POSTED: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 10:30am
UPDATED: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 9:09am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A dog thrown away in a trash bag while he was still alive will get a second chance at life. However, he will need life-long medications that will not come cheap for his future owner.
“The person who is going to want to own this dog is going to have to be someone with the funds to provide his medication,” Andrea LaFaver, President of SOS Rescue, said. “It will have to be someone who can provide hypoallergenic food for his diet. And it will have to be someone who can overlook his appearance.”
Although a purebred Wheaten Scottie Terrier, the abandoned dog - who has been affectionately named Wilbur - looks more like a small pig than a dog. That’s because he has very little fur left on his body and his skin is rough from years of neglect.
“His skin is so hard it’s like rawhide,” LaFaver explained. “His front teeth are rotted and worn down from chewing at his skin so much over the years. The good news is that all of his back teeth are fine. Those are the teeth he uses to eat.”
Wilbur was discovered on Friday, Sept. 21  by a volunteer at SOS Rescue of Baton Rouge. He was dumped and left for dead in a trash bag in the Goodwood area.
“Our volunteer, Stacy, was walking her dogs when she saw Wilbur in the trash,” LaFaver recalled. “She asked if anyone checked to see if he was really dead. They pulled the bag to the side and clearly saw that he was still breathing. He was in such bad shape that he couldn’t stand up.”
On Monday, Sept. 24 he received his first round of treatment from Dr. McMullan at All Pets Hospital located on Perkins Road. They determined that Wilbur is roughly 5-years-old, which was surprising given his appearance.
“He has an eye condition where his eyes cannot produce tears,” LaFaver said when explaining all of his issues. “It will require life-long medication. It is very advanced because he was not getting treatment.
“His ears are also in very poor condition,” she continued. “His particular breed is prone to skin allergies, which is what’s causing all of his skin issues. That was made worse by the fact that he was covered with flees.”
The good news is that Wilbur was well-fed, so his internal organs are all in good shape. He does, however, have a growth on his chest, which will be removed and checked for cancer.
“Cancer would be the only thing that would change the consideration of euthanizing him,” LaFaver said. “They can usually tell if there’s a possibility of it coming back once they remove it. He’s going to get more blood work in a couple weeks. But the vet feels pretty good about it.”
Due to the fact that Wilbur is a purebred LaFaver suspects he was owned by a breeder who discarded him once the cost of care exceeded his ability to produce offspring.
“It’s possible that he was a stud dog that was being used for breeding and once they were done with him, they tossed him out.”
LaFaver notes that the Wheaten Terrier is the product of a recessive gene. She says that breeders will often try to mate a male and female Wheaten to increase the likelihood of producing another Wheaten. However, this is exactly what you should not do.
“Wheaten’s are produced by chance,” she said. “Wheaten’s are prone to skin and ear problems, and that’s made worse when you breed two of them together. When you breed two of them together the offspring will generally have a lot of issues.”
Wilbur is most likely a product of that complication. He will have to have special eye drops put in his eyes twice a day, ear drops daily, and maintain a special diet to help alleviate his skin irritations.
“He has a chance at a good life and a comfortable life,” LaFaver said. “However, it’s unlikely that his fur will come back, fully.”
In about a month SOS Rescue will begin the process of finding a life-long foster who wants to take on the special needs Wilbur will need for the remainder of his life. However, the immediate need is for donations so he can get the treatment.
“His estimated cost is at $1000 right now,” LaFaver said. “We’ve opened up the donations.”
SOS Rescue is a completely non-profit group that depends on donation to provide care for special needs cases of abused or neglected animals.
“We do not ask for any donations until we know exactly how much it will cost,” LaFaver noted. “We know that donors want to know where their money is going, so we keep people updated on the exact cost of care and what the money is being used for. If the donations do exceed the amount of the cost of care, we put it into a general fund that can be used in other cases.”
Click here if you would like to make a donation to pay for Wilbur’s medical expenses.