A two-year-old dog will need extensive care after being brought to the NWT SPCA severely emaciated, having suffered from what the society called “major human neglect.”
When SPCA president Nicole Spencer saw Max for the first time, she said he was dehydrated and weak. “He was skin and bones basically. If you touched him, there’s no muscle there,” she told Cabin Radio.
“The sores on his back hip … the bone was just kind-of digging through his skin, that pressure point on the ice and snow and cold. He has four of those on his body.”
He was also nervous, Spencer said, having been through an ordeal which would have taken several weeks at least to reduce him to such a state.
Max was rescued after being brought to an RCMP detachment in an unidentified NWT community, Spencer said, describing the dog as close to death, frozen, and unmoving at the time.
Max is pictured in an NWT SPCA photo after putting on six pounds.
While the SPCA receives malnourished dogs, as well as dogs suffering from embedded collars, Max’s case is less common. “I think maybe we don’t see them because they don’t make it to us. I think there are a lot of dogs that probably just die,” Spencer said.
Max is being cared for at Great Slave Animal Hospital. He will require hydrotherapy, possible medication, and round-the-clock care from a veterinarian and veterinary technician, Spencer said. “He is coming around,” she added.
By Sunday night, Max was walking and had begun bonding with the vet technician. “That’s going to be very important for him, to trust people,” said Spencer.
Exactly how much the care will cost is to be determined but is expected to run to the thousands of dollars.
The SPCA this week told residents looking to contribute to his care that donations will be placed into a special account for medical cases like Max. Any money left over will go to other dogs with medical needs. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, the society had more than $93,000 in medical expenses.
Spencer urged people to feed their dogs more than usual during the winter, especially if they are outdoor dogs using more energy to stay warm. The shelter itself feeds outdoor dogs an additional meal during colder times.
Max is now under near-constant veterinary care. Photo: SPCA
If people are having difficulty feeding their animals or providing shelter, the SPCA will try to assist where possible. A wish list on the SPCA’s website details what is most needed at the shelter.
Under the NWT’s Dog Act, owners have a legal responsibility to provide adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Contravening the act could involve a fine of up to $2,500 or jail for up to three months.
The SPCA said police were now investigating Max’s case, though RCMP were not immediately available for comment.
On Monday, the shelter said Max’s recovery was progressing well.
“Thank you to all who donated to Max’s care. This boy is extremely smart and starting to improve with his understandable fear of people,” read an update posted to Facebook.
“He is walking a little better already as well. We are confident he will make a full recovery.”