From Oklahoma to New York - The Elijah and Savannah Story
My name is Elijah and I am a Newfy-Husky mix. I am now 13 months old and was rescued from Oklahoma. My sister, Savannah, who is also 13 months old is a Newfy and she was rescued from North Carolina. Our birthdays are only two days apart but we share everything - even illness.
At 3 months old I weighed only 4.8 lbs and had my first and last, airplane ride. At that time, my dark and dirty crate sure felt like a better place to be than where I had been living. My sister Savannah was a bit luckier, she weighed 12 lbs and had already been rescued and living with a foster family who gave her food, love and those awful 'puppy shots' we hear about and dread, but I never received.
I was the first to arrive in New York - tired, scared and so very dirty. Not the impression I wanted to make on my new Mom, but when I met her and she held me in her arms, I knew this was the beginning of something very good for a puppy, even though I didn't feel very well. Off I went in a moving object - but this was a good feeling - fresh air and sunshine - something I rarely got to see. Why my Mom put me in warm water with bubbles I had no idea - what was going to happen next? But the warm towel when she was finished scrubbing me to the bone, sure felt almost as good as her warm, comforting arms around me. This was Heaven! But Heaven didn't last very long - I found myself back in that moving object with all the fresh air and sunshine again. I'm a brave boy, but this was asking a lot more of me than I had to give! It didn't take long to become very concerned - I could hear dogs barking and I was in a strange building with many smells and sounds and human voices and hands touching me with kind words - that did not bite me, so I thought it must be okay. I was so exhausted that I fell off to sleep, only to be startled by someone poking me with cold things and 'ouch" a needle stuck into my leg! I never had so much physical contact in my entire 3 months!
My Mom was crying when they told her that I was very sick and needed special care for the next few days. They told her I had more worms than a fishing bucket and Coccidia. I felt so very tired and sorry that I had let her down, but I could feel that she was taking all this news as a mission - just for me. Mom came to visit me everyday I couldn't be with her. I started to feel better and found out that soon I would be going home - where the warm water and bubbles and warm towels were waiting just for me! But wait, Mom had another puppy with her when she came to get me - she was bigger than me, but she sure did like me. Everyone called her Savannah - I liked her too and decided right then and there that she would be my sister forever. Now I got the chance to watch her get all those 'scary' things done to her - not that I wanted them to hurt her - it just seemed only fair. She was luckier than me though - they said she was in much better health than me. And she weighed a whole 12 pounds! Heck, that wasn't going to stop me from being a BIG boy..after all she was 'just a girl'.
My sister and I really loved our new home. We had cats and other dogs as family, though we couldn't get close to them. But I still did not feel well and then my sister became ill. We had only been home for two weeks when we found ourselves back at the animal hospital again - this time, both of us very ill. When they first checked me out, they didn't know that I had Giardia and I had shared it with my sister. My puppy paws were crossed that this would not be the end for both of us. We both endured 6 months of treatment for Giardia but we just did not get any better. We did not have appetites to eat and some days it was very difficult for us to get up and move around. It reminded me of my days in Oklahoma - but with a whole lot more attention and love. This is all very confusing to puppies we just didn't know what to think. Sometimes we were hand fed; sometimes we were bottle-fed - which is embarrassing for 9-month-old puppies. But after seeing our Mom pick up after us when we were sick or had to take care of business - shoveling snow higher than we were tall and scrubbing the frozen ground with a wire brush to keep it clean for us - we knew there had to be a good reason for all of this.
After being in and out of the animal hospital for what seemed to be a million times, one cold and very snowy day that Savannah and I were very sick, something happened that was different from all our other experiences. A new doctor who took care of us that day discovered that we had a different strain of Giardia, not common where we live in New York. We thought it was the end, but it was actually the beginning of better things to come. My Mom contacted a doctor at the University of Oklahoma and found that the type of Giardia we had needed a different treatment. Medicine was sent to us on an airplane - so glad we didn't have to go back there! After 2 months of treatment - No More Giardia!! We celebrated with new bones and awesome puppy biscuits! Life could not have been better. We were finally Giardia Survivors!!
We now have a therapy pool for Savannah that Mom made using a big 'tub' that horses drink water from. We look over our shoulders every now and then and haven't seen any of them yet - but your never know! It was a bit unnerving to see Mom digging a huge hole in the back yard - but once we got the idea and found out how good it feels to have your own 'personal swimming pool' - Heaven had come home! We now run, play and swim several times a day. With great food, our supplements and water therapy - ahem, swimming .my sister is now able to run and CATCH me (when I let her) and she walks almost as well as I do. I'm very proud of her - she never gave up.
We are no longer contagious to other animals so once we get our 'puppy' skills down to a 'presentable' level, we are looking forward to the heat and humidity of summer to pass so we can go out and socialize with other people and their dogs. Mom tells us it's a lot of fun and we are almost strong enough and 'civilized' enough to venture out into yet another big world. I guess you could say we are 'late bloomers'. But we do understand that when you weigh 85 and 100 pounds, you really can't be a puppy any more. We keep that in our hearts.
Though it is the short version of their struggle to survive, I believe
I've aged 20 years in the one year process of caring for and loving
them with all my heart and soul. I often wonder when the battle will
be over - when will the sigh of relief come - but I don't dare take
one - we just go day by day.