I Am Hansen, a Three-Legged Purebred Boxer and Survivor
One Hungry Lost Purebred Boxer
There I was, a Boxer, all alone in the world, lost in the suburbs of Queen Creek, Arizona. In my wanderings, I saw many stray dogs and many abandoned dogs, but I felt safer traveling alone. Nights in Arizona can be shivery cold. I felt the cold. I felt hunger most of the time, too.
I had been a house dog with a mean master. I survived a lot of things. As each new day dawned at my master’s household, I did not know if I would survive until sunset. So the first chance I got: I ran. I heard the man screaming and yelling and chasing me. I knew if he caught me, he would beat me worse than he had ever done, so I ran. The man ran. I outran him. As near as I can remember, that is how I ended up wandering the streets.
Out there on my own, if I was lucky, I caught a rabbit to eat. That would keep me going a couple of days. There are plenty of hares and rabbits in Queen Creek, but they are usually too fast for a hungry dog to catch. There were days I ate some very sickening items, just to get liquid into me. I knew I had to have liquid to survive. Some of the crustier items I ate were burrowed in the sand. There is an endless supply of sand in Arizona. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to this dog at that time, there is a very nasty disease awaiting any dog that eats from the sand. It’s called Valley Fever.
After approximately eight weeks of living on the streets and sleeping in the fields beyond the subdivisions, I had lost some body weight. At night when all the human beings had gone into their houses, I used to go into the subdivision with the Palo Verde trees surrounding it. There were garbage cans set out on some streets. The aroma of the garbage lured me the first time. One night, I saw a female human running with her dogs and I looked forward every night to seeing the group again. I nicknamed the female human: Lady. She would come jogging around a certain corner of the subdivision with her two dogs on one leash. I’d hide under the Bougainville bushes and watch them. The two dogs looked happy and energetic as they approached. This intrigued me, so I watched them night after night. The dogs would pick up my scent and bark as they ran by, but Lady couldn’t see me. She would yell, “Tika! Lily! Quiet!” as they all raced by.
The Lady Tried to Catch Me
I am looking back at these memories and placing them in context with some dates and information I have since been told. It was November 5th, 2010 when I mustered enough courage to come out from the bushes as Lady approached with her dog companions. I could see Lady was tenderhearted to her dogs. I wanted to tell Lady that I need help. I need food. And I needed someone to take away the extreme pain I was experiencing in my back leg. I couldn’t put my full weight on that leg anymore.
I was frightened, but I stood there on the sidewalk as Lady came running in my direction. Tika and Lily barked. Lady stopped. She talked to me. I was too nervous. It was a bad idea. I hid in the bushes.
Lady ran off with the dogs. As she turned to run away, I saw tears in her eyes. I laid down and cried. How many times I had hoped someone would help me, but there was not anyone who ever seemed to care. People had walked past me day after day as I limped along the sidewalks. It was as though I was invisible to them.
I felt bewildered. Instinctively, I had always thought humans were supposed to help animals and care about animals. Even though I had had a bad -- in fact, nasty -- master, I had held out hope that mankind generally is kind and loving. My hope had been slowly dissolving as I experienced hunger and sickness, but watching Lady treat her dogs so well had given me a wee bit of fresh hope. Now my heart hurt. I ached with loneliness and a deep sadness.
A few minutes later to my surprise, Lady returned to the sidewalk near the bushes where I lay hiding. I could hear Tika and
Lily sniffing around. I smelled a good
aroma. It was dog food. Lady held out her hand with some dog food
pieces in it. I backed up. She said, “Here Boy. Have some dog
treats.” I gobbled up every dog treat she threw my
way. I wagged my tail a few times. Then suddenly she grabbed my collar. Terror gripped me as I struggled
myself. I flip-flopped to total distrust for mankind. How could I have ever trusted a
human being? I
yanked to the left, then to the right, managing to finally free myself from
grip. I was in too much pain to run fast, but
I hobbled off as quickly as I could. Lady
tried, but she couldn’t catch me. I dodged away from her every attempt. She stood there with tears in her eyes. She was an enigma.
I Had Become Very Weak and Ill
It was five weeks later when I spotted Lady and her pack again. I was truly too weak to bother to try to dig crusty critters out of the sand and I certainly couldn’t chase a rabbit. I was in too much pain to do much more than limp along. I wasn’t in the vicinity of Lady’s usual route, so I was surprised to see them.
