The legends and lore of the American West include a rich history of man’s – and woman’s -best friend and Cowboy Lifestyle Network is proud to share this very special story with you.
Canine characters have been relied upon by their human companions for at least ten thousand years, and were especially crucial in lighting up the rip-roaring period when this country’s pioneers were rolling ever westward.
The dog heroes in such colorful stories have played prominent roles in the very settling of this nation and the safeguarding of its war and peace.
We honor the memory of those four-legged trail-blazers, be they purebreds or Heinz 57 Variety mutts – because they faithfully labored beside their human family members, hunting, herding, guarding, exploring, and making notable contributions to our survival and progress to say nothing of our exquisite sense of joy and contentment.
That’s where a tiny tail named Slim wags onto the scene!
Slim is a canine foundling taken in by the devoted folks at Rotten Rottie Rescue of Phoenix, a few steady stalwarts who have been single-handedly saving and spoiling members of the much-acclaimed Rottweiler breed.
From the outset, the various participants knew what they wanted to achieve – rescue and placement via adoption or fostering – of as many Rottweilers as they could effectively handle, to keep these valued animals from being euthanized by the thousands every year. The organizers had as many ideas on how to accomplish their goals and they had diverse backgrounds, skills and talents, but they a stuck to a singular focus – the rescue of the venerable Rottweiler.
In the words of that organization’s tireless director, Shelly Froehlich of Gilbert, Arizona: “We save and place a lot of Rotties!” Shelly will be quick to tell you that each dog is admired and valued for its own unique attributes, but when a certain seven-month-old puppy gamboled into the hearts and minds of the volunteers, they all found themselves helplessly smitten.
At the very time in their canine development when pups are their most delightful, exploring and learning to become fully functioning beings, this pint-size Rottweiler boy was in a sobering crisis that only the most committed of helpers would comprehend.
It’s a Matter of Urgency (Time is of the Essence)
“We got an urgent call from animal control in Phoenix, Arizona.” Shelly explains, “asking us to come at once and get this puppy who was very, very sick.” She says he was listless and emaciated and had a distinct antiseptic odor because of his elevated ketone levels. It was obvious to all observers that this young dog hovered close to death. Shelly had gone immediately to get him and he was safe in her arms within the hour.
She christened the skinny Rottie”Slim” because he was pencil-thin and starving. When she rushed him to her Vet, Dr. John Carr, whom she characterizes as “the best veterinarian I ever worked with.,” comprehensive tests showed that the dog was in the ravages of the rare and dangerous juvenile canine diabetes. And there was another alarming issue: This puppy had serious visual impairment.
Dr. Carr began a regimen of insulin treatment and Shelly launched a round of urgent phone calls, enlisting the aid of two especially dedicated volunteers, the puppy’s first foster mom, a registered nurse, and the second a nutritionist.
Both took on the time-consuming work of fine -tuning and continually adjusting Slim’s medication, not once hesitating, even when the incontinent puppy leaked gallons of urine on her carpets. Not even when those endless puddles were followed by doggie bowel mishaps during Slim’s time on the critical list.
With an impressive knowledge of diets and foodstuffs for both human and canine individuals. She cooked a week’s balanced meals at a time for the struggling Slim, delivering food for him every Sunday. These two women saved Slim’s life
What continued to worry all the caregivers, even as Slim showed signs of recovery, was the unmistakable knowledge that this pooch was going blind. That prompted a bold new effort on the part of the rescue devotees. The vet said Slim’s vision could be salvaged if they acted swiftly with surgical intervention to remove his cataracts. The hitch? The operation would cost $4600!
The timeline was extremely urgent. In less than 45 days, the toddler Slim would go from faintly perceiving light and shadows to being plunged into a lifetime of total darkness. Only a few determined volunteers stood between this fragile little puppy and the menace of inevitable blindness.
The courageous spirit of every dog who had sailed the seven seas; ridden shotgun on wagon trains and stage coaches or in the well-worn dips of a thousand saddles en route to Manifest Destiny, joined throngs of barking waggers who had once pulled the sleds of generations of Eskimos. They teamed with the sentinels who had guarded encampments of proud tribes of Native Americans, marching with millions of other canine heroes who had herded and hunted and fought in wars; sniffed for bombs; tracked fleeing criminals; and blissfully cuddled in the laps of adoring pet lovers from sea to shining sea. All these doggie forces were suddenly united in one splendid effort to bring the impossible to fruition for a small-sized mahogany and black critter who had so much of life left to see!
‘Catching the Vision!’
A sentimental aside about Slim has touched many additional hearts. It concerns his Rottie sidekick, Kane, who intuited Slim’s disability and good naturedly took on the role of being Slim’s seeing eye dog..
Kane saw it as his solemn duty to become Slim’s guardian angel, nudging him when he was about to bump into walls or to tumble, one more time, into the swimming pool. While human friends went about the challenging work of fund-raising, brave Kane steered the baby doggie ever out of harm’s way.
The Rotten Rottie Rescue crews staged a well-publicized socialization event and fundraiser June 21 in Phoenix, Arizona, and even though it got rained out, managed to raise $800 . While volunteers admit they still need $1100 to get this dog on the operating table — and are not sure where the money will come from – they believe they can save Slim’s vision, and they can do so ahead of the deadline.
The current status looks like this: If 500 people in this nation of 300 million, would give up a single latte, or decide not to supersize just one fast food lunch, Slim could get the operation that would heal his eyes.
Just as our canine helpmates devote every ounce of their energies to laboring alongside us as faithful guardians and companions because it is in their very nature to do so, it also seems to be encoded into our human genetic make-up that we will go to heroic lengths for our mystical, fur-covered beloveds.
With Slim, we human caregivers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save the sight of a spirited boydog who whomped up a giant will to survive. Truth is…sighted or blind, this Slim fellow is a winner!
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