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N Central Region:

Charlotte, female - MI
Desi - Adopted!!!
Diesel - Adopted!!!
Mesa, female - IL
* Rico, male - MN

S Central Region:

Diesel - Adopted!!!
Dottie - Adopted!!!
Jackie - Adopted!!!
* Jill, female - TX
* Loki, male - MO

Northeast Region:

* Asher, male - MD
* Blue, female - MA
Grimm, male - NY
* Harley, female - MA
* Kaley, female - VA
Lucy, female - PA
* Rebel, male - VT
Ziva - Adopted!!!

Southeast Region:

Andie- Adopted!!!
* Arko, male - GA
* Callie, female - SC
* Hutch, male - LA
Loki, male - LA
Lucas - Adopted!!!
Ofa - Adopted!!!
Phenix - Adopted!!!

Northwest Region:

More NW Info

Southwest Region:

Hank - Adopted!!!
Scarlet - Adopted!!!

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Updated: Dec 12nd

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Sadie's Story

By Sharon Willis
(Sadie's Foster Mom)

Photo Sadie - 12KB

Sadie was born September 9, 1999 and was purchased from a pet store when she was a puppy. We don't know where the pet store was located or her actual place of birth.. Her owners signed her over to her vet. She wasn't feeling very good and the owners did not want to put a lot of money into her. Sadie came into ours lives on February 17, 2001.

You could call this a story of the joys and heartbreaks of being a foster home for dogs or the story of dog ownership. It works both ways when fostering.

When Sadie arrived she was very withdrawn, almost depressed, and very calm. From what I understand this is not typical of the Belgian Malinois breed. Just my daughter, Rebecca, and I were home. My husband, Tim, was running around and my son, Ryan, was away for the weekend. We made Sadie comfortable and introduced her to our two terveruns, Trigger and Jewel. Sadie was not really interested in the other dogs, but they were interested in her. Then Tim came home. Sadie did not like him at all. She barked and growled at him. So Tim left Sadie alone, which was fine with her.

From the beginning Sadie had very good house manners and was in love with Rebecca. Rebecca took right over on reinforcing the sit, stay, down commands as well as come. At night, Sadie would go into Rebecca's room, after everyone went to bed, and slept. It did take Sadie several weeks to become part of the "pack" with Trigger and Jewel, but she fit in very well.

Sadie fit so well into our lives that it was like we always had three dogs, plus two cats and a goldfish! We did go through a lot of effort to accustom Sadie to men. We finally got her to the point that she would take treats from Tim and receive a few pats, but very cautiously. She would never go to Tim for any affection.

At the end of three months, I felt that it was time for Sadie to be adopted. Although she had been listed on the American Belgian Malinios Rescue web site for quite some time, we did not have any serious inquiries. A couple of people that wanted her for narcotic searches had inquired but I didn't really take them too seriously.

All of a sudden I had three applications! We set up the home checks and they were just about complete when Sadie became ill. Did she know that she was leaving our family? She became very lethargic, stopped eating and wouldn't even come to the fence to greet me when I came home from work. I got her right into the vet. He suspected possible enteritis, but without more testing could not be sure. Sadie had eaten a rawhide bone and a bee's nest earlier in the week. The vet gave her a shot and some oral medication along with a very bland diet. He also said to call if not better.

By Monday, she had eaten very little and her breathing was labored. When I got to work, I called the vet and made an appointment for as soon as I got home. The vet asked that she stay overnight for some blood tests and x-rays.

On Tuesday, my vet called me and said that at the very least Sadie needed a blood transfusion and possibly an ultrasound of the abdomen to diagnose her illness. This meant transfer to Michigan State University Veterinary clinic with an emergency admission. I contacted Marcia, a good friend and Northeast Regional Co-Chair of ABMC Malinois Rescue. She said that the club would take care of expenses, if not to extensive. She also asked me if this dog would be worth the time and expense of treatment. I said yes. Sadie has brought so much into our lives and I felt that she could bring a lot of love and affection into another family's life.

I canceled Rebecca's doctor's appointment and left work immediately, to pick Sadie up and transport her to MSU. When I got there, a student vet took Sadie's history and did the physical exam. Sadie was still walking, wagging her tail and giving kisses at this point. The senior vet then came into look at Sadie and gave me her opinion and what treatment we should start with, blood transfusion and ultrasound as well as additional x-rays and blood tests.

On Wednesday, I received a call from MSU. Sadie was holding her own. The ultrasound had revealed that her spleen and liver were grossly enlarged and that her lungs were cloudy. I asked what this meant and was told that it could mean a variety of illnesses, but they were looking into a possible infectious disease to start with.

