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March/April 2014
hundred or more strangers wrote me wanting to know what
they could do—many asking where he was so they could go
pick him up.”
Rheanna Ali was one of the many people who offered to
help the now homeless dog. Maune gave the location of the
dog to Ali, and she immediately headed over to rescue the
dog. Ali, a professional pet sitter with Sit & Stay Tulsa,
said she saw the photo of the distressed dog and didn’t
think twice.
“Because of my pet sitting business, I had everything in
my car I needed to get the dog and transport him safely,”
Ali said. “I just couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering
outside alone in the cold.”
After securing the dog she immediately took him to the
Animal Emergency Center to have his injuries evaluated.
While the dog was with Ali receiving emergency care,
another chapter in his rescue story was already beginning.
Maune’s initial outreach on Facebook had also reached
the attention of Dr. Lauren Johnson of Hammond Animal
Hospital. “My phone just suddenly went crazy with
messages from friends forwarding me Tess’ photo of this
poor dog and begging me to do something,” Johnson said. “I
knew we had to help him.”
“Without skipping a beat,” Maune said, “Dr. Johnson
replied to my post and said to bring the dog to her
hospital, and she would take care of him. What an
incredibly caring veterinarian!”
So after a night of care in Ali’s own home, the dog was
transferred to Hammond Animal Hospital. There, the staff
appropriately named him Phoenix after the mythical bird
that rises from the ashes, renewed and reborn. And so
Phoenix the dog started on his long path toward a new life.
Rather than burns, Phoenix was diagnosed with an
advanced case of a skin condition called demodectic mange.
According to Johnson, this type of mange, which is not
contagious to people or other animals, is caused by a tiny
mite—demodex canis— that nearly all dogs acquire from
their mothers during the first few days of life.
These mites are considered normal when present in small
numbers and are generally suppressed by a healthy dog’s
immune system. Problems can arise, however, when dogs
have immature or compromised immune systems that
allow the mites to multiply unchecked.
Localized demodectic mange may only cause little spots
of hair loss around the face or on the legs of a young dog
and can often resolve in a month or two, either
spontaneously or with simple treatment.
In some dogs, however, the disease becomes generalized,
causing large patches of hair loss on the head, legs and
body. Left untreated, the hair follicles become plugged with
mites causing thick, scaly skin and open sores that can lead
to infection.
“Phoenix came in malnourished and with an extreme
case of demodectic mange,” Johnson said. “He’s itchy,
uncomfortable and in pain, but all he wants to do is rub his
face on you and be in your lap. He’s such a good boy.”
There were no second thoughts. Phoenix would receive
the extensive care he needed. While Phoenix started his
treatments, Ali was determined to continue to help the dog.
She quickly launched an online campaign to provide funds
for Phoenix’s initial emergency care and subsequent
medical needs.
Once again, people
responded to the dog with
the pleading light brown
eyes and initial fund
raising goals were met
and exceeded. Local
rescue group Rescued ‘N
Ready Animal Foundation
joined the effort to save the dog
by accepting Phoenix into their
rescue program.
According to Amy Hoagland,
president of the non-profit
organization, once Phoenix’s
skin condition is stabilized,
the next step will be to find a
foster home where the dog can
recuperate while he waits for
a permanent adoption.
“This dog is so gentle and good-natured. He deserves a
second chance at a good life, and we’re going to make sure
he gets it,” Hoagland said, who went on to repeatedly
describe Phoenix as humble.
I really wasn’t sure what she meant by humble in
reference to a dog—until I went to spend some time with
Phoenix myself. This dog, who was severely neglected for
the first years of his life, loves everyone he meets. He is
exceptionally quiet, gentle, well-mannered, and yes, I have
to agree, humble.
It’s almost as if he looks at you through his golden eyes
and doesn’t quite believe his own good fortune. Now, with
an entire team of rescuers behind him, Phoenix’s good
fortune is guaranteed to continue to rise.
For the time being, as his skin begins to heal, and his
soft blonde coat starts to grow in, Phoenix is very content
to relax on his comfortable bed at Hammond, surrounded
by toys he doesn’t yet know how to enjoy. A hospital
favorite, his days are currently filled with treats, love and
lots of back scratches.
Phoenix has definitely risen, thanks to a wonderful chain
reaction ignited by one simple online plea. Undoubtedly,
someday soon, his coat will be full and shiny; he will be
strong and healthy, and the past won’t even be a memory
for the dog who stepped out of the ashes and straight into
the hearts of so many.
Helping Phoenix Rise continued from page 13
Phoenix when he first arrived at Hammond Animal Hospital.
Phoenix today.