UF expertise saves life, leads to new home for rescued Pomeranian

Precious the cat, now known as "Boo."

Precious the Pomeranian, now known as “Boo.”

In the fall of 2012, a little black Pomeranian named Precious made a journey that is all too familiar for many of our nation’s pets. She hopped in the car with her family, never to return to the only home she’d ever known. Precious’ medical bills had just become more than they could handle during these difficult economic times and, with her best interest in mind, her family made the heart-wrenching decision to entrust her care to the county animal shelter.

As luck would have it, Precious’ owners dropped her off at Alachua County Animal Services, whose hard-working staff have made it one of the safest places to be a shelter animal in the state of Florida. The shelter’s veterinary team quickly identified Precious’ problem as a urinary tract infection and began treatment. Recognizing Precious’ potential to be the perfect pet, the shelter put out a plea to local rescue groups. It wasn’t long before Helping Hands Pet Rescue committed to treating Precious’ medical problems and finding her a new home.

In mid-October, Helping Hands staff members took Precious to Dr. Brian DiGangi of the Merial Shelter Animal Medicine Clerkship for evaluation.

“Despite being under appropriate treatment for a urinary tract infection, her clinical signs were not improving, so I decided to do some further investigation,” DiGangi said. With funds provided by the HAARTS program, DiGangi was able to obtain X-rays of Precious’ bladder, which revealed the root of her problem: A very large stone was blocking her urethra, preventing her from urinating normally and causing her persistent infection.

“With the skilled help of the soft tissue surgery service, the stone was removed the next day and Precious was on the road to recovery,” DiGangi said.  “She must have been in such pain for quite some time with a stone like that, yet she always maintained a friendly and loving personality.”

He added, “We were so glad that we were able to get to the bottom of this and give her a chance at a new life.”

Precious’ new life comes with a new name – “Boo.” Meagan Loew  a freshman UF veterinary student, volunteered to foster Boo during her medical and surgical treatment “just to have a dog” around the house.

“She was very well behaved throughout all the visits and surgery and such a sweet dog,” said Loew. “After four months, I couldn’t give her back.”

Now Meagan has officially adopted Boo, who, thanks to the support of so many caring community organizations, now has a future filled with happy journeys.

Since its inception, the HAARTS program has saved the lives of more than 500 animals at risk for euthanasia in local shelters. The program relies solely on private donations to fulfill its lifesaving mission. Click here to meet more HAARTS program graduates.


 Editor’s Note: Thanks to Dr. Brian DiGangi, clinical assistant professor of Shelter Medicine, for providing information for this story.

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