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Help Stray Harlan's Recovery!
$50 raised
3% of $1.5k goal
1 contributor
4 Years running
Gallery Links: Images of the first couple days: The gross ear images DONT CLICK IF YOU DONT WANT TO SEE GROSS INFECTION: This old guy wandered onto the farm where I live early last week. I didn't ...

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Images of the first couple days:


This old guy wandered onto the farm where I live early last week. I didn't think twice about it when I first saw him last Monday. I live in a rural area, and it's not uncommon for well cared for dogs to go for little "adventures" now and again. When I saw him again on Wednesday I called for him, but he quickly headed back into the woods. I was in a rush and didn't pursue him further. I went home for lunch on Thursday and he was there, again, wandering around. This time he was a bit closer, and he was quite a bit older than I had realized. It dawned on me that he probably was not wandering on and off the farm - but rather was probably just hanging around in the woods (we have a perimeter fence that we close at night, and a non-nimble dog would be unable to escape).

I lured him to my crawlspace with food after about 20 minutes. Once I made contact with him and he realized I was trying to help him, he totally melted and started wagging his tail and licking me. It was evident that he was very tired and disoriented, and I also discovered that he had MASSIVELY INFECTED ears. See pictures if you have a strong stomach. I petted him for a few as he quickly consumed a liter of water and a bowl of food before lying down in my crawl space to sleep. I tethered him there with water and more food and headed back to town to finish work and to check out some shelters.

I talked to a few shelters in Durham and Raleigh, and visited the Wake County SPCA. Long story short - they'd all put him down immediately. He's a 11-12 year old black lab mix with fleas, ticks, skin infections, the worst ear infections anyone has every seen. READ: unadoptable. Note: I'm not trying to make a statement on kill vs. no-kill shelters. They have their reasons, and that's their business. My logic is / was as follows: If there wasn't anything serious wrong with this dog besides old-age and ear infections, I couldn't just put him down. I had three options: 1. Let him wander around (and probably die) on my farm. 2. Bring him to a shelter and have him put down. 3. Bring him to a vet to determine his health and go from there.

Soooo I took him to the vet where my girlfriend takes her dog. He had no microchip, so he was officially.... unofficial.  Tests came back negative for diabetes, heartworms, and all other diseases tested for (see images for vet records). The vet has 30 years of experience, and said this was without a doubt the worst case of ear infection she'd ever seen. Basically all the cartilege rib things were rotted out, and she said she figured his ear drums are rotted out, too. He can still "hear" - whether it's actually hearing, or some kind of vibration-level recognition, I don't know.

So I decided I'd go ahead with a rabies shot, heartworm treatment, another round of tests, flea meds, antibiotics, and pain meds. And I scheduled an appointment for the next day for him to be sedated for a full treatment on his ears. They basically vacuumed his ears out and put saline in them to help with infection. (I don't really know the details on the procedure - can get them if necessary).

So, here's the deal: I named old buddy Harlan. He's as sweet as can be, and deserves to live out the end of his life with love and care. I don't know anything about his past, though I don't think he was a true stray. He's a little bit overweight, and has too good a temperament to have not been socialized at some point. Seems most likely to me that he had severely negligent parents, and that eventually he just wandered off.

As for me, I am self-employed as a carpenter / woodworker. I started my own business a little over a year ago, and I make about $500 / week at this point. Harlan is going to need ongoing medical attention for at least a couple months, including medications and weekly or bi-weekly vet visits for extensive ear cleanings. I'm completely willing to give him a loving home, and to perform the normal daily tasks of feeding and walking, as well as at-home ear cleaning and giving him his meds. That said - I'm not in a great financial situation to be adding a medically-needy dog to my expenses. I will post all vet records, as well as update photos on a regular (every 2-3 days) basis. My best guess, which I discussed with the vet, is that his rehabilitation is going to be in the $1500-$2000 range. I've spent ~$450 already, and his weekly / bi-weekly treatments will be in the $150 range for the next two months. I put $1500 as the goal because I don't want to ask for any more than I absolutely know I'm going to spend - though I'd bet that his rehab will cost more than that.

Any funds raised in excess of his care expenses will be donated to a free spay / neuter clinic - and I will provide proof of the donation should that come to pass.


Images of the first couple days:

The gross ear images:

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