The story of Harry the puppy’s rescue last month warmed hearts, but the ending was a sad one.
Pound Rescue founder Gabriele Barrie said the 13-week-old shepherd cross showed no improvement since she took him home from the Highview Animal Clinic in High River on Jan. 6. He was euthanized two weeks later.
“He could not use his back legs at all,” she explained. “He couldn’t do much but balance himself in the front upright position. Even playing was hard for him. He was lying, more or less or sliding through his own waste. He had no prospect to have a normal or healthy life.”
Karen Rider discovered the puppy injured on the side of the road on the Eden Valley reservation last month. He was unable to walk.
Her family cared for the pup, naming him Harry, but after a few days realized he was not getting any better and called Pound Rescue, an animal rescue organization in Okotoks.
The weather conditions at the time were too treacherous for either Rider’s family and the Okotoks rescue organization to get the pup, so the Turner Valley RCMP were called in to help.
Const. Steven Sigvaldason and Const. Shawn Poohachoff drove through the treacherous conditions to Rider’s Eden Valley home and brought the pup to Highview Animal Clinic in High River where he remained under the clinic’s care for a week.
Staff believed Harry was either struck by a vehicle or a garage door closed on his back.
Barrie said there was hope for Harry at that time. The clinic staff discovered that he suffered nerve damage on his back that prevented the use of his back legs and he underwent physiotherapy and was treated for frostbite.
Since being released in Barrie’s care Harry’s condition didn’t improve.
“He was a happy dog,” she said. “He didn’t care too much, but because he was incontinent he would have had sores by sliding and not walking properly and flies would have come.”
Harry’s inability to walk would have meant a poor quality of life, Barrie said. “Animals want to be active. We had another animal with a broken spine that walked again that couldn’t walk initially. That would have never been the case for Harry. We waited until there was no hope anymore.”
Barrie said several people inquired about Harry and residents across the Foothills contributed about $500 towards his $1,149.30 veterinary bill at the clinic.
“There were lots of people who sent in money,” she said. “Many people asked on Facebook how he is doing and seemed extremely sad when we said there was very little hope. We wanted to let these people know that yes, we tried our best but that we would not let that dog suffer. It’s very hard to make these decisions.”
Sigvaldason, who expressed interest in adopting Harry, said he is saddened to learn that Harry didn’t make it.
“Obviously you hope for a better outcome, but you want to make sure that you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons and ultimately to have to make realistic decisions and rational decisions so I was saddened to hear that it turned out that way,” he said.
Sigvaldason is proud of the efforts of so many people coming together to give Harry a chance.
“That’s the best part about it is that it takes everybody to get involved to try to make a difference like that and one person or one organization can’t do it alone so when people do come together good things usually happen,” he said. “It wasn’t to be this time, but that doesn’t mean next time we are not going to do it right.”