I wanted to let you know that Kacey is doing great here in New Hampshire…He is such a special
dog and I am so grateful you helped us find him. Thank you so much”, so went the email from Kacey’s
new family up north. The email also mentioned that Kacey had passed his Canine Good citizen test and his Therapy Dog
certification. In addition he was accepted for registration by Therapy Dog International. These are quite wonderful
accomplishments in the dog world, and young Kacey has completed them with ease.
His new life is wonderful, but, last winter here on the
roadsides in Hickman County, this dog was clinging to life by the thinnest cord. A neighbor of Mr. K.C. Potter (that’s
how Kacey got his name) found a wretch of a young dog, almost hairless from mange that kept him
scratching constantly. Beyond thin, he was emaciated and barely able to walk. “Maybe we should just shoot
him” offered the neighbor, “get him out of his misery”. But Mr. Potter had other ideas. “Let’s
see what the folks at Hickman Veterinary Hospital have to say.” So off Mr. Potter went to meet with Dr. Tom Edmonds
and Dr. Kim Heyning, asking them to evaluate this dog’s chance at survival and rehabilitated. Dr. Edmonds believed
that under the neglect, Kacey was a very well-bred St. Bernard. Dr. Heyning was sure he could be saved. Meanwhile
Bridget Cochran, Misty Mathis and Tara Mercardo took the dog to the back to begin first treatments. The dog was missing
huge patches of hair; his skin was actually bleeding in large patches. Thought to be 6-8 months old, everyone at the
veterinary clinic fell in love with him.
Mr. Potter agreed to pay for all his care but couldn’t
keep the dog. In addition, the dog had to be quarantined for a month for treatment of sarcoptic mange. The veterinary
clinic was not set up for that so Rhonda Wilkerson, a part-time employee of the clinic and a Hickman Humane Society (HHS)
member was called. Yes, she was pretty sure HHS would take the dog, and a quick call to Terry Furlong resulted in approval
for him as a foster dog. The only other hurdle was to find out if the quarantine pen at Nell Ahl’s was available.
It is used to house and treat dogs with communicable diseases. This dog would have to go there.
Kacey (by now he had a name!) arrived at Nell’s
home on a gray and cold winter day. The dog house was filled with straw covered by a soft blanket and the pen itself
was laid with fresh straw. Kacey headed immediately for the dog house to get out of the cold. The softness of
the blanket was a balm for his sore body.
For two weeks Kacey would come out of his house for necessities
and quickly return to his house. He endured the injections for mange with nary a complaint and happily took his antibiotics
each day (they were wrapped in a treat). Despite having various toys available, Kacey began to get restless. His
response was to remove all the straw from his house and with the straw on the ground, arrange it all into discrete piles around
the pen. When all the straw was raked and replaced, he patiently made his straw hills once more.
|Sweet Kacey - Home at Last !
By the time Kacey
had been in the quarantine pen 6 weeks, his mange was completely gone, the sores healed and the hair showing signs of growing
back. Now feeling better, Kacey was lonely. Jim and Nell Ahl played with him, but that was not enough. He
needed canine friends as well. Jim walked Kacey to the big yard where the five house dogs played, giving Kacey a chance
to make canine friends. The house dogs had another idea: they ran and hid in fear as none of them were as big
as Kacey’s head. Mind you, Kacey was merely standing on the porch trying to make gentle contact with the little
dogs he had been watching across the driveway for so many weeks. No amount of coaxing would get the little ones to be
friendly, so Nell and Jim went looking for a place where Kacey could make canine friends.
president of the HHS and a neighbor of the Ahl’s, agreed to take Kacey for she has some large pens and bigger dogs.
Kacey thrived in his new foster home: he ran, played, jumped and enjoyed his new freedom. By now his hair had really
begun to grow thick and luxurious. One thing never changed though and that was Kacey’s gentle demeanor and careful
approach to humans. No jumping on people, no roughhousing. Good thing too for by now he was over 100 lbs. and
taller than most of his human companions when he stood on his hind legs.
Barbie went looking
for an adoption service up north that would take Kacey. It is sometimes difficult to find homes for large dogs, especially
one like Kasey that would easily reach 150 lbs. at full adulthood. However, very soon word came that a family was looking
for a big dog suitable for therapy training. Kacey was the one they selected and soon he was on a special canine transfer
bus, north to New Hampshire and his new home. Now there is one more Hickman County dog, abused, abandoned and neglected,
a stray that made good!