Sunday 24th May 2015
I found this sorry little fellow hobbling in the road. His toenails were so long, they curled under, making it difficult for him to walk, he has lots of sores, some bleeding, was covered in ticks and fleas, has conjunctivitis, and as you can see very skinny with loss of fur. His overgrown toenails suggest he was tied by a chain with little movement, before being thrown out by his cruel owners, probably due to disease. Heart-breakingly sad, and I couldn?t pass him by, so stopped the car, and gradually gained his trust, coaxing him with dog treats; whilst Platonas quietly watched from the car.
I procured a cardboard box to take him home in, Platon was extremely patient and gentle, and although beside himself at the prospect of a playmate, respected my commands to keep them separate (to stop infection of fleas etc.) Pericles (named after a warrior), soon curled up in his box, and when we got home, happily followed me at a trot. He has lieshmania, a terrible disease, transferred by sand flies, that causes inflammation and much pain. He is covered in open wounds and has lost much of his fur, his skin is dry and flaky, he was very weak and fragile. I drove him two hours to the vet, where she clipped his nails and carried out tests, it appears that his kidneys and liver are fine, so the disease seems just to have affected his skin and can therefore be managed with medication. He was terrified at the vets, but I sat on the floor with him, and he put his head in my lap and let me stroke him. The vet guesses he?s about two years old (due to the plaque on his teeth), and currently weighs 11 Kg.
When I returned late in the evening, I bathed him, and gave him a flea treatment, before making him a little bed and shelter on the balcony. He ate his food (and hidden meds) enthusiastically, and curled up to sleep. Sadly his wounds are not healing (part of the disease) so he?s been bleeding all over the balcony, it looks a bit like a crime scene as the tips of his ear is bleeding, and he keeps shaking his head!
Platon couldn?t wait to get up and see him the following morning (only through the glass doors), and again he ate well, and managed a little walk. I have decided to treat him, although the medication is quite expensive, and I will have to take him to the vet every week for the initial period (months), then, once he is at a certain stage in his recovery, he just needs meds to manage his disease. Currently I give him one med with his morning meal, and another with his evening meal, which is so toxic it requires the ?nurse? to wear the protective gloves provided to measure the exact dose with a syringe. Pericles? lieshmania is only contagious if a sandfly bites him and then Platon or another dog (very unlikely), and Platon is doused in citroenella daily (much to his distaste). As his health improves we can treat other aspects, and will neuter him. Hopefully his fur should grow back, and he will be a pretty little thing again.
Since his flea treatment I have moved Pericles inside, and he and Platonas lie companionably in the shade as I write. I don?t know if I can keep Pericles long term, but I am determined to the do the best that I can for him, help get him back on the road to health, and find/give him a caring furever home, so he can have the comfortable, loving life he deserves. The initial treatment is expensive, despite the kind generosity of our wonderful vet (Amanda Michelleti in Svoronata), so thanks to the kindness of friends that commented on my original photos, I have created a fund raising page. Thank you all so much for your kind support, you are truly appreciated. Much love & gratitude, Hxx
Monday 25th May 2015
Thank you so much for all your kind and generous contributions to Pericles medical fund, I am so thankful for all your help, and the chance to restore him to good health. Unfortunately we had an unexpected set back yesterday, but it seems Pericles is worthy of the warrior?s moniker and I am optimistic again this morning. Here is a little recap and update over the weekend:
I found Pericles on Friday morning, he was initially very wary and timid, but after coaxing with dog treats, trusted me enough to take him home and to the vet. He was terrified at the vets, shaking uncontrollably unable to resist as she carefully checked his weak little body and took blood for tests. However on Friday evening, he begrudgingly let me bathe him, which must have hurt his inflamed, infected skin and open wounds, then slept soundly on a makeshift bed of blankets and towels in a baby bath.
