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Introducing Jake

GREAT NEWS! The expected costs of Jake’s surgery and post-surgical care have been completely covered by your kind and generous donations! Any additional donations that we receive will be put to good use caring for some of the other many Shelties currently in our care OR, if requested by the donor, returned unspent. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! Jake’s surgery (including being neutered) is scheduled for Wednesday, 19 August 2009.

A couple of days ago, Barbara got email from a couple of different people in the world of Sheltie rescue to let her know that there was a dog in the Tooele, UT, animal shelter listed as a Sheltie. Of course, Barbara contacted the shelter right away to get the story.

Now, the Toole (pronounced "too-ell-uh") animal shelter is really tiny, especially considering the size of the population is has to cover, and their resources are terribly limited. Their record-keeping is a bit primitive and, since Barbara didn’t have a name for the dog, the person answering the phone couldn’t figure out what dog she meant. But another person at the shelter who did know what dog was meant called back shortly thereafter. The dog in question had been placed into one of their outdoor pens where all of the animals are consigned that they are not able to fit into their tiny indoor facility. (Remember, this is high summer in the Utah desert!)

The dog, whom the woman at the shelter had started calling Jake, had been found running the streets and had an obviously badly injured paw that urgently needed medical attention. Did I mention that the shelter has virtually no resources? Well, the woman agreed to bring Jake from Tooele to us and Barbara arranged for them to meet at our vet’s offices.

Well, it turned out that Jake had major injuries to his left front leg and the shoulder, consistent with having been hit by a car. The injury wasn’t new, but is so severe that the shoulder bones are sticking in all sorts of weird directions! The vet said that, in such injuries, the dog’s shoulder is thrown back so violently that it literally rips nerves in two. And that explained the paw problems — with the nerves torn, he has no feeling at all in his paw (which is probably a Good Thing, because the paw had been so badly injured that it’s actually missing bones). And, when he walks, he can’t use his left front leg and he drags his paw, knuckles down, along the ground. That keeps the top of the paw completely raw, no skin, only flesh, and ensures that it gets and stays infected.

Head shot of Jake Another view of Jake Front view of Jake

Our vet said that the only way Jake can live a life free of chronic severe pain is to have the entire leg, including the whole shoulder joint, amputated. And they estimate the cost of the surgery to be around $700.

Now, Jake is one of the gentlest, sweetest dogs you’d ever want to meet. He doesn’t seem to have an aggressive bone in his body and he has fallen completely in love with the idea of being loved. He’s very large, but painfully skinny, for a Sheltie. He weighs about 32 pounds, but should weigh closer to 45 pounds and is easily 20" at the shoulder. He’s got a great sable-and-white coat with a beautiful full white collar…and rather large paws. We think he’s probably around two years old. He appears to be housetrained — he goes potty outside and we haven’t seen him make any such mistakes in the house…not even marking, even though he hasn’t yet been neutered.

Jake asleep on his back Jake asleep on his back

But the really bad news is this: It doesn’t take an expert to note that Jake’s head isn’t really a Sheltie head. It’s too large and blocky. There’s also aspects of his body structure and feet, and even of his behavior, that aren’t like Shelties. We think he’s probably ¾ Sheltie and ¼ something else, maybe Labrador Retriever.

And the implication of Jake’s not being a purebred Sheltie is that our board of directors has concluded, with the greatest reluctance, that we simply cannot afford a $700 operation for him. We are stretched ‘way past the breaking point already. We have about 18 to 20 dogs in our house now (I keep losing count!) and expect another this evening, and our vet bill is still well over $9000. We simply do not have the resources.

We find ourselves in the horrible position of having saved a dog from a shelter that might not actually be able to save. I don’t see any options but these three: 1) Raise money in a special fund for Jake’s surgery; 2) Place Jake with a family able and willing to take care of his medical needs on their own; and 3) Put him down. We are not going to turn him back loose on the streets, nor are we going to return him to the Tooele shelter (or any other shelter).

And, still worse, the vet says that he really needs to have the surgery as soon as possible. That, too, is more complicated than it seems, because Barbara’s having her second shoulder replacement on August 31 and will be in no condition to help a large dog in recovery and rehabilitation.

