SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Desperate to save their puppy's life, a Valley family anonymously surrendered him to an animal hospital, hopeful someone could help him.
The puppy was found in a cardboard box outside a Scottsdale veterinary clinic and had a severe case of Parvo. Staff at the clinic reached out to the Follow Your Heart Animal Hospital and Rescue, as they run a special Parvo unit called the Tigg Pen, inside their clinic.
Debbie Varner, one of the founders of the Follow Your Heart Animal Hospital said it was a no-brainer for them to take the puppy in.
Varner said what really touched her heart was a letter left in the box, along with the puppy.
She read the letter out loud to ABC15.
"His name is Nimbus, and he is an 11-week-old German Shepherd Husky mix.
He started vomiting Thursday the 29th. We took them into the vet on Friday the 30th and he tested positive for Parvo. His treatment plan consists of IV fluids, anti-nausea pills, antibiotics, pain meds and special puppy food that we have been injecting down his throat using a syringe.
Despite taking him into the vet again today for a second shot of anti-nausea, he continues to vomit and hasn't been able to hold down any food or water. He does not have any diarrhea so far. As of this morning, Nimbus continues to decline. We are unable to afford an overnight visit at an animal hospital. We are giving up our rights to ownership, our hope is that you can care for him and help him survive. Nimbus is an amazing puppy that deserves to live a long happy life with a loving family. The last time he held down food was Friday night; we've included all that is left of his meds."
Varner broke down as she read the letter, saying she had seen so many dogs suffering from Parvo over the years, so she could only imagine how much the puppy had been suffering, and how tough it may have been for his owners to give him up due to lack of finances to care for his medical needs.
Parvo is a contagious and deadly disease that can weaken your dog's immune system. If left untreated, it has a high fatality rate.
The disease can be prevented with vaccines; however, once a dog contracts it, immediate treatment is advised. Varner said the treatment could run into hundreds of dollars and even thousands of dollars if the dog required an overnight hospital stay.
Thankfully, Varner said Nimbus' owners had already started his treatment, so they were able to pick it up.
Certified Veterinary Technician Alexandra Fong who had been caring for Nimbus during his stay at the Follow Your Heart Animal Hospital described him as a different puppy today. Fong said when Nimbus came in he was frail, lethargic, weak and covered in diarrhea.
"He went from 0 to 1,000 within a couple of days. Not all Parvo dogs act like that, but he got really lucky," said Fong.
Even though they "surrendered" him, Varner said she believed they did the right thing to try to save their pet's life.
"They clearly wanted to help. This is the only way they could figure out how to do it," said Varner.
"I just want to give them some joy. I'd like to just like be able to hand them their puppy back and say, I know it wasn't the best for anybody. The situation was hard. But in the end, your puppy is safe and saved," said Varner.
Nimbus's family saw the story on ABC15 and reached out to Follow your Heart animal hospital the next morning. They are now reunited with their dog.
The family was very grateful and emotional during the reunion. They did not want to be on camera. They told staff at Follow your heart they had just lost another dog to Parvo. They paid thousands of dollars to treat that dog, but he died despite all their efforts. When Nimbus came down with Parvo, they did all they could to start his treatment, but just could not afford the financial cost anymore.