Saturday morning he was delighted to see me; and Platonas, although beside himself with excitement and interest, watched everything at a respectful distance. Pericles slept most of the day, but happily trotted downstairs to the garden for the toilet. He did make an awful mess of the balcony as he has a nasty cut on the tip of one ear, and every time he shook himself down (which may relieve the dry, itchy skin, and he does it frequently), he sprayed blood all over the floor and walls, shutters and windows, until it resembled quite a morbid crime scene. He ate his food enthusiastically, consuming his hidden meds completely; and by the evening had enough energy for a short companionable walk with Platon and I. He trotted along happily, with his tail high and a spring in his step, already on the road to recovery.
Yesterday (Sunday) Pericles seemed even brighter, thumping his tail to greet us in the morning, enjoying his breakfast, even greedily sharing biscuits with Platon and I as we all sat on the balcony for my morning coffee. He?s very polite and doesn?t snatch food from my hand, but daintily takes it in his little mouth; which seems so much smaller, though no less gentle than Platon?s. My two boys seem to get along, although they occupy different spots to watch me from (Platon on the sofa and Pericles from a rug). I took Platon to the beach in the morning, and when we returned, Pericles was clearly happy we were home. He started investigating the apartment, sniffing around and even showing more interest in Platonas. He jumps up excitedly as soon as I grab the leads, and has even worked out where the dog treats are kept, imploring me with such beautiful eyes that he deserves some doggy deliciousness. In the evening I decided to take them both for a short walk together, before taking Platonas for a proper run, off lead, along the goat paths.
The two dogs walk together well, Pericles trotting to keep up, both stopping to sniff, and Pericles covering every time Platon pees. We stopped to water an absent neighbour?s plants, and I let the dogs off leash on their terrace. Pericles really seemed much better, Platon even hoped he might play, inviting him in a deep play bow, and trying to goad him into chase; but he stayed close to me, though watching the water hose warily. I returned them to their leads for the short (25m) walk home, and as we got to the gate, I saw a neighbours? large unruly dog charging towards us. Before I could stop it he attacked Pericles, firmly clamping his jaw over his slender waist, and shook him violently. Platon barked ferociously, and I screamed for help as I tried to kick the neighbours dog away, but he hung on persistently. I?m sure help came running from several directions quite quickly, but it seemed like an eternity, and once my broom brandishing neighbour managed to release the other dogs grip, Pericles fled crying and limping up the steps to my door.
I could see several large deep wounds in his left side, and his stomach hung uncharacteristically swollen. He was bleeding, but only a little since he is severely anaemic, and I could see a hole the size of pound/euro coin that looked equally deep. Shaking with adrenalin I begged my neighbour for a lift to the vet, and rang her to see if she could see me out of hours on Sunday. Pericles crawled to his mat and lay there shivering as I tried to reassure him through my tears. The vet explained that unfortunately she couldn?t stitch the wounds as infection would become trapped within, and Pericles? body was too weak to fight it, so not to make the two hour journey. There are also complications because of the very strong meds we have given him to fight lieshmania, we have to be very careful we don?t kill him with polypharmacy. Luckily I hadn?t yet administered his evening dose, so was able to give him some pain relief meds hidden in some food. At first he refused to eat, and as I squirted a dilute antiseptic onto his wounds, snapped at the needle-less syringe. However, after some stroking and coaxing, he allowed me to hand feed him, and thankfully the meds went in.
I sat on the floor, stroking his head, and watching his laboured breathing as he tried to sleep. His fragile little body was shaking, and he looked at me so helplessly, I desperately wished I could do more for him. Eventually he seemed to drift off, and I saw his paws move involuntarily as if dreaming; I hope that he was running healthily and happily in his dream not remembering his recent battles and frailty.
