written by Connie Versagi

This is the story of a wonderful girl named Tootsie, who came into ATRA via a very circuitous route.  An all breed rescue group in Alabama got a call about a dog with pups living in some woods, far out on a country road.  They went with food and water, hoping to find the canine family and coax them to safety.  On their way down a back road in route to their destination they saw an Airedale, or they thought it was, in horrible condition, tied to a tree with a chain.  They stopped to see if she had food or water, or if there was anyone around.

What they found was dear Tootsie.  She was gentle and sweet and came to them right away.  There was no water, and she was alone, tied up.  She was in terrible shape.  Very thin, infected running eyes, matted hair and just the saddest lonely look.  They gave some of their supplies of food and water to Tootsie.  Then they saw children out playing, but they paid no attention to the dog at all.  The volunteers found out the dog did belong to the people in a nearby house, but the lady explained that the dog had been her husband’s dog.  Her husband had passed away, and no one else in the family wanted the dog.  The children were wary of her, so they had just tied her out to the tree.  There she had stayed, in total isolation, ignored.  They would give her water, but she would immediately get the bowl tied up in her chain and tip it over, having to wait until the next day to get more.  The volunteers offered to take her.  They assured the woman they would be back for her.

After contacting ATRA, and finding that ATRA would take the dog, they went back to get her.  No one was home, but the woman had already agreed they could take her, so with her terrible condition they decided not to wait. 

A visit to the vet soon revealed that Tootsie was heart worm positive, full of intestinal worms, fleas and ticks.  She is approximately 2 years old.  Then it was off to be groomed, where the groomer said she couldn’t have been sweeter.  There was, in fact, a gorgeous Airedale under all the neglect!

Now that she is safe in an ATRA foster home, Tootsie must begin the long, stressful heart worm treatment.   This treatment will consist of two painful injections to the hip area in a 24 hour period of very strong drugs that will attack and kill the heart worms.  For four weeks after the injection she must remain basically inactive, moving slow, going out to potty on a leash, avoiding any heart stress at all, that could potentially be fatal to her.  When a month has passed, a second series of shots will take place, to kill any small heart worm larvae that may still be in her system.  The month of rest and quiet will be repeated again.  Heart worm treatment is very serious and very taxing on the dog’s entire system.  Nothing to be taken lightly, and definitely is a testament to how loving ATRA’s foster homes are, to take on the special care needed for Tootsie.

Also, as I’m sure you have figured out, this treatment that will save Tootsie’s life and allow her to be placed in a forever home is not inexpensive.  It is a reminder to us all to mark our calendars and be religious about giving heart worm preventative to our dogs.  Tootsie was not so lucky to have someone who cared for her enough to keep her safe from this preventable problem.  Now ATRA needs your donations to help cover the expenses to give Tootsie the new lease on life she deserves.  Make a donation, and send it from your heart, to saving Tootsie’s heart.


Tootsie has begun her heartworm treatment.   Her ATRA foster home reports that she is a very sweet girl.  They have renamed her Hannah.

The vet says Hannah would have been a much bigger girl from the looks of her large paws, but poor nutrition kept her from attaining her full size potential.  Now she is just a cute girl with big paws! 


Hannah (Tootsie) has found a home!

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    Ann Arbor, MI  48103