Barbara Siegrist - Founder and Original Director of Because of You Chihuahua Rescue
I received a call from Dr. Henderson at Britton road Vet clinic about two Chihuahuas. The owner of a stolen car had found the dogs after the car had been impounded for three days. It was midsummer, and they had been trapped with no food or water; it was a miracle they had survived. It was also apparent that the dogs had been mistreated and neglected most of their lives.
Dr. Henderson asked if I would be willing to find homes for the two dogs after they were done evaluating them, so I went to visit them. I was immediately sick at the site of these two dogs. I had NEVER seen anything in as bad a condition and still alive. Their nails were so long their toes had become twisted and deformed. They were missing most of their hair, and were covered with fleas. They couldn’t even bite at the fleas, because they didn’t have any teeth, and they couldn’t scratch, because their feet were so deformed. They were both almost blind, skin and bones, infested with mites, and had mouths full of infection. They looked more like war camp victims than someone’s pet.
The vet’s office said they would get back to me. I called several times, but couldn’t get an update on their treatment or release. I felt so sorry for them, and hated the idea that they were just sitting their. I wanted to know that they felt better, I JUST WANTED TO HOLD AND LOVE THEM!
When they were finally released to me over a week later, I had already decided to call the brown one Valiente and the white one Pedro. Dr. Henderson told me that Valiente would most likely not be adoptable, because he wailed constantly. I couldn’t help thinking how that must have affected Pedro to be locked in a cage with Valiente who was always screaming. I cried all the way home.
When I tried to take them out to potty, I noticed something was wrong with Valiente’s leg, so I loaded him up, and drove to see Dr. Baez at the Animal Emergency Center. They found that his leg was broken leg, and apparently had been for quite some time. The leg needed to be amputated, so I had to leave him there and go back home. The vet said that he wailed nonstop, and that they would give him enough drugs to put him out for six to eight hours, but two hours later he would start wailing again. It was a painful wail. It sounded like he was haunted. We did not realize it then, but we now know it was dementia; his mind was gone.
A few days later I took him home, but it wasn’t long before I loaded him up and took him back to the emergency center. They said he would most likely never get better, and I should put him to sleep. I held him in my arms, and swore, I would NEVER let another dog suffer like he had.
As I drove home that night, I heard a song on the radio that had the line “because of you.” At that moment, I decided that, because of those two dogs, I would start a rescue, and the name of the rescue would be “Because of You.”
I went home to hold Pedro, and he melted into my arms. It was as if he knew. He knew that he and Valiente both had peace now. He knew others would be saved because of his suffering. He knew that from now on he would get proper care, good food, and be deeply loved. Pedro lived with me for another 7 months. I lost him when his heart stopped shortly after a surgery to remove a large tumor that had been bothering him.
I made a promise to these two dogs who had suffered so much pain and neglect that I would save as many dogs as possible. I have kept that promise. I hired an attorney, applied for the 501-c3 , and set up the Because of You Chihuahua Rescue.
~Valiente~ Born: ? Went to the Bridge: July 2nd 2007
~Pedro~ Born: ? Went to the Bridge: April 7th 2008
Because of you Chihuahua Rescue will grow and save others before they get as far gone as Valiente. His life will have meaning. He was so brave to live through the pain! Godspeed dear friend...