Love and light: Louie
SPCA Inspector Julia remembers Louie, a dog featured in our 2021 List of Shame
I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Julia and I'm an Inspector at SPCA.
When I was first asked to put pen to paper about Louie, I struggled to know where to begin. His story is a difficult one for me to tell, but it's important I do because it highlights the reality of our work.
Please be warned: there are some upsetting images and details further down. However, so you can see the true reality of our work, I implore you to read on to hear Louie's story.
I first laid eyes on Louie one afternoon. We'd received an urgent report about a neglected dog, and I jumped straight in my van, unsure what I was going to find.
When I arrived at the property, Louie, a tiny white dog, came limping out the back door. He was absolutely filthy and in a terrible state. I was taken aback and instantly knew it was bad.
His teeth were exposed out of his mouth and he was dribbling pus. The rancid smell of decaying flesh coming off him was overwhelming. He had a leg injury so bad, the skin was hanging off his bone.
It's SPCA's AnnuaI Appeal and I am sharing Louie's story because we when get a call like the one I did that afternoon, our supporters are the reason we can take action.
I gently bundled Louie into my van and took him to the nearest vet for an urgent consultation, before taking him on to continue being cared for by our vet team at SPCA. Louie had ten teeth removed, IV fluids to help with dehydration, and strong antibiotics to tackle the severe infection that had set in on his injured leg. His filthy matted coat also had to be meticulously removed.
The vet team did everything they could to give Louie a fighting chance at recovery, but because his condition was so severe, we knew we had an anxious wait to see how he would heal.
To help, Louie was fostered by my colleague and SPCA staff member Rachel. While at home with Rachel and her family, Louie had the time of his life.
When you give to SPCA, you are giving the gift of happiness to animals like Louie. This SPCA Annual Appeal, will you give to show animals who have suffered what love is?
For several weeks, Louie spent time snuggling on the sofa, doing zoomies around the backyard, and visiting the beach with his foster family. As you can see by the cute photos above of Louie, every minute of his time with Rachel and her family was filled with pure love and happiness.
"He would read stories with my children at bedtime, sit and watch movies with us, watch the kids on the trampoline, and go for walks around the neighbourhood," says Louie's foster mum Rachel. During the time Louie spent with his foster family, Louie truly experienced what happiness was.
We always knew Louie's condition was delicate. But heartbreakingly, his fragile health deteriorated further while at home with Rachel, and in a terrifying moment, Louie had a seizure. And then another seizure. And they continued.
They were so severe they caused his jaws to lock up and his gums to bleed. Vets tried everything they could to help Louie, but it became clear that his condition was irreparable due to his suffering from the seizures. The gut-wrenching decision was made by vets to put Louie to sleep.
That day, there wasn't a dry eye in the centre.
Saying goodbye to these precious animals is the hardest part of my job, and it never gets easier. But it always reminds me even more why we must keep fighting to protect and help animals like Louie.
We launched an investigation and filed charges against Louie's previous owner in the courts, to seek justice for Louie. His owner was successfully prosecuted, fined and banned from owning animals for five years.
This work is vital, and we couldn't seek justice for animals without you. However, animal welfare investigations are lengthy and expensive. This work is funded by people who choose to give.
I understand hearing about Louie's story might be upsetting, and believe me when I say I thought long and hard about sharing it. But we were able to rescue Louie from neglect and show him nothing but happiness in his final weeks. And he experienced this joy because of you.
Today, I'm asking for your support to be able to give other animals who have suffered like Louie, to learn what it feels like to be loved, and to give them a chance to have the best time of their lives, even if it is shorter than any of us would hope for.
We receive very little government funding to carry out our work protecting vulnerable and neglected animals in our community. This Annual Appeal, will you help fund our SPCA Inspectors' vital work?
Together, we can help animals in need, and show them love and happiness. You can be their hero.