Truffle, a 5 year old female border collie mix, was hit by a car and left to die on February 1, 2016. She was picked up by a Good Samaritan and taken to Philadelphia Animal Control where she was immediately put on the euthanasia list due to her extensive injuries. Upon immediate examination, both of Truffle’s hind legs had been “degloved” at the ankles, exposing muscle and both were broken. She also had a damaged lateral collateral ligament and severe road rash. Since Animal Control simply does not have the resources to handle such a case, an email was sent out to all the local rescues to see if any were able to take responsibility for her. She didn’t have much time – Truffle was scheduled to be euthanized at 5 pm.
Grace and Steve Herbert of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue were acknowledging an anniversary that day. It had been four years since they lost Sprout, a blind Chihuahua who defied odds and stole their hearts. They knew they had to honor Sprout by saving Truffle so that's exactly what they set out to do. Truffle was picked up from the shelter and immediately taken to Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. In addition to her obvious injuries, Truffle suffered very badly bruised lungs and needed to be placed on oxygen. She was examined by Dr. Timothy Schwab, one of the top surgeons at the hospital. Dr. Schwab cleaned and dressed her wounds, splinted and bandaged her legs and inserted drains where necessary. Truffle remained in the hospital for two weeks with round-the-clock care. In spite of being constantly poked and prodded, probably in substantial pain, Truffle was gentle and bonded easily with her caregivers.
Once she finally recovered enough to be mobile, it was time to consider repairing her extensively damaged lateral collateral ligament and the shattered bone which holds the ligament in place. After actively fundraising to cover the $5,000 emergency visit bill, another $3,000 was now needed for surgery to repair the ligament and bone. Grace reached out to ISF for help and, after hearing Truffle’s story, we were more than happy to help cover the surgery. Truffle also needed to be spayed before she was eligible for adoption. She was on the road to recovery, but she still had quite a journey ahead. By this time, she was being fostered by one of the vet nurses who had bonded with her while in the hospital.
The scheduled surgery went very well as screws were placed in her leg to secure the ligament in place. She was also spayed in a separate surgery. Truffle’s care and recovery included regular bandage changes, crate rest, short leash walks, building up to more exercise and physical therapy. She was up and walking her way toward a full recovery.
Unfortunately, a follow-up visit uncovered small mammary masses either not present or not discovered during previous examinations. The masses were removed and biopsied which led to a diagnosis of low-grade carcinoma. To add insult to injury, in the time it took to get the biopsy back, two more masses appeared! Truffle would need a full mastectomy on the right and a partial on the left so more surgery was in Truffle’s future. The cancer was successfully removed and Truffle had an excellent prognosis.
Finally, with all surgeries behind her and an all-clear from the oncologist, Truffle was ready for adoption. She was heavily marketed and went on several meet-and-greet events, but there was little interest in this sweet girl. Potential families sometimes shy away from dogs with complicated medical histories and Truffle had some behavior challenges related to leash manners, prey drive, containment and dog reactivity. The behavioral challenges were addressed successfully by Kelly Craig of the Distinguished Dog, a Philly area dog training service which works with Finding Shelter on a regular basis. However, at this point Truffle had now been with her foster family for more than a year and truth be told, they really didn’t want to part with her. Since foster dad worked from home, he and Truffle had forged a strong bond. So our story ends with Truffle being officially adopted on her foster dad’s birthday as a birthday surprise. They can now celebrate their big days together and, more importantly, Truffle is being loved and cared for by the very people who helped save her.
Written by Shandra Locken
Edited by Bob Stone