Shug’s Story by Marni Hills

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The staff at the Kings SPCA Halfway Home in Lemoore¸ CA received a call from an animal control officer one chilly fall afternoon.

“We’ve got a little dog in really bad shape¸” said the officer. “We’ll be right over¸” replied Danielle Keener¸ from King’s SPCA .

Danielle had no idea what to expect. A little Brussels Griffon type of terrier mix had been discovered abandoned in the home of a recently incarcerated man. The man’s family had no idea this dog lived at the home nor how long she had been there all alone.

What Danielle saw was heartbreaking. The little female that she named “Shug” for Sugar was thin. Her skin had been crawling with fleas for so long that she had developed flea dermatitis from her midsection backwards. The hair was gone and the skin had turned black¸ inflamed¸ thickened and cracked into what is called “elephant skin”. There was hair loss down her back half, all over her chest, there were scabs behind her ears and her hair was dry¸ brittle and thin over her whole body. Shug’s ears were swollen almost completely shut with a bacterial and/or fungal infection. They were leaking with a yellow discharge and an awful smell.

Danielle took her straight to the vet who gave Shug a steroid shot for her skin issues but did nothing to treat her ears. He said it could be months¸ maybe years before her body recovered and she may never be completely healthy again.

Danielle did not accept this prognosis. She reached out to her friend Tana at Tana’s Pet Grooming in Lemoore and asked if she could help. Tana was familiar with some great products from Iv San Bernard but was not fully trained in using them. She knew Cat Walters and her husband Steve from Canine Designs Mobile Grooming were Certified Pet Aestheticians– fully trained in how to use the products to heal skin and so Tana reached out to them.

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