Bronco, a German Shepherd mix and at least nine years old, was surrendered by his owners to the Lee County Animal Services shelter in North Carolina on May 16th. While a shelter is a stressful experience for any dog, for a senior dog like Bronco, it is the worst of all worlds. As a prime example of an at-risk dog that RADAR was designed to help, on May 17th we provided an offer to assist with Bronco’s vet care costs as an incentive for a rescue to take him. On May 30th, Road Home Rescue in North Carolina agreed to take Bronco!
When Laura Roberts of Road Home Rescue picked up Bronco at the shelter on June 1st, she was appalled by Bronco’s condition. He was at least 20 pounds underweight, had difficulty using his back legs, kept his head hung low, had dew claws over an inch-and-a-half long and his front teeth were worn down to the pulp. It was clear that Bronco had long been neglected and endured lots of pain. Yet, despite it all, he was a very sweet dog.
His initial vetting appointment had been scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th. However, given Bronco’s condition, it was moved up to Monday morning, June 3rd. Bronco spent the weekend with his foster parents Ashley and Tristan. He was given pain relievers, good food, provided with a therapeutic bed and, most of all, received lots of long-overdue TLC. They did notice that Bronco was uncomfortable being touched anywhere other than on his head.
Laura and Ashley accompanied Bronco to vet appointment on June 3rd. Because of his pain, he would snap when touched, so he had to be sedated for the exam and x-rays. The results were devastating: both hips were totally destroyed and could no longer support his already-emaciated bodyweight. The vet was confidant that even with full hip replacements and extensive therapy, Bronco would still be in a great amount of pain.
Based on the vet’s recommendation, Laura reluctantly made that most difficult of decisions to do the most humane thing and allowed to cross the Rainbow Bridge. This was done while he was still somewhat sedated from the exam. At least he died with dignity, surrounded by people who cared, and not alone in the shelter. Out of respect, Bronco was cremated.
In another sad twist to this tale, Laura learned that Bronco’s owners were elderly and they, like Bronco, could also barely walk.
Laura had this to share with us about Bronco: “He was a gorgeous dog who deserved better. This is not what we wanted for this guy, never. I am always willing to do anything, but to keep a dog in pain is not an option. I had no choice. To see him hanging his head was horrible. I just couldn’t have him linger in pain any longer. The vet thought it was the kindest thing to let him go and be free of pain.”
Since RADAR had committed to covering Bronco’s vet costs, RADAR’s co-founders, Ken Siegert and Rick Thompson, and RADAR volunteer, Jennifer Siegert, donated all of the funds to pay the entire final bill of $304 for Bronco’s vet care, euthanasia and cremation. The donations were made in memory of Bronco and in honor of Laura Roberts of Road Home Rescue and foster parents Ashley and Tristan for stepping up to try to save Bronco, and providing him with lots of love and kindness in his final days. Rest in peace, Bronco.
Thank you to the following contributors, who have given specifically for Bronco’s funding:
Ken Siegert & Rick Thompson; Jennifer Siegert
Added on June 6, 2013.