Wednesday, September 8, 2010
RIP Jourdan: 2005-September 7, 2010
After months if not years of surviving on her own on the streets, Jourdan joined Dogs of the 9th Ward over Labor Day weekend. A kind resident had been feeding her as she and one other male dog roamed around the Make It Right houses in the Lower 9th Ward. Concerned, their caretaker told her she thought Jourdan was pregnant. We immediately decided to take Jourdan into rescue -- who wants another feral litter of puppies growing up -- or, worse, dying -- on the streets of the 9th Ward?
Terrified of people, Jourdan was not easy to catch. Her dedicated rescuer eventually managed to catch her, and she came to D9 the next morning. Almost immediately we knew we didn't have a pregnant dog on our hands -- something else was going on.
Jourdan looked like she'd given birth recently, but wasn't nursing puppies. Our vet suspects they were probably either stillborn or died. Jourdan's abdomen was swollen, she had open sores all over her skin, and she seemed to have trouble balancing. When she laid down, her back legs seemed to collapse out from under her.
He condition deteriorated throughout the weekend. She starting coughing -- the congested, raspy cough of heartworm disease. She had a hard time moving around, and panted constantly. On Tuesday, we put her in a crate and brought her to the vet. Jourdan had become feral, and was so terrified of people that she needed to be sedated for and exam and testing.
The diagnosis was quick: congestive heart failure due to advanced heartworm disease, and most likely other illnesses as well, along with a horrible skin infection. Advanced stage heartworm disease like Jourdan's is not treatable. Jourdan never came home from the vet. We did what we knew we had to do, and what every rescuer hates to do: after lots of treats and petting, we put Jourdan to sleep at the vet last on Tuesday afternoon.
She isn't suffering any more. It's a sad rescue, but a rescue nonetheless: Jourdan never got the life she deserved, but at least she didn't have to die a death no animal deserves. She didn't have to slowly die of heart failure on the street, having to wander in search of food and water, protecting herself and dodging cars.
Jourdan, like so many dogs in New Orleans, knew nothing of humans but fear and cruelty. In her time with us, she started taking treats from my hand, and on our last day together she licked canned cat food off my fingers. Yet, she had a collar on. At some point in her five years of life, this girl had an owner.
This is the fate of dogs abandoned and left to their own survival skills on the streets of New Orleans.
These are truly the dogs that care forgot.
Rest in peace, Jourdan.
Special thanks to Leslie, Robert, Earle, Dr. Nathan and the entire staff of Prytania Veterinary Hospital for their help with Jourdan's rescue and care. Thanks to ARNO, Melanie Manning, and Tia Maria Torres for their advice and unwavering support.