Lady saw me. Tika and Lily came running toward me. I saw Lady quickly and quietly saying a prayer, asking for help and guidance. Then she reached into her pocket and drew out a handful of yummy-smelling dog food morsels. Tika and Lily came forward and ate beside me, gobbling each piece up fast. Lady called Lily and Tika to her side, yanking their leashes, as she threw me another handful of food morsels. She started to back up and call to me as she threw one or two more morsels for me. I followed the food. I didn’t know why she wanted to walk backwards, but I didn’t care. I felt dizzy and euphoric. I limped after her. Tika and Lily stayed at her side, now taut on their leashes, unable to disobey Lady even if they wanted to come eat the food.
Lady said, “I hope I don’t run out of dog treats, Pretty Boy.” She continued to walk backwards, throwing one piece of food at a time onto the sidewalk before me.
We had gone five blocks when Lady stopped in front of a house. “Stay,” she commanded me. She ran through the door of the house, calling out, “David, please come help me. I found the dog. I need your help!”
Lady came back to the sidewalk and threw me one more good-smelling morsel of food. Just then, a man came out of the doorway. I cowered with fear. The man circled around the other side of me and crossed the road. I watched him walk down the other side of the street, away from us. Lady threw more food pieces and they landed toward the side of the house. She opened a gate there at the side of the house. She checked both her pockets for food. She said, “Come on, Boy. Eat these up,” as she threw the pieces of food on to the lawn beyond the gate. I looked behind me to make sure the man hadn't returned. I didn’t think I’d better venture through a gate. Suddenly my peripheral vision caught the outline of the man directly behind me. He must have snuck up very quietly. I launched myself forward to get away from him. Lady, the two dogs and the man all rushed into the back yard behind me. The man slammed the gate closed. I froze in place. I didn’t want to cry in front of this man. I tried to hold in my fear, but a whimper escaped.
A Very Severe Case of Valley Fever
Lady came forward and gently touched my ribs and then patted my shoulder. She got down and talked to me. She pointed to the man and said, “This is David. It’s okay. He won’t hurt you.”
Lady and David went in the house and came back with a bowl of water and a bowl of wet dog food. Tika and Lily had gone in the house through their own doggie-door.
I liked it when Lady patted my head and hugged me. I didn’t want David to get too near to me. I drank my water and ate the food with great appreciation. They let me come in the house to sleep. David was talking softly to me and keeping his distance. I planned on staying in Lady’s sight just to make sure I was safe.
Lady placed a dog-sized bed on the floor at the end of their bed. Tika and Lily slept nearby.
In the morning, I heard Lady talking to a man at the front door. She had requested this man to come to the house, but I didn’t know that then. When I saw the man I was very afraid. I wondered if I had walked into a trap the night before. I tried to hide behind the livingroom furniture. I trembled. The man said to Lady, “This dog has been badly treated by a man – I can see that right away.”
The next few hours were a blur because I was so scared. But there was no need for me to have been scared. The man, it turned out, was Randy. He is a kind man. He is one of the directors of Boxer Luv Rescue, a very effective boxer rescue non-profit corporation in Arizona. He took me directly to a veterinarian. Lady arrived at the vet’s office shortly after. I overheard Randy talking to Lady there.
“Ursula, what do you want to call this dog?” Roger asked.
Lady Ursula answered, “I've been thinking about that. I think Hansen should be his name."
“Okay. That sounds like a good name. He needs a good name to help him get adopted. But first, of course, before we can help him get adopted, we need to help him get healthy again. That's going to take quite awhile."
Lady Ursula's face brightened up. “You mean he really has a chance of surviving even though he looks so ill?"
“Yes. The vet says he has severe malnutrition and he’s suffering from Valley Fever which is from ingesting a widespread spore. Valley Fever is an extremely painful illness for dogs. Boxers especially try to mask their pain. He’s probably not older than a year, so he may be able to recover. But this is one of the worst cases of Valley Fever we've ever seen. His recovery will take between 12 to 18 months. We do not consider him adoptable until he is fully recovered.”
“Can we be the foster family for him while he’s recovering?” Lady Ursula asked. Roger said yes.
I was grateful to hear the conversation and to know I might get feeling better. And I felt thrilled to hear Lady Ursula and her family wanted me to live with them. I was beginning to feel like there might be some love in the world after all.
Here's the Link to Boxer Luv Rescue
- Welcome to Boxer Luv Rescue
Welcome to Boxer Luv Rescue
Attacked by a Bigger Dog. Tika Tried To Save Me
So life became very pleasant for me at the home of Master David and Lady Ursula. There were children, too; three very high-energy children. And in addition to the three children and Tika and Lily; I met an adult cat, Potcha; a frisky kitten, Pixie; and a Pionus Parrot, Kela. I knew the moment I met Kela Bird that he felt he was ruler of the roost. His beak is sharp. I respect Kela.
