The Heart of Rescue

Giselle as a baby on her way to gaining weight

People say it takes a big heart to do rescue. We agree and think it also takes a big heart for some of our rescues to pull through. Giselle is a perfect example of a dog with a big heart and a strong will to live.

I remember the day Giselle was brought to the shelter like it happened yesterday. Two nicely dressed women brought her in and said they had found her in an abandoned lot while our for their lunch walk. At first glance, she seemed like a little old lady, her frail body hunched over, fur missing, eyes dull showing signs of cataracts and she smelled of skin infections. I was on my way out the door with my newest load of dogs and remembered feeling so frustrated because for every 5 we pulled it seemed like 7 more came in.

Giselle after her first vet visit.

The next trip out to the shelter was just 4 days later, and the tiny old lady dog was still there – she was still on the legal timeline to be held as a stray. I asked about her and almost fell over when the Director at the shelter told me the dog was roughly 8 weeks old. 8 weeks?! I asked if I could pull her as a foster and get her to the vet that day. Within 20 minutes we were at the local vet getting this little baby dewormed, some bloodwork run and ordering special nutrient-dense food. We named her Giselle because she was long and lanky like a Gazelle and when she was wrapped up in my arms and her body finally relaxed, I could see how beautiful she was. I felt lucky to be able to foster her until her time at the shelter was up.

No big surprise, no one ever came to claim her. 4 days later we were back at the vet with Giselle, and she had lost weight. I also noted to the vet how much she was urinating and how the medicated shampoo wasn’t helping, her skin was sloughing off, and the smell was getting worse. He checked her blood sugar level, a couple of times, it was 1100! Now we knew what her issue was, she was a diabetic little baby. She was so tiny none of the insulin would work for Giselle. We were sent home with a plan to try and get just a little more weight on her, check her blood sugar once a day and come back as soon as she weighed enough for insulin shots.

Thankfully Giselle loved baby food chicken and she put on the weight easily once we cut out the sugar-infused diet we’d been feeding her! Being relatively new to rescue, having a dog with an ongoing medical issue was something that was so frightening and overwhelming, but this little girl needed me so I stepped up. Giselle had to have her blood sugar levels checked hourly to start, and had insulin shots 2 times a day. She was a brittle diabetic which meant that she could crash out with no warning. So Giselle went *everywhere* with me. She went to my son’s Cross Country meets, she went to shelters to pull dogs, she went to the grocery store, she sat on a pillow outside my shower. She loved everyone that she met and always seemed to know that people were trying to help her.

Giselle and her furever family

In rescue, it’s common to get a dog that you figure is just going to stay with you for their whole life. I used to joke that we didn’t have a lot of people coming in asking if we had any juvenile diabetic dogs with missing fur, bad eyes and messed up teeth – but then one day an angel named Tony came to our little shop. He met Giselle and it was love at first sight. He didn’t care that she needed shots, or that she’d have to have her blood sugar tested constantly, he didn’t seem to notice that her fur was missing in some spots, he just saw her heart and her will to live and he adopted her.

Giselle was his princess and he took such amazing care of her. He got her skin problems figured out, her tiny little body had many infections both fungal and bacterial and while we had been treating them, they ran deeper than we knew. Giselle’s family spared no expense in getting her the absolute best care. It’s hard to believe but she even balanced out her sugar crashes and was living a pretty normal life as the princess of the house.

Giselle in her own play yard

Unfortunately, even with the best care, her body had been through a lot of stress, her organs especially. Last week Giselle’s owner had to make the difficult decision to let her go. She was in renal failure and the prognosis was not good. She was surrounded by those that loved her when she passed and for that, we are so thankful.

The heart of rescue is a strong, big, beautiful thing. Tony needed some advice and help with what to do with Giselle’s care in her last days. Tony reached out to the founder, Kelly Smisek at Frosted Faces Foundation. Even though Giselle wasn’t from her rescue, she graciously agreed to help Tony. For those that aren’t familiar, Frosted Faces Foundation helps mainly senior dogs and is familiar with medical issues affecting the aged dog. Their help was so appreciated.

I know Giselle is running around somewhere having the time of her life, finally strong enough to play. And I know the heart of that little rescue dog touched my spirit from the moment I met her. I hope you get to truly experience the heart of a rescue in your life too.

Giselle Christmas 2019

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