Artemis Still Can't Play Fetch.

I fell in love with Artemis within 5 minutes of meeting her.  She is evidence that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  I was at a very dark place spiritually in my life when I met her and the overwhelming emotions I felt for this beautiful creature struck me to my core.  At the time, I didn't question why I was drawn to her but looking back, I wonder if it was the pain I saw in her eyes or the scragliness of her fir.  Maybe it was the way she timidly approached me with her head drawn and to the side.  Or maybe it was because despite her obvious apprehension a hint of a smile appeared on her face accomponied by an ever so slight wag of her tail as she sat at my feet as I pet her for the very first time.  By the time the representative from the rescue I would adopt her from started to tell me why she ended up being rescued I found myself laying on the ground next to her.  In that 5 minutes, the world slipped away and our connection was born.  She became mine.   I became hers.     When I snapped out of the spell cast upon us and realized I was laying on the floor of a strangers house I tried to compose myself as best I could so I would be able to pay attention to the rescue person's words.  My heart broke and my need to love Artemis grew stronger as I was informed that she was rescued from a puppy mill and that for the first year and a half of her life she and 3 of her siblings were kept outside through all weather conditions in a rabbit cage 365 days a year.  She showed me the video of Artemis walking on grass for the very first time.  She explained that when she eats, she doesn't take the food from the front of her mouth but from the side instead and that she does this because that was the only way she could eat the frozen scraps given to her during the winter months.   She showed me how Artemis' front legs were deformed and appear bow legged because of all the time spent in an overcrowded rabbit cage.  She told me that when Artemis first came to her, she was a blank slate and had to be taught even the basic of things like how to go to the bathroom; yes, HOW not where.  The very limited space she and her siblings were provided wasnt even sufficient to allow her to do the most basic of things.  Artemis had to teach herself how to eat, drink and go to the bathroom.  She had to teach herself to do things that should have been innate.  To make matters worse, her left leg was causing her so much pain that the head of her fibula had to be surgically removed. The first year and a half of her life she was experienced constant abuse and because of this she conditioned herself to accept that this was her fate.

My partner and I adopted her that day. I still remember picking her up and putting her in bed with us that first night. As I laid there holding her, I felt her heart beat, listened to her breath and watched her as she slept and whispered to her, "You are home now and I promise you no one will ever hurt you again."

For the next three years I made good on that promise. Up until four months ago, Artemis had become a completely different dog. Everyone who met her when we first brought her home always commented that not only did she physically look like a different, healthier dog but how surprised they were by her confidence. Gone was even the hint of her traumatic past.

About four months ago she started favoring the leg she had hip surgery on. At first we assumed it may be a complication caused by the surgery but after 3 visits to the vet were assured it's just arthritis and was probably made worse by over exertion and we were instructed to give her both a narcotic pain medicine and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication with her breakfast and her dinner possibly for the rest of her life.

I too was prescribed pain medication for arthritis and know first hand all of the side effects one suffers in order to manage pain this way. It took me almost a year to ween myself off of them and decided right then and there that I would not subject my soul mate to a similar situation.

Not one to give up and through the encouragement of my mom I took Artemis to a holistic veterinarian that she is friends with whose expertise is in treating large animals. I made an appointment with her when I was in Kalamazoo and after physically examining her and watching her walk said she was 90% sure that she had a torn ACL.

I took her to an orthopedic surgeon yesterday fully expecting the same diagnosis. If only...

Not only does Artemis require surgery to repair the torn ACL, but he also showed me on the x-rays that were taken on December 30, 2016 and May 12, 2017, the kneecap on her right leg is dislocated and appears on the x-rays that it has shifted so far that it can clearly be seen on the outside side of her right leg. He further explained that based on the physical examine he did, the lack of pain she exhibits and the amount of scar tissue around the kneecap as detailed on the x-ray he thinks that she was either born this way or experienced a significant trauma when she was fairly young. He said that typically this type of damage to a dog's knee can only be caused by a severe physical trauma like getting hit by a car.

He believes that the damage she suffered to her right knee is more than likely what caused the damage to her left leg. I asked him, "In other words, while she was teaching herself to eat frozen food, to go to the bathroom in such a way she wasn't going on her siblings, as her front legs were being deformed by the rabbit cage she was kept in, she also had to teach herself to use only her left leg as her main source of support because someone may have broken her kneecap and chose not to get her treatment for it?" In response, he simply and with sadness said, "yes".

I could spend all day being angry at all of the people who have failed my sweet best friend but it won't do her or me any good. That's their karma to own and I choose not to bare it for them.

Instead, my thoughts keep drifting back to that first night when I held her as she slept and the promise I whispered into her ear, "You are home now and I promise no one will ever hurt you again."

This leads me to my request to you, we cannot afford both surgeries and I am hoping that my faith in the kindness of strangers will help me keep my promise I made to her. The total for both surgeries, physical therapy, medicine and follow up treatments ranges from the low end of $5,000 to the high end of $7,000. Asking for your help is an incredibly humbling experience but it is something I must do. From my heart and soul to yours, will you please donate any amount so we can pay for her care? Even if you cannot make a donation, thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Namaste- Todd


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Todd Crouch 
Roseville, MI
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