Julia - A Special Little Girl

written by Terry Kratchman

Little Jules needs a very, extra special home because she's an extra special young pup. 

Her story isn't for the faint of heart so if you can't bear to hear another painful truth, stop reading now. But remember that as sad and sordid as it sounds, Julia lived through it.

In late July of 2008 the Kansas state department of agriculture swooped on to the property of a "breeder" after getting several complaints of animal abuse, filth and almost unbelievable atrocities. To be sure, it was a real life horror story. Many dogs were living in small cages, running amok on mud, infested with fleas, parasites, mangled limbs, shamelessly matted fur and inadequate shelter, food and water. As a matter of fact the only water available was puddles from rain and a culvert of stagnant slime.

Julia and Elliot were the only two Airedale pups in the compound. They were estimated to about four months old, were awfully thin, dirty, matted and fearful.  When the authorities asked what happened to their parents, the breeder pointed to two corpses not far away and said the sire and dam had killed each other in a fight. Whether or not that's what really happened was a moot issue. What does matter is that Jules and Elliot had to live near their dead parents bodies. Did they wonder why they weren't interacting with them? Did they see them die? Did they settle next to their mother's body seeking warmth and comfort? Were they even old enough to have been weaned? We'll never know.

Both pups were immediately taken to a vet for a health examination, shots, and various other tests. Both were thoroughly full of parasites that had been sucking the life out of them. Both had giardia, a microscopic bug that wrecks havoc on the intestines causing diarrhea and vomiting. They also had the oral papilloma virus. This is fairly rare with no chance of early detection and no treatment. It must simply run its course of from about two to four months. It causes large and painful warts in the mouth, throat, tongue and lips. Elliot had more warts than his sister but her's were huge. Both eventually had to have the majority removed by laser, leaving a few smaller ones intact. These were left because the only way to know when the virus has run its course is when the last wart falls off. Fortunately, all of the above are treatable and Julia and Elliot have completely recovered from so many awful maladies. They now have life time immunity to the papilloma virus and are not even carriers, they are free and clear.

There would be no immediate foster home for these two because; although the papilloma virus isn’t life threatening it is highly contagious to dogs.  No one could be blamed for not exposing their pets to something so rare and potentially painful. They were kenneled until a foster home without dog could be found. Julia was taken in before her brother while he stayed at a wonderful kennel that doted on him all day. Timid from the beginning, he learned to love attention and thrived.

Julia wasn't as resilient and withdrew into a consuming fear of humans, no matter how kind or patient. She hid as far back in crate as possible, attempting to become invisible. When approached she'd hunker down or skitter behind furniture to avoid being touched. Her eyes followed every single movement of her foster mom and dad because she never wants to be unprepared for the unknown. She wouldn't eat until an irresistible cocktail was concocted but wouldn't even touch that unless left in a room alone. She was emotionally withering away.

Julia was taken to the vet several times for various tests to make sure there were no underlying health problems. Eventually an appointment for a behaviorist was scheduled because Julia was fading away and needed specific, professional help. This little girl hid under a chair for the entire session, refusing to make an appearance under any circumstances. We learned that Julia really needs to be with other dogs, she looks to dogs for reassurance and leadership. We moved Julia from the foster home where she was the only dog to one with dogs. Julia is doing much better. She is still fearful of loud noises and humans; it will take a long time for her to become more comfortable. But she is healthy and gaining weight.

Julia needs and deserves a loving home that understands her fears. She needs to be with another dog so that she feels more secure. Jules may never be completely comfortable which is alright though because she is who she is and forcing her will only make her more afraid. Anyone understanding and patient who wants to try to help this darling, contact Terry at 913-393-3431 or ksairerescuegals@yahoo.com .


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