I went to see Sadie that afternoon. She looked good, although still sick and she was eager to see us. During our visit she did vomit, so she was taken off food again. I asked the vet about the infectious disease and is it something that my other dogs could get. She assured me that no; my dogs could not get it. They are suspecting a tick-born disease. Sadie was also on antibiotics at this time.

In keeping in close contact with Marcia, she went right to work on researching tick-born diseases, the signs, symptoms and cures. She came up with one called ehrlicia and that the best treatment at this time is tetracycline or a synthetic brand, doxycycline. She had also been talking with the vet and on Thursday asked that Sadie be put on this antibiotic. Marcia and I are also getting conflicting reports. I being told that Sadie is doing better and is accepting treatment. Marcia is being told that Sadie has not improved much and is fear biting which is making treatment very difficult. (MSU had been forewarned that Sadie does not like men.) I was not able to see Sadie on Thursday due to prior appointments that could not be broken.

During all of this, I'm thinking how far do I go, at what point should the decision to stop be. I'm thinking not only of the expense but also of the emotions that our family is going through. I'm also feeling very depressed and like I'm on an emotional roller coaster. Would I be capable of making the right decisions regarding treatment?

Friday morning, Marcia called to see how I was holding up. At that point I was not doing so good. I told Marcia that we needed to decide when enough is enough. I said that my personal feelings were that if Sadie did not appear to be responding to treatment and MSU was requesting that more tests are done, I would have Sadie euthanized. I think we were both in tears at this point. After all we had been through to have this type of ending was almost more than we could bear.

MSU had called. Sadie had been moved from ICU to the Internal Medicine department. She was still holding her own and they wanted to do a bone marrow test. I explained at this time to hold off on anymore testing and I would speak to them when I came to visit Sadie in the evening.

Photo Sadie - 10KB

I was extremely depressed by the time I went to see Sadie. I was not expecting any improvement and thought she would probably look more wasted than when I first admitted her. (She was at 49 pounds when this started and at 45 pounds when admitted.)

Her new doctor greeted me and answered all the questions I had about treatment, recovery, test results, you name it and I asked it. She was very up front and honest, I felt, with her reports. She said that if Sadie does have ehrlicia, then she is on the right treatment. Until the test results came in, treatment is only a guess. She also is still talking about the bone marrow test. I'm thinking, how much more expense can I get into, especially when it's not my money that's being spent. I told her that until I've seen Sadie and know what the results are of the tick titer, I couldn't approve anymore tests. I was told that as soon as Sadie returned from her walk that we could visit.

I hardly recognized Sadie when she came in! She was bouncy and excited. She jumped and kissed. I could only see 3 ribs instead of 5! I asked what was bringing on this type of behavior when she has been so sick. The doctor told me that she is responding to the antibiotic, the blood transfusion or both. She said to take as much time as we wanted with Sadie and have her paged when we, Rebecca was with me, were done. She even said that we could take her out for a walk! We walked for almost a half-hour. Sadie never tired out. She was a different dog. I don't think she has had this much energy since we took her in. When we brought Sadie back, the doctor asked if we wanted to take her home. I asked is she could stay until Monday, when the test results were due in, for observation and continued on her medication. I was told that this would work and that the IV and catheter would probably be removed also.

Photo Sadie - 8KB

Saturday afternoon I received a call from Sadies' current doctor. She said that Sadie was continuing to improve. I asked again if she knew the reason for Sadie's improvement. She said that looking at the chart, her improvement started about 12 hours after the doxycycline was administered. I asked if she could tell if she was producing the red blood cells on her own yet. The doctor said that she is doing some blood tests to check this out. The IV had not been removed yet, but was scheduled to be removed on Sunday. I had talked to my own vet earlier in the day and he suggested that Trigger and Jewel be put on doxycycline for a period of time just in case. I repeated this suggestion to the MSU vet and she also thought it would be a good idea. Since we don't know what area Sadie lived in when she became infected.

On Sunday I received my daily call from MSU. Sadie is still improving. The IV line and catheter were removed, She is eating and drinking well.

On Monday I called MSU to see if the test results were in yet. No, they weren't in. So I asked if I could visit Sadie and have her discharged. The doctor said yes, Sadie was improving to the point that she could go home and had even gained some weight. MSU also assured me that they would contact me as soon as any test result came in.

Was she excited! She didn't know what to do first, so she kissed (licked) Trigger and Jewel's mouths then went outside to run around. It took quite awhile to settle her down and make her believe that she was really staying.

Sadie has fit right back in with our family and our routine. She has been taking her medication, eating and drinking well. By Wednesday I had not heard from MSU so I called them up. The test results were in but it is not erhlicia that Sadie has, it is babesiosis. This is also a tick born disease, one in which a parasite is in the blood. A lot of the signs and symptoms are the same. This disease also is prevalent in the southern states. The treatment is with an antibiotic that needs to be injected. The doctor stated that she would research this disease some more to find the correct treatment and also to get the medication.

