Roscoe was adopted in October of 2003 from the Dearborn Animal Shelter, now known as Friends For Animals of Metro Detroit as a 10 week old. He and his brother came into the shelter together as stray pups.
His owners had him just a few days before I received a phone call one evening from a friend of mine who was a veterinarian at a veterinary emergency hospital near Detroit letting me know that she was seeing a puppy with a Dearborn Shelter tag on his collar and she was calling me because I was the medical director of the shelter and she was concerned that the puppy was abused.
The owners brought the puppy in saying that they thought he had gotten into rat poison. His clinical signs did not fit with that, so after much questioning, the husband admitted that when he arrived home from work that day he called out to Roscoe, and when he didn’t come to him, he found him in the basement bathroom chewing on a plunger. He said that he picked Roscoe up by the scruff of his neck, Roscoe screamed and tried to bite the owner and then the owner said he flung him against the wall and left him as he went outside to cut the lawn.
When the owner’s wife and child came home they found Roscoe unresponsive and bleeding from his mouth. They brought him into the hospital with the story about the rat poison because that is what the husband told them. Roscoe had a fever of almost 108 degrees, was non-responsive, had broken teeth, a fractured jaw, blood coming out of his left ear and only had one cranial nerve functioning. His clinical signs told a much more sever abuse story than simply flinging him against the wall. He had been beaten. I told the ER vet to take photos, gather as much information as possible, give Roscoe the best care and to get the owners to sign him over to her since they could not afford care.
The next day, amazingly Roscoe was still alive. I had a friend of mine transfer him to a 24 hour specialty hospital (Blue Pearl) in Southfield for continued care. The veterinarians at Blue Pearl called me that next evening because they felt he would not make it much longer. At this point I was invested in his care and said I would come out to be with him, thinking he would have to be euthanized. When I arrived and began to pet him and talk to him he raised his head and looked at me with his good right eye. His fever had come down a bit as well. I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to save him so told the hospital I would be paying for his care.
Roscoe ended up surviving, and spent a month recovering at Blue Pearl before I took him home. He had to be fed through a tube in his stomach for about two months before he could learn to eat again. When he arrived at my home he hadn’t been able to stand or walk, but when my dogs surrounded him he became so excited, wagging his tail, and trying to get up that within a few days he was standing and walking. He recovered so well that we had to watch him outside as he could run very quickly even though his gait was very wobbly. We ended up adopting him, and have been so fortunate to have this sweet baby as a part of our family.
Roscoe is now 13 1/2 years old, has Hypothyroid Disease and Allergies, but is a happy, loving old boy. It is a miracle that he survived. Unfortunately there was no one who would prosecute the owner and that really upset me. I had so much evidence against him, but couldn’t get any of the prosecutors to take the case, said they were swamped with people cases. I just hope he never adopted and hurt another dog and that his child was not a victim as well.
MY SIDE NOTE: It takes a VERY special person to adopt a dog that needs so much care and special attention. The couple that adopted Roscoe, are just that, SPECIAL! I am pleased to have them in my circle of friends.