Animal Sanctuary No Kill Raccoon Valley
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    Twelve years ago, a yellow lab named Sandie, was surrendered to a shelter. This sweet girl was 18 months old at the time, pregnant and injured from a buckshot wound to her face. She lost part of her tongue, had several damaged teeth and the buckshot caused permanent nerve damage in her jaw.

    While she waited in her kennel at the shelter waiting for a decision to let her live, or destroy her, she gave birth to 7 puppies. But it wasn't long before each puppy began getting sick. She and her puppies were diagnosed with the Canine Parvovirus, and all 7 puppies died. The shelter staff panicked and slated Sandie for euthanasia.

    Sandie - Raccoon Valley A family of four with two young boys looking for a dog fell in love with Sandie. They were finally ready for a family pet. When they asked what the "red tag" meant, they were told that dog wasn't available for adoption because she was sick.

    Miraculously, Sandie pulled through the virus so she was taken off the "to be destroyed" list and placed up for adoption. The family snatched her up and the shelter staff was eager to let her go. This is where the story should end. A perfect match with a happy ending!

    But it doesn't....and it wasn't.

    Sandie's nose shows the rawness from sticking it under a wooden fence to smell freedom.
    Sandie was taken to her new home, tail wagging and happy, but little did she know that her life would not be what most of us would hope it would be. Sandie's living space would not be inside the home with her new family, but instead she was placed immediately in the garage. A kennel with blankets would be where she would sleep, on a cold cement floor.

    Sandie endured the lonely days waiting for any human interaction. At times the young boys would come home after school and let Sandie out while they played basketball or fooled around with neighbor kids. Sandie was treated more as a toy on the shelf rather than a lifelong companion. She was brought out when it was time to play, and put back when it was time to put the toys away.

    But this did not break her spirit. Over the years, she waited. Waited for her playtime. Waited for the human interaction. Waited for a walk. Waited to be loved. Waited to be a family member. She Waited...and waited...and waited.


    As Sandie's young pack members grew up, her interaction time with humans lessened and she spent more and more hours lying about inside the garage than she did viewing the outside world. She was let out twice a day. She aged both physically and emotionally. While her owners did provide annual visits to the vet, no one picked up on her living conditions. It appeared as if she would live and die inside the four walls of a garage by a family who confessed to love her.

    Sandie was surrendered because her health was declining, and she was requiring medication to manage her pain. Her owners deemed her as an " inconvenience" to care for and no longer wanted her. So they contacted RVAS. After all, they wanted her to go to a no-kill organization because she was a "good" dog and they loved her. We know now, they had no idea how wonderful Sandie really is.

    Sandie greeted us with a very assertive energy, with a deep dark bark that would stop anyone in their tracks. But she quickly subsided when we entered the gate as if she knew we were there to save her. One RVAS assessor called it "depressed relief". Sandie's energy went from excited to calm, showing no signs of aggression, but we knew that a dog living in a garage for 10 years was probably going to have some anti-social issues and placement for her was going to be difficult. We would need to find out if she was adoptable. If we could rehabilitate her. We had no idea of what degree these living conditions had affected her.

    Her owner told us that Sandie looked forward to her time outside the garage. She would watch the squirrels frolic around and they became her playtime. We noticed that Sandie's nose was rubbed raw and bleeding. When we asked the owners what had happened, the owners didn't know but thought it was an allergy. It wasn't until the RVAS assessor walked out of the gate, looked back, and saw Sandie's nose sticking under the rough edge of the wooden gate that the answer became clear. Sandie was so desperate for exercise and companionship outside the four walls of her confined living space that she would push her nose under the gate as hard as she could to take in the smells! This was her only connection to the outside world....for years!

    Upon leaving the assessment, Sandie's eyes looked into one of our Directors, and melted her soul. She took the case, and vowed to do whatever was right for Sandie. She deserved a chance at life, and if that was not possible, at LEAST a humane death, surrounded by love and warmth...and NOT alone! No one at RVAS, however, was prepared for what we were about to learn about Sandie...and what Sandie was about to teach us.

