Canine Lifeline is an all-volunteer, foster home-based 501(c)3 dog rescue located in Northeast OH. We pull dogs scheduled for euthanasia at overcrowded county dog shelters due to lack of space. Many dogs that come to us have extensive medical needs that must be addressed and Sapphire was one of them.
Sapphire came to Canine Lifeline on January 13, 2016 from the Mahoning County Dog Warden. She had arrived there two days earlier as an emaciated stray weighing only 24 pounds—probably less than half of what she should have weighed. Every bone in her body was visible.
Sapphire immediately went to our vet to have tests run to see if there were any underlying medical conditions causing her emaciation. All of her tests came back normal except that her white blood cell count was through the roof and continued to increase over the course of several days. She was on IV antibiotics and nourishment but the source of the infection couldn’t be determined.
She had a moderate interest in food but definitely not as much as you would expect from a starving dog. After several days with no improvement, she was transferred to a specialty clinic for an ultrasound which revealed some masses in her abdomen. In spite of her emaciated condition, the only option for saving her was exploratory surgery to determine what was going on internally.
Sapphire underwent over 2 hours of surgery on Tuesday Jan 19. Her stomach had to be opened to remove some type of fabric that had been lodged in there for apparently quite some time. The material was also in her intestinal tract and had perforated the intestine in 5-6 places which was the source of the infection and the elevated white blood cell count. The surgeon removed 16 inches of her intestine in an attempt to save her life.
Sapphire survived the surgery and the next morning was sitting up and alert. They started her on tiny amounts of soft food which she ate. She even had a bowel movement which was encouraging. Given her extremely poor condition, we were amazed and thrilled that she had survived such an extensive surgery and were hopeful that she would be able to make a full recovery, but it was not to be.
Sapphire took a turn for the worse that evening and was in the process of receiving a blood transfusion when she went into cardiac and respiratory arrest and was lost. In spite of the best medical care, her body was too far gone to be saved.
Our hearts ache for this dog as she had suffered for such a long time before she somehow made her way into the dog shelter. Sapphire did not look like a “stray” dog that had been on her own for the months it would have taken for her to waste away to the emaciated state in which she was found.
She came into the shelter clean and without all the scrapes and scratches that come with living on the street. Someone had this dog, watched her suffer and waste away to almost nothing, and then abandoned her. Someone out there knows who this dog belonged to.
In spite of how much she had suffered and how weak she was, when we met her, she wagged her tail and was always kind and gentle with everyone who was caring for her. She surely knew that we were all doing everything we could to try to save her life. Sapphire, we’re so sorry that it wasn’t enough and that you weren’t able to enjoy the happy life that we had envisioned for you. Your life mattered sweet girl and we will never forget you.
Sapphire’s medical bills totaled $7200. We have raised $2000 of that and need to raise $5200 more so that we’ll be able to give a second chance to other dogs like Sapphire in the future. Please make a tax-deductible donation in her honor so that another dog will have the same chance that she did. Thank you.