Second in a series: "Happy Tails," based on true stories from Manatee County Animal Services and No Kill Manatee County.
Not all of our happy tales start out happy.
Some begin with such sadness and neglect that it is hard to imagine a happy ending. Such was the case with Lady.
A few months ago, Animal Services got a particularly disturbing case involving a black Labrador retriever mix that had been tied up and abandoned in a backyard.
It was hard to judge how long the poor dog had been neglected, but it was long enough for her collar to become embedded deep into her neck. Her nerves were damaged to the point that she could barely walk and she had to be carried into Beach Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Luke Berglund believed the collar was most likely embedded for several months since there was significant scar tissue surrounding the wound.
Despite her condition, the dog was loving, sweet and quite the "lady."
Thanks to donations to the No Kill Manatee County Fund, they were able to approve treatment for the dog, now aptly named Lady. Berglund treated her with antibiotics and started a regimen of pain management. Lady was soon transferred to a foster home where she could heal.
Unfortunately, Lady developed tetanus symptoms, namely, lock jaw and severe stiffness. Once again, Berglund provided the No Kill Manatee County group with discounted medical treatment and started Lady on tetanus toxoid therapy.
Meanwhile, State Attorney Ed Brodsky is pursuing felony animal cruelty charges against the people responsible for neglecting and abusing Lady. Lisa Chittaro, assistant state attorney in Manatee County, and Erika Quartermaine, assistant state attorney in Sarasota County, are working vigorously on animal abuse investigations, as well as expanding community communication.
Their efforts have been successful due to partnerships driven by County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who helped create the Prevention of Animal Abuse Coalition, which consists of the State Attorney's Office, law enforcement and community members.
Prosecutors meet regularly with law enforcement, animal network representatives, veterinarians, animal services officers and Whitmore to discuss community issues, concerns, investigations and ongoing training to deal with animal abuse and neglect.
Lady is one of the lucky ones.
She has been at her foster home for two months and continues to prosper. She is friendly and sweet, crate-trained and good with chil
dren. She is a good watch dog and leery of strangers until properly introduced.
Like so many dogs that have spent their formative years neglected and tied up in a yard, Lady needs more training, but Candice Nicholas, her foster mom, said she is getting better every day.
Nicholas hopes Lady can get a forever home where she will have space to run and get lots of attention.
So, Lady is waiting.
If you are interested in adopting Lady, please contact Sue Kolze at 941-729-8631 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can help us save more dogs like Lady, please consider becoming a foster parent. We will match you with a dog, puppy, cat or kitten to fit your particular foster home. Call or e-mail Stephanie Kelly at 941-962-4090 or Stephanie.email@example.com to join our Foster Program.
If you are unable to foster, but want to donate time and/or money to help our homeless pets, please call 941-742-5933 or come by either of our Manatee County Animal Services locations at 305 25th St. W. in Palmetto or 1002B Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.
Thanks to community support, in the many forms it has taken, Lady has a good chance at finding her forever home. Please consider helping us inspire more happy tails to wag.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.