Kiki the bulldog awoke one morning in a puddle of her own waste.
She could barely stand.
Skip Van Der Marliere, founder of the Southern California Bulldog Rescue, says, “I thought this was her last goodbye.”
It’s only one of many trips to the vet for Kiki after Skip took her in about two months ago. It’s only one of the occasions she’s come through.
Kiki’s rescuers believe her ex-parents locked her in a garage cage for most of her early life, causing her to develop scoliosis. And it’s the most quickly handled of her ailments.
Her former owner handed her over in May. She was in extremely poor condition: malnourished and weak, with large infected wounds on her stomach and two forms of weakened, untreated autoimmune diseases, one of which affected her painfully raw and infected skin and the other her intestines.
“She was also able to walk, but it was painful due to blistering sores on the bottom of her paws,” Skip notes. “Despite her health problems, she was always curious about what was going on around her and enjoyed human contact.”
Skip worked hard to keep Kiki alive, to heal her to enjoy a new life. It’s not always easy.
Even after many visits to the vet, Kiki’s skin problems remain serious and she has difficulty gaining weight. Kiki can’t take the steroids or stem cell therapies that would improve her bald, irritated skin until her bowel problems, which have been difficult to handle, are under control so Skip is experimenting with some “novel meats” that he hopes she can tolerate, such as duck and rabbit.
There are a lot of healing baths and cold gentle peels with all kinds of different brushes for Kiki’s skin – a toothbrush, a make-up brush, anything soft that could give a small dog some relief.
And while Kiki isn’t always in the mood to soak, she loves attention she probably didn’t get before. “She is just lying still now while you caress and scratch her. “You can say she enjoys it,” he notes.
Kiki is still feelingnot good. She has no energy and is uninterested in toys or treats. Skip and his husband will not bring her through it if she becomes seriously ill again, requiring oxygen or surgery.
But, amid the ups and downs, that is not the case right now. “It is not her time to go,” Skip says.