Pluto is a 16-month old pup with soulful eyes, a playful demeanor, and a curiosity for life. When this lively boy unexpectedly became severely ill, his owner, SaDante, did what any dog dad would do when their best bud isn’t feeling well – he took him to the vet. Pluto was in shock when he arrived at the vet clinic, but under the care of the medical team at the Lawrence Veterinary Hospital, he was given critical treatment to stabilize his condition. Thanks to Dr. Anna Johnson and the team at LVH, Pluto made it through the night. However, the next day it was obvious Pluto was still pretty sick. With a limited budget, SaDante did everything he could possibly afford to do for his pup, and the team at LVH worked creatively to come up with a treatment plan within his means. But, after a couple of days of care at LVH, the doctors still didn’t really know why Pluto was sick; all they knew is that he wasn’t getting better. That’s when Dr. Anna reached out to the Lawrence Humane Society for help.
Dr. Anna hoped that we’d be able to offer resources through our Crisis Pet Retention Program to help Pluto get better and go back home to his dad. The staff at LVH were really rooting for this dog-dad duo because the loving bond they shared was apparent to everyone who met them. SaDante was giving everything he had to Pluto’s care. The staff couldn’t help but champion these two, and once we met Pluto and SaDante, neither could we.
SaDante applied for assistance through the Crisis Pet Retention Program and the Lawrence Humane Society agreed to help with x-rays needed to diagnose Pluto’s condition. Dr. Anna feared that Pluto may have an intestinal obstruction but couldn’t be sure without an x-ray. When radiographs were inconclusive and Pluto was still not getting better, the Lawrence Humane Society also agreed to perform exploratory abdominal surgery on Pluto to see if we could figure out what was wrong.
As soon as Pluto arrived at the shelter we took him straight into surgery to get to the bottom of things. LHS Staff Veterinarian, Jennifer Stone, explored Pluto’s abdomen, searching for the root cause of his illness. She didn’t find an intestinal obstruction, but she did discover Pluto had extremely angry intestines. After seeing the fire-engine red and dilated intestines, it was no wonder Pluto was feeling so sick!
After ruling out an intestinal obstruction, Pluto was ultimately diagnosed by Chief Veterinarian Luke Pickett with a severe case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis requiring IV fluids, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, and time to heal. For 11 days, the LHS vet team provided Pluto with supportive care and with each passing day we saw him become a little stronger and a little brighter until he was finally able to keep food down, began to eat and drink on his own, and eventually form healthier stool. You might not think firm doggie-do is something to be celebrated, but shelter workers and vet staff most certainly do! We knew it meant it was time for our patient to go home.
Getting to tell Pluto’s dad he could finally take his best friend home felt like giving him a very special gift. Anyone who has loved a companion animal knows the bond between a pet and their person can be one of the deepest relationships they will ever know. It’s clear that that these two shared that kind of connection and we are truly grateful to witness their reunion.
In the past when owners found themselves in a similar pet crisis, they were faced with two gut-wrenching decisions: euthanize their pet or surrender their pet to the shelter. The Lawrence Humane Society is working to provide other solutions that allow pets and people to stay together whenever possible. Pluto didn’t have to be euthanized because his owner was out of resources, and Pluto didn’t have to lose his home to get the help he needed – he’s got a pretty great one already after all! Best of all, no hearts had to be broken and no bonds had to be severed. We couldn’t be happier about this outcome!
In just 3 short months since its inception, the Lawrence Humane Society has helped hundreds of pets and their owners through the Crisis Pet Retention Program. We are profoundly grateful to the supporters who make it possible for us to help Pluto, SaDante, and others like them. We believe that this kind of community support is the beginning of a new era in animal sheltering.