In the fall of 2013 we received a call from a woman who was escaping her abuser. She had an 18 week old puppy, Diego, that she did not want to leave behind both out of love for him and fear of what her abuser would do to him. After receiving her call we immediately placed him into a boarding facility that we had worked with previously. After 3 days he became completely unresponsive and was rushed to the emergency vet. His owner was told that the outlook was not good for him. She was heartbroken. Our advocates talked with her about what options she had and offered her support as she dealt with the trauma of her abuse and the possibility of losing her precious puppy. We transported Diego to another emergency veterinarian where they ran tests, gave him a blood transfusion, and placed him in ICU. The doctor concluded that he had been poisoned with rat poison by his owner’s abuser and it had been running through his system and killing him slowly for seven days. After a long recovery, Diego’s fragile body fully recovered and he and his owner have been reunited and they could not be happier!
This illustrates how the animals in households where domestic violence occurs are equally at risk as the human victims and why it is just as important for them to reach safety with their owners. Diego’s total bill was close to two thousand dollars, something his owner could not afford on her own. Without our help sweet Diego would not have been able to receive the care he needed and his owner, already devastated by her abuse and having to rebuild her life, did not have to suffer the trauma of losing a family member.