Woof! My name is HERO. I have heard people say that my name describes me well. I have come from a past filled with abuse and neglect but to top it off, recently I have been diagnosed with a disease called Leishmaniasis. This disease has caused me to lose my eye sight (being abused and beaten didn't help either). I am waiting to have my 2nd eye removed so that I don't ever have to worry about it causing me any pain. I also need very expensive medication to treat my disease so that I can feel better and will be on medication for life. Right now because of my disease, I experience joint swelling and pain, skin lesions on my ears, my fur has fallen out in patches and my skin feels so dry and itchy. I am working on gaining weight too because I have been malnourished for so long both because of my disease and because my family had tossed me out when I was no good to them anymore. I just want to feel better, enjoy life and feel loved.
My caregivers say I deserve to have a chance at a better a life. A life where I can be happy and feel healthy and safe. Will you help me get there?
Every Hero has a story and to read mine please continue on ...
I was born in Iran and lived there all three years of my life until I came to Toronto, Ontario Canada on September 6, 2014.
My family in Iran, was nice to me when I was very young except, I think that I may have barked too much but I thought that’s what dogs do. Maybe they didn't want me to stay near them or in the house to snuggle with them anymore. I thought I was supposed to snuggle them and keep them company. I didn't know why they didn't like me anymore but, I heard them say "he's not a good guard dog" and so, they began to severely beat me regularly everywhere ... on my head and my body. Not a "good guard" dog? I didn't know what that meant. I loved them.
Since they beat me so often, I thought being beaten was normal and I got used to it as their way of showing love. Still, they were not happy with me and finally, kicked me out of their house. I was alone suddenly.
I didn't know what to do outside by myself. I lived by a ravine with dirty water to drink and I tried to survive the best I could forever I think. Forever later, a nice couple found me and brought me to a shelter. I heard them say I was alone for 6 months but I'm sure I was alone forever until they found me. They were worried that I would be shot because stray dogs are usually shot and left to die on the streets in Iran. I didn't know what that meant but it didn't sound good!
By the time I was found, I had already lost both my eyes to blindness (the lady who found me, gave me surgery on one eye before sending me to Canada) and I was extremely thin and malnourished. Still, I survived because I am a Hero. That's what they told me. The nice lady fed me and gave me shelter and there were other dogs around too that I could play with. I wasn’t with her for long before she told me that I will be going to Toronto, Canada because a young lady saw my picture and really wanted to give me a home. I was super excited!
September 6th was the big day of arrival! The flight was long and exhausting and I could barely move when I got here. A nice lady had to lift me out of the crate to get me out.
I must have looked really bad since I was rushed to the emergency clinic right from the airport. They must have gotten scared because I was having trouble standing and my right eye was kind of hanging out. The vet took my blood which didn’t feel so good since I was really tired.
After that, we drove forever I think but, I was sleepy. Finally, we made it to this great warm place late that night. The nice ladies kept telling me I was home now and what a hero I was and kept petting me a lot. It felt good to have my body pet so gently. If this was home, I was happy. I was a Hero because I had survived.
After several tests at the doctor's place, I was diagnosed with Leishmaniasis. Apparently this is a parasitic disease that lowers the immune system and attacks the body and organs causing them to slowly waste away. As a result of the disease, my joints are swollen and I have scabs on my ears that bleed all the time. A couple of veterinarians suggested that I be put to sleep (what does that mean? I like to sleep already and do not think I need help to do it!) since the treatment is costly and the medications are difficult to find; However, my new caregivers felt that I should be given a chance and worked really hard to get my treatment started despite a few bumps in the road (which include me having to move to a new home soon because my new mom can't look after me ... but, I'll save that story for another time).
My treatment is going to take time and cost expensive (I think they said it will take a lot of money to pay for it so that I can be healthy). I only have cookies that they give me ... maybe that will help? I don't want to die, I'm not ready. They are worried that they won't have enough money because I need so much ongoing treatment that will last many months to be able to get my disease into remission, visits to the vet so they can monitor my weight plus bloodwork for monitoring my progress, a healthy diet, supplements and very expensive medication! Some of my medication has to be sent to me from Europe even!
Now, I may be blind but I can tell that people around me really care for me. My sniffer works good and I can smell it! They keep saying that I am a very sweet and gentle soul (I wouldn't hurt a fly, really - maybe I would try to lovebite it if it landed on my nose, maybe). I love people and other animals. I have even learned a few things like walking up and down the stairs, travelling on this thing called the TTC (it's really noisy and busy!) and a few words of the English language (mostly "step" so that I don't trip or hurt myself and recently "find it" when we play games with my treats! I know a few more words kinda but, sometimes I don't listen on purpose, hehe). There are a lot of stairs in this new city I am living in so I learned "step" pretty fast! My caregivers keep telling me that I am a star and I am a brave Hero.
So, if there is anyone who would like to help my caregivers save me, please send them a donation. They always tell me that I am an amazing and deserving boy! They said that even though my home didn't work out, that everything happens for a reason. They chose to save me for a reason they did not yet know at the time, I heard them say. After my diagnosis, they think that everything happened so that I could come here and be helped, so I could live and be happy.
I'm always listening ... my ears are just that good, yup! So, know what else I heard? That donations of any size are all very much welcome and deeply appreciated!! They tell people that I am a sweet boy with the gentlest of souls (See what I mean? Even I say it all the time now and I am really starting to think that maybe they are onto something here) and that they cannot wait to see me feeling my best and running free and easy!
Thank you for your help everyone!! I just want to help my new caregivers because they are so worried about me and I think they cry for me (I've heard them use some kind of paper on their face and snort!). Nobody worried about me forever, I think, until I was found.
It feels nice to finally know what it means to feel safe and to be really loved.
This is me at my doctor's appointment in my new jacket that was donated to me!
I love going for walks in the park ... leaves are the bestest!! My walks are short for now cuz I get tired and my legs get sore but, I can't wait for that day when I get to run free and easy just like my caregivers say!
Thank you for helping me get there!
Lots of paws n' licks,
- Aaron Juranka
- Kelly Bailey
- Stacey Grieve
- Michelle Uy
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