Nico Is Looking For A Family!
Do you remember our special boy Nico? The dog whose American family could not take him back to the States because he was so sick he couldn’t get a health stamp in his passport? Let me remind you and bring you up-to-date on his story…
Three years ago, Nico was adopted (not from AWL, but from another rescue organization in Spain) by an American family in Southern Germany. He was loved from the minute they brought him home. But it was not an easy adoption. The family discovered that he had problems with his back legs. He had surgery on one back knee and later the other. They worked very hard helping him to walk again. He hated water and refused to swim, so his therapy consisted of tiny walks, making him a little stronger each day.
After a few weeks, Nico started showing signs of depression. Two different veterinary clinics said it could be an allergy. His appearance started to change drastically. He became pale and lost a lot of weight. He looked like a dog ready to die. And he was ready to die.
When the American vet on the military base saw him, he did a leishmania test and it came out positive. Nico would be denied permission to travel.
In December 2017, only two weeks before departing for the US, the family began a search for a foster family for Nico. A family that could take care of him until he would be healthy enough to make the trip to the US. AWL answered the call as I had worked with several leishmania cases in Southern Italy and I knew it is possible to get great results.
When I saw Nico the first time he was very, very sick. And it has been a lot of hard work getting him back to health. At the beginning he slept many hours a day. He ate small portions of food 5 times a day. I took him to the German veterinarian and we did more blood tests to assess his situation so we could begin his medication.
During the next 30 days, I had to inject him with glucantime twice a day. He was a great dog letting me do my job. He also took 300 mg of Allopurinol every day and he got extra protein orally, along with his special food. And let’s not forget the love and tenderness that he needed to feel comfortable and heal.
To our delight, Nico started to gain weight. And strength. He started to run wild outside, barking at everything like he was discovering the world for the first time. He was curious and wobbly like a puppy since he needed to rebuild the muscles in his back legs. He has the run of a big garden so he can do as he pleases and recovers at his own pace.
When AWL accepted Nico as a foster, we agreed that when he was healthy enough, he would be transferred from Frankfurt, Germany to Texas, USA. And last month his blood tests showed that his organs were improving. Not yet 100% as his immune system is still week, but he is getting close.
I started worrying about Nico’s journey. Remembering that Leishmania could be exacerbated by stress, I wondered how his body would tolerate the trip that could end up taking 24 hours, especially if there were delays. After lying in his crate for 2 hours, it takes Nico a couple of steps to unfold himself. How would he do with extended periods of confinement. Although I have had dogs with Leishmania travel around Europe, I was still worried. Like a human patient living with HIV turning into AIDS, the immune system is fragile and suddenly the condition can go downhill rapidly.
After coming back from the brink of death, would a trip to the US take him there again?
So this weekend I talked to the family and explained Nico’s situation. And they shared my concerns. I asked if they would consider adoption in Europe where we could drive him to his new home? And the said yes! They thought long and hard about jeopardizing his health again and decided to do what would be best for him.
So….here we are. We need to find Nico a forever home with a family here in Europe. He is now full of life. He’s only three years old. He’s crate trained. He loves to play with my other 9 dogs. He would love to have a big garden. He loves walks (although his is full of enthusiasm and does tend to pull a bit). He is used to children.
Nico is castrated (neutered). His shots are up-to-date. And he has his pet passport.
Please help us to give Nico what he is dreaming about. A family that will appreciate his amazing story. His energy. And his cheeky personality.