I eventually slept too, with Platon curled up close and pressing into me. He had been incredibly patient all evening, watching everything quietly from a respectable distance, although barking protectively at the sound of any footsteps passing, vehicles on the road, and even the telephone ringing. Luckily we live in a small village without much traffic. We woke in the early hours, and Platon jumped off the bed, insistent at the door, to check on Pericles. We found him his body gently rising with each breath, and dreaming on Platon?s bed; and satisfied he was alive and asleep, we didn?t disturb him and returned to bed. In the morning, Platonas was immediately up again and waiting at the door, and we found Pericles trying to wag his tail in greeting. He found it difficult to get up, but with a little support managed it, and limped down the stairs to pee, before immediately limping straight back up to the safety and comfort of the dog bed, whilst Platon watched patiently from the sofa. He?s eaten his breakfast, complete with pain killers and antibiotics. We will have to cease the intensive lieshmania treatment until he has finished a course of antibiotics, and is strong enough to tolerate it again. He has just managed to move from the shade to a sunny spot on the balcony, where Platon is keeping an eye on him. He laps up any affection, resting his head in my hand gratefully, and gently accepts the treats I share between them.
So Pericles? name suits him, he really is a little warrior, and now that he has made it through the night, I am hopeful again that we can help heal him. I?m not sure why the other dog attacked him, he?s usually very playful with Platon, but I guessed he sensed Pericles weakness, and since he is un-neutered (as is Pericles), was behaving territorially, possibly jealousy. The neighbours have agreed to keep him confined until they can find a new home for him, he?s not a bad dog but they struggle with him, and none of us want him to be chained up indefinitely. Please reconsider neutering your pets if you haven?t already. Meanwhile Pericles is safe and cared for, and I?ll keep you updated on his progress. Thank you again for all your kind donations, he?s such a sweet soul and really deserves the chance of recovery and a loving life, especially after all he?s been through.
29th May 2015
This morning when I woke, something was missing. Platon didn?t leap off the bed, but stayed close for a cuddle, as we delayed the start of our day. When we eventually faced up to getting up, we both missed the thumping tail of our little buddy smiling from his spot in the lounge, and the way he would eagerly raise his head in greeting, from where he lay, neatly curled up on the soft dog bed. Platon sniffed the bed, and then searched for Pericles on the balcony, before settling next to me on the sofa, resting his chin on my lap as I drank my coffee.
I found Pericles? family, actually his name is Bailey, and yesterday afternoon we took him home. When I first found the sorry little fellow, I asked people in the village if they knew him. Someone suggested a family he might have belonged to, and I checked but they didn?t claim him. It wasn?t until a few days later someone suggested someone else, and I went to see the woman. Whilst language barriers hampered our communication, it was clear she certainly recognised the poor little pup in my photos. I reassured her that Bailey was safe and being cared for at my home, and ensured she knew where I live; she told me she had a headache, and we agreed I would talk to her husband. Her husband arrived yesterday afternoon to claim our little friend, (up until this point I wasn?t sure if they wanted him back), and after explaining his medical treatment (including a telephone call to the vet), I wrapped up the test results and medication, wrote out the dosage and timing instructions, and drove Bailey back to the village. He has been such a happy little presence in our home in the last few days; I will miss his eager little dancing trot around my ankles and the way his head folds in to me when I stroke him.
His owners say they had been given an (incorrect) diagnosis from a vet on the mainland that they had sent photographs (?!), and were unaware of the serious disease that Bailey has contracted. Despite his severely neglected condition, they do seem to care about him, but culturally attitudes are very different. I explained that I had bathed him, removed the ticks, given him a flea treatment, had his toenails clipped, bathed his eyes with chamomile, and was waiting for his health to improve to administer a worming tablet. I also explained that the leishmania treatment should be recommenced once the course of antibiotics had finished, following a visit to the vet to check his status. I will admit that I am dubious that they will take him to the vet (it?s a long journey), but nearer the time I will offer to drive them. They have agreed that I can pop by the house and see Bailey whenever I like, as he will be there, on a chain in the garden.
On our evening walk, we missed the spritely little chap whose skinny legs kept up in double time with Platon?s larger strides. At home on the sofa, Platon didn?t have to share my cuddles, but still headed for the bedroom at suppertime, as I had been taking the precaution to separate the dogs to feed them. He looked at me curiously as I set his bowl down in the usual spot in the kitchen, and the dog bed although previously favoured, remains untouched and empty. In some way it is a relief that this very sick dog is no longer my responsibility, but of course we will miss him, and ultimately I just wanted him to have the best care and chance of recovery.
