2:05 PM CDT, September 24, 2012
A small dog was found alive in a trash bag that was placed outside of someone's home in the Goodwood area on Friday, Sept. 21. Had the bag gone unnoticed a few minutes longer, that dog could have ended up in the back of a Waste Management truck. Fortunately, a volunteer with a local rescue organization happened to be in the right place at the right time.
"Our volunteer, Stacy, was walking her dogs when she saw [the dog] in the trash," Andrea LaFaver, President of SOS Rescue, said. "She asked if anyone checked to see if he was really dead. They pulled the bag to the side and clearly saw that he was still breathing.
"He was in such bad shape that he couldn't stand up."
SOS Rescue took in the discarded pup and named him Wilbur, and they began addressing his immediate needs.
"They started by giving him antibiotics and fluids," LaFavor explained. "Within a few hours he perked up a little bit. He's eating better now, but he's still pretty weak."
After assessing his condition and the way in which he was discarded, LaFaver believes Wilbur was once owned by a "backyard breeder."
"He was being fed," she explained. "He's a healthy weight. It seems as though they tied him up and were giving him food, but not taking care of him.
"It's possible that he was a stud dog that was being used for breeding and once they were done with him, they tossed him out."
Supporting the theory that Wilbur is a product of abuse via a breeder is the fact that he is a purebred terrier.
"Actually, there has been a lot of debate on his exact breed," LaFaver noted. "There are two assumptions right now: He's either a Westie (West Highland White Terrier) or a Wheaten Scottie Terrier.
"Based on his condition right now, it's difficult to say which type he is exactly," she added. "He has suffered years of flea infestation and neglect. He has almost no hair and his skin is in deplorable condition. His eyes are clouded over with puss and his ears are completely clogged with dirt and infection. I tried to clean out his ears, but they hurt him so bad that I couldn't even touch them without him being in pain."
Tomorrow, Wilbur will undergo a full inspection by Dr. McMullan at All Pets Hospital located on Perkins Road. Once they have a full diagnosis with an estimate for the cost of care, SOS Rescue will ask the public for donations.
"We are a small, animal rescue group that deals with special needs cases," LaFaver explained. "We are completely non-profit and all of our volunteers are unpaid. We are completely dependent on donations, and all that money goes directly to the animals."
SOS Rescue has a policy regarding its donations process that is a bit different from other groups.
"We do not ask for any donations until we know exactly how much it will cost," LaFaver noted. "We know that donors want to know where their money is going, so we keep people updated on the exact cost of care and what the money is being used for. If the donations do exceed the amount of the cost of care, we put it into a general fund that can be used in other cases."
SOS Rescue deals with roughly 160-200 cases a year. They take in cats as well as dogs, and many are referred to the group by EBR Animal Control.
"We operate out of foster homes, so we're limited in the number of animals we can save," LaFaver said.
Finding someone willing to foster a dog is particularly challenging for the organization.
"I think a lot of people believe fostering is a daunting task," LaFaver said. "But we pay for all the food, medical costs and supplies for the animal while it's being fostered. The only thing the foster has to provide is the love and support to help that animal get better."
Without a strong network of fosters, dogs such as Wilbur would not gain the support he needs. Click here to learn more about how to get involved with the foster program.
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