Starved, sick -very sick actually, partially blind and abandoned, Spirit was rescued literally at the last minute. He was spotted by a woman near one of Athens’ richest areas, Glyfada, who posted two photos of him on Facebook, begging for help. According to her, the dog’s owner’s kept him tied 24/7, until they left for their summer vacation, and decided to let him loose. Their future plans were to put him to sleep, once they got back, so that “he wouldn’t suffer”.
the dog’s owner’s kept him tied 24/7, until they left for their summer vacation, and decided to let him loose.
The local charity, SPAZ, responded immediately and Spirit -as they named him, was rescued. Spirit was literally starved. He weighed about half of what a healthy Pit Bull should and he suffered from leishmaniasis – a disease caused by infected sundfly bites that can turn out to be leathal if the dog is not treated in time. Leishmaniasis was probably one of the reasons for Spirit’s weight loss, the sores on his body and his damaged eye.
Spirit’s condition and treatment
Spirit was very sick. His haematocrit (the volume percentage of red blood cells in blood) is one of the lowest ever – with the normal levels for a healthy dog ranging from 36 to 55, Spirit’s is at 9!). Had he received treatment in time, his organism would be strong enough to fight back.
Leishmaniasis was probably one of the reasons for Spirit’s weight loss, the sores on his body and his damaged eye.
Spirit started his treatment immediately, and we were hopeful that the volunteers’ efforts would pay off. He was in foster care for about two weeks and received small portions of food every day. He would spend most of the day resting in his crate and taking small walks around the block. Those first few weeks were crucial, but although Spirit was a fighter, what we did was just not enough.
Those first few weeks were crucial, but although Spirit was a fighter, what we did was just not enough.
Life with Spirit
Apart from Spirits health issues, there’s something else only volunteers get to experience, and there’s no easy way describing that. Spirit was a happy, sweet boy. He feared nothing, he loved everybody, and he never stopped wagging that hairless, skinny tail of his. He wagged his tail every time you approached him, he wagged his tail when he took car rides from one clinic to another, he wagged his tail when he heard your voice, he even wagged his tail to the vet, while he was punctured with needles and had pills shoved down his throat.
And this is what’s the most heartbreaking thing of all. Spirit’s happiness is a reason to cry. His submissive and mild character is what makes your stomach turn. The fact that he had no idea that we, the two legged creatures who look after him now, belong to the same species that starved him and let him rot helpless, while the disease was killing him every day. Not for one second had he imagined that the people who kept dragging him from one vet to another and forcing him to swallow pills wanted to harm him in any way.
Spirit’s happiness is a reason to cry. His submissive and mild character is what makes your stomach turn.
About a week after his rescue Spirit started vomiting. It was impossible for him to keep any food inside and he had completely lost his appetite. He lost even more weight, his kidneys had shut down, he was dying. He was put on IV for a while. He was never in any pain. In fact he looked happy and calm. He fell asleep one night, and never woke up.
A video – tribute to one of the most loving and special dogs we ever met.