Good Dog:)

Good people do good things for ‘just a dog’

By Carole Cloudwalker

This document was published online on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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His name is “Toby” and he’s just a dog.

But I think Toby, who is a handsome male basset hound with deep brown, soulful eyes, also is a symbol of all that is good about Wyoming and the people who live here.

Toby apparently was born with some leg problems that have caused him frequent, severe pain. They required surgery to correct.

But because these are tough times financially, and folks find it hard enough to provide medical care for humans, much less for dogs, Toby wound up in a foster home. His former owners apparently were unable to pay for the surgery, but could not bring themselves to euthanize Toby.

It was lucky for Toby that his foster care was arranged through the Wyoming Basset Hound Rescue, Inc., headquartered in Cody.

Toby’s foster home is in Casper, and he was taken to a veterinarian in Colorado for the specialized surgery he required.

The surgeon was pleased with the outcome of the operation that took place last week, which involved work on both of Toby’s elbow joints.

The ulna in the right leg was cut, but no rod or extension was added. Instead, the vets are allowing the muscle and the bone to work together to get the leg to the right length.

In addition, all the loose pieces of bone were removed, and joints in both legs were cleaned up.

Toby’s left elbow could possibly require surgery in the future, but it wasn’t as bad as the right.

“Cleaning up the joints and clearing the fragments has taken care of so much of the trouble in that left elbow,” said Holly Moen of Cody, president of the Wyoming Basset Rescue organization.

What is so amazing, though, is not that a dog is recovering from successful veterinary surgery. That happens often enough.

The amazing part is that the surgery to date has cost $3,023 and, through donations, the bills are paid up.

That’s where Wyoming people come in.

In the least populated state in the nation, where many people have minimum-wage jobs if they are fortunate enough to be employed at all, and at time when it’s probably a great idea to hold on to savings for dear life, Wyoming residents dug deep into their pockets and made donations to help “just a dog” live on in comfort and without pain.

“We collected donations for about half of the invoice ... and then I had a commitment to make up the other half,” Moen said last week.

“Any money taken in from here on out will be applied to Toby’s one follow-up visit in Loveland,” she said.

Money also will be used to refill his anti-inflammatory and other medications and to pay any bills from Casper vet visits that may be needed as follow-up during Toby’s rehabilitation.

Wyomingites are sometimes thought of as hunters who do not value animal life, and who would prefer to practice “survival of the fittest,” destroying animals that are not strong enough to make it on their own.

We also are thought of as people who shoot first and ask questions later, bringing down stray animals for target practice and throwing bags of unwanted kittens into rivers.

And sure enough, those people are out there. I myself once lost a wonderful, but wandering, Irish setter dog to one of them.

But fortunately for dogs like Toby, those people are the minority.

I’m so glad that under this big sky, on these sweeping plains and in the shadows of our lofty mountains live people who can care for “just a dog” despite declining revenue and interest rates, rising taxes, failing banks and a flagging real estate market.

Good dog, Toby. Live long, and prosper.

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