Compassionate hearts can be found, even within the walls of high-kill shelters. In March 2017 a small, eight year old stray Shih Tzu named Luke was in deplorable condition and taken to a shelter in California. Veterinarians discovered the effects from eight years of neglected teeth, along with a painful cherry eye and severely matted coat. However, Luke’s calm disposition suggested to the doctors and staff he was not a stray as stated by the man who brought him in. To spare him from certain euthanasia, the shelter made a call on his behalf to the Aberdeen Scottish Terrier Rescue (ASTR) located in Renton, Washington. As time was running out for Luke, the ASTR did not hesitate to pull him from the shelter and transport him to the Yorba Lake Pet Clinic in Yorba Linda, California.
On March 28, 2017, Luke underwent a battery of tests along with repairing his cherry eye and cleaning his neglected ears. Suddenly, while Luke was under anesthesia for his teeth cleaning, Dr. Jaekyoung Bae was shocked to discover both sides of Luke’s jaw were broken. Horrified by this, she ordered immediate x-rays which confirmed Luke indeed suffered a mandibular fracture. The magnitude of such an injury brings unbearable pain and she notified the ASTR Luke had been the victim of certain abuse. With a grade 5-6 heart murmur as a real concern, putting him under anesthesia again wasn’t safe for another 7 to 9 days. At this point, keeping little Luke pain free was their priority until they felt he was ready for the major repair of his jaw. Realizing how high the financial burden would be, the ASTR reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation for assistance.
Even with ISF’s grant, the ASTR was still unable to afford the costly veterinary care in Washington State. Fortunately, a fellow rescue in California recommended a reputable veterinary facility in Mexico, where the surgical costs were considerably lower, so Luke was transported there. While undergoing surgery on April 6, 2017 to insert two metal plates, it was discovered the fracture on the left side of Luke’s jaw had already healed on its own so the decision was made to insert the titanium plate just on the right side. Two weeks after his surgery doctors were delighted to see his jaw healing well. Seeing Luke eat his food without any apparent pain, gave doctors and staff encouragement he would thrive.
To help him recover in a safe environment, Luke was placed in foster care where his strength and health began to build. As the applications of potential adopters came in, the ASTR was determined to find a perfect match for Luke. They finally settled on a family whose schedules allowed them to be home with him. The successful meet and greet confirmed it was, indeed, a perfect match. Luke is now one happy little boy.
Written by Judith Paolercio
Edited by Bob Stone