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Tenacious dog getting plenty of care

By Eyal Lichtmann

Published 1:34 PDT, Fri August 2, 2019

Staff at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter couldn’t believe it when nobody came to claim Rider, a three-and-a-half-year old black lab cross.

Staff at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter couldn’t believe it when nobody came to claim Rider, a three-and-a-half-year old black lab cross.

“It was shocking to us because he is so great with people, really outgoing, really friendly,” said Shena Novotny, assistant manager of the RAPS Animal Shelter.

When he came in as a stray, in December, Rider wasn’t in the greatest condition.

“His whole body was pretty itchy,” Novotny said. “On his hind left foot he had a large lump that was oozing, it was cracked, it looked very uncomfortable. His ears had a lot of dirt and grease build-up that seemed to be causing him a little discomfort.”

The Shelter always makes sure animals are in top physical health before placing them up for adoption. Rider should have been in a loving forever home by now, but it’s been one thing after another with him. He had a lumpectomy in January and he proved incredibly persistent and devious at getting at the wound.

“He just kept going at it, scratching at it,” said Novotny. “The poor boy has been in a cone pretty much since that point because we have to wait for that to heal.”

Somehow, he always seems to get his mouth down to the leg—even sometimes while wearing two cones—or else rubbing it against some other surface.

Rider had a skin graft to try to heal the wound, and he underwent successive “dives” of hyperbaric therapy at the RAPS Animal Hospital, which has Canada’s only hyperbaric oxygen therapy facility. Hyperbaric oxygen is a non-invasive treatment that helps heal injuries much more quickly by immersing patients in an environment of 100 per cent oxygen. It has been very useful and beneficial for Rider’s healing. Still, every time his leg healed and staff took the cone off, he’d go at it again and be back where he started.

“We are so lucky to have the RAPS Animal Hospital because they’ve been doing such an amazing job taking care of him,” she said.

In fact, recently he’s been at the hospital almost full-time so he can be under constant surveillance.

“They make sure he gets out for his walks and gets all the love and attention,” Novotny said. “They all love him because he’s such a sweet boy.”

The veterinarians at the hospital are very confident that Rider will soon get to the point where he’s ready for a forever home—and Novotny said it will be a lucky family that gets to adopt him.

“He likes to be the centre of attention. He wants to be the one that receives all the love. He loves kids and would do great in a household with kids. If the adults were active, he would be great with that.”

Before all the leg troubles, Rider loved going on five-kilometre walks with a volunteer. When he first arrived, Rider was a little overweight and now he’s at his optimal weight.

“He’s trimmed down, his skin is looking great and his coat is looking luscious, so that’s great,” said Novotny. “He loves, loves, loves people—but he’s a little bit reactive with dogs.”

Rider is not available for adoption yet. We’ll post on our website when he is. A home where he is the only animal will be best for him, she said.

Every animal is special and no two are alike. However, Rider’s story is somewhat typical of the happy endings we see at RAPS. Every animal is given the individualized care and attention they need.

Pat Johnson is communications director of the Regional Animal Protection Society.

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