Fish, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever mix came out of the woods in a remote area in Enderby, close to Kingfisher. He was bone thin and covered in sores. Luckily, a good Samaritan was in the area and was able to get Fish into her car and get him to the BC SPCA in Shuswap.
“He was so sad looking when the finder first saw him,” says Meranda Dussault, manager of the BC SPCA’s Shuswap animal centre. “When Fish arrived, we took him right to the vet. He had a body score of one out of nine. An ideal body condition score is five.”
Fish needed IV fluids for dehydration, and a specialized diet and feeding schedule to safely get him on track to gain weight. He also required several tests to ensure his internal organs were still functioning after such a lengthy period of starvation. “We have to make sure he stays on the right path to recovery so for the foreseeable future he will be making regular trips to the vet clinic,” says Dussault.
So how has Fish been doing since he came into the BC SPCA’s care? In one word, great!
Dussault is thrilled to report that Fish has gained ten pounds! “We have watched him transform from a skinny, malnourished and wounded dog, into a bright eyed, energetic and playful dog with the heart of a lion,” says Dussault. “Fish still has a long way to go before he is totally healthy, but his progress so far has been remarkable.”
“The main thing we are working on is helping Fish regain his weight, muscle and strength,” says Dussault. “Fish was starved for so long he not only lost most of his body weight, he also lost a lot of muscle mass.” Dussault adds that Fish’s sores and superficial wounds have healed up nicely now that he has a nice soft bed to lay on. Once Fish has gained enough weight to safely undergo anaesthetic, he will also require dental surgery to remove the infected and broken teeth in his mouth.
“Fish’s eyes were glazed over and cloudy when he arrived in our care, now his eyes are bright and alert,” says Dussault. “He has such a powerful gaze…it feels like he is looking right into your soul.”
Fish is a resilient senior dog who still has a strong trust and bond to humans despite his hardships. In a perfect world for Fish, he would be curled up on your lap. He loves to be with his people more than anything else. When he sees you, he will wag his tail so hard that his whole body moves. “The biggest change in Fish is his energy level,” says Dussault. “When he first arrived, he could barely find the energy to stand up, though his tail still wagged even when he was unable to get up to greet you. Now it’s like the puppy has come out in him, he could play outside for hours.”
One of the things they have noticed about Fish is his amazing ability to catch flies. “He can spot, hunt and catch a fly like no other dog I have ever seen,” says Dussault. Who knew when BC SPCA staff named him Fish because he was found near Kingfisher, he would have a fly catching superpower!
Fish is still a few weeks away from being ready for adoption. He needs to gain approximately 10 more pounds before he will be healthy enough to complete his dental surgery. “We would love it if Fish could find a foster home to continue his recovery,” says Dussault. “If anyone can give this amazing senior a temporary home until we can find him his forever home, we would be so grateful.”