A tale of teeth- lots of them, once belonging to a cat from a hoarder house plus four senior Dachshunds from a Georgia shelter. Dental care is an important part of pet health maintenance, but many pets do not have preventive teeth cleanings. Some, like these five homeless pets, receive dental attention when it is too late to save their teeth.
Last Hope received a generous grant from a family foundation, and it’s my responsibility to write the report explaining how the gift was used. That’s why there’s a tale of teeth. Usually, pets need to be sedated completely during dental cleanings, and, of course, for extractions. Blood work to check heart, liver and kidney function prior to anesthesia adds to the dental expense per pet.
Meet Magoo: Last December, Nassau SPCA and Town of Hempstead Shelter were faced with the challenge of removing over 80 cats from the home of a Bellmore hoarder who had been hospitalized. The house didn’t look bad from the outside; the inside was a different story. There were cats everywhere. The ones you could see were the tip of the iceberg. More were living inside the walls. Most of the cats were understandably petrified of people.
However, Magoo was remarkable, and by far the friendliest cat of the 89 removed from the hoarder house. This approximately four-year-old tuxedo amazed Last Hope volunteers who went to Town of Hempstead Shelter to choose Bellmore hoarder cats for our care.
Magoo was in one of the shelter overflow trailers with cages stacked high. As soon as we stepped inside, he rubbed against his cage trying to schmooze with us from a distance, and then purred non-stop as we pet him. None of the other hoarder cats let us touch them. Most were shell-shocked, with severe eye infections, hovering in the back of their cages.
Along with five other hoarder cats, Magoo moved to Last Hope in Wantagh, but his medical evaluation was surprisingly upsetting, and not in keeping with Magoo’s upbeat purrsona. His teeth were a mess; his gums swollen. He had sores in his mouth, and a heart murmur. Soon after his exam, Magoo lost his appetite and became sullen.
Bringing Magoo to better health and back to his amiable self took over a month at Last Hope. He had an echocardiogram to survey his heart. The sores in his mouth were treated so he could have a full dentistry. Cats can get an autoimmune condition called stomatitis where their gums are allergic to their teeth. All of Magoo’s teeth were removed by the veterinarian. (Typically, adult cats have 32 teeth.) Magoo recovered with cage rest at Last Hope until his appetite and happy demeanor returned.
About that time, Kim, a new Last Hope dog volunteer, also became a cat volunteer. He met Magoo, who reminded him of his late tuxedo cat that he had adopted years ago from an animal emergency hospital. The friendly cat had been hit by a car and remained at the hospital as a blood donor cat after she healed. When Kim saw the cat was allowed outside the clinic, he decided to adopt her. This cat needed all her teeth removed too, like Magoo, but at Kim’s expense. (Magoo’s vet bill cost Last Hope close to $2,000.) She enjoyed a long life with Kim’s family.
Magoo touched him, too. Kim and his wife Sue adopted Magoo, now known as Jessie. He made himself right at home, and has a Cocker Spaniel as his good buddy. Magoo moved from the worst of homes to the absolute best with a few waves of the rescue magic wand. His saga reads like a feline fairy tale. But Magoo’s “happily ever after” is real.
Meet the Doxie Party of Four: In early January, four 11-year-old Dachshunds came to Last Hope on a Georgia rescue transport, each seeking a loving home to stay. Dutchess, Rocky, Bella and Thumper became homeless when their mom died, and their dad entered assisted living. This cute quartet found themselves in Habersham Shelter, one of Last Hope’s rescue partners. The shelter rep asked us to take one. Senior Doxies are dear to Last Hope, so we took all four.
The dogs were probably littermates because they were all the same age. They weren’t particularly bonded so they could be placed separately. The goal was to find each a home where they’d be treasured. Each dog needed a dentistry before his/her adoption could be finalized.
That said, a woman with two grown daughters was determined to keep the Dachshunds together. She wanted to adopt the quartet. The foursome was sent home tentatively as foster-to-adopt dogs. Placement lasted about two weeks before the woman realized how active they were, and four was two too many. She returned the boys- Thumper and Rocky- and kept the girls- Dutchess and Bella.
My friend, a Dachshund devotee, insisted on taking both males. She has a multi-dog household, and after five months Rocky, the larger male Doxie, began picking on her 15-year-old Schnauzer which provoked the rest to join the fray. When Rocky returned to Last Hope recently, harmony returned to her home.
Adult dogs have 42 teeth. Each Dachshund had pre-bloodwork and dental cleanings with extractions at about $600 each. Dutchess lost 20 teeth, Bella 24, Thumper 23 and Rocky 32. Bringing this Tale of Teeth to a total of 121 teeth.
Meanwhile Rocky Doxie is at Last Hope, 3300 Beltagh Ave, Wantagh (631-946-9528), where he’s looking for a one-dog home. This senior is spunky. He should also continue his weight watching. Rocky’s a people lover, and chow hound. He’s about 20 pounds overweight and needs a Doxie lover who will not overindulge him with treats.