Belle's Story...A Personal Journey through Heartworm...
I will never forget the day I met her, I was driving home from work and it was pouring rain, pitch black and I could barely see the road. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought a saw a shadow; I drove past it, but something in my heart told me to turn around. I didn’t see anything at first, then I saw her, she was walking on the side of the road in the rain. I always have a leash and treats in the car for times like this, so I got out of the car and whistled. She came right to me and jumped right into my car, almost as if she had been waiting for me to come pick her up. I called my husband and boys and told them I am bringing home a dog I found. They said another one?, I told them this one is different.
When we got home I was amazed at how she looked. She was very thin, scars on her body, half of her hair and teeth were gone and she was having a hard time breathing and was coughing A LOT. But she was happy and warm and smiling through all her matted mess, as if saying, thank you for saving me. I made an appointment for the vet the next day so we could have her checked out from head to paws. That night I slept on the floor right beside her to make sure she felt safe, loved and happy. Looking at her that night, I knew she would be part of our family.
The next day was our trip to the vet, she jumped right in, loving to ride in the car as she stuck her face out the window to catch smells in the wind. We got there and everybody was amazed at her appearance. She didn’t seem to care, she strolled around like she was a show dog, all smiles! We were in the room and Dr A came in and asked "Who do we have here?” I said her name is Belle, meaning beautiful. =)) I told him the story about how I found her and he ran a series of tests. Most were what I expected, anemic, parasites, hair loss, needs a lot of TLC. I was not expecting what he told me next, my sweet Belle was Heartworm positive stage 4. Her heart was enlarged due to the Heartworms and she had to go on antibiotics immediately and begin treatment ASAP. I left that day scheduling an appointment for Heartworm injections in a few weeks. My heart hurt for my sweet girl.
We began the treatments which lasted over a course of 4 to 5 months. The first one was the hardest, at least for me, I know it was painful for her, but she was stronger than I could ever be. The first month she slept a lot, didn't really eat and just took slow walks around the block. Whenever we would go to the vet , she would jump right into the car as if to say “ Hey, Lets go!, I want to get better! “. She took the treatments with a smile on her face the entire time. As the months passed, I noticed quite a difference in my sweet Belle, her hair started to grow back, she gained weight, she LOVED food , she had more energy and most of all she looked healthy. Toward the end of the 5 months , we had our last Heartworm check up and it revealed that she was Heartworm Negative. Oh what JOY!
After the treatment , Belle became my partner in crime. She was my Demo dog for dog training classes, she was a Nose Work champion and a therapy dog for autistic and special needs children; but most of all she was my best friend and my sweet Belle. Heartworms did not limit her, she overcame them ( with my help =) and became the dog she was meant to be. I will be forever thankful I found her that day for she was always by my side through good times and bad. I was there for her when she passed of old age, living an amazing Heartworm free life helping people, touching lives and being my sweet Belle.
There are multiple dogs at Manatee County Animal Services with Heartworm that are waiting to find loving homes and to start their lives like Belle. They are all such amazing dogs, with great personalities and so much love to give. They deserve a chance at an amazing life, a chance to be the dog they were meant to be! Come to MCAS and meet one of the dogs today and if you decide to adopt, Friends of Manatee County Animal Services is able to help with the cost of the Heartworm treatment. If you can’t adopt, think about fostering or donating to FoMCAS Heartworm fund to help the Heartworm positive dogs in need.
Thank you and See you at MCAS!