UPDATE 9/24/21 pm:
REST IN PEACE, LIAM: We are devastated to share with you that Liam has passed away. The emergency hospital contacted our veterinary team to say that Liam had coded. They began lifesaving measures, but he was not responding. The veterinarian believed that Liam was suffering, and that humane euthanasia was the most merciful thing to do. Liam died peacefully, and he is no longer in pain.
Liam went through far too much in his short life. Estimated to be 6-8 months old, Liam was abandoned at the Kentucky Humane Society in a box labeled “FOUND HELP ME” around 12:30am September 17 – just one week ago. He was underweight and missing most of his fur, his skin swollen and painful from severe demodectic mange and skin infections. His immune system was shot, but we were determined to give him a fighting chance. We named him Liam – which is Irish for “guardian” or “protector” – hoping this would give him and his caretakers strength.
On Tuesday, he suffered another setback when he tested positive for parvovirus, a deadly and highly contagious virus that attacks unvaccinated dogs. Parvo causes severe gastrointestinal distress and can lead to blood poisoning and death. His feces were pink from blood as his intestines were being attacked by the virus. We rushed Liam to an emergency veterinary hospital, and they did everything they could to save him, including giving him a plasma infusion. But Liam’s body was too broken from disease to fight.
Losing an animal is the hardest thing about working in animal welfare. Many people say they could never do our jobs because of the suffering we see every day. But to them we ask, “If not us, then who?” Our jobs are to love each animal, to look past the sores, the injuries, the trauma or the disease, and to see each dog, cat or horse as an individual. To love them. To hold them. To advocate for them. And when it’s time for them to go, to let them go with peace and dignity, and to commit to helping the next one who will need us. Because there are always more.
For everyone who has followed Liam’s story or donated in his honor, thank you for caring about him. But please remember, there are thousands of Liams out there, and they all deserve someone to believe in them. Tragically, Liam’s story is not unique. Animal shelters across the country see similar cases every week. But what is unique is how many people rallied around him, and around our team. We can’t thank you enough for your support and love.
If you wish to donate in memory of Liam, we would appreciate your thoughtfulness. Your support helps us keep on fighting for the next Liam, or the next Ethan, or the next Debonair. Thank you for your kindness. With your help, we’ll keep up the good fight. www.kyhumane.org/donate.
UPDATE 9/24/21 am: It is with a heavy heart that we report that Liam is doing poorly and taken a turn for the worse. He has become unresponsive so the hospital has moved him into an incubator and he is still having difficulty regulating his body temperature. The veterinarian’s concern is that his Demodex is so severe it’s suppressing his immune system and making it all the more difficult to fight off the parvovirus. Please keep Liam and our staff in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We want so badly for Liam to survive so that we can show him that there’s more to life than the pain he has endured. We will continue to update you as we know more. Thank you, as always, for your support and your compassion.
UPDATE 9/23/21: Liam has survived the night! Yesterday he had a plasma transfusion to help with his lack of immunity and is still receiving supportive care round-the-clock. He is no longer vomiting but his appetite has not improved and he is still having bloody diarrhea. Liam’s skin is also making him extremely uncomfortable and he has been sleeping standing up to avoid the pain. The veterinary hospital is going to be adding more medication to try and help relieve his pain so he will be able to sleep laying down. His condition is still considered very critical and we do not know if he will survive this, but we are thrilled he pulled through another night. We do want to let everyone know that because Liam is in quarantine at the hospital, we have not received photos of him since he left the shelter. The photos we are using to keep you updated are ones taken before he left for the hospital. Please continue to keep this little guy in your thoughts and prayers. He needs all the positivity we can give!
UPDATE 9/21/21: We are heartbroken that Liam – the puppy who was left in a cardboard box at KHS on Friday – has taken a turn for the worse. This morning he tested positive for parvovirus. Our team rushed him to a veterinary hospital, where he is receiving round-the-clock emergency care in their quarantine ward. Parvo is an extremely serious and highly transmissible virus that attacks unvaccinated dogs. Symptoms include vomiting and severe diarrhea. Parvo causes intestinal damage, resulting in severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and it can lead to a septicemia, a deadly blood infection. Parvovirus typically takes 6-10 days for an infected dog to show symptoms, so Liam was already ill with parvo when he was abandoned at KHS but did not show symptoms until today. Given that Liam’s immune system is already so compromised from demodectic mange and poor nutrition, we are not sure if he has the strength to pull through. Please keep Liam – an Irish name that means “guardian” – in your thoughts and prayers. And please, if you have puppies at home, get them vaccinated! Parvo is an extremely serious virus that can kill unvaccinated dogs and spreads very easily. Thank you for your concern for little Liam. We will share more news on Facebook when we have it.
Original Post 9/20/21:
On the morning of Friday, September 17, Kentucky Humane Society staff member Warren went out to the recycle bin and found a cardboard box with “FOUND HELP ME” written on it. The box was taped shut and had air holes punched into it. Warren opened the box to find something that brought even our most seasoned team members to tears: an emaciated and miserable looking animal was staring up at them.
The young dog’s inflamed skin was raw and swollen from infection, he was missing almost all of his fur, and he was bloody from the sores that covered his thin body. He was so weak from demodectic mange and malnutrition that he could not even stand on his own. Our veterinary team went right to work triaging him – treating his infections and helping to manage his pain.
While demodectic mange is not typically life threatening, this 6-8 month old puppy had been suffering for so long from skin infections and malnutrition that his immune system is shot, and we were not sure if he would make it past the weekend. He weighs only 15 pounds but has his adult teeth, so his growth may have been stunted from lack of nutrition. We checked our security camera and found a man fleeing from the area where the puppy was found around 12:30 a.m. on Friday.
This puppy – whom we have not named yet – has a long road ahead of him. If you want to help, please consider making a donation at www.kyhumane.org/donate. Donations help provide lifesaving medical care to needy animals like these.
Follow this puppy’s story on Facebook.
PUPPY IN CARDBOARD BOX DUMPED AT KHS: On the morning of Friday, Sept. 17, Kentucky Humane Society staff member Warren…