WATERLOO – Her name was Hope.
The shepherd mix was about a year old. She arrived at the Cedar Bend Humane Society on Saturday in horrific condition – severely emaciated and dehydrated to the brink of death, a skeleton clothed in fur without the strength to lift her head. She could barely open and close her mouth.
The pup had the will to live, but her body didn’t let her.
Hope died Wednesday morning.
It is one of the worst cases of starvation ever seen at CBHS.
“I’ve been here for 21 years, and she’s probably one of the worst that I’ve seen that arrived to us still alive,” said CBHS Executive Director Kristy Gardner. “This is not acceptable. I get it if you can’t afford to pay for food for your pet, but it’s kinder to turn it over to a shelter. Starvation, abuse and neglect is not acceptable.”
Each year, Cedar Bend receives numerous animals in desperate need of life-saving care, and if necessary, what’s best for the animal may be humane euthanasia. Hope was suffering, but CBHS staff was optimistic and wanted to give her the best chance possible. She was transported to the Eastern Iowa Specialty Veterinary Clinic in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday morning, Gardner said.
“When she became our property, we made the decision that she needed more intensive care, like a person who is gravely ill is hospitalized in intensive care,” Gardner explained.
The plan was to give Hope 24/7 care, take X-rays and do blood work, then nurse her back to health. That wasn’t to be.
The medium-sized dog weighed only 18.8 pounds, but should have weighed at least 45 pounds to be a decent weight for her age.
Black Hawk Animal Control received a call about the starving dog and brought the rescue to CBHS on Saturday.
“The investigation is ongoing. There is a lot we have to do to go forward to make a case, and we are making the case right now,” said Black Hawk Animal Control Director Sandie Greco.
Wednesday, the staff named the pup Hope. People who made donations during online fundraising could offer name suggestions.
“We originally said 72 hours for donations and suggestions, but we moved it up. We wanted her to have the respect of a name. Every dog needs a name,” said Jessica Christensen, marketing and development coordinator.
The shelter has to hold an animal for three days before it becomes their property. While animal control continues its investigation into how and why the dog got into this condition, the medical staff at Cedar Bend administered IVs and other care. Staff members also showered Hope with affection and warm blankets.
Hope could not stand, walk or wag her tail, but she fought until the very end. “Just a very sweet lady,” said Christensen.
Gardner was brought to tears at the public’s response to the shelter’s appeal for donations to help the emaciated dog. “They made it possible for us to get her down to the emergency clinic right away.
“This is not our first case — we see a lot of emaciated animals. We really encourage the public that if they see something like this, to be sure and turn it in. The community doesn’t realize what condition some of these animals are in when they come to us. They are suffering. Don’t look the other way. It’s great to help, but putting a stop to this would be much better,” Gardner said.
Shelter donations can be made at Cedarbendhumane.org/donate/donation-form.
“I’ve been here for 21 years, and she’s probably one of the worst that I’ve seen that arrived to us still alive. ... This is not acceptable. Starvation, abuse and neglect is not acceptable.” Kristy Gardner CBHS executive director.
“I’ve been here for 21 years, and she’s probably one of the worst that I’ve seen that arrived to us still alive. ... This is not acceptable. Starvation, abuse and neglect is not acceptable.”
CBHS executive director
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