From the community

Bentley the American Bulldog: An appeal for support from near and far

Posted Jan. 22, 2013, at 9:57 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 23, 2013, at 11:40 a.m.
&quotTop Dog" Bentley, an American Bulldog, is now available for adoption!
"Top Dog" Bentley, an American Bulldog, is now available for adoption!

CALAIS, Maine — PAWS Brave Hearts, a small volunteer no-kill animal rescue and education center, and Top Dog Bentley need your support. Located in Calais, Maine, PAWS serves communities within Washington County, the poorest county and among the largest counties in the entire state of Maine, and adopters from throughout the U.S. and Eastern Canada. As the economic woes of the rest of the nation took hold in Washington County, the demand for PAWS services tripled and the animals in its transitional care were far more likely to be abandoned and in need of urgent medical care than in the past. PAWS is seeking donations to defray costs associated with one dog’s rescue and rehabilitation that has depleted funds for many others in need.

Bentley’s new life began when he successfully dodged cars and trucks until help arrived at a rest area on Route 1 in Calais. At first blush, this frightened young dog with an endearing smile seemed lucky. He beat the odds. A volunteer from PAWS happened to be taking that route home. He wasn’t run over. He wasn’t suffering from malnourishment or dehydration like so many cats and dogs left to fend for themselves. He hadn’t lost a limb in the fight of his life with a wild animal. He didn’t have skin cancer from overexposure to the sun while rummaging for food in the local landfill. He was safe and surely his owners were pounding the pavement in pursuit of their beloved young companion.

That quick assessment was before Bentley screeched in pain and frantically scratched at his ears while he was being examined. It was before the week passed without a call from weary owners. Bentley’s skin was very irritated, allergies perhaps, but the condition of his ears suggested that this had gone on for years. Both of his ears had fused together inside, preventing his first veterinarian from administering any care. His specialist characterized the condition as the worst ear infection case he had dealt with to date. This young dog had not known life without excruciating pain, but to the amazement of everyone who met Bentley, he was charming and friendly. He wanted to play — but it hurt too much.

Bentley was lucky after all. Once he was in PAWS care, he was loved, cared for and comforted. His compassionate veterinarian performed laser surgery in both ears and, following intensive post-surgical care, his ears recovered beautifully and he did not lose his hearing. No longer in pain, Bentley became the lively and affectionate dog he has always wanted to be. Now the organization needs your help. Despite the generosity of his surgeon who provided a substantial discount for these critical services, his procedures and aftercare cost nearly $2000. This cost would have been significant for any rescue, but for PAWS Brave Hearts it has created a deficit in the organization’s Blue Fund for urgent medical care required by many animals at the center.

In just the past several months, for example, PAWS has provided urgent care for a juvenile feline with a shoulder dislocated for so long that her leg may need to be amputated, for two lovely pit bulls who were found roaming malnourished and in need of immediate care, for a feline with a gaping wound from a previous surgery and for an emaciated terrier with her hair matted tight to her body.

This urgent care is in addition to significant, ongoing medical care for chronic conditions or neglected basic care that is provided to all animals found wandering the streets or, at times, desperately seeking help from inside abandoned homes. Each animal needs and deserves the full range of vital care that PAWS provides before they can be placed in a permanent, loving home. Notwithstanding the current economy, the organization facilitates adoptions both within its immediate service area and through a vibrant network of partnerships from Halifax to Boston. Thus, adoptions for fully recovered and socialized dogs and cats are brisk.

PAWS is seeking donations from near and far to defray the costs of Bentley’s care and replenish its Blue Fund for urgent medical needs. As an all-volunteer enterprise, every dollar donated to PAWS goes directly to the transitional care of cats and dogs. In this case, every dollar donated will go directly to the Blue Fund. You can donate to this cause via PayPal at www.paws-calais.com or by mail sent to PAWS Brave Hearts, 368 South St, Calais, ME 04619. FMI about this fund or about Bentley, feel free to call 207-454-7662, email pawscalais@yahoo.com or visit petfinder.com.

Photo: Gary Guisinger

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