As all loving pet owners know, when a person takes on the responsibility for a new pet, that means commitment through thick and thin. Tanya Thompson, owner of two German Shepherds, understands this special bond but also how emotionally challenging it can be when a loved pet is sick.
Tanya was first introduced to “Sarge”, a beautiful young German Shepherd, when he was surrendered to the Barrie branch on account of being “too big” for his former owner. “Adoption provides hope to animals who have nothing wrong with them, except that in many cases, they just had an undeserving owner,” Tanya explains. While Sarge fit in wonderfully to her home and his new life, one day he started to exhibit some strange behavior that Tanya found concerning. After a trip to Essa Veterinary Services, her veterinarian found he had a severe case of colonic torsion – a rare but deadly condition if left untreated.
Sarge was admitted for surgery in Barrie, and thanks to the Guelph Veterinary College who assisted via teleconference, the veterinarians were able to perform surgery and save his life. Yet Tanya would later find out there were more health hardships to come for her beloved Sarge. He was later diagnosed with Fibrotic Myopathy, a degenerative condition that would eventually degrade his ability to use his hind legs. “I tried everything – from hydrotherapy, chiropractic treatments, exploratory drugs and later acupuncture,” says Tanya. “But the best medicine of all did not arrive in a pill bottle, but literally right in front of me on four legs.”
While Tanya was on a lunch break on a sweltering hot weekday afternoon, she noticed a young German Shepherd puppy tied to a sparse tree, with little access to shade. There was no water or owner in sight, and the humid temperature was skyrocketing due to a summer heat wave. The owner never returned, and animal control services were called into rescue him. Tanya quickly became involved with the adorable puppy and decided to foster him. Calling him Scout, she fell in love with his wonderful personality. She later decided to adopt him.
“I was a little hesitant at first, given Sarge’s condition, but seeing the positive effect Scout has had, it’s been the best treatment of all,” affirms Tanya. “Scout motivates Sarge to remain active, and the two of them are inseparable.”
The two dogs truly make Tanya’s house a home. “I really believe that animals find you. And for me – it’s happened twice. I know I am helping to ensure that Sarge has the quality of life he deserves, and have also provided a home to another animal in need.”