WATCH ABOVE: Minna Rhee reports about the rescue.
TORONTO – Precious, a Shih Tzu, could barely walk six days ago when she was rescued. Her fur was matted and wound so tightly around her legs she could barely stand up.
“Her head is covered in sores too, but I think that’s a minor inconvenience compared to her mouth. Infected gums, loose teeth and puss oozing from underneath her gums,” Dr. Jonathan Mitelman, a veterinarian told Global News as he shaved the canine.
The dog was so neglected her teeth fell out as the vet tried to remove matted fur from her mouth.
She had been in the care of an elderly woman who simply didn’t realize what was going on.
Her neighbours, who didn’t want to be named by Global News, stepped in to help the dog.
“It was awkward because you don’t want to offend or embarrass someone… but the animal clearly was in need,” said the neighbour who wants to remain anonymous so that area residents cannot identify the elderly woman in her 80s.
Precious had been kept indoors and has not been outside for close to a year, the neighbour said.
Speaking about the canine’s owner, the neighbour said “she doesn’t see as well as she used to see. Her hands have serious arthritis and I’m not sure if she can feel how the fur feels like.”
The vets at Kingston Road Animal Hospital agreed to examine the pooch and offered to cover the medical costs through their charitable foundation “VETS animal charity”.
“People need to check up on the elderly – but they have to check up on their pets too,” said Dr. Mitelman, who has rescued close to a dozen animals found in similar situations.
He showed Global News photos of a toy poodle who came in at under 2 1/2 lbs after its elderly owner forgot to feed her for several weeks. There was also a cat who declawed himself trying to get out of a helpless situation after its owner was taken to a hospice and forgot to mention to anyone that she had pets.
Mitelman said if you suspect an animal is in need, speak up.
“Regret is a poison pill that eats you up inside. What’s wrong with coming forward and saying something? What are you worried about? That you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings? That’s their problem. If you don’t speak up, someone’s going to get hurt. No one would be comfortable with themselves finding out they could have done something they didn’t.”
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