|When we saw Onyx posted on the internet, we only saw the above head shot and knew that he needed us. We really weren't set up for an older boy with skin issues, but we kept going back to his picture and knew we were hooked. We asked our Tucson volunteer/adopter/friend, Sara, to go to the shelter and meet him and, within moments of their meeting, she called and said, "He's ours." Apparently Onyx had met Sara and immediately given her a kiss. We think he knew why Sara was there, and he was asking for help.
The shelter described Onyx as a " well-mannered gentleman" that "enjoys petting," is "affectionate, easy to handle and walk."
We asked Sara to try and get some initial photos of Onyx, and when we received them, we were shocked. We were simply not prepared for what the photos revealed. If ever there was a picture of neglect, this is it:
We were speechless, but knew we had done the right thing in agreeing to take him. We can only imagine what this sweet boy has suffered ... but that ends NOW.
Onyx will be making is way to us on Monday, and will take up temporary residence with one of our staff members. He will be seeing our vet ASAP so that we can get him on the right track. We're definitely looking forward to posting his "after" photos, that's for certain.
Onyx has a long road to hoe before he can begin the search for his forever family. If you'd like to help him along the way:
UPDATE 9/21: One of our staff members traveled to Casa Grande to meet Sara and Onyx this evening. He is, as described, a sweet and gentle soul that wants nothing more than your love and affection. As of this writing, he is resting comfortably in his temporary foster home, with chicken and rice cooking on the stove. He has an appointment with our vet tomorrow morning. His road to forever has begun. He will never again be picked up as a stray by the county "dog catcher," and suffer the indignity of waiting in vain at a shelter for his family to show up and claim him.
UPDATE 9/22: Onyx saw our vet today and to say he captivated everyone in the office is an understatement. Eating is definitely not his problem as he weighed in at a somewhat overweight 86 pounds. Our vet thought his teeth looked good and put him at somewhere between 5 and 6. You could see where his hair was trying to regrow in spots. Other spots, like his underbelly, were completely devoid of hair. What's going on? Our vet suspects that this is not a case of simple allergies.
Our vet did deep skin scrapings in 4 areas on Onyx to check for mites -- negative!! We also repeated his bloodwork (a full panel this time) to rule out thyroid disease (which our vet suspects, rather than allergies because he's not scratching himself) and any other underlying conditions. We should have the bloodwork results in a day or two and, in the meantime, Onyx is going to be given the best care we can provide.
UPDATE 9/23: The initial results are in and Onyx's thyroid count is so low it didn't even register when his bloodwork was run by the lab, which completely explains his hair loss and (over)weight. We're going to start him on a thyroid supplement immediately. He is still slightly anemic, but his numbers are higher than they were at the shelter, so they're heading in the right direction. He's eating well and seems to be settling in at his temporary foster home. There are still further results to come in, which we should have by the end of the week, but we're hoping that this will get Onyx on the fast track to healthy. We have discovered that he is very touchy about where he is touched, so you have to proceed with caution. He just has so many places that he's sore, it's tough to know where you can pet him without hurting him.
ADDITIONAL BLOODWORK RESULTS: Onyx's bloodwork was normal. No tick or valley fever.
UPDATE 9/24: Thanks to our wonderful fosters, Dave and Jackie, Onyx will be moving to Globe this weekend. He will rest and recuperate as an only dog and be afforded a lot more freedom than he currently has in his current multi-dog foster home. Onyx will need to have his thyroid monitored to make sure he's on the proper dosage.
UPDATE 9/26: We took Onyx to his new foster home today with Dave and Jackie. He will be given free roam of the house, walks if he wants and as much love as he can handle. Onyx will be returned to Phoenix in about 30 days to have his thyroid levels rechecked.
FIRST FOSTER UPDATE: "Onyx went to empty his bladder out back as you were leaving. He's more carefully explored the yard and house. He is now gnawing half heartedly on a rawhide bone. He's alert, but not excessively stressed. No worries. He's fine."
FOSTER UPDATE 9/27: "Morning update. He went out just before bed and did both jobs, came back in, then slept all night. He didn't eat last night's dinner and only ate his wet food this morning. He dug 2 of his pills out and left them in the bowl, so I wrapped them in cheese and got them all down. I put down some more wet and dry food mixed together for him. He refused at first but did nibble a bit later. I will use cheese on his pills until he eats better. I figure the meds are more important at this time than eating well."
FOSTER UPDATE 9/28: "Onyx has been with us for 48 hours and I think his eyes are brighter. He sleeps a lot, but when awake he has been intent on exploring his new environment, inside and out. He has also taken the lead on getting us trained. I was very cautious about petting him with his sensitive skin, but he taught me where to pet him and then pushed my hand into the arm of the chair so I knew how much pressure he preferred.
Onyx has been very interested in the sculpture I'm working on. Some would say it is the smell of the wet clay, but I choose to believe he is a fine art enthusiast.
We've moved furniture to force our AC to blow up[ward]. Onyx was showing signs of distress every time it came on. I think the cold air blowing on his hairless skin was uncomfortable.
Whether stress over a new environment, adapting to his new meds, lack of activity or a combination of things Onyx wouldn't eat for the first 24 hours, not even treats. Fortunately he took his meds like a champ. He ate some of his breakfast so we just need to be patient
Onyx has been very interested in the sculpture I'm working on. Some would say it is the smell of the wet clay, but I choose to believe he is a fine art enthusiast. We've moved furniture to force our AC to blow up[ward]. Onyx was showing signs of distress every time it came on. I think the cold air blowing on his hairless skin was uncomfortable. Whether stress over a new environment, adapting to his new meds, lack of activity or a combination of things Onyx wouldn't eat for the first 24 hours, not even treats. Fortunately he took his meds like a champ. He ate some of his breakfast so we just need to be patient."
FOSTER UPDATE 9/29: "The air in the new AC comes out at 59 degrees. No sane being is comfortable with a 20 degree drop, especially one who lost his fur coat. We need to do something more permanent before next summer. In the meantime Onyx and I are both happier with my pillow blockage configuration. ... Onyx is having a good morning...eating, Investigating, snuggling ...."
FOSTER UPDATE 10/2: "I know you are anxious to hear how Onyx is doing. My take is that he is better, but it is baby steps. He is more alert and more active. Some days he has paid for a really good day the next day by moving more carefully. He wants something every night after dinner. I'm wondering if he's used to a walk. We haven't tried it because I don't want to carry him back. I just don't think he's strong enough yet."
FOSTER UPDATE 10/3: "Onyx and I took a mini stroll, just the distance of Groves house and back. We'll see how well he moves tomorrow."
FOSTER UPDATE 10/4: "Onyx is having a good morning. He's moving well with no ill effects from our mini walk yesterday. He's so much better. At first if he moved much one day he was fragile the next."
UPDATE 10/14: Onyx is already showing improvement!
Adoption fee to be determined.