'Pathetic' dog has his day

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Stacie Foshee, a pet groomer, talked to the dog she plans to adopt from the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri. (Diane L. Wilson)

The black dog brought into the shelter last Saturday was not in good shape.

It was hobbling on its three good legs, it had a bone-deep, maggot-infested wound, and its coat was weighed down with mud and feces.

"It was pathetic," said Nicole Hess of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri. "He had about six inches of matted hair, and the stench was just terrible."

Workers at the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri brought the dog to Petco, which provides free grooming for animals up for adoption. Afterward, they took him to the Cape Small Animal Hospital where the dog had his wound cleaned and was given antibiotics by Dr. John Koch free of charge.

All the while Humane Society officials were privately pessimistic at the animal's chances of ever being adopted.

"It's a sad fact that a dog like this wouldn't have much chance of finding a home," said Humane Society director Jerry Van Oostrom, who stressed that his organization is funded strictly through donations.

The future seemed bleak, but Stacie Foshee, a groomer at Petco, wouldn't let it stay that way. She was assigned to grooming detail the day the malodorous mutt came in.

"He was just sitting there as happy as can be after all that trauma," Foshee said. "He knew he needed some help, I'm sure, and was just happy when we were helping him."

Foshee, a junior early education major at Southeast Missouri State University, is an animal lover who said she doesn't "know how to say no."

She points to the scratches up and down her arms as souvenirs from her lifelong work with animals.

In her free time she serves as a "foster mommy," bottle-raising 15 kittens. She's also adopted cats with mental disabilities, a rat terrier and a Saint Bernard.

She said rescued animals make the best pets.

"A rescued dog will love you for the rest of its life. They know they've been saved and they're grateful," she said.

Foshee said this dog, a cockapoo mix, plucked at her heartstrings. "It's the worst I've seen in a long time. He was limping so badly, and you couldn't even see his foot because of all the matted hair; the hair was like a rock," she said. "The grooming room at Petco is a pretty big space, but the smell of the dog was making everybody nauseous."

After she turned the dog over to Dr. Koch for treatment, she decided she wanted to give it a home.

"This dog is a hero to me, to go through everything he went through to still come out smiling. It just shows you what animals are capable of," she said.

Foshee has petitioned the Humane Society to adopt the animal. She has not yet been approved and must wait until the mandatory stray hold expires on the dog. If everything goes according to plan she could get the dog as soon as Thursday.

Foshee said she might need help paying for the dog's veterinary bills and has set up a collection at the Petco at 266 Siemers Dr.

She said she hopes this story will inspire other people to come to the Humane Society and give homes to unwanted animals. She believes the decision to adopt is one they'll never forget.

"Puppies and kittens are so cute and everybody wants them and a lot of these dogs and cats just don't have a chance in the world, especially if they look like this one," said Foshee.

"And the thing is you don't know what you're getting with puppies and kittens, but with these adult animals you know what you're getting and you know they'll always be grateful."

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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