In early September 2012, Senior Humane Investigation Officer Katie Walker, of the Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, New York, received a call from the Ithaca Police Department (IPD). Apparently, a local resident had contacted the police, distraught about their one year old Chihuahua that had died.
The police did not know what to do with the body and contacted Walker for help. Officer Walker went to retrieve the little body from the scene. When she arrived, she saw the tiny dog’s body, very still and wrapped in a thin blanket.
Through the blanket, she could feel that the dog’s body was horribly emaciated! She laid the little dog out in the back of the SPCA van to take some pictures as evidence of animal neglect in the event that legal charges would be filed against the owner.
As Officer Walker was taking her photos with an IPD officer also observing, the unthinkable happened, shocking them both! The little Chihuahua suddenly took one gasping breath!
Astounded, Walker raced the dog to the emergency veterinary care provider at the Cornell University Veterinary Hospital. Amazingly, they were able to revive and stabilize the dog and it was determined that he had no other underlying health issues! His poor condition was entirely due to starvation.
It turned out that his former owner had mental health issues which led to the severe but unintentional neglect, so charges were not filed.
“Grimmy,” as he was dubbed, was placed in foster care with an SPCA shelter veterinary intern, Dr. Natalie Lowry, of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Maddies Shelter Medicine Program.
Grimmy needed intensive care in order to survive. The one year old Chihuahua was only 3 pounds and emaciated and weak. He could not even walk or eat on his own! He had to be handfed, carried outdoors, kept wrapped in blankets, and be given lots of love and kind handling.
He remained in Dr. Lowry’s dedicated care for about 7 weeks, gaining two pounds and a whole lot of confidence! He became healthy enough to be neutered and was then made available for adoption.
Only one week later, he found his forever home! A woman named Joye fell in love with little Grimmy. She now says that he has added so much joy to her life. She admits that he has gotten a bit chubby and he is rarely, if ever, alone. He has two doggie siblings and Joye and her husband are at home or have dogs with them all the time.
Grimmy has come so far from being mistaken for dead to now living in a happy, loving home with a family that he can call his own where his main worry is getting spoiled and chubby. What a change!
Tompkins County SPCA is a no-kill shelter working to protect companion animals and preventing animal cruelty and overpopulation. They promote responsible pet ownership by providing education, counseling and training to nurture and enhance the human-animal bond.
They hope to foster a community in which the need for sheltering abandoned, neglected, homeless, abused and abandoned animals is diminished. They place all animals brought to the shelter that are medically and behaviorally healthy, treatable or manageable in responsible homes. They also establish enriched programs to provide leadership in cruelty prevention initiatives, educational outreach, and pet overpopulation control.