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‘He will be loved’: Starved, nerve-damaged dog fights for life in rescuers' arms

Misery on Houston’s inner city streets: Daniel survived distemper, but it left him with severe nerve damage that makes it hard for him to eat or drink.
Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward Project

“This is Daniel,” wrote Kelle Mann Davis in a Facebook post yesterday under the photo of a wretchedly emaciated, nearly bald young hound-shepherd mix.
“Shelly Smith and I came across him while out in the field last night," she went on. "He is starved, almost to the point of death. But this boy has something I have never seen out there: severe, constant jerking of his head and body.”

What Davis meant when she said “out in the field” is a deeply impoverished, high-crime part of Houston’s inner city, she explained to Animal Issues Reporter (AIR).

Davis and her volunteers in their group Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward Project regularly patrol the area, feeding the strays, delivering pet food donations to local residents, and trapping dogs to take them to the adopters, foster families and other rescue groups who have agreed to help.

“We took him to two vets and both said the same,” Davis continued. “He has had distemper and this is the end neurological result. It is difficult to eat, as his nose bangs into the bowl, over and over. He gets water up his nose while drinking. He is severely dehydrated and anemic.”

‘No one cared’

Although Daniel staggered around a densely-populated neighborhood for a long period of time, possibly throughout Houston’s brutally hot summer, and although he was clearly ill, famished, and rendered almost hairless by both demodectic and sarcoptic mange, “no one there reached out to him,” said Davis. “No one gave him something to eat, a drink of water. No one saw his pain and suffering. No one cared.”

Now Daniel has people who care about him very much. The vets have run all the necessary lab work, and Davis and her volunteers are treating him for the dehydration and anemia.

But it’s probably too late, said Davis. “The vets tell me that he will never have quality of life, will never be without the jerking, will never get better.”

Nevertheless, Davis wants to give Daniel a chance. She and her fellow volunteers are trying to save his life, or at least his dignity, by providing the care, comfort, and love that Davis said the dog should have been given all along.

Continue reading about Daniel.

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