Single dog depletes Humane Society funds

KING's Eric Wilkinson reports.

Jackson stepped on the scale at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, a far cry from his once sickly self. He’s up to 76 pounds; 15 pounds heavier than he was when he arrived two months ago.

“He was pretty close to dying,” said veterinarian Suzy Zustiak.

Jackson was found sick and malnourished by a couple of hikers along a road near Neah Bay. They brought him to the Humane Society where veterinarians tried to nurse him back to health, but couldn’t. Jackson wouldn’t eat and kept losing weight.

“We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him,” said Executive Director Mary Beth Wegener. “That’s why he was our mystery dog.”

But the team refused to give up on him.

There was something about Jackson. Maybe it was his goofy ears. One points up at a 45 degree angle across the top of his head. The other flops over his sweet face.

Maybe it’s the fact that he’s only a year old. Whatever it was, Jackson worked his way into the hearts of the staff.

“He was just pathetic,” said Executive Director Mary Beth Wegener. “You couldn’t help but love him.”

Canine Manager Ann Jorgensen spent four days sitting by Jackson’s side just trying to get him to take a drink of water.

“He was just a real gentle boy,” she said. “Something about him just melted our hearts and we felt like this is one that we just have to save.”

After several rounds of blood work, as well as an exploratory surgery, doctors determined the 1-year-old Doberman-German Shepard mix had somehow been poisoned and abandoned.

The treatment would’ve cost the Humane Society $10,000, if not for generous agreements with local veterinary clinics who provide their work for a fraction of the standard cost. The Humane Society paid just $2,000, but even that discounted price left their uncompensated care fund almost empty.

“We always have to be ready for those worst case situations, and Jackson definitely fit that bill,” said Wegener.

Wegener said even with the account almost empty, their policy is clear that if another animal like Jackson were to come in, they would find a way to treat it.

“We’re an open door shelter,” she said. “We don’t turn anyone away.”

Wegener is hoping the community will come to its rescue the same way the Humane Society has done for so many animals on the Olympic Peninsula.

“Our community is very generous,” she said. “We truly count on them.”

Meantime, Jackson has become a “poster-dog” of sorts for uncompensated care. Once on the brink of death, he’s now healthy, happy and ready for adoption. 

“He is going to make a great family dog,” said Wegener. “And that’s why we’re here.”

If you’d like to help the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, visit their website

You can also donate over the phone at 360-457-8206 or through the mail at OPHS P.O. Box 3124 Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Copyright 2016 KING


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