ALIVE works to find new homes for rescued animals. Taking in “hard case” animals means we don’t turn our backs on those who need us the most. “Hard case” can mean #introvertforlife animals who need special homes with no other pets, animals needing significant training to become adoptable, or severe medical cases that have significant costs to save. A recent example of a life that we significantly impacted is Granola. Granola came into Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) through a program called CRISP – Chicago Rescue, Intervention and Support Program. CRISP is a collation between 10 rescues throughout Chicagoland and is stationed inside CACC.
Granola was an owner surrender, meaning her owner brought her into animal control to give her up. When her owner brought her in on March 2, 2019, there was an immediate, intense smell of feces and urine. Granola was cramped into a carrier fit for a dog half her size. Granola’s owner said that Granola was not well and she could no longer afford to care for her.
In her follow up notes the CRISP volunteer who handled Granola's intake at animal control said, “I took the carrier with the dog into the front entrance area so that we could get her out of the cramped carrier and see her
body. She slid right out and just laid on the ground. She started shaking and twitching. She looked like she was struggling to breath and possibly having a seizure, so we asked for medical. The tech came to get Granola within a few minutes. The carrier smelled so bad, we were asked to move it outside.” ALIVE Rescue heard about Granola and immediately stepped up. We were able to find transport to take Granola from CACC to the emergency room.
Once at the emergency room, the vets tried to treat her but couldn’t get to her body because of her matted hair and how infected her skin was. Granola had to be sedated while they shaved her just so they could access her body. Once shaved, it was clear that Granola was very emaciated and hadn’t been fed for a significant amount of time. When the vets tried to give her food, she was unable to chew so she was given a feeding tube. Granola was also unable to walk, the vets were unsure when she may have walked last or if she even knew how to. Her toes were permanently curled – an issue that the vet said would require physical therapy if she did regain the ability to walk. The vet commented that aside from her toes, it appeared that other bone structures were curved/mutated, likely from being confined in a small space for an extensive amount of time. Granola’s head was bobbing and she couldn’t sit up right.
The vet recommended a neurological consult because of her behavior – they wondered if she had neurological issues (which they added could be due to systematic neglect and poor nutrition). The vet issued several formal reports on their findings which ultimately led to the medical opinion that Granola had been severely neglected over a long period of time. One part of the report stated, “Granola is extremely critical and we may lose her, but it is too soon to tell.” Following the veterinary doctor’s reports, we decided that we would bring animal cruelty charges against Granola’s prior owner.
After an extensive stay at the emergency room, Granola pulled through. We were able to find a foster who was well-equipped to tend to Granola’s significant needs.
This amazing foster had underwater treadmills for underwater therapy and exercise, lasers for laser treatment and experience treating and caring for animals in Granola’s condition. They even started taking her to acupuncture!
Physically, Granola’s recovery went faster than we could have hoped for. By the end of April, Granola was able run around her foster home! Mentally, Granola’s progress has been much slower. When she first came to her foster home, it was apparent that she was scared to be touched – it was as if she had never been touched before. As time went on, Granola warmed up to humans and now even enjoys being held. She may always have some neurological issues due to her past life, but she is living happily now.
Granola’s journey was long, and her transformation was against the odds, but we are happy to say Granola found the perfect forever home with a family she met through her foster parents. We’ve been fortunate enough to catch up with Granola since her adoption and are thrilled at her progress - she has come so far! These are the kind of stories we take pride in. Joint support from volunteers, fosters and the community to save a life that was left to be forgotten.
ALIVE is fortunate to take in animals like Granola because of our wonderful supporters and the donations we receive. In total, Granola's medical care cost over $6,000. She was in emergency care for five days and was very lucky to make it. Things like tests, vaccinations, anesthesia, urine cultures, x-rays and medication are costly, but worth it all to save a life. If you are interested in sponsoring an animal like Granola, check out our "Pay It Paw-Ward" program here. If you'd like to make a one-time donation to ALIVE Rescue, to continue our mission and save more lives, you can head to our donate page.