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Crystal, the "Drop Box" Dalmatian!

Please let this story be a lesson to anyone who wants to dump an old dog off at a shelter instead of doing the kind thing...having them euthanized in the comfort of your arms at a veternarian's office. It's the very least we can do for our beloved companions that give us their undevoted love every day of their short lives.

We got a call from a woman outside of Gainsville who said she had called everyone and no one was willing to help a very skinny Dalmatian who was up for adoption at Lake County Animal Services in mid-Florida. I immediately called Jessica - one of the most caring people I know who had adopted Blaze through us and lives in that area. I asked if she could go check out the skinny Dalmatian and see if we should pull her out if her temperment was good.

Jessica did not hesitate. After one look at the poor dog who had been left outside the facility in their "drop box" by her caring owners (yeah, right) Jessica knew she couldn't leave her. She was obviously very underweight and she had trouble walking. We agreed to have her looked at by her vet and depending on what he said, we would decide what route to take next.

It turns out that Crystal (Jessica's new name) is about 10 years old with severe arthritis. She also had obviously not been cared from her overall condition but yet she is a beautiful girl. Crystal is so sweet tempered (great with her three year old daughter and other Dal) that Jessica and family just couldn't believe someone would do this to her. (We're used to this now and know how cruel people can be although it still hurts to see these cases.)

Crystal did just fine for two weeks with her new family (they decided to keep her even if she only had a few months left) until this week. Suddenly, she couldn't walk and wouldn't eat or drink. I received a call from Jessica crying and letting me know it might be time. After a quick trip to the vet, we found that he doesn't think so. Apparently, the arthritis is causing the discs in her spine to harden which is putting pressure on the nerves and causing severe pain. He suggested trying a heavy dose of steriods which is supposed to soften the discs and take the pain away.

Jessica and her family had plans to go to Disney World and of course, we agreed to "babysit" Crystal here at the sanctuary. We took her to our DRTB vet to see if there is anything else that can be done for her. We found out that not only can she not see well anymore, but she is also hard of hearing. He said to give the steriods time to work to see if she will ever be able to walk without pain. Pat and I both got our very first kisses from Crystal while at the vet's office!

Crystal is improving slowly, however, she may never be able to walk without pain again. At that point we will have to decide what is the best and kindest thing to do for her.

I am very thankful for three things as I write this:
1. That there are still some wonderful, kind-hearted people like the Stovers around that truly care for these helpless animals.
2. That we will able to get Crystal out of the shelter and off the concrete floor where her pain would have gone unnoticed.
3. That even if she does not have much time left with us on earth, that she will cross the Rainbow Bridge not all alone but knowing that there were people that truly loved her little soul.