Rescue Success Stories

Our rescue and adoption work is among the most rewarding work that we do. Employees often donate their time to these cases, and all treatments are done at no cost. Hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars worth of care and medications are put into these animals to ensure that they regain their health and are placed with loving homes.

And every year, without fail, we also find ourselves inundated with homeless kittens. Whether rescued out of dumpsters, found in bushes, unexpected litters, rejected by the dams, found under porches, left on our doorstep without any note, others literally thrown in our door and the people drive away before we can get any information – each kitten is unique and special in their own way. After bottle feeding, potty training, deworming, vaccinating, spaying/neutering and socializing these little devils we find them loving homes.

Here are some of the animals this program has helped and their happy endings:

Handsome Joe Gray

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Joe Gray came in through the Feral Cat Coalition to be neutered through our weekly community service program. But when we opened the trap, we found a very sick kitty cat. His tail had been broken and was infected, and he had a 106-degree fever.

The FCC gave us permission to treat him, so he was put on antibiotics, his tail was amputated, and he was virus-tested and vaccinated. And he turned out not to be feral at all, but a loving and affectionate cat, looking for a good home. He was adopted by a client of ours, who reports that he loves snuggling with her in bed and climbing on her in the middle of the night!

Jolie’s Story

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Jolie was rescued by a good samaritan after she had puppies and was then thrown out of her home and onto the street. No one knows what became of the puppies. She came into San Diego Pet Hospital bleeding, matted, and emotionally traumatized. Underneath her dirty and matted coat, she had a number of infected abscesses that required treatment and was in a very poor state of health in general.

The kind person who rescued her relinquished her to us for treatment. After being nursed back to health, she was adopted by a wonderful new owner. They have since added another rescue dog to the home.

Matisse’s Rescue

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Matisse was rescued from a neglectful home after her owners brought her in to be euthanized. She had almost no hair because of severe chronic skin disease, and she had chronic ear infections but was otherwise healthy and she had a wonderful temperament. She stayed with us for several weeks while her skin and ears were treated, she was bathed and groomed, a large mass was removed from her tail, and then she was placed up for adoption.

A wonderful family with two young boys adopted her and the last we heard she was moving to Japan! Because her new owner is in the military, she will be able to stay at home for the duration of the required quarantine period. We wish you a great life Matisse!

Our Pekingese – Prince Sterling

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Sterling was abandoned at San Diego Pet Hospital for reasons unknown. He came in to be neutered but his owners never came back and they did not respond to our many attempts to reach them. After following legal protocols to declare him officially “abandoned”, he was adopted by the father of one of our employees and moved to Arizona.

We all got very attached to Sterling during the weeks he lived with us, and we will miss him very much. Come back and visit us, Sterling. [2011 Addendum – Sterling’s dads have since adopted another relinquished dog from us, so Sterling has a pal!]

Gaia & Her Puppies

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Gaia came into San Diego Pet Hospital on a Saturday morning with full body tremors, caused by eclampsia (low blood calcium), one day after delivering 8 puppies. This is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. The puppies had not been able to nurse and were crying and hungry. Gaia herself was near death.

Her owners could not afford to buy puppy formula much less what was required to save Gaia’s life. They agreed to relinquish Gaia and her puppies to us and staff members took turns bottle feeding the puppies every few hours around the clock while mom was regaining strength. All puppies and mom were successfully adopted into good homes.

Benji & His New Family

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Benji was just 6 months old when he came to us very sick with Parvovirus. He was going to be euthanized because his owners could not afford to treat him. Instead, they agreed to relinquish ownership, and he was successfully treated and eventually recovered completely.

He was adopted by the neighbor of one of our staff members, and she has several grandchildren who keep Benji very busy!

Harrison’s Tale

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A very sick dog was brought into San Diego Pet Hospital in a shopping cart by a good samaritan, who found him on the freeway ramp near the clinic. He was emaciated and so weak he could barely lift his head, yet despite his grave condition, he was wagging his tail and licking our faces. He turned out to have an intussusception, a condition where the intestine “telescopes” into itself, causing a blockage. It is usually the result of severe gastrointestinal disease of some kind, such as parvovirus or severe parasites, that causes abnormal intestinal motility. He was taken into surgery and a resection and anastomosis was performed to remove the segment of affected bowel.

He recovered uneventfully from surgery and began eating right away the next morning. A fecal was submitted to our lab for analysis and came back showing Nanophyetus salmincola, a rare rickettsial parasite usually seen in the Pacific Northwest, caused by ingestion of raw river salmon or trout that has been parasitized by a specific type of river fluke. He had to be treated for both the fluke and the rickettsia, which was accomplished successfully. After being fostered by the employees at San Diego Pet Hospital, Harrison was adopted by a family member of one of our staff who also has an interesting story. Tom is a survivor of a severe traumatic brain injury suffered in a car accident 14 years ago.

His primary companion for the past eight years was a yellow lab named Maggie, who was a retired service dog. On the same day that Harrison showed up at SDPH, Maggie passed away. Two weeks later, once Harrison was well enough to travel, he and Tom were introduced and it was love at first sight. Tom and Harrison are now working with a group of trainers who are all volunteering their time to teach Harrison (who is all puppy!) to be a well-behaved companion for Tom. We wish Tom and Harrison many happy healthy years together!

Willa’s Story & Happy Ending

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Willa was barely 8 weeks old when she came into San Diego Pet Hospital with multiple skull and jaw fractures. Her head was so swollen that her eyes were barely visible. Her owners could not afford treatment and they agreed to relinquish her to us so that she could be nursed back to health. She was unable to chew because of her injuries, so she was syringe fed by staff members until her fractures healed.

Over time the swelling improved and she began to look like a dog again. Employees took turns taking her home overnight and on weekends until a new home could be found for her. She was adopted by a new loving family and last we heard she is chewing on everything in sight! The family has since moved, but they continue to send us regular updates.

Sura’s Tale

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Sura (meaning “a new life” in Eskimo) was brought in to San Diego Pet Hospital to be euthanized because of a severe chronic ear infection that had ruptured through the side of his face and left him unable to open his mouth or blink his right eye. Despite the severity of his condition, he was incredibly loving and affectionate, and the staff fell in love with him.

He had a series of surgical procedures to reconstruct his face and ear canal. He will likely never recover the ability to open his mouth or blink, but he can eat and bark, and artificial tears help keep his eye healthy. Sura was adopted by a long-time client of ours, and couldn’t be happier in his new home!