In Praise of Chester Hazelle Hawthorne (aka Ella)

Pulled: Friday December 30 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Adoption commitment: Saturday December 31 2011 by the Headley Greenlaw family

I may have found my match, at least where my love of dogs is concerned: friend and neighbor, Emily Headley. When Emily heard that I came back from Richmond County Animal Shelter last Friday with two puppies in tow, she was outside my door on Saturday morning. She bonded at once with Chester Hazelle Hawthorne.

“What’s her name?” Emily asked. I explained that I named her Hazelle after a particularly strong though minor character in The Hunger Games series. Then, since I have a thing for shortening names (even Jack often becomes Ja), the name morphed to “Elle” and finally to “Ella,” just because she looks like an Ella to me. Emily agreed and took her off to meet June, Emily’s normally-not-so-crazy-about-dogs mother. Imagine my surprise when Emily said that June agreed to let Emily adopt her. Then, imagine my horror when, four days later, Ella vomited blood.

See, below, one of the sickest puppies ever:

The vet diagnosed Ella with the dreaded Parvo. I’ve never had a dog, family or foster, with Parvo before, but I’ve heard people speak of it — in a whisper, which always means it’s really bad. One of the newest, youngest arrivals at the shelter, Ella had not received her first set of shots. Richmond staff had been careful to keep her away from any sick dogs, but this is why it’s so important to get puppies out of shelter environments. With little to no immunity, their presence in a shelter is akin to  a newborn’s in the sick ward of a hospital.

The vet told June that treatment would be $500-800 and that Ella had about a 50% chance of surviving it. June’s response? “Well,” she said valiantly, “that’s what credit cards are for.” And, she told me that she would make sure that Ella survived if love and attention could do it. She vowed to spend hours with her in the quarantine room every day, if the vet would allow it. In short, she responded the way anyone who had fallen in love would. And how could you not fall in love with such a cute puppy, sporting — of all things — a heart-shaped nose?

At first, Ella showed little improvement, despite the anti-nausea meds and iv fluids. See  Ella, below, still being pathetic on Day 2:

See Ella, below, still being pathetic on Day 3:

Day 3, however, marked the first no-vomiting day, and June and I think it may be because Ella wanted so badly to impress a very special after school visitor:

One of June’s friends predicted, “If that doesn’t make her better, nothing will!” And, lo and behold, Day 4:

Yes! That’s Ella, lifting her head! — such a little head, I know, but for days she’s been too weak to lift it. She, of course, prefers to rest it on June, but we know, at least, that she can do it.

And here she is, one-upping herself by sitting up.

June decided this was Ella’s way of saying, “Take me home,” and she told the vet so. The vet said that Ella isn’t out of the woods yet, but that the four days June has spent in puppy quarantine with Ella is proof enough for him that she’s capable of continuing an at-home version of the treatment. We suspect that the vet is tired of having to push June out the door every day at 5:30 and arriving to find her on the doorstep the next morning.

But, hurrah, Ella is home! See Ella, below, with her welcome party: human sister Emily and canine brother Red:

Here’s to Ella’s continued improvement! And, if you haven’t already, please consider donating to the Ella fund. I asked the fabulous Middle Mutts (the 501(c) 3 organization that I so often work with) to set up a chip-in for Ella’s medical treatment. When I told Middle Mutts friend, Judith, that Ella has Parvo, she set the goal at $600. When June left with Ella today, she put $594.00 on her credit card. To say that Judith has been doing this awhile and that she knows her stuff is an understatement.

Let’s help June out with as much as we can, especially since she’ll still have the refill medication and follow up visits to pay for (and since Emily, sweet girl that she is, has already put in all that she’s been saving of her allowance):

Thanks in advance. And thanks to the Hedley Greenlaw family for proving that they’re made of the same stuff Hazelle Hawthorne/Ella is: a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of spirit — which equals an especially winning combination.

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