Tom is five months old and never belonged to anyone, ever. Despite being loving, sweet and affectionate this little boy was not claimed by anyone in Attawapiskat after being hit by a car. He had been following three teenage boys when he was hit but they just kept walking. According to a witness, Tom just lay still and didn’t look their way when they left him. He had come to expect as much I guess. Our rescue worker Floyd had been nearby and heard the accident. When he got to Tom he was on his side in the road but conscious. He asked the witness to call the police so they could see for themselves where the dog lay. Because he works with Moosonee Puppy Rescue he too has been accused of stealing dogs. He now takes every precaution so as not to slow down the rescue of a dog in need. The police directed him to put up posters and post on Facebook to find the owners of this starving dog whose coat was filled with grit and grime. The pup was in pain, but no longer alone. We have learned to be grateful for each step in the rescue journey. No one was looking for this dog though. After three days of waiting Floyd was given permission to fly him out and into our care. Despite being unwanted, injured and in pain we had to pay $141.80 to rescue him. Even when working with the police and sparing a dog certain misery, Air Creebec must make money. That wasn’t always the case though, and because many planes fly out of the community empty, it shouldn’t be now. It only took a few selfish and deceitful people to cause this harm, but the dogs shouldn’t have to pay the price, so we do.
I had a different name in mind for this boy but it changed when we met. We were in the car, on the way to our vets when it came to me. A message simply floated through my mind that he was Tom.
After much time and many x-rays, it was determined his femur had been fractured. Because he is so young and still growing, he can’t have a plate put in to strengthen it. There is just enough bone attached, at the end of the break, to offer some hope for him though. If we can keep him absolutely still for six weeks Tom may not have to lose his leg. Any movement grinds and stresses the bone so he is crated all the time with cleverly adapted and arranged bathroom and interest breaks throughout the day and night.
The x-rays also showed a BB gun pellet lodged internally but it isn’t causing damage so we are trying to ignore it. In just five months Tom has been abandoned, neglected, shunned, starved, hit by a car and shot. But you should see him smile.
Tom doesn’t understand of course, but he trusts us. We can’t give him pain medication because he needs to feel the nudge as a reminder to be still. It doesn’t take much for a northern dog to bound beyond pain to run fast and free. One day sweet Tom, one day.
We will continue to monitor the fracture through x-rays and his overall condition through bloodwork. He was malnourished and terribly dehydrated but is gaining strength daily. His vet bills will mount but they are an investment in yet another true and honest northern dog.
I wonder what Tom thinks and if he dreams at night. Was he following the teenage boys because he wanted them to turn and claim him or was it simply something to do? Did he wake each morning expecting more of that day? I know he hadn’t resigned himself to a hard and lonely life but does he see the bleakness of what he knew when he closes his eyes at night? He doesn’t yet know enough about kindness or much of possibilities but I hope he has an imagination. He is a delightful boy and I am grateful to know him. Tom will leave his crate in a few weeks and a world, he never knew or considered, will open up to him. I’ll be there to see the light in his eyes and the grin on his handsomely boyish face. Hopefully he will be at our spring fundraiser to lead the parade of before and after rescue dogs. Dogs that had once been deemed worthless and are now needed and loved. Throw away dogs that came to rescue all who know them. Dogs that only wanted to belong and now do. Dogs, like Tom who overcame pain and sorrow to greet so many people he never knew cared. Please be one of them. Tom deserves us all.