Who Saved Who?

Fostering Noah

Saturday, September 26, 2015, Noah entered my life.  My friend Dr. Sarah Dewhirst, a veterinarian at VERGI, notified me of a particularly alarming case that she had.  Noah had been brought in with his metacarpal bones of his right forelimb fully exposed and a severe and infected wound on his neck.  She was exceptionally distraught that he was so brave that he was continuing to walk on this leg with his bones “clicking” on the floor with every step.  He was so gentle that he allowed her to handle his wounds and examine him prior to being able to sedate him.

For over one month, I visited Noah at VERGI while he was hospitalized, not in a condition to be able to come home with me.  It took until Friday, October 2nd for him to be able to be in condition to have his surgery to amputate and reconstruct the remainder of his front leg.  He had to be sedated daily to have his bandage changes and wound care.  It was so painful that he would not be able to lift his head, but would cry with every breath.  I would sit on the floor with Noah and just hold him and offer any comfort I could.  The wound on his neck grew a very dangerous and resistant type of bacteria.  When this wound was having a hard time healing, a culture was sent to the lab to see what the microorganism was that was growing.  The decision was made that he had to be immediately put on TMPS which is not even available in most veterinary practices.  I went to Walgreens at 11 pm Saturday, October 3rd to pick this up.  Thankfully, he responded quickly and began to heal.  At least physically.  He was fitted with his prosthetics and was able to come home Friday, October 30th.

Upon bringing him home, it was clear that his physical trauma did not come close to the emotional trauma he had.  We stopped at PetSmart to get him a few things of his own to make him more comfortable.  Bringing a dog into PetSmart with a prosthetic attracted quite a bit of attention.  People were asking to pet him and approaching him.  My only visits with Noah were at VERGI, so I did not know how insecure he was as this is a controlled environment with few people.  He was so petrified that I left to take him home right away.

Once home, he met my other dog, Angus and immediately fell in love.  I was apprehensive about this introduction as Angus is extremely hyper and I felt would be too much for Noah.  This was not the case at all.  Noah’s gentle and loving nature was immediately apparent.  After allowing the dogs to play supervised for a while, I put them both in their crates to go back to PetSmart to get Noah some belongings.  When I returned from PetSmart, I was very surprised to turn the corner from the foyer and look past the kitchen to see Noah’s crate open.  I panicked, “What did he get into?  Where is he?”  I ran to the crate and looked around.  Then, I found him laying outside the door to Angus’ crate.  He got into nothing.  He did not potty in the house.  He did not eat any food.  He just wanted his friend.

The list of friends and family that wanted to come meet Noah was endless.  It took several weeks to work through his fear enough that he was comfortable with whoever I introduced him to.  He came to work with me several times and got to meet people who loved him and wanted to see him.  It was a daily project to build this confidence in him.  By Christmas, he was able to wear a Santa suit and attend a charity event for the group who saved his life.  He happily greeted all of the people who loved him so much.  It became evident at this point that his insecurities had shifted from every aspect of his life to separation anxiety.  Even though he loved my husband Paul very much, walking away from him was not an option.  I walked away to bid on a few products and once he realized I was not next to him, he started barking and panicking.  I was only about 10 feet away.  With his 3 1/5 legs, he drug my husband who is 6’5” and 280 pounds to be at my side.  To him at this point, I represented love and safety.  He knew as long as I was with him, nothing bad would ever happen to him.  But if I left him, his safety and security left him.

At home, we started having Paul be the one who walked him and handled him in public, but his attachment stayed.  He was so emotionally damaged that he literally did not feel safe if I was not by his side.

Everything Noah has been through, I have never received so much love from anything.  Human or animal.  I would like to say in the months that I had him, that I did something to help contribute to his recovery and help him to write the first chapters of the book that will be the rest of his life.  But that would be a lie.  The real benefit here would be the incredible lesson he taught me.  How does someone who has been taught nothing but hate only have love for others?  He was able to not only become a great ambassador for the breed with his incredibly gentle and loving demeanor, but he healed wounds I did not know I had.  I personally had a short fuse and quite a bit of hate inside me.  He taught me to move beyond my past.  His unconditional love healed wounds I thought were just a part of me.  My own years of abuse and physical and emotional trauma began to fade as they were filled with his love.  Noah is a blessing to all people from God.  His strength is unyielding, his character is uncompromising.  He loves everyone and is loved by all.  He is the most tremendous being.  My life is so blessed just due to his short stay with me.  I hope everyone has the opportunity to be blessed by him.

 

Sallie Goode

5/7/16

Posted in Foster Tails