Just a few hours after the transport van left The Safe House on New Year’s Eve, we met Gus. His swollen, raw face was hard to see…it was clear he had a bad case of juvenile cellulitis, also known as puppy strangles. This rare but extremely painful condition is marked by sores that go deep within the skin, causing the skin to break open and quickly become infected. This is treatable if caught in time, and luckily Gus got one of the open spots that had been freed up by transport earlier that day.
We began treatment immediately but as much as Gus also wanted to be held and loved, even that was too painful for him. It was both sweet and a little sad to see how happy he was to receive his very own stuffed llama. I don’t think he’d ever had something soft to snuggle with. He nestled right in to rest. In moments like this, when pups come to us in pain and with lots of healing ahead of them, I’m so grateful for the little things we can give them that let them know they are safe for the first time. Things like heat, a soft place to sleep, good food, and their first toy are luxuries many of these kids have never had. The same goes for cuddles, playtime, and pets…but that would have to wait for Gus.
Gus moved into the house with me for special care. At first it was painful for him even to move his mouth to eat. I had to blend canned food and water together so he could gingerly lap it up. He slept almost all the time. As the days went by and the medications began to work I got to watch him blossom. The swelling has gone down and the infection is clearing. He is more active and playful. He can eat kibble now and he loves a good soft chew treat. He also still loves every new toy he gets. His face lights up and he plays with it like it’s the best gift ever. He loves to snuggle into my neck for a nap. He’s such a good pup and so grateful for every kindness shown to him. This weekend he will make his way to one of our awesome foster homes in the metro area. He’ll finish his recovery and soon be ready for a home of his own. I’m so glad that we could be there for Gus. This little man deserves the best in life, and that’s what he will get thanks to you.