Although I am unable to ensure Bailey gets all the medical treatment he needs, I will offer to help his owners in any way I can, and will certainly stop by regularly to give him some love and affection. He is such a sweet little soul, I wouldn?t want his family to lose him; and I?m grateful that they appreciate that my actions were driven by a desire to do the best for him. At least now they are aware of his correct diagnosis, and have the medicine to begin his treatment again.
I am so grateful to everyone that kindly contributed to Pericles? medical treatment fund, and will contact you all individually regarding your donation. Meanwhile I will keep you updated on his progress as much as possible.
7th June 2015
Dear Friends, just a little update on Pericles/Bailey, who seems to be stronger and more spritely with each day. His charming little personality is more evident as his health improves; he?s quite a cocky little character! I took him to the vet earlier this week, an early start, for the journey takes just under two hours, and we had to be there before she started surgery. Amanda is a one-man band, in the small village of Svoronata, near the airport here. She is her own receptionist and nurse, juggling everything whilst displaying her compassion for the animals; she has also been incredibly generous to us.
Our journey takes us through the mountains, since the main road on the West coast was compromised in the earthquakes of January 2014, and in Greek style could take ?as long as a piece of string? to repair. This takes us mainly on the East side on the island initially, winding through lush green countryside and hedgerows full of wild flowers, between the narrow streets of charming villages, untouched by tourism. A sheer steep drop, to concentrate the mind and focus on the road ahead, offsets some of the most spectacular views across the sea to Ithaca, and the smell of sage and thyme fill the air as the morning sun warms the rocks. I had put Bailey in a cardboard box, padded with several clean towels, inside a baby-bath, in case of any accidents. On our previous trip he had been so weak, he just curled up peacefully and patiently for the journey, but now he is better, his curiosity has re-risen, and he kept popping up to peek out the window. I stopped several times to right the box he had tipped over with his adventurous spirit. It wasn?t until we were well into our journey with about 30 minutes to go, when I smelt perhaps another reason he had been so active. I pulled over and caught the little tinker as he tried to jump out, covered in stinky crap, and vomit; as was the back of the car. I cleaned up as best I could with the handy-wipes and tissues I had, until I got to Amanda?s.
Amanda was thrilled with Bailey?s progress, his bite wounds have healed relatively well, and he has gained almost a kilogram (from 11.2 to 1Kg in little over a week). She exclaimed in her sing song, Italian/Greek accent that he was a different dog, as he trotted round the surgery, sniffing curiously. We bathed Bailey with the handy hose in her courtyard, he didn?t enjoy it, but didn?t complain too much! And armed with surgical gloves, a bucket, and a bottle of dettox, I addressed the car and baby bath (discarding the towels and box) for a less smelly pleasant drive back.
Bailey?s owners have been looking after him, the wife has been cooking him chicken and rice, and administering his meds diligently. He is no longer on a chain, but has a small pen with a sturdy kennel, to potter about in. He has lots of fresh water, and an endless supply of kibble to nibble on. She told me her son in the UK was very upset about the dog he left her 8 years ago, and I think she sees caring for Bailey as a responsibility and showing her son love too. She also showed me the meds she had previously purchased, after a wrong diagnosis by photographs, treating him for an allergic skin condition. I reassured her that now we were treating the correct diagnosis, and not to over-burden Bailey with poly-pharmacy. Bailey has also found his bark again, and makes anyone approaching think he must be twice the size! I took him for a walk to pop into give a friend at the café the vet?s news, tying his lead on the terrace to go in, and he barked constantly until I returned to his view again. When I dropped him home, his owner was there to greet him, and express her gratitude for the care we are giving him. So thank you for everyone who has contributed, we are making a difference xx
Much love and gratitude, H&P&P xx