East Texas animals with traumatic pasts need special care

East Texas animals with traumatic pasts need special care
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The shelter environment can be an added challenge in the healing process for animals with histories of abuse and neglect.

Three-year-old brothers Rugar and Sozen were rescued earlier this month in dire need of medical care and attention after a neighbor called Smith County Animal Control about a dog running around in bad shape.

Once the shelter workers arrived at the house, they found both dogs and immediately requested a seizure warrant from the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office in Lindale. One of the shelter employees described the scene as “just sad.”

Both dogs were brought back to the shelter and currently facing an uphill climb while they heal.

Fleas created skin infections, causing the dogs, particularly Sozen, to lose their fur. Both also tested positive for heartworms and have missing teeth from scrounging for food for years.

Shelter supervisor Amber Greene knows through experience that these two dogs need more than just medication to get better.

“In a shelter environment, dogs get stressed out because they have no idea what’s going on, and when dogs get stressed out, they can either lash out or they get depressed, and with the constant barking when they see people, could also cause stressors for these dogs,” Greene says.

The dogs are not up for adoption just yet, but they are looking for long-term foster homes or rescues to help them get better outside of a stressful shelter.

Long-time Tyler veterinarian Dr. Gary Spence says his hospital, Spence and White Veterinary Hospital, sees abused or neglected animals almost daily.

The chances of animals with long-term care needs being adopted is “slim because most people think they’re going to be just tremendous after-care and all, and really there’s not a lot to it it’s just making the commitment,” says Dr. Spence.

Several animals at the hospital were given a second chance at life after being left by abusive owners in unimaginable states; one cat left paralyzed waist-down after being kicked by the previous owner. Another dog missing most of his nose because his previous owner’s neglected to bring him to the vet to have a tumor removed.

Regardless of their pasts, Dr. Spence says, fighting back tears, “they make some of the best pets ever, because they’ve looked and looked and looked for someone to take them home, and all they want to do is sit in your lap, you know, and all an adoptive dog wants to do is be waiting for you at the door when you get there at night, so he can lick you.”