Sure enough there's the dog, right where the caller said it would be - against the fence, in the mud. I approach, and see it is just a baby, a pit bull baby, - he doesn't look good at all. Try to pick him up, cause he's not gonna move on his own - he screams and I reconsider my original plan. Go to the truck get a towel and something to wrap around his sweet baby mouth to muzzle him. More screaming, but I get him into the cage in the back of the truck. Now what? Clearly he is in pain, and I can not take him back to the shelter in this condition.
It is after 5, all of the regular vets we use will probably be gone for the day. Sure enough they are, so it is off to the emergency vet with the precious little puppy.
We have called ahead, so they know we are coming and have agreed to see him without up front payment. We are ushered into an exam room - puppy promptly throws up on the floor. The vet tech suggests they will probably want to do a test for parvo. I explain the city doesn't have the funds to treat this puppy if he is really as sick as he seems to be - probably all we can do is make him stop hurting. She understands what I mean and puts the parvo test on hold for now. She takes his temp and tries to get his pulse. Now we have bloody diarrhea in addition to the vomit - the vet insists on the parvo test. Makes sense to me, but I want them to know the city won't be
willing to pay for treatment.
They test him. I sit on the floor, his head in my lap, his body on a towel to keep him off the cold fake wood floor. We wait - me and the sick puppy, I have to keep shifting my legs to keep them from falling asleep. I stroke his soft baby ears, and try to think of a name for him. He should have a name, it just isn't right for him to be nameless. I can't think of anything suitable. He sleeps, I listen to his soft puppy breathing, and am sad because I don't think this is going to end well. The vet comes into the room. Yes, he has parvo. In fact the vet says he has probably been sick for 4 or 5 days, and is so dehydrated he probably wasn't going to last much longer. Probably been throwing up and having diarrhea for several days, but no one noticed, or no one cared. So I prepare myself to say that I want to be with him, to hold him when they euthanize him. But first he needs a name...
Then a surprising thing happens. The emergency vet says she has talked with the owner of the clinic and they would like to treat this puppy for the same price that they would charge the city to euthanize him. I am surprised. I know this is a good deal. A very good deal. She says she expects he will have to stay at the hospital for several days, but they would like to do this. She thinks they can save his life. I hesitate for a moment, because I know that even if his life is saved he still does not have a home. He is a puppy - a shelter is not a good place for a puppy to grow up. We already have two pit bulls at our very small shelter. Two pit bulls that have been there for quite some time. Two pit bulls that no one has looked at. He might have a life, but what kind of life? The moment passes and I smile and say - it's a deal! I fill out some more paperwork, whisper good luck to the puppy, walk back out to the truck, and start thinking of a suitable name for this puppy whose luck may have just turned around.