When the staff of the Barstow Humane Society in Barstow, California first laid eyes on this tiny brindle French Bulldog girl, they knew that, as hard working and caring as they were, she needed more help than the overburdened and underfunded shelter could possibly provide. Eight years old, barely 15 pounds, extremely emaciated, dehydrated, suffering from a severe respiratory infection, little Heidi was too weak to walk and close to complete collapse. Her previous owner had said she had been vomiting up everything she ate for the past 3 or 4 months, and a checkup by the shelter’s veterinarian indicated possible congestive heart failure and megaesophagus. Without the funds to save this little girl or a foster home to send her to, the shelter reached out to the French Bulldog Village. Would we step in to help this little dog?
Our closest available volunteer was in Nevada, but she willingly drove the 5 hours round trip to pick Heidi up. What she found was the sweetest, most loving French Bulldog, who despite her wretched condition, even had a little sparkle left in her eyes at the sight of another brand new friend. That her appreciation of the little dog’s delightful personality was shared by the shelter workers was obvious – they gathered round and applauded as Heidi was carried off. Our volunteer decided that such a special dog needed a new name to go with her new start in life, and with her brindle striping and a personality as sweet as honey, Heidi became Honey Bee.
Upon arriving home with Honey Bee, our volunteer promptly took her to her veterinarian, where a more thorough examination determined that, through some small mercy, as sick as she was, at least she did not have congestive heart failure. Even so, it appeared that it might be already too late for little Honey Bee. Our volunteer did her best to nurse the little dog back to health, feeding her four small meals a day so as not to overtax her digestive system. It was heartbreakingly clear that Honey Bee was starving and desperate to eat.
Just eating and going outside to relieve herself afterward used up all of Honey Bee’s energy. The balance of her days, too weak to do anything else, she spent sleeping in a dog bed, snuggled deep into the blankets. Still, we were hopeful for a steady recovery for our little Honey Bee.
Unfortunately that hope was short lived, when she began vomiting again. Back at the clinic, in an attempt to control the vomiting, the veterinarian put her on anti-nausea medicines, and when those weren’t successful, he switched her to medicines for her upper gastrointestinal tract. The veterinary staff did everything they could to try to help poor Honey Bee.
Honey Bee did not get better. As desperately hungry as she was, her body would not allow her to keep food down, and just breathing had become a painful and frightening struggle for her. Her condition had so rapidly deteriorated, that there was nothing more that her foster mom could do for Honey Bee except hold her close, wrapped in her little blanket, while she passed peacefully and quickly over the Rainbow Bridge.
We picked her up on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, and by Sunday, September 27, she was gone. Honey Bee was a part of the FBVillage family for less than a week, but her memory will stay with us forever.