The bully gods have seen fit to challenge us with some real heartaches this year. Maybe they want to see if we're still up for the job of advocating for these dogs. (Answer: Yes, yes, and yes.)
I'm sorry to report that we lost the most wonderful Maude this week to a disease we've never experienced before: Distemper! It's been a shock to all of us, especially to Maude's foster mom Katie Moyer, who fell deep into those big brown eyes from day one.
Maude came from Sacramento, where somebody bred her before she landed in the city shelter. Her badly sunburned ears told us that she was most likely a backyard dog. Distemper is very rare in adult dogs, but unfortunately Sacramento is experiencing a frightening situation with what is being called a distemper epidemic in their wild raccoon population. The same strain of distemper that the raccoons are carrying can easily transfer to dogs (but not to people). We're surmising that Maude's former owner never took her to the vet for shots, and that the virus caught her when she was most vulnerable.
Distemper is a multi-systemic viral disease that produces excruciatingly painful symptoms that are often fatal. It's a horrible experience for any animal to endure. The disease has been nearly wiped out thanks to the DHPP vaccine, but will crop up in some areas to show us where dog owners are not taking care of their pets.
We loved this dog and wish we could go back in time and find a way to vaccinate her as a pup and let her live the life she was meant to live. The best we can do is to get out to Sacramento and do a Free Shots Fair for low-income dog owners in memory of Maude. We'll let our readers know when that event goes down.
Til then, we salute the most beautiful brown eyed girl who charged into our lives with a smile as wide as Texas, and stole our hearts solid before slipping back to her Maker.
Our hearts are wrapped around foster mom Katie today, who spent every waking moment this past week caring for Maude before saying a painful good-bye. And to Deassa, who helped enormously with vet care and TLC to the very end. Katie wrote this tribute, no doubt through a lot of tears. We're all humbled by her compassion and courage.