Many humans and animals live with limitations. Whether physically or emotionally, these limitations affect not only their own lives, but also the lives of those around them. Sheriff is a ten-year old boxer with limitations which some people walked away from, but a very special family accepted his limitations and became his forever family.
Sheriff arrived at the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter as a stray intake in February 2017. His condition was so grave they contacted NorCal Boxer Rescue group for assistance. NorCal volunteers were led to Sheriff’s kennel and would later describe the sight as looking like a “crime scene.” Sheriff’s kennel was soiled with “profuse, bloody diarrhea.” Undeniably, for Sheriff to have reached this condition was truly a crime. Transport was immediately arranged and he was taken to NorCal’s veterinarian, Dr. Michael Evans with Animal Care Clinic in El Sobrante, where he examined him.
Sheriff endured such neglectful care, resulting in severe bilateral perineal hernias, several masses, severe gingival hyperplasia, and purulent nasal discharge. Most critical to Sheriff’s health were the severe hernias, which were life threatening, suggesting they developed over years without any veterinary treatment. Sheriff’s medical conditions were extremely painful and debilitating. The hernias had caused a distended colon, fecal impaction, constipation, an infection, secondary ulceration and hemorrhaging. Sheriff was stabilized in the hospital for three days before undergoing surgery. The hernias were repaired, the four masses removed, the gingival hyperplasia resected, his teeth scaled and polished and he was neutered.
Sheriff would withstand a long recovery as he was hospitalized three weeks following the surgery, due to complications. Sheriff suffered from bloody stool, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence requiring constant attention to keep his sutures clean. He also experienced regurgitation which was difficult to control, but thankfully resolved when all food and oral medications were stopped and replaced with fluids and medication via IV. He was also given Amikacin antibiotic for his upper respiratory infection. Three out of four masses were sent out for histopathology with results showing two were benign while the third was a Grade 1 mast cell tumor. This tumor was fully excised with narrow margins and did not require additional treatment.
Sheriff’s medical bills were mounting. Having been awarded an ISF Emergency Medical Grant in the past, NorCal once again reached out to the ISF and were awarded another grant to help with the cost of Sheriff’s surgery and medical care.
Sheriff’s intensive veterinary care greatly benefitted him as his pain was managed, his infection controlled and he was able to successfully overcome his many surgical complications. He was placed in a foster home where the family was willing to overlook his fecal incontinence and manage his diet to minimize the issues which the incontinence presents. He would be a very difficult adoption placement because of his housetraining limitations. Thankfully Sheriff’s foster family is extraordinary as they had this to say regarding his incontinence, “It is a small price to pay for the companionship and love that Sheriff offers.” They fell in love with Sheriff and said, “He filled their hearts and home with love again after the loss of their previous boxer”. Sheriff officially became part of their family in June 2017.
Although Sheriff exhibits anxiety around dogs, he has learned to tolerate his two cat siblings and has been caught taking catnaps with them. His family has loved, “Watching him blossom from a sick, scared boy that he was into a happy, healthy dog who knows how much he is loved and who loves back in equal measure.”
NorCal had this to say to ISF, “This experience has shown for all the evil in the world, for all the people that neglect their animals to a point that it is simply criminal – there exists good veterinarians who heal broken bodies, families who open their hearts and home to animals in need and organizations that through their financial generosity facilitate the recovery of sweet deserving souls like Sheriff.”
ISF would like to thank all of those who made Sheriff’s rescue a success and to his family for looking beyond Sheriff’s limitations and seeing him for the loving gentle giant he is.
Written by Theresa Blangiforti
Edited by Bob Stone