Eastown Veterinary Clinic is excited to be once again spearheading the 2018 Holiday Drive to benefit the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM)—so this month we are sharing the story of one of these HSWM animals who found her forever home with EVC’s Exam Assistant, Kristin.
Kristin says when she and her husband decided they wanted a dog, they knew it could only come from one place.
“My now husband and I really wanted to adopt a dog and give it a loving home. So I went after work on a Friday afternoon to the Humane Society of West Michigan because they are a group that I believe in and I really wanted to support their cause.”
While there were many dogs at the shelter, Kristin said she was focused on one in particular: Aspen, a 3-year-old Bluetick Coonhound.
Aspen, the day she was adopted
“I wanted to adopt Aspen because she looked like she really wanted to receive love, and she seemed like she was so lonely and stressed from all of the barking,” Kristin explains. “I was informed that hounds have a difficult time in shelters or kennels because of their anxiety. I just wanted to give her all of the love I could.”
Aspen was outwardly healthy-looking, but Kristin learned that adopting Aspen would come with many veterinary visits to treat a condition that was hiding under the surface.
“Aspen had heartworm disease when we adopted her,” Kristin reveals.
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Fortunately, it can be prevented by using a heartworm preventive such as Trifexis or Interceptor. Unfortunately for Aspen, her previous owners had not placed her on any preventive.
Treatment for canine heartworm disease is not only costly, but also painful for the dog as it includes injections into the dog’s lower back muscle to kill the heartworms in the circulatory system. Because of the risk of developing blood clots, dogs being treated for heartworm need strict cage rest for 1-2 months.
But this wasn’t enough to deter Kristin from adopting this sweet hound. Aspen was taken home to become a part of the family.
Acclimating Aspen to her new home would prove to be more even challenging than expected, when a second issue became apparent. Aspen suffered from a common, yet difficult behavioral issue: separation anxiety.
When Aspen was with her new family, she was a very happy dog. But as soon as she was left by herself, nothing in the house was safe.
“She would chew, chew, chew and bark, bark, bark,” Kristin says. “She did NOT want to be left alone, which was difficult when we had to go to work.”
Kristin knew she couldn’t give up on her new addition, so she hired a trainer who worked diligently with Aspen.
“Since then, Aspen has become a completely different dog, and has grown tremendously,” Kristin says.
Aspen making a new friend
Kristin also took Aspen to receive her heartworm treatments, and eventually she was deemed heartworm negative!
It can be a rough road taking on a pet with difficulties like Aspen’s. But Kristin is so happy she did.
“Aspen is probably one of the most loving and silliest dogs,” she says. “I am so thankful for her and she is such a good girl! We receive so many complements about her and how well she does when we bring her to the dog park and other places.”
Aspen and her mom, EVC Exam Assistant Kristin
Kristin has since adopted another rescue animal, and highly recommends opening your home, and your heart, to a pet in need.
“Shelter dogs are so appreciative when they are adopted, and they deserve that second chance!” Kristin says. “I feel that they show their gratitude in so many ways once they know that they are home.”
The HSWM relies on support from the public to care for homeless dogs like Aspen. Eastown Veterinary Clinic will be accepting donations of food, toys and more through December 30, 2018 at the hospital. Click here to see HSWM’s Wish List!