Follow little Iris's journey as she goes from an emaciated stray facing euthanasia in an overcrowded California shelter to regaining her strength, health and trust in people. Getting her second chance at life, the life she so deserves.
Late September while scrolling our Facebook feed a post popped up containing a photo of a tiny emaciated senior Pitbull sitting in a small metal kennel in an overcrowded California shelter with her head hung looking defeated. The caption was a plea posted by a volunteer for someone, anyone to please help this sweet girl who was slated for euthanasia in just a few days.
This tiny girl was Iris, she was taken into the shelter as a stray. She was a senior Pitbull, extremely emaciated with rotten teeth and large mammary tumors hanging from her belly. The likelihood of anyone coming for her, slim to none.
Hearts sinking as we scroll past, Jurassik Bark has no connections in California, how could we help even if we wanted to. Reminding ourselves that we cant save them all we go about our day.
All afternoon I kept thinking back to that post. Normally we don't let these posts weigh on us, we see hundreds, thousands even of these posts but there was just something about Iris. We had to try.
We get back online and start calling and emailing rescues around California, pleading for someone to help us get her out of the shelter, even just to pull her from the shelter and take her to boarding that we would cover all expenses for. NOT A SINGLE REPONSE. Out of the 12 rescue groups we reached out to this day we have yet to get one single response. Not even so much as a sorry we cant help. At this point it felt hopeless. It was Saturday the shelter would be closed over the next 2 days and Iris only had until the upcoming Tuesday at 5pm to exit the shelter.
A long shot but in a last effort we make a plea online hoping one of our followers might know someone, who knows someone who could help us get her out of the shelter in time.
The power of social media came through for Iris. A volunteer from one of the rescues in Mexico we worked with knew of a great organization in California who might be able to help. We were put in contact with the amazing team at Rovers Retreat and without hesitation they stepped up and got a plan in place to get Iris from the shelter.
iris gets her freedom ride
Tuesday October 4th 202. Iris life would finally begin.
Only mere hours before her cut off which would mean euthanasia Iris got her freedom ride. She was transported from the shelter to a vet in California for a health check.
She was a mere 27 lbs, skin and bones. You could clearly see the outline of her spine, ribs, hips and shoulders. Most of her teeth were broken off and she had infection throughout her mouth. Large mammary tumors had developed throughout both of her mammary chains. Iris was a complete mess to say the least, Her road to recovery would be a long and difficult one.
Top Image: Iris on her freedom ride from SEACCA on October 4th.
Left Image: Iris settling into her first foster home in California.
After her vet check Iris moved to her foster home in California where she would spend the next several days relaxing while we worked on transport arrangements.
Through everything Iris had been through from the shelter to the vet and moving to a foster, so much change in such a short period of time. Although extremely fearful Iris never once was anything less than gentle and sweet. Willingly accepting what ever was to come next. Iris quickly stole the hearts of everyone she met.
IRIS STARTS HER JOURNEY HOME.
October 7th - Phase one: California to Oregon. Thanks to so many amazing people things came together very quickly for little Iris's transport. After just a few days in Foster care in California little Iris would hit the road with a few other rescue pups heading to Portland, Oregon.
Once little Iris arrived in Portland she was welcomed with open arms into another absolutely amazing foster home. Iris really began to come out of her shell here. We learned she LOVES to roll around in the grass. She got to meet some chickens which she was pretty curious about and she began to interact more and more.
October 14th Phase Two: Oregon to Vancouver. Iris spent a week in her Oregon foster home, even though her time there was short it was heartbreaking when it was time for her to leave. She had quickly become a shadow to her foster mom and you could tell she was confused and scared when she left yet another safe place.
Even though she was terrified Iris did great on her travels from Oregon to Vancouver with her amazing travel volunteers. She continued to be the sweetest, well mannered little lady through out her entire journey.
IRIS MAKES IT HOME
On October 15th we picked up little Iris in Vancouver and brought her home with us. We promised her this was the last stop until she was healthy and ready for her forever home.
When we made it home Iris cautiously checked out the new house and met her new room mates. She was amazing with the other dogs, who were surprisingly not at all bothered by her in their space. Iris quickly found her spot in the pack.
Iris quickly took to the other dogs, finding comfort snuggled up with Betty or Agatha.
Iris was now ready for the biggest part of her Journey. Regaining her strength and her health.
IRIS'S ROAD TO RECOVERY
Today is Dec 14th. Iris has been with us now for 2 months exactly. In this time she has slowly gained weight, strength and trust.
She is up 8 pounds since leaving the shelter in California. She is now strong enough to hold her head up high. She no longer crouches around the walks, there is some serious pep in her step now, trotting around the house with her tail wagging instead of tucked under her body. She hasn't began to play yet but she has picked up a toy for the first time and will chase when you run with her in the yard rather than retreat as she did for so long.
If Iris continues to gain weight and remains in good health she should be strong enough to handle surgery in just a few more weeks.
What we know about Iris's health so far..
When Iris first arrived we were unsure whether her body composition was due to illness or abuse in the form of neglect. We suspected it was due to neglect based on the assumption that had it have been due to illness from her Mammary tumors or something similar she likely wouldn't have survived long enough to become so incredibly emaciated. Since Iris blood work came back good, not indicating anything of concern there and the fact that she has been able to gain weight consistently we now know that this was due to lack of food. How anyone could allow this to happen is something we will never understand.
Beyond being so underweight, the state of Iris's oral health is beyond what we had initially thought. She has very few full teeth, most are broken off at the gum line. Those that arnt are in very poor condition. At one point Iris even developed a large mass under her chin which is suspected to have been from severe infection in the back of her mouth. When touched her gums will bleed excessively. This is without a doubt impacting her health and comfort and will be made a priority to have corrected as soon as this sweet girl is strong enough.
Iris has about 6 substantial mammary masses throughout her mammary chain. A majority of them sit at her lower stomach and are each over an inch in diameter. These tumors are hard to the touch and occasionally weep. They do cause Iris noticeable discomfit and she will lick at them frequently. Iris also has smaller masses developing further up her mammary chain. She will require her entire mammary chain to be removed to have relief from this.
Aside from these health concerns listed and the normal signs of ageing Iris appears to be in good shape otherwise, her blood and urine all came back normal. She had a 4DX test done for heartworm and other vector borne disease and all came back negative. Her organs all appear to have proper functioning.
HOW YOU CAN HELP IRIS
Support Iris on her road to recovery by becoming a sponsor. Make a one time or reoccurring donation in any amount.
Donations for Iris can be made through her Paypal Link below or by Etransfer to Jurassik Bark Rescue at email@example.com
Donate to Vet care Direct
You can donate direct to Iris ongoing medical care through our Vet clinic Direct. Iris's primary care clinic is:
Crescent Falls Veterinary Hospital
2800 45th Ave, Vernon, BC V1T 3N4
Jurassik Bark Rescue is a CRA Registered Non-Profit Organization. We are a foster based rescue whose focus is primarily on providing life saving support to displaced senior and special needs dogs. We are run entirely by a small team of dedicated volunteers and funded by donors.
Your support allows us to keep our programs open to more dogs in need.
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