Walter, the severely injured pitbull pup of Park Slope, is off life support — but he still needs your help!
After an outpouring of support from all corners of the globe, Walter’s health has stabilized, but his owners say the bills for his care will continue to mount.
“The swelling in his feet has gone down,” said Kennan Juska, one of Walter’s five adopted owners who all work at the Fifth Avenue bar Southpaw in Park Slope. “His skin is healing and the scabs are falling off, though fur falls off with it too. But he’s already starting to get baby hair back.”
The poor pup has endured quite an ideal to finally have his health stabilize. Walter was discovered on Easter Sunday at 15th Street and Third Avenue by Alex Darsey, who lives nearby. After inquiring about where this pitiful puppy had come from, a neighbor told Darsey that he had just seen a car pull up, ditch the dog, and peel off.
Walter’s heartless previous owners had left him in a sorry state. The two- or three-month-old sick puppy had an extreme case of mange and was severely malnourished and dehydrated.
But according to Walter’s collective owners — a group of five friends who all work at Southpaw on Fifth Avenue between Sterling and St. Johns places — that was the least of the pup’s worries.
“It appears that his previous owners used some sort of chemical — like bleach or ammonia — in a cruel and misguided effort to treat the mange,” his owners wrote in an online post.
“He was like an open sore when we found him,” added Keenan Juska, who is also one of the dog’s caretakers and a DJ who runs the awesome “Chances With Wolves” radio show. “He didn’t have any fur on his legs. He looks like a burn victim.”
Juska and his compatriots doped the dog up with antibiotics and anti-parasite meds, as well as baths to soothe his raw and inflamed flesh.
“After a few days of baths, good meals and lots of love and attention from his new family, Walter seemed to be doing really well,” Walter’s caregivers wrote.
But his improving health was short-lived.
On April 11, Walter began ignoring food, and his temperature and electrolytes went into sharp decline. According to Juska, his body temperature was in fact so low that it didn’t even register on the veterinarian’s thermometer. He was then put in a doggy-incubator of sorts, and given a canine IV.
“His mange is so bad that he no longer has his fur to act as an immune defense,” his owners wrote. “His body is like a sponge for bacteria and infection, and he is so weak that he cannot fight it on his own.”
“Normally, a puppy with a healthy immune system can fight off [the mange],” Juska added. “But he didn’t get food and wasn’t able to fight it — his stomach got upset and that’s what got him sick again.”
Still, Walter fights on. But as he slowly recovers in doggy intensive care, his owners now have to cope with the fact that his emergency treatment costs loads of cash.
“We’re all working poor,” Juska said. “This is a totally unforeseen expense.”
Juska added that the bill from just two days of in-patient treatment at the veterinary emergency clinic on Warren Street between Smith and Court streets came to around $2,000. The veterinarians there are doing everything in their power to keep Walter in good health, and have come to adore the dog as much as his owners — but until universal pet health care gets passed, the bills will keep piling up.
Fortunately, Walter has been swamped with donations, and Juska said that they are likely approaching the sum necessary for Walter’s care. He also promised that all donations would go towards the pup’s care and that any extra funds would be donated to a pet-related charity. And when — and if — Walter makes it out, he’ll be welcomed with open arms into their home.
So Walter’s new owners are soliciting donations to get the pup through this heart-wrenching ordeal.
“We were looking at each other [in the clinic] saying ‘How are we going to handle this?’” Juska said. “But once you embrace the fact that you got this great community in Brooklyn in general — it’s helped out a lot.”
But Walter still has a long road to recovery — and remains in a fragile state. But Juska said that he had begun to think that it wasn’t just the money that kept Walter alive.
The moral support and energy — and I’m not usually spooky like this — but I really think it has made a huge difference,” Juska said. “He went from having nobody care for him to have people from all over the world care.”
Donations for Walter, the severely traumatized puppy of Park Slope, can be made through helpsavewalter.blogspot.com.