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May 11, 2010 > Ohlone Humane Society: From frog to prince

Ohlone Humane Society: From frog to prince

By Nancy Lyon

This is story of a pup that is a survivor with a will to live despite all odds against him. Harry's tale is one that starts with the callous act of a person that threw a nameless disabled 9-week-old puppy onto the streets to die. It moves from senseless cruelty to the efforts of many people who stepped up to help a small animal in great need.

On a cold night, a shivering and frightened little puppy was scooped up out of harm's way on a busy Fremont street before he could become a statistic..."dead hit-by-car, deformed Pit Bull puppy, unable to sex due to injuries." Luck or a guardian angel was with him that night and he was taken by the Fremont Police to the Tri-City Animal Shelter and placed in the night depository where shelter staff would find him the next morning.

When I came into the shelter a few days later, staff pulled me over an asked if I had seen the poor little guy in the puppy ward and if anything could be done to help him. There, lying on a bed was a small pup with incredibly contorted front legs, so much so that he could barely waddle around before he flopped over. He had stolen their hearts with his brave efforts and sweet disposition, burying his face in the in their necks and hugging when he was picked up.

He had been seen by veterinary orthopedic specialist, Dr. Gary Brown, who felt that the bone platelets in his front legs had grown at an abnormally accelerated rate, but with the right care he had a chance to have a normal life. The animal shelter staff wanted very much for him to get that chance, but it didn't seem very likely.

Because he needed rehabilitation and experienced people to give that care, it made him "to rescue only" which means he would not be available for public adoption. This also meant that the wheels of rescue needed to start rolling... and fast. This pup needed his treatment started yesterday.

As a liaison to rescue for the Fremont Animal Shelter for many years, it became apparent to me that to find the perfect place for him we needed to reach out to the greatest number of good rescuers possible and one who would be "Pit Bull experienced and friendly." We also had to consider that his recovery might not be complete, and with this in mind, Gail Pope founder of Bright Haven Sanctuary in Sebastopol was the first contacted. Bright Haven is a beautiful place of refuge for many kinds of animals, many that are physically challenged or in need of hospice. Perhaps our pup could find safety there.

Unfortunately, Bright Haven was at capacity, so word of the puppy's situation was cross-posted by Gail to rescuers over the Internet. An online flyer was created that told of the nameless pup's plight. It was then we realized that our little guy needed to have a name, and it was Gail who bestowed on him the name of Harry. The response to the posting was overwhelming. Tired and worn out, as rescuers often are, they still came forward from everywhere to offer help.

One offer was from an associate of Gail, Laura Bradshaw, founder of Healing Heart Sanctuary in Utah. Laura was also full up, but she would take him if needed. The numerous offers to take Harry were carefully screened and it was agreed that Carol DeBear, a wonderful woman in Lancaster with years of experience and excellent references, would be Harry's best chance. The problem was getting him there. However, Laura was heading for the Pet Expo in L.A. the following week and her mother, who lives in Martinez and was meeting her at the event, volunteered to pick him up and be his transporter to Lancaster. Laura, her mother, and Carol met and the exchange made - Harry was safe.

His new foster mom Carol was very excited that she had been chosen and was more than ready to take Harry into her care. Two weeks and many emails later we received the following message from Carol -

"Just checking in about Harry. He is doing AMAZING!!! His legs almost never bow anymore. We went to the vet yesterday, and he said Harry is one of the "most impressive" pups he has ever seen. (that's my boy) and this vet has been around for a long time. Harry is 100% healthy and the doctor said from what he sees happening with his legs that he will have no problems whatsoever. YAY!!! So he won't need the doggie cart that was kindly offered... it just amazes us... for two days now he hasn't been bowed at all. A few days before that he was only walking wobbly a fraction of the time... each day he gets better and better. His pool therapy seems to have helped. He is very, very playful and loves the other dogs. Prince Harry, as we call him, is eating like a horse and loves his toys that Laura's mother brought with him. He grabs a toy and struts around like the proudest lil' guy. He's adorable."

The kindness and compassion that poured forward to save this victim of human indifference and cruelty was very moving. It's impossible to thank the many compassionate people individually but their gestures of kindness and generosity are not forgotten... especially by the small and wonderful life that was saved... Prince Harry.

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