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Ill pup looking for special, final home

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Terminally ill pup needs final, forever family


RANCHO SANTA FE — In its more than 40-year history, Helen Woodward Animal Center has seen its share of heartwarming adoptions and heart-stopping rescues, but its current quest to find a home for one of the last of its Sandy survivors may be one of its most heartbreaking.

Rio, a black Labrador retriever blend, was one of 49 orphan pets who made national news when they were flown across the country to Helen Woodward Animal Center Nov. 17, 2012, after Hurricane Sandy. Tragically, Rio’s medical exam revealed a challenge of nature even bigger than the devastating Super Storm. Rio was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. At 5-years-old and 55 pounds, Rio has the heart and spirit of a young canine who longs to run and play. Unfortunately, the growing cancerous masses in her lungs and near her heart base, compromise her lung function leaving her near collapse with too much exercise or excitement.

“Animals know when they’re sick, but they can’t process what is actually happening to them,” said Kuty. “Because of this, she is timid when she meets new people, can get stressed at times and likes the security of her crate. She is exceptionally sweet with other dogs and cats but it’s important that she stays fairly calm, so mellow pet friends are best.” Rio would do best in a low-key household with one or two adults and a fenced-in yard. She is not able to go hiking or jogging, but would love short, slow walks around the neighborhood.

Of course, there are also the practical costs. The center spent thousands of dollars to confirm the facts. To preserve Rio’s quality of life for the time remaining, she is taking Furosemide twice a day and Heartgard twice a month, along with Activyl monthly for fleas and ticks. Upon hearing Rio’s story, Del Mar Albertsons/Sav-On Pharmacy Store Director Shaye Holden offered to cover the costs of Rio’s medication expenses for any foster family willing to take Rio.

“We’re hoping this gesture will motivate someone in the community to welcome Rio into their family” said Holden. “Like everyone else, we’re animal lovers too and know that pet care costs can be challenging, even for those with the biggest of hearts.”

For more information on Rio, or to foster Rio, contact Denise Clark or Myrna Dignan in the Foster Department at (858) 756-4117, ext. 375, e-mail [email protected] or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.