Saving pets with critical injuries in Los Angeles
The world (or at least Los Angeles) is Jameson’s oyster these days. But not too long ago, this little dog’s life hung in balance after he was found with three broken legs on the side of the road. Jameson had been hit by a car and would require extensive medical care so that he could one day walk again.
Someone picked up the little white dog and brought him to a Los Angeles city shelter for help. Staff could see that the young dog still had a lot of living yet to do, but he needed immediate critical care and long-term care so his recovery could be monitored. A busy municipal shelter wasn’t the right place for the kind of long-term special care he needed but, luckily, help was available.
Jameson was brought to The Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center, where he and other pets from Los Angeles Animal Services receive extra help, medical care and, ultimately, a second chance.
Supporting L.A. city shelters
Best Friends is helping to save more pets who arrive at Los Angeles city shelters needing intensive care. These are the dogs and cats whose lives are often most at risk, and without immediate medical attention, they may not make it out of the shelter.
“We wanted to find a way to make it easier for L.A. city shelters to get these animals the care they desperately need,” says Dr. Nicole Petschauer, senior veterinarian in Los Angeles. “Our program supports the work the shelters are already doing. We will often take in animals who require long-term care.”
Jameson was a prime example of an animal who would need a lot of care — including an amputation. “He needed a significant amount of care and months of rehab,” says Dr. Nicole. “And the city shelter and our staff determined that in his case, Best Friends could help him the most.”
Dr. Daniela Castillo, another Best Friends vet, had to anesthetize Jameson twice after his surgery to treat his incisions. At first, the road to recovery wasn’t easy for the sweet little dog. Not only did he have to heal from his amputation surgery, but also two other broken legs. Jameson had a lot to overcome, but everyone believed he could do it.
“I could see he had a strong spirit. He’s a fighter,” says Dr. Daniela, who called him “Fuerte,” the word for “strong” in Spanish. “Here, we could give him the space, the attention and the love he needed to help him recover.”
Helping L.A. become a no-kill city
Los Angeles is working toward becoming a no-kill city, and saving pets who need long-term care is an integral part in making this happen. Not only does the program create space at Los Angeles Animal Services shelters for animals ready for adoption, it’s also a valuable resource for shelter veterinarians and staff who are busy from the minute they walk in the door.
Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS), says that on a daily basis each L.A. city-operated shelter can house 100-200 dogs, more than 50 cats (although seasonally it can be many times that) and more than 50 other animals such as bunnies, pocket pets, birds and reptiles.
“Besides responsibility for medical care for our shelter guests, our medical team may be needed to examine and evaluate a large number of pets from a hoarding or other cruelty-type case,” says Brenda. “There are times when our medical staff can’t do it all.
“Many of these pets need immediate treatment, and there is no time to spare. By working directly with our medical team, urgent and critical cases are quickly identified and moved to the pet adoption center for immediate emergency care.”
After months of specialized care, Jameson was feeling great and ready for his next adventure. It was time for him to get back to the thing he loves the most — exploring new places. Only this time, he’d be doing it with an adopter who could keep a watchful eye on him.
Jameson was finally adopted from the NKLA Pet Adoption Center by a woman named Amber. Today, he is loving his new home and checking out the world outside his front door. He enjoys meeting new four- and three-legged friends, as well as new people. And he loves to play with his many toys. Amber admits that one of the only issues facing Jamerson is being a little spoiled. But who can blame her?
“He has lots of fun running around at the dog park without a worry in the world,” says Amber. “He also is super content cuddling up on the couch next to me watching TV. Overall, Jameson is a very happy pup and I am so happy that I have provided him with a forever home.”
When Dr. Daniela hears about Jameson these days, she remembers how he looked when she first saw him, and how so many people came together to help the little dog live up to his nickname, Fuerte. Her work with animals like Jameson reminds her of why she became a vet in the first place — to save lives. “It makes every tough day I have as a vet worthwhile,” she says.
Photos by Amber Carlson