care he is getting from his foster mom, Hillary.

He is still frail and, despite our best efforts, has lost a little of the weight he put on the first week we had him. Eating is still a challenge because he is so picky. We’ve tried every type of dog food imaginable and are wondering if perhaps his previous dad, as he fell on hard times, stopped giving Snoopy dog food and transitioned him to a portion of whatever human food he, himself, was eating. Snoopy has selectively noshed on Cheerios, plain hot dogs, ice cream, cheese pierogie, chicken, cottage cheese and duck jerky. We should all have it so good. However, it is Hillary’s constant struggle to figure out what it is that Snoopy will feel like eating on any given day. Many times it is whatever she has chosen to eat that day, and she happily hands it over. Over the last couple of days, she’s had some success with a diet of turkey sausage, cheese and Multigrain Cheerios. We are making a Costco run this weekend to stock her up, as those are not items we typically keep in stock for our fosters.

Snoopy gets to go to work every day with Hillary and Wallace at the veterinary hospital. He shares kennel space with Wallace, and they can often be found cuddled up together in one corner of the kennel. He loves every person and dog he’s met. He’s particularly fond of small dogs and men. His bony tail wags furiously when he knows he’s going to get some love from the male staff at the hospital. However, he’s quick to smash his little old face into any welcoming hug. Hugs are plentiful because it is hard not to want to let him know that he is cherished. Everywhere he goes he makes friends.

When at home, he spends time on whatever soft spot he has the energy to climb onto and is rarely without a feline overseer. He will occasionally attempt to climb up on the couch but typically stops about mid-climb and naps.

We get a daily report from Snoopy’s foster mom so that we all stay on top of his quality of life. Yesterday morning, Snoopy’s foster mom noted that he woke up in good spirits: “Snoopy bounded up to my end of the bed and woke me up with a big face kiss this morning and then leapt off the bed on his own like a wild man. (Wild man being a relative term.) Then on our morning walk down the block, my sweet old neighbor who is always out walking his dachshund in his robe and slippers gave us $20 towards his care. Everyone loves this dog!”

Donations have enabled us to run multiple tests to help us determine exactly how we can best help Snoopy. It has been determined that Snoopy has a carcinoma in his lungs. It is inoperable and he’s too fragile to consider surgery in any case. We are exploring the options for palliative (comfort) care and don’t have an idea for what kind of time that we can expect for him. He was put on a round of prednisone earlier this week that seems to be helping. Just this morning, Hillary sent us a note saying:“Snoops is more active than I’ve ever seen him. He’s actually beating me up the stairs now, wrestling with his bed, always wagging his tail, loves meeting little dogs”

As long as Snoopy is happy, eating, playing and loving, we will care for his every need. (To read this second entry in its entirety, click here.)

From Aug. 17, 2012: RIP sweet wonderful Snoopy. When we took him from the shelter two months ago, the vet gave him a prognosis of only days. That wasn’t in Snoopy’s plan. After two tail-wagging, toy-destroying, skunk-spraying, hot-dog-eating, birthday-party-attending months, Snoopy finally started feeling the effects of his cancer these last couple of days. Snoopy left for his final adventure at the Rainbow Bridge last night surrounded by those who loved him. Thank you to all who helped give Snoopy those two months and the foster moms (Hillary and Kristin) who loved him to life. XOXO Snoopy.

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7 Responses to “A Sanctuary for Snoopy”
  1. DianaJones says:

    Hillary and her vet family were blessed to have the privilege of caring for this lovely old man. I am so happy that Snoopy’s last days were filled with people food, love, attention and family. Pit Bull Rescue San Diego sounds like a one in a million rescue. And Kim, I don’t know how you do what you do, it must break your heart when you can’t take every dog, but then fill your heart when you see successes like sweet Snoopy.
    (And now I am off to fix the Alice Cooper face this story left me with!!! ;O )

    • StubbyDog says:

      @DianaJones We understand, but Snoopy did have his happily ever after, even if it wasn’t for very long. He knew love and that’s what we all want for dogs.

  2. Sheiv001 says:

    Every single one of you involved in the love & care of this beloved dog & countless others have earned your halos here on earth. I can hardly type through the tears. Rest in peace Snoopy. You got to the bridge only hours before my Kody. I hope they’re together, restored & happy! Thank you so much you.guys! For.all you do!!

    • StubbyDog says:

      @Sheiv001 We are so sorry for you loss, and we hope Kody is playing at the bridge with Snoopy.

  3. Miznoone says:

    The compassion and strength you show in giving sanctuary to dogs like Snoopy are truly special. It must have been heartwrenching for Snoopy’s human to have to surrender him, and for Snoopy to enjoy his last days surrounded by love and comfort are truly priceless. Thank you for all that you do.

  4. PolosNPearls says:

    And now I’m crying… What a bittersweet story! It’s sad that Snoopy is no longer with us but so wonderful that he spent his last two months with a wonderful foster family and spending his time cozied up in warm blankets! It’s stories like this that make fostering worth it!

    • StubbyDog says:

      @PolosNPearls So true, this story especially demonstrating the importance of fostering, no matter how long. Thanks for commenting.