Photo of Zorro, rescued by a veterinarian who refused to kill him.

Zorro's owner would have had him killed , rather than spend money for treatment for a badly swollen and infected toe (long neglected and very painful) and an infected eye. The vet refused to kill this sweet gentleman and pursuaded the owner to sign him over to Bouvier Rescue. Zorro has beensuccessfully treated, neutered, brought current on shots and on heartworm prevention. He has easily learned to be a housedog and cherished companion. He is an 8 year old , very large and handsome dog, who is patient and trusting , despite his sad past as a badly neglected backyard dog. He is being fostered by me, Pam Green. For a chance to meet Zorro and adopt him when he is well again, please phone (530) 756-2997 between 10 am and 7 pm, California time.
Zorro has proven to be a very sweet and cooperative dog. He is generally very sedate indoors , but has enthusiasm for walks. He actually bounces and wiggles and grins and gestures with his head to be petted. He is generally an undemanding kind of dog who receives affection gratefully but doesn't usually initiate interactions. He enjoys his excercise but doesn't get antsy if he has to be deprived a few days. He is starting to become more animated and enthused, as he has come to realize that he is loved rather than ignored. He will bloom in a loving home and will be treasured by any adopter looking for a calm and gentle companion.

UPDATE (8/16/03) : Zorro has been ADOPTED today !!!! He will be a full time companion to a middle-aged gentleman who mostly works at home and whose prior Bouvier recrently passed away at the age of 14 1/2 , leaving a big hole in his heart. I have every reason to hope that they will soon become soul-mates.

Below are some of the details of Zorro's treatment and recovery :

A close-up of his tormented foot (taken a day or so after intake) is shown below. It looked a lot worse in reality ! The swollen toe is three times the size of the adjacent normal toe, and the whole foot is a bit puffy. My vet and I initially had hoped that antibiotics plus hot water soaks several times a day would enable us to save his toe from amputation. The whole gory saga of his treatment is detailed below.
UPDATE 5/15/03 : After nearly two weeks of trying to cure his infection with antibiotics and hot soaks, and especially after running a culture and sensitivity test and learning that the antibiotics should have been effective, my vet and I had to accept amputating his toe. At the same time , he was neutered and the entropion in his right eye (that has caused him discomfort all his life) was corrected. The pathology report on the toe came back yesterday, and not surprisingly showed that he did have a tumor in the toenail bed. Fortunately it is a type that has very low malignancy and the surgical margins were completely clear of suspicious cells, so the surgery should be totally curative. He has another week or 10 days wearing that annoying "elizabethan collar" but by then he should be feeling just super. So this sweet gentle patient long-suffering dog has a very good future ahead of him.
( VET NOTE : whenever you see a persistant toenail or toe infection, be aware that the real cause may be a tumor in the toenail bed, ie area from which the toenail grows. Some of these will cause erosion of the tip of the toe bone, but others will not. Almost any dog will function very well with one toe removed, so if there is any doubt, be ready to take it off. )
UPDATE 5/26/03 : Keeping Zorro's "E-collar" and his foot bandages on has been an ordeal for both of us. Because the top of his neck is so thick, actually larger than the widest part of his head, I have had to back-tie the collar to a makeshift harness. (I will write this up with appropriate sketches and post it under Dog Care.) Unfortunately about a week post surgery, during the night his bandage pulled off and some of his stitches came out, either because he took them out with his teeth or maybe they tore out because he is so big and heavy that walking on the unwrapped foot tore them loose. My vet tried to put in more stitches , but they aren't holding well. So she has used a splint to restrict movement of his foot. I tried to keep him penned up in an "x-pen" to minimize his movement, but this caused him great anxiety. Now since living with a dog with an "E-collar" is about as much fun as running a glass factory with a herd of cattle loose in it, we have switched to the "Bite-Not" cervical collar, which also has to be back-tied to a harness to prevent it slipping off foreward. Because this collar does not impede his vision, he is much happier and he doesn't crash into everything, including the tender back of my knees. His foot is healing, though more slowly than if the original stitches had held. We both look foreward to the day when he won't need the collar or the bandages and he can start coming on walks with me and the other dogs. At that point I can also take him into town for some social behavior testing.
UPDATE : Zorro's foot finally healed and is perfectly functional. He started going on walks to rebuild his rear end muscles, which are now back to normal. The entropion correction was also completely sucessful. He is now healthy and happy.
Zorro's social testing at our local Farmers' Market Night (big crowds, music, picnicing families all over the lawn, lots of dogs, and general chaos) went as expected : he took it all in with calmness and poise. He enjoyed being petted by a variety of people. Nothing upsets this guy.
Like many dogs who have been ignored and neglected for so long that they pretty much lost faith in human beings and stopped looking to humans for any kind of comfort or careing, it took very little time for Zorro to realize that he could trust me and the vet staff, but it did take a while for his starved soul to start coming back to life. It took him a while to go from simply living passively, accepting whatever suffering came his way, to living with some enthusiasm and enjoyment in life. He will probably always be towards the more sedate and laid-back end of the Bouvier spectrum, rather than the more exhuberant end of it, but he now does have some sparkle and joie de vivre. In short , he is starting to blossom , and I have every reason to think that when he is adopted into a home of his own where he is cherished, he will truly bloom.

Photo of Zorro's swollen and inffected foot.

site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 4/21/03 revised 5/15/03
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