It was about six weeks after my diagnosis when my life changed again. We were all getting ready to go out for our evening walk. Master David had Kela strapped to his back in a bird knapsack.. Lady Ursula was going to get on her bicycle with the two-year-old girl strapped into a seat on the back and then the other two children were each on a bicycle. Lily was on leash. Tika and I were about to be fastened onto the leash.
I saw a lady and her two dogs walking down the block, coming our direction. I panicked. I had seen those dogs before and they knew my back leg was weak. Some dogs don’t care, but some do.
Within an instant of spotting me, one of the dogs came running down the street, unleashed. Everything happened at lightening speed. I felt a sword-like pain in my weak leg. I screamed. Tika got loose from human grasp and jumped on the big dog that was attacking me. Darkness enveloped me.
Boxer Luv Rescue Saved My Life -- Again
The next thing I remember is being in the backseat of the family van. I heard Lady Ursula crying into the telephone piece in her ear . I heard someone else’s voice coming through the wire. The next memory I have is waking up bandaged, feeling pretty good – thanks to pain medication -- and being carried to Master David's van. I was in the van and the van was in motion. I could hear Lady Ursula and Master David speak in somber tones about the operation I had undergone as we traveled down the highway, homeward. The angry dog had torn my leg out of its socket and broken the bone beyond repair. The veterinarian had amputated the leg and, apparently, I had almost died during the operation.
I let the medication pull me back into sleep. Sometime much later, I woke up on my bed at Lady and Master's home. Over the next 48 hours, I was escorted out to the backyard whenever I needed to go. I was given pain medication for several days. The first morning that I felt like eating, I had an awful plastic cylinder-thing around my head. I had a difficult time eating with that in my way. The littlest child in the home decided to pull up a chair and watch me. That made me feel better. All three children were very protective of me. I was basking in love.
I Cherish Life and Love
Before four days had passed, Lady Ursula expected me to start hobbling around and pulling my own weight. I did my best.
I also did my best to convey to Lady Ursula that I know she wishes with all her being that she had had me on a leash before she stepped out the front door when those leashless dogs appeared. I don’t hold a grudge. I know Lady Ursula has a busy life. It is human to err. Life happens.
I am a very loved dog. I am a happy dog.
I am also a very lucky dog because Boxer Luv Rescue came to my rescue again. They paid for the surgery on my leg. It was Randy who Lady Ursula telephoned as she drove down the freeway, crying, trying to get to a veterinarian.
Randy Rotondo is one of seven directors there at Boxer Luv Rescue. He is managing and directing my care so that I have the best chance possible of a full recovery. Recently, I heard Randy tell Lady Ursula that Boxer Luv Rescue currently has 150 purebred Boxers all of which have been rescued from distressing situations. Fifty percent of those rescued dogs are in some form of physical recovery from illness or injury.
Randy of Boxer Luv Rescue and the six other directors are running a dynamic organization. Lady told me there are 300 volunteers at Boxer Luv Rescue and they save an average of 400 Boxers in Arizona each year. She said it's called a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. It's been in existence for nearly 12 years. I know it's a great organization. Without Boxer Luv Rescue, I would not be recovering from Valley Fever and malnutrition nor would I have survived the dog's attack on me.
Life is beautiful for me now.
Tika and Lly and I are best buddies. I’m teaching Tika how to box. We will be putting up a video soon on that. I only have three legs, but I’m pretty good at boxing, if I do say so myself. Lily doesn’t box, but she likes to watch. Potcha and Pixie -- the cats -- each love me. We chase each other around and around the house and then we cuddle on the couch. Kela, our bird, has let the whole family know I am actually his dog. When I’m sleeping on the couch, he stands beside my nose and preens himself.
This home I’m in is still termed a foster home -- at least technically in Randy's paperwork. I know one day -- when I'm completely recovered -- Lady Ursula and Master David will formally adopt me. My adoption will cost them $350. Lady Ursula has told me no one can really put a price on love, but it takes money to run a good dog rescue organization.
I thank God in Heaven for the good people in this world who have learned how to successfully operate a dog rescue non-profit corporation – like Boxer Luv Rescue.
If you can, please donate $5 or $10 today to an animal rescue group in your area or to Boxer Luv Rescue in Arizona.
Footnote: Source of information for this hub:
1. Journal entries of Lady Ursula, resident of Arizona.
2. Boxer Luv Rescue statistics supplied by Randy Rotondo, Rescue Operations, Boxer Luv Rescue
Some of My New Friends and Family
Have a look at Boxer Luv Rescue's website
- Welcome to Boxer Luv Rescue
Welcome to Boxer Luv Rescue
© 2011 Pamela Dapples