    The first stop was the vet. We learned the seriousness of her jaw injury from being shot in the face. Accidental or intentional we will never know, but the owner claims they were told by shelter staff that they believed it was intentional because she was pregnant. Regardless, we knew there was going to be surgery in the future to remove the buckshot.

    It was also discovered that Sandie had lost 20 lbs in 2 years that went undiagnosed. Sandie's foster worked closely with the vet and determined that her constant and excessive drooling was caused by the damage done to her jaw from being shot. A switch of food from large bite size kibble to soft can quickly resolved this issue. A balanced diet also helped decrease the need to express the anal glands every week. Sandie quickly began gaining weight.

    Sandie's immediate entry into her new foster home was cautiously optimistic with no real aggression towards humans. Pretty amazing for a dog that has had little or no socialization for 10+ years. But cats were another issue. Sandie saw them as fuzzies to be pursued, not companions that would share a living space.

    So Sandie spent her first couple of weeks never being allowed off of a leash inside or outside. Sandie's behavior was monitored very closely around all living things. She would learn very quickly that cats were a friend, and that any behavior not accepting of the cats would not be tolerated. She obeyed. She was very eager to please. As she settled into the routine of the home, Sandie's personality began to shine.

    Sandie's favorite thing to do is her walk, or "walkie". The mere sound of the leash sends her into a spin of joy. She prances on her walks even though her gait is slow due to her joint pain.We estimate her to be at around 12 years old. Her disposition is sweet, obedient and grateful....very, very grateful!

    Sandie has made tremendous progress, and emotionally, is being fulfilled. But her physical condition continues to decline. To manage the pain from her arthritis she will need daily anti-inflammatories. Because of the injury to her jaw she needs canned food instead of dry. She also needs surgery to remove the buckshot which is pressing on the nerves in her jaw causing her pain. This is costly and while the Foster has beared the burden of many of her daily expenses, Sandie's surgical expenses are going to exceed what the foster can give. This is where we need your help!

    Where other shelters may not invest the time or care for Sandie, we can't imagine doing anything but provide her comfort and relief. She has proven her worth every step of the way in our care. Sandie is living proof that animals live in the moment and deserve a second chance no matter what their age is. Sandie asks only for a daily walk and an orthopedic bed to sleep on. While her favorite place to lay is the couch slightly touching her human fosters, she willingly lets the kitties snuggle up to her, too!

    Sandie has reminded us all to live in the moment. The past, is gone. And the future is unknown. The present is it...enjoy it...and make each day the very best you can. Sandie holds no ill will to humans, despite her tragic treatment by them. She smiles, wiggles and displays her enthusiasm everytime her foster comes home. She shows her excitement when it's time for a walk. And she lays her head down at night grateful for the comfy bed and warm pillow. She is a testament to all of us, to move past our hardships and live for today!

    Sandie resides in a foster home and will not be placed up for adoption until after her surgery. We need funding to help cover the costs so she can live a pain free life!

    If her story has touched your heart, please, help Sandie. She deserves human kindness. She deserves to live a pain free life. She deserves love! Sandie's wish list is below.

    Sandie - Raccoon Valley - Molly's Fund
    Help us...give Sandie the life she has always deserved.

    Pain free, surrounded by love within a pack she has waited for her entire life!

    RVAS will never give up on companions like these...will you?

    We Have Living Proof...
    There IS a Better Way!

    Sandie, just 7 months after being in foster care with proper medical care, diet and daily exercise!
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Food
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Food - Small Bites Only
    Science Diet Mature Adult Canned Food
    Soft Plush Toys with Squeakers
    CASH DONATIONS to help cover her ongoing medical expenses, medication, etc.
    GIFT CARDS to Petco to purchase food/toy items when needed
    Items can be dropped off at Petco, 7333 Buffalo Road, Des Moines, or contact 515.480.1317 for other arrangements.

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Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary & Rescue
Tele: 515.577.1745 • Fax: 1-515.432.1970

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