This is the first picture I ever saw of Denali. A dog with a huge mass hanging from her neck, standing in a cage in a kill shelter.
It broke my heart… a couple of phone calls later and she was being rescued and brought to us.
I cannot tell you how devastating it was her arrival to the hospital. She was so helpless, in her fearful eyes you could see that she had received nothing but pain and mistreatment from humans. But I´ll get to that in a second.
We got her in, and proceeded to perform the wide spectrum of tests that would allow us to get a clear picture of her health condition. First, the most obvious, we wanted to establish the nature of the mass. At touch, it was soft and liquid, a fluid. That pretty much ruled out the possibility of a tumor, but what was it?
The answer became apparent when we performed X-rays and a CT Scan. A CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of internal body structures. The cross-section “slices” of bones, blood vessels and soft tissues are critical when deciding next steps in patients like Denali.
Due to it´s high cost, very few rescues ever perform them CT Scans. We perform them routinely.
Those tests the story of a kind and trusting stray dog, put against a wall and shot with a hunting rifle.
Whomever shot Denali did it purely out of fun, because he could. Because he must have enjoyed to see her desperately twisting and turning in pain. They must have enjoyed hearing Denali cry and howl in desperation not understanding why suddenly her entire body was burning.
Alone, none of those bullets could kill a dog of Denali´s size, the hunter knew that, but they knew could do great damage.
It was clear on the CT Scan. One of the bullets hit Denali on the salivary gland, blocking the release of saliva that instead found it´s way down and accumulated on Denali´s neck.
The hunter achieved what he wanted… to inflict pain, and to kill Denali slowly.
Hunters… always thirsty for blood…
This is our chance to undo the damage those people did on kind and loving Denali.