Archie

written by Connie Versagi

An ATRA coordinator received an email that said there was an Airedale on Petfinder, but it had no picture. She wondered if his picture would show a rottie mix or a houndy looking boy.
 
The shelter was called and soon there was a response saying that he was a purebred Airedale. That same morning pictures came via email and there was a wooly creature, black and brown, with eyes that spoke of sadness and fear.  ATRA immediately took over from there and he was picked up and whisked off to a vet for examination.  He was dubbed Archie immediately. 
 
Archie was found to be covered with fleas and ticks.  At least a dozen ticks were picked off while we waited for the vet.  The vet said that he was thin, young, probably 2-3 years old. He was treated for the ticks and all general tests were run including a blood panel screening.  We were elated to find out that he was not HW positive, but he did have Eurlichia, a tick disease- he would need to be on antibiotics for 30 days.  That wasn't so bad but it was also decided to complete x-rays on his legs and hips. It was noticed that he walked stiff and was reluctant to sit.
 
The x-rays began to tell Archie's story. A horrible story that we will never fully know, and we hope that we can help Archie forget. 

In one of his back legs, a 22 caliber bullet lay in the tissue. The vet believes it was deeper initially, but it was working it's way up to the surface now. The bullet can be felt from the skin. 

The other back leg shows a clean break from long ago. Unfortunately the break was never treated.  The bones were never put back together end to end.  Instead the bones rested next to each other and there they awkwardly fused together, resulting in a thick overlap, shortening the one leg by at least 4 inches. Walking on this while it was healing incorrectly had to have been excruciating.  Now Archie has to "tip-toe" to walk on his shorter leg.  The x-rays also revealed previous fractures in his pelvic area.  All are healed now.  It is a miracle this poor boy can get around at all.
 
He showed few signs of his previous abuse, except for some stiffness and edginess to his behavior. What happened to this boy and what other stories would he tell? You pray that there isn’t more to know, but you know in your heart there is plenty more that he can’t tell you.  Now the more important question was whether he could learn not all of life is pain, and begin to trust someone.
 
Archie needed a loving foster home.  One undaunted by baggage.   Then a call came in from a woman who was interested in being a foster. Not a coincidence I bet, but Archie’s ATRA angel, just when she was needed the most.  Amazing.
 
Archie’s angel visited him at the vet's office, took him for a short walk. He seemed thrilled for the company and enjoyed a short walk. It was decided she would take him home to foster.
 
 
It was soon discovered that Archie had great indoor manners.  He loves  Nylabones. Archie knew nothing about toys and seemed content to be close by.  He crated well enough for short periods of time and loved running the back fence - kicking up his heels in the sunshine. He was discovering love from his foster Mom but certain noises spooked him- loud sharp noises. Perhaps it reminded him of gunfire.
 
Archie likes riding in the car and was very polite and quiet at the groomer, but once he opened his heart and began to bond, there were issues of separation anxiety to overcome.  He was not a happy boy when foster Mom would leave him alone.  He likes this new feeling of love and bonding very much.
 
After a couple weeks it has been decided that Archie is in fact home.  No need to look any further.  He has shown much devotion and bonding in a short time.  Archie now goes to a doggie daycare/boarding/training facility known to other ATRA parents until he can overcome the need to be with Mom at all times.  Mom works in the mental health and juvenile court  field, helping abused and neglected children.  She thinks Archie may have come to her for a purpose.  Possibly to be a great candidate for training as a therapy dog due to his sweet disposition manners.  What a wonderful ending for Archie and the children.
 
It has been determined that no further surgery will be conducted on Archie to correct his legs. He seems to manage with moderate activity, a soft spot to lay, lots of love and Nylabones.
 
Please donate to help ATRA with Archie's medical expenses, and for all the dogs that ATRA helps.  Every bit of help is appreciated.  

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