Matilda is the reason we started Newf Friends, so that no Newf would ever again have to endure what she was forced to live in.
It was 2 years ago today that we picked Matilda up after she had spent 18 months living in some of the most disgusting conditions I have ever seen. Emaciated, stumbling and suffering terribly from malnutrition and starvation, she was just skin and bones when she arrived. Matilda was absolutely filthy, covered in matts down to her skin that were caked with urine and feces -- the matts behind her ears were so large she couldn't even turn her head. She was in excruciating pain from having been denied veterinary care or pain meds for her crippling orthopaedic issues - her hip bones grinding together, as she was left, suffering with no pain relief. She was infested with parasites left untreated for so long that they had become so severe she had explosive bloody diarrhea, making her anaemic and weak. She could not have survived much longer. Through a chain of events, she, and several others, ended up in the safety of our co-founder's kennel, and I headed over to pick her up to "help groom her out".......and we've never looked back since.
She responded immediately to our treatment plan, and within days had put on several pounds, was moving around pain free thanks to having meds, within a few weeks was strong enough to go for short hikes on flat terrain, and within 2 months was hiking up huge hills out in the woods. Once she started growing stronger, nothing was going to hold her back. By the time spring rolled around and the lake opened there was no stopping her, and she was diving into the water, swimming all around, towing boats, and doing what a Newf was meant to do. All she needed was some love, some respect, basic care, and to be treated with dignity.
Today she is a proud and strong girl. Sure, she has her health issues, and at times struggles with her deformed back end that simply doesn't do all of the things she wants it to do. But with lots of exercise, massages, proper vet care and the right combination of pain relief, she is able to enjoy an excellent quality of life. She is a friendly, happy, loving girl, who loves to be hugged and petted and told how wonderful she is. And she is wonderful, she really is. Matilda finds joy in the simple things, like going for a ride in the Jeep with the top off, taking a stroll through the woods, or playing catch with water as it comes out of the hose. She's a gentle foster sister to all of the pups that come through our home, even when they yank on her tail and make her crazy. She's never met a person or animal she doesn't like. She's a foot warmer on cold winter nights. A hiking companion, swimming companion, my constant shadow.
Matilda, and dogs like her, are the reason rescuers do what we do. Matilda is a daily reminder of how much of an impact we can have if we choose to act instead of looking the other way. Happy Gotcha' Day sweet Matilda. Thank you for all you've taught us.