Heartland Small Animal Rescue answered a plea on June 8 to rescue a severely neglected dog from a high-kill northwest Indiana animal shelter.
“Our president at Heartland got an e-mail plea from a shelter in northwest Indiana,” said Emily Nace, a board member, volunteer and foster parent for animals at Heartland.
“They send out these e-mails every week or so about dogs in need because the shelter is not open to the public, and the only way a dog can get out alive is through a rescue. So we get this e-mail and they said, ‘This dog is urgent. She needs to get out today.’ We didn’t understand why until our president looked at pictures and saw her condition. She was scabbed all over.”
Heartland volunteers named the mastiff-mix Gretta and created a Facebook page for her ... https://www.facebook.com/Grettaspage ... with a ChipIn link for the public to donate to the cause. They regularly update the page with stories and pictures and encourage people to donate both money and items, especially blankets.
Gretta has a severe case of generalized demodex mange, in which parasite mites burrowed into her hair follicles. This condition caused Gretta to lose more than 75 percent of her hair. Her skin was also scabbed from head to toe.
“It’s not contained,” said Nace. “Basically, it’s in her ears, on her belly, all over her legs, and to get that bad, it takes months upon months to get like this. It’s not just something that happens overnight or even in like a week.”
“The vet said that if she had been outdoors, with the open sores that she has, there would have been larva,” said Randy Edmaiston, one of Gretta’s foster parents. “Flying larva and stuff in her wounds, so she was definitely kept indoors until somebody released her.”
While the shelter does not have any information about Gretta’s previous owners, Heartland board member and volunteer Mandy Lehman said she believes she was an indoor dog.
“She was found as a stray,” she said. “She clearly was in someone’s house. She’s comfortable in a house. She’s missing a lot of hair on her neck where her collar probably was. And she didn’t have heartworms. She’s heartworm negative, which leads us to believe she was an indoor dog.”
Volunteers estimated Gretta to be about a 1½ to 2 years old. She is also blind in one eye and severely underweight. While a mastiff mix her size should weigh about 80 pounds, Gretta weighs only about 40 pounds.
“The blood work came back and her body is literally in starvation mode or was when we first picked her up,” said Nace. “She was deprived of food for so long that her body just started feeding off of itself.”
“(Her vet) Dr. Jen said it looked like she hadn’t eaten in about a week,” said Edmaiston.
Gretta needs specialized veterinary care over the next several months to treat her eyes, mange and skin infection. She is also on a high-fat diet to regain her lost weight.
“She’s going to need medicated baths,” said Nace. “Twice a week now. And then, when she does get to a better state, she’s going to apply our special dips to treat the mange. She’s on eye medication, because her eyes were so matted shut and crusted and gooey.”
“Right now, we don’t know what kind of damage this could have done internally,” said Lehman, “just because of the fact that her white blood cell count is off the charts because of the infection.”
GRETTA'S GROWING MORE AFFECTIONATE
In spite of her debilitating medical conditions, Gretta also maintains an ever-improving affectionate demeanor.
“She was friendly and loving to begin with, but now she gets up and wags her tail for Randi,” said Nace, referring to Randi Nagler-Edmaiston, who is Randy Edmaiston’s wife and Gretta’s other foster parent. “She barked at us today when we got here. So she’s becoming a little bit more alert.”