Volunteer Spotlight: Amy & Oakley, Love Is More Than Skin Deep
Oakley arrived in Spokane around seven o’clock in the evening. When Amy met Oakley for the first time, she saw a Boxer dog in real trouble. Too afraid and in too much pain to trust anyone, Oakley refused to get out of the car. He was very bald and malnourished. Open sores covered his body—the result of a severe case of untreated Demodectic mange.
Any foster mom or dad would have to take a deep breath in that moment. This definitely was going to be a challenge. The pungent smell of his infected skin was bad enough, but Amy first had to get Oakley out of the car. It took about forty-five minutes of patient cajoling. Finally, Oakley let Amy pick him up and carry him inside to the safe, new foster home that was going to change his life completely.
How Did Oakley Get So Sick?
Demodectic Mange or Demodex is a non-contagious parasitic infection caused by small mites found naturally on most dogs. These mites do not generally cause skin problems, unless a dog’s immune system is compromised as Oakley’s was. Demodex is preventable and treatable. Oakley’s case was severe because it was left untreated for more than five months.
What Did Amy Do?
Amy wanted to bring Oakley back to health and balance so he could find a wonderful new forever home to call his own. Her checklist included:
• Make Oakley his special meals to boost his immune system.
• Feed Oakley three times a day to put weight back on his bones.
• Give Oakley his 15 different medications and supplements. Count ‘em, 15.
• Bathe Oakley in his special medicated shampoo that he totally loves, NOT!
• Convince Oakley to soak in the tub covered in his special shampoo for 10 minutes
• Bathe Oakley again, and again and again and again
• Help Oakley to stop scratching with cones, t-shirts and towel wraps; don’t want him to hurt his delicate skin.
• Snuggle with Oakley; kisses too.
• Play and exercise with Oakley and his fur foster friends and family
• Take Oakley to the trainer for his emerging fear-based behaviors
Whew that’s a lot!! What happened?
Simply said, Oakley was brought back to health. Amy’s care and devotion changed his life. The terrible smell disappeared. The sores and mange healed. He put weight back on. His beautiful fawn coat returned. He was a new “man” with a new chance. Still fearful and overly protective, Oakley’s forever home would have to continue with his special diet and training. But what seemed like an impossible case to many came to the happiest of all possible endings. After just five months with NWBR, Oakley was physically healed and had a new family just right for him.
Amy said, “My greatest reward was seeing Oakley placed with the proper forever home. The family that adopted Oakley was a perfect fit for his medical, emotional and exercise needs. It’s always hard to see them go, but the adoption team found him the best possible match he could have hoped for.” As of this writing, Oakley’s new family reports he is “doing wonderfully.”
There IS Something We Can Do, Together
We are proud and amazed at what NWBR foster families achieve each year. Amy started fostering boxers with NWBR in February of 2014. She and her family recognized the help needed and “had the time and the love to give.” So far, she has fostered over 20 pups, some short-term holds, some up until adoption. We are grateful to Amy and her family for welcoming Oakley and all the other pups into their home.
Most foster pups don’t arrive with the many challenges that Oakley did. We just want to put the spotlight on Amy and Oakley today, because their story is a great example of what is possible when we work together, challenging ourselves, maybe even pushing ourselves to do something really wonderful and deeply kind.
It is true, foster moms and dads do give a lot. But every one of them will tell you the secret is in what they receive. They get the heartfelt and very real reward of ending a dog’s misfortune, and giving them the second chance they deserve for a wonderful life.
To find out more about fostering with NWBR, click here. We need your help and the world needs your kindheartedness. We are ready to fully support you in welcoming a pup into your home. Every boxer deserves a chance.
P.S. What Amy Would Like You to Know about Demodex
Demodex mange is 100% preventable! Dogs don’t get mange if they have a healthy immune system. Proper nutrition, regular and routine medical care, proper hydration and love can make all the difference in preventing cases of mange. Additionally, if a dog gets mange, treat it right away. It is inexpensive and easy to treat if it isn’t allowed to continue untreated for prolonged periods of time.
Read more about Demodex here.