The 6th Save of Christmas: An Old Girl Named Lulu
The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA helps thousands of animals each year. During the month of December, we share twelve stories about animals saved by the SPCA this year. These stories exemplify our commitment to maintaining Charlottesville-Albemarle as a No Kill community. All of these stories have a happy ending because of the commitment of our SPCA and the generosity and support from people like you. Follow along this month to read all 12 stories on our blog or use the box to the left to sign up to receive our e-news in your inbox.
Adopters for a number of reasons often overlook senior animals, even perfectly healthy ones. Unfortunately, Lulu didn’t just have a grey muzzle and life experience when she came to the SPCA – she has some serious medical issues to deal with.
Lulu was found on a large property of a caring family. One day when they were hiking, they found Lulu lying next to a creek. She was too weak to walk and too large to carry, but Lulu waited patiently while the family ran to retrieve a small utility vehicle, which allowed them to drive Lulu to safety and to the medical attention she so desperately needed.
After a nice meal and a warm snuggle in a blanket, Lulu arrived at the SPCA. She still wasn’t able to walk on her own. Clinic staff would soon realized that she had a combination of severe arthritis, intervertebral disc disease and she was urinating blood. As if all this were not enough for poor Lulu to endure, she was also extremely emaciated and obviously hadn’t had the medical care and full belly she needed in some time. The combination of these factors made Lulu’s current quality of life poor and her mobility even worse. The staff immediately recognized that it would be difficult for Lulu to find a home. It is a lot to ask of an adopter to take on a 50-pound dog who isn’t able to walk well, not to mention the fact that Lulu herself was in obvious pain and discomfort. However, it was also evident that Lulu had not received any medical care or attention in some time, so staff committed to do what they could to give her the chance at a pain-free life as a loved pet. Wasting no time and wanting to make Lulu as comfortable as possible, SPCA veterinarian Dr. Scheller embarked on a plan. Lulu received pain medication to help with her immediate discomfort, and the very next day, Lulu was sedated for a full work-up: radiographs (x-rays), bloodwork, urinalysis, a sanitary shaving, a much-needed bath, and fluids for rehydration.
We are incredibly fortunate to have the necessary resources to perform these procedures for animals at the SPCA. It is certain that without community support to fund our clinic and our compassionate clinic staff, Lulu would not be a success story. Lulu is so lucky that she ended up at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, where staff, volunteers, and a community of supporters believe that all animals deserve a fighting chance and thus strive to do their very best to ensure the well-being every single animal. Lulu was also lucky enough to catch the eye of the SPCA Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Scheller. Dr. Scheller says, “Of course she caught my eye! She’s an amazing dog. As soon as I saw her, it was very easy for me to imagine the dog she was and the dog she once again could be.”
After treatment, we soon saw a small but instant improvement in Lulu’s attitude. Although it was still difficult for her to get around, she was making progress. She quickly became one of Dr. Scheller’s favorite patients, and she began to spend her lunch breaks taking Lulu on short walks and giving her massages. One Saturday evening, Dr. Scheller decided to take Lulu home for the remainder of the weekend, just to give her a break from the shelter. Dr. Scheller says, “One of the first things I noticed was that Lulu tried to jump into the back of my car and then during the drive she was looking all around and out the window. It was obvious she had been in a car before and this made me wonder about any family she may have had in the past.” Lulu lived with Dr. Scheller for about a month before she decided to make her a permanent member of the family.
Adopting a senior animal is a wonderful opportunity to give a dog like Lulu the second chance they deserve. And, don’t think that Lulu has retired her puppyish ways! She can often be found stealing food off the table and eating socks. She might be an old gal, but she’s mischievous and quiet young at heart.
Today, Lulu loves to spend her days following her new dad around and sticking as close to him as possible, lounging on her orthopedic beds, and hopping in the back of her mom’s car to go on family vacations. While no one is certain how long Lulu will be with her family, we know for sure that she wouldn’t have stood a chance without the caring family who found her and brought her to the SPCA, without the dedicated SPCA veterinary staff, without a compassionate community of animal loving supporters, and without a new mom who was willing to look past a lengthy medical history and greying muzzle to see the amazing dog beneath it all.
Make a gift so we can continue giving senior pets a second chance at health and happiness.