I personally don't believe that she received it since she has been at my home. It was only through research of signs and symptoms that my vet came across the disease of ehrlicia. He stated that he has never treated this disease before. Although I have always treated my pets for fleas and ticks, I have never really taken it seriously. I figured fleas are a nuisance and ticks, well, my pets don't run loose, we don't walk in the woods very often, mostly in the late fall, winter and early spring when there aren't as many bugs, and there aren't many tick-born diseases in my area. I've definitely had a change of heart! I know from the research that Marcia has done and shared with me that no form of flea/tick control is 100% effective. I will, however, use what is available and recommended by my vet, following all the directions. What about the cost? Yes, it is expensive. I have told myself hundreds of times that I can't afford this product or that product. I know now that prevention is cheaper than the cure. We have spent dollars on Sadie that may have had a better use elsewhere, but again, is she worth it? Again, yes. To hear a child cry herself to sleep because she is worried about a dog, that she knows is to be adopted to a new family, breaks your heart. To know that Sadie has given her heart to Rebecca, at a time when Rebecca needed this special bond with a dog, makes Sadie worth saving. I know that Sadie will go into her new home ready to make this special bond again. Maybe not with a child, but with a fellow canine whose years are coming to an end. Can Sadie be this compassionate with another dog? That is yet to be seen, but I believe that she has the capacity to do this.

It is now Tuesday, a week after Sadie was discharged from MSU. The medication that she needs has not come in yet although it should at any time. Sadie had additional blood tests over the weekend. While not normal, it showed that Sadie is continuing to hold her own.

Sadie went to meet her new family. She immediately made herself at home. She seemed to like the family and the surroundings. The family is fully aware of all that Sadie has been through and they still want her. Sadie will move on June 25th. Her new family has already made an appointment to visit their vet and has been enrolled in obedience class. Rebecca was with us also and she approved of the new family also. This, hopefully, will make it a little easier for her to let Sadie go, although we have been invited to visit anytime we would like.

During this long ordeal I have been asking myself, is fostering worth it? Can I take another dog into my family and life, knowing or not knowing what the outcome may be, to again be able to assess a situation with my head and not my heart. The answer is yes! I feel that Sadie has received more love in the last three months than she has ever received. I feel proud to know that my family can take in a pet of questionable background, show this pet what love, friendship and trust is. To have a rescue adopted by a family who will also continue the work that I have started is also worth the time, effort and sometimes money.

Speaking of money, Sadie's expenses seem astronomical to me. I know that they depleted the ABMC Rescue fund considerably. A very good friend, Lauren, requested that a donation be made to the rescues from our Four Seasons Belgian Shepherd club funds. This motion was rejected, at least until after the 2001 National Specialty. So Lauren took things into her own gifted hands and created a beautiful cut glass plaque to be raffled off. All proceeds would go to the Rescue. She has been through this with me also. If I forget to call or e-mail her she would get a hold of me. To match her generosity, I have donated a matching lap quilt. I should also mention that it is Lauren who got me involved in rescue. At a meeting, I mentioned about being a possible foster home because I had read about all the dogs who were supposed to be auctioned off. Well, before I knew it, I had my first foster dog. Thanks for everything Lauren, sincerely!

This is the ending that all foster homes hope for. I know it doesn't always turn out as we plan. My ultimate goal is to Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Re-enter into a society that does not always understand our animal friends. Another goal is to match family characteristics with the Malinois's characteristics. Sometimes the match can be perfect, most times close enough that everyone involved can find his or her perfect pet within the one pet.

Throughout this ordeal, I have to thank Marcia for her time, research and available funds, but most of all her trust in me. Marcia has never met me in person nor has she met Sadie, yet she has been with me all the way. At times it seems as if we are reading each other's minds, especially the day when we felt that we had to make important decisions regarding treatment. There were many days that I felt I was being a pest, calling Marcia at home or work and constantly e-mailing her. She was there for me to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to ask advice of. There will never be anyway for me to give enough thanks for all of her support. Marcia also spent many hours on the internet searching for clues on Sadies' condition and possible treatments. To all of the animal lovers who responded, a huge THANKS to you also. There are all the doctors and student doctors to thank also. Without their schooling and training the outcome of this story may have been a lot different. I thank them for listening to Marcia when she suggested going with a different antibiotic. (Way to go, Marcia!)

Photo Sadie - 8KB

Sadie's Plaque

Plaque for Malinois Rescue Sadie dipicting the four varities of Belgian Shepherds

WINNER: Fr. Jim Sigmann - New Mexico

Sadie's Quilt

Quilt for Malinois Rescue Sadie dipicting the four varities of Belgian Shepherds to Match the Plaque above

WINNER: Kim Anderson - Michigan





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