In my last post, I shared with you my first success story as a foster mom. Today I want to share my second fostering experience. This is the story of Dillon Pickles. Dillon is the reason why I will continue to foster and fight for these dogs. He is my motivation, my reminder, my reason to help.
When I first heard about Dillon, he was waiting at our local SPCA and had come in as a stray. He was only about 5 months old, and said to be the sweetest boy ever with a zest for life. Dillon was covered in a terrible skin infection and at first sight did not seem to be acting “normal”. The shelter vet quickly came to understand that Dillon was suffering from some type of neurological disorder, believed to be missing part of his brain or having a loss of function in part of his brain. Because of his special needs we were asked to help. The shelter could not adopt him out into a home so they would have to euthanize him if we said no. Dillon actually had a few offers of people who were interested in fostering him. However, the president of the rescue said she wanted him with me. I am not the type of person that will say ‘No’ to something like this very easily. There were reasons why he should be with me and not the others. I also believe that fate was playing its hand. So of course, I agreed to foster Dillon Pickles.
All we knew was that Dillon was very sweet, very happy and full of life but he was without a doubt, a special needs little guy. Dillon’s growth was off. He would shake his head every few moments and could not walk without falling or banging into something. He was given the nickname Crash at the shelter because he would crash into things very often, although it did not seem to phase him or crush his spirits! Our plan for Dillon was to get him an MRI and hopefully repair his issue; then adopt him out to a forever home. Here is a video of him at the shelter.
Once Dillon got settled in at my house, I did the write up for his adoption page.
“From the foster”- Having Dillon as a foster is like having a sign that says “Have you laughed today?” running around the house. 🙂 His name, Silly Dilly, suits him well. He is a spunky baby boy who loves wiggling around at top speed, giving kisses, and cuddling up as close as possible. He has a special appreciation for life… He falls down and he picks himself back up (as many times as he needs to). He loves to take all of the toys out of the toy box and pile them up on his dog bed. He has lots of fun with his foster brother. Their favorite activity is playing tug of war together. Dillon can’t go for walks unless he wears socks or booties because of the way he drags his paws, but he’s happy hanging out inside as long as he has toys to play with. He also can’t go up or down steps, so his ideal home would be a ranch or with an adopter who doesn’t mind picking him up ever now and then. 🙂 He’s a very special boy deserves an amazing forever home ♥
Dillon was a joy to foster. He was so happy about everything. He loved everyone and everything he met. We did our initial consultation at UPenn and he was a big hit. At this point he did need to be carried around a little bit. He couldn’t do steps and he would cut up his feet if he walked on concrete for too long because of the way he dragged his paws. The vet staff loved him! We did blood work and ruled out a few things that he didn’t have. The vet believed that his issue was not in fact neurological, but a problem in his spinal cord. We expected to know more after his MRI and would be scheduling that as soon as we could. Video of Dillon at my house.
Dillon and Leroy became wonderful friends. He worked his way into my heart too. I would pick him up and help him on the bed to cuddle with us. He would immediately squirm his way right up to my pillow and snuggle his face next to mine. This boy knew how to melt hearts!
Seriously, does it get any cuter than this?? Nope.
As the month went on, we held a big fundraiser event for Dillon. He met tons of his fans and followers. Everyone loved him. Everyone. But I could see that Dillon’s condition was getting worse, and it seemed to be happening very quickly. We scheduled another appointment at UPenn to see what we could do. As I carried my baby boy into the waiting room (yes, I carried all 50 pounds of him around pretty regularly at this point), the front desk assistant jumped up and said, “Emergency Room?! This way!” At the time, I brushed it off and replied, “Oh no, we have an appointment.” But when I gently put Dillon down on the floor in the waiting room, I could see that everyone was looking at him differently. Not because he was cute, or a Pit Bull, or doing something adorable; but because he was sick.
The vet was again wonderful with him. But because of the quick progression of his disease, she explained that the MRI would not be necessary. He had lost most function in his front legs and his back legs weren’t doing much better. He looked tired and some of his love for life was not quite there. The vet politely explained that there were likely many issues going on with him and an MRI and surgery would not solve the problems anymore. He was not going to get better.
You can see in Dillon’s “dress up” picture that this little angel was tired. Leroy was always there for his brother. He tried to help Dillon play tug of war and had more snuggle times. I cannot explain the last few weeks that I spent with Dillon. It was heartbreaking, but wonderful. To give of yourself, unselfishly, is a great gift. To work and expect nothing in return; to love more than your heart can bare; to cry for a life slipping away; to be completely powerless- fostering Dillon changed my life, and I will always be grateful for that.
It is with sheer heartache that we share our sweet Dillon Pickles crossed the rainbow bridge today. After months of struggle, poking, prodding, questions, and a clear rapid decline, we had to make the best decision for Dillon and that was to let him go. There was nothing more any of his Dr’s could do as his diagnosis was now degenerative and at a clearly rapid rate. Dillon could no longer walk, he couldn’t stand to go to the bathroom anymore, he spent too much time crying out and was clearly unhappy and declining further by the day. Dillon spent his last day with many of the people that love him, with some of the LCPO avail-a-bully alumni and making some new last minute friends. Dillon was always a loving, forgiving, patient boy. He has left quite an impression on us all and we will always love him. We thank you for your support and compassion for Dillon as well as all of our very special avail-a-bullies. We love each and every one of them as our own and a loss like this is crippling to us. Run free now Dillon, finally run! ♥
Rest in peace Dillon- 5/5/12 ♥ While Dillon was never officially “adopted”, he lived out his short, yet wonderful life with me and Leroy. He was always treated like family and Leroy and I both loved him dearly. Dillon will always be a part of my heart and a huge reason behind why I foster. We miss you Dillon Pickles. ❤
Love is an infinite resource