Most of the 15 emaciated Cane Corso dogs seized from a backyard breeder in Clearwater are doing well, including Timbit — who is now thriving with her adopted family in Vancouver.
Timbit was 10 weeks old when she was first seized by animal protection officers and taken into the custody of the BC SPCA with the rest of her litter and her mother, along with seven other dogs at the Clearwater residence on Jan. 11. All seven of the puppies have been adopted. The pups’ mother, Bear, and two other of the seized dogs are up for adoption at the Kamloops BC SPCA centre, senior manager Ashley Fontaine-Ost said.
Timbit was the missing puzzle piece in Kassidy Lane’s family, she told the Clearwater Times. The puppy loves to follow around Lane’s children, Jaylah, age two, and Axel, age seven.
“She is very attached to the children and myself. She is also a big cuddle bug, she likes to nestle up to her people.”
Lane did not know Timbit’s past when she adopted her, just that she needed to take steps to prevent potential food aggression.
Lane was in the long process of finding the right companion to adopt for her children and 11-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog cross, named Penny.
After going through the interview process, Lane’s family drove to Kamloops on a sunny Feb. 11, not yet knowing whether Timbit would be compatible with her senior dog. Lane’s first impression of Timbit was that she was skinny and timid, but the puppy got along with her senior dog right away.
The family began to see Timbit come out of her shell as soon as she arrived in her new home.
“We opened the front door and she just ran right to the couch. From there on, you really saw her personality come out.”
It was not until roughly three weeks later that Lane stumbled upon a BC SPCA article about Timbit’s litter that she learned her puppy’s full story. It made her sad, but also happy that Timbit got a second chance to thrive.
Sitka, one of the young adult dogs seized, was gaining weight too slow for comfort at the Kamloops BC SPCA centre. An employee of the BC SPCA who personally knew Kelly and Bob Slade asked them to foster Sitka, knowing that he needed to be in a home to recover.
“I think he was kind of losing his will to keep going because he was so underweight and frail,” Kelly told the Clearwater Times.
The Kamloops-based retired couple made Sitka their around-the-clock mission.
Sitka needed to have his weight and temperature measured multiple times a day, and it was a constant challenge to keep him warm in the beginning. He was also uncoordinated and only focused on food, despite being on a strict feeding schedule prescribed by the veterinarian.
“Now he’s totally healthy, he’s in full puppy-mode; strong, affectionate and smart,” Kelly said.
Sitka is learning commands, such as sit and stay. Once shy about leaving the house, Sitka now loves Bob’s truck and going on adventures.
“He loves nothing more than to sit in your lap even though he weighs 70 pounds now,” Bob added.
Sitka is not ready to be adopted yet, because he needs to gain roughly 35 more pounds and recover from getting neutered. Three of the other adult dogs, Bear, Callie and Onyx, are all up for adoption.
Still, it is amazing to see how far Sitka has come, Fontaine-Ost said.
“To see him running around in a dog run now, and cozied up by the fireplace with his foster is like night-and-day. It is the most rewarding part of this work.”
It takes a significant amount of time and resources to help dogs recover after being so emaciated, she added.
When the BC SPCA has what it calls a large scale animal intake, there are health and safety considerations coupled with long hours that put strain on the system that is already caring for many animals. It takes time and constant monitoring to help the dogs be able to eat normally again.
Some of the dogs struggled to re-acclimate to food and water, leading to extended veterinary care. The dogs had also made a habit of eating bedding such as blankets, so the BC SPCA made their beds from hay as they adjusted.
It was a huge team effort to help these four dogs and the seven puppies recover, Fontaine-Ost said.
She declined to comment on the condition of the other four dogs that were seized citing ongoing legal processes.
The previous owner of the dogs surrendered some of the adult dogs before the SPCA returned to the Clearwater property to seize the remaining dogs.
He told Black Press Media he should have reached out sooner for help, and was overwhelmed with the cost of feeding all the animals. He also he he felt very remorseful over the situation.