June 30th, 2010

freyja's nose
I’ve always thought it would be magical to find a puppy.  I’d be walking down the street, hear a noise in the shrubbery and out would run a puppy!  In retrospect, this was a rather naive train of thought because that’s not how it happened at all.

June 9th I was in Watts and that was the day I found a little brown puppy.  She was laying in the sun, emaciated and not moving.  She had cuts and bite marks on her face and she didn’t make a sound or struggle as I picked her up.  She lay on the front seat and barely moved the entire drive back to Venice (which took extra long because of ridiculous traffic and freeway closures).  My plan was to bring her to the vet, they’d get some fluids in her and make her healthy and I’d bring her home and take care of the rest.  Again, my naivety kicked in.

freyja's paws
After doing some preliminary blood work and other tests, the vet called and told me the puppy had parvo.  She was given an 85% chance of survival.  She was on an intense antibiotic treatment, in addition to being on two IV’s – one for fluids and one for vitamins.  They started treatment the afternoon of June 9th.  I would visit her every day, which meant putting on scrubs and gloves if I wanted to touch her or pick her up.  I brought her toys and talked to her but she would rarely, if ever lift her head and only follow my movements with her eyes.  On more than one occasion I would leave the vet’s office in tears – with the thought of her dying without ever knowing what it was like to be loved by someone.  By the 15th, she was still in isolation and hadn’t eaten yet.  The vets were concerned with not only her physical state but her mental state as well – she was a depressed little puppy, and she was going downhill.  It just seemed like she had lost the will to live.

freyja's eyes
On the 16th, while I was at the vet they asked me to try and feed her some baby food – just to get something into her system.  At this point they had tried everything – a variety of both dry and wet dog foods, cold cuts, and force feeding – all of which she either turned away from or threw up after.  They gave me a jar of $0.69 turkey baby food.  I stuck my gloved finger into the jar and then under the puppy’s nose and her ears perked up a little as her tongue came out and licked the food off my finger.  I was beyond excited!  She ended up eating about 1/3 of the jar before deciding she didn’t want anymore.  Between the 17th and the 22nd (when I brought her home), she continued to eat and get more energetic.  It’s hard to believe that a tiny jar of turkey baby food ended up being the thing that gave her a will to live – even though I like to tell myself that it was me.

Now not only is she on her way to becoming a healthy puppy but she has a home, a big brother (in the form of my 5-yr old husky mix, Phantom), more toys than she knows what to do with, and people who love her.  And I no longer have that little girl wish of finding a puppy while I’m walking down the street.

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A Canadian, Angela is a photographer that lives in Venice Beach, California and has driven from one end of the continent to the other three times in one year. She once flipped her car ten times and used to test explosives for the government.

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angela marklew
venice beach, ca

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