Imagine encountering a dog with its rib cage jutting out from hunger, looking pitiful, and when you walk up to pet it, your touch causes its skin to flake off and bleed.
Claire is a survivor.
A female Great Dane came into rescue on November 11, moments away from death. The past four years of her life had been full of neglect and abuse.
The mangled animal has a severe case of demodectic mange (an infestation of mites), is deaf, has heartworms, a yeast infection, ear and eye infections, had recently been bred and to top it off was starving to death.
“Claire”, the abused Great Dane, now plays and is as lively as any pup. At five years old, it seems her life has finally begun.
“She looked even worse in person, the smell coming off of her was almost indescribable,” said April Albin about her initial encounter with Claire.
April Albin, Claire’s foster mother and a member of the Big Dog Rescue team, was asked to take on her case because she had experience working with special needs dogs, and dogs that need medical attention.
Albin immediately said yes after receiving a call about a Great Dane with extreme medical attention, but was in total shock after seeing a picture of her. Soon after, she met the damaged dog in person.
“You could tell she wanted to live,” said Albin.
Claire was taken in by Big Dog Rescue, a dog rescue team that fosters big hearted hounds in the Austin area.
BDR prefers not to be called a “shelter”.
“All of our dogs are family members and need to live in the home,” said President of Big Dog Rescue, Inc., Julie Johnson. The dogs are taken on a case by case basis, and they are almost always full to capacity.
“We rescued 200 dogs in the last year and there is no sign of slowing down,” said Johnson.
According to Vice President of Big Dog Rescue, Sarah Tirone, the rescue group continues to push forward on making the District Attorney decide on the punishment for Claire’s abuse.
“Claire is a miracle dog, she really is,” said Albin. Claire’s foster mother explains that Claire was so emaciated upon coming into rescue that the dog could only stand for a couple minutes at a time. She was also riddled with multiple infections, and tested heartworm positive. “Any of those things alone could have killed her, but she fought and she fought hard.”
There is no national database that records the number of abused dog in the U.S. each year. However, the National Human Society estimates as many as 75 million abuse cases each year. This works out to roughly 85% of all domesticated dogs suffering some form of abuse, whether that’s food deprivation, physical abuse, or breeding abuse.
BDR as well The Human Society of The United States emphasizes the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Equally as vital is “keeping a dog current on their vaccinations and on heartworm prevention, and not leaving a dog unattended in the backyard while the family goes off to work,” according to BDR president Julie Johnson.
“After everything she has been through, everything she has had to endure to get healthy, she holds no grudges,” continued Albin. Claire is still happy to meet new people, and lives with as much fervor as any pampered pup.
“To her life is great because she is alive.”
Big Dog Rescue urges anyone and everyone who knows of an animal enduring some sort of neglect or violence to contact authorities. Their names can be kept confidential if they would like.
See Claire’s first 100 days with Big Dog Rescue in pictures on Facebook here!
To donate to Claire’s cause and help pay for through the roof medical bills, please click here.
Story written by Texas State University mass communications writer Alexandra Perez