We don’t know what to do. It breaks my heart to even think about putting down a dog as wonderful as Jake is simply because we can’t afford the medical care he requires. He’d make somebody an incredible member of the family. He’s young, otherwise healthy (as far as we know, at least), and is great with cats and with other dogs…and very likely great with kids, too.

Please help save Jake’s life! If you’d like to adopt Jake, please see his page on our web site by clicking here . If you can contribute, please use the ChipIn donation feature in the right column of this page. Thanks!!

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12 comments to Introducing Jake

  • I’m have a technological challenge..are we to use the paypal with “Help Rescue” to help Jake? I can’t get anything in the “Jake’s amputation surgery” to take me anywhere. You think Jake will be OK with 3 legs? I know most dogs can handle it…will he be likely to be adopted with 3 legs? He’s got such a sweet face.

  • That’s so heartbreaking. We hope and pray and you will be able to raise the money required for the operation or that someone will take him in who can afford to pay for it. He seems such a nice sweet-natured dog. We’ll keep our paws crossed for him and send you some extra Sheltie-vibes from the other end of the world!!!!
    Love, Josh and Jess and Gisela

  • Dawn, obviously we’d be delighted with either option. But I’m not sure why you can’t get anything in the ChipIn widget to take you anywhere. I just this minute clicked on the orange button that says “ChipIn!” and it immediately opened a new window pointed to PayPal. One possibility is that you have your browser set up so that popup windows or new windows or new tabs are prohibited. Other than that, I don’t know.

    One happy note: Somebody who saw Jake’s story on our website donated $100 (directly through PayPal and not through ChipIn)! How generous! So, technically, that lowers our target on ChipIn to $600.

  • Hey Sheltie Jim…

    I have a bit of cash stashed away. Can you email me at and give me an address so that I can mail you a money order for Jake? And tell me who or what to make it out to? If it turns out that Jake can’t have his operation, you can use it for the general fund.

  • BluvsJ

    Jim, I’ve had several people contact me via email letting me know that they’d like to help save Jake with a donation but are unable to get the widget to work for them. I admit to being a little puzzled myself.

    Dawn…I’m sure you did this so forgive me, but I just have to ask, di you click on the “ChipIn” box? Another way to donate is to go to and find the DONATE button which is in several places on that home page…click on that. That should work.

    Jake is already walking and running on just three legs. His front left leg is useless. He either drags it or holds it up. It may well be that he’ll get around better once it’s out of his way.

    One of our upcoming adopters saw Jake’s story and started filling out the paper work we need to fill out for the PetCo and PetsMart charitable foundations but I need to finish it. Nobody has seen our cute little tri-color Lollipop girl because no photos are up of her. And I just got a call that someone caught a young Sheltie – no tags, no chip – and has had her since 7:00am…wants us to get her. Thank you to all of you for your ongoing support…it means a lot to hear from people… – Barbara

  • Hey everyone!

    Wondering if some of the confusion is coming about because people might think that the highlighted red phrase “Please help save Jake’s life” is the link to donate? Just a guess. Wonderful to hear that you’re already getting a response! How’s Susie Q doing?

  • Ok, found the address on your webpage..will mail a money order. That way it doesn’t show up on my credit card. Yep I was trying to click on the “chipin” box with no luck. Probably SheltieJim is right and I have a popup problem. But I still have real money and a stamp! :)

  • Well, my dear friends, I am absolutely floored with the generosity that you and others have shown. Only three people seem to have been able to use the ChipIn widget, which makes me suspect that I did something wrong somewhere, but we’ve received many donations from all over the USA. I do not have a full tabulation yet, but I do know that we will definitely be able to save Jake’s life!

    In a future reply to this post, I’ll give a complete accounting of the donations. It looks like we’re going to go well over the $700, which is a Good Thing, because the estimate from the vets keeps going up (presumably as they study the X-rays, etc.).

    There’s gonna be lots of good karma going around!!

  • Marie, little Susie Q is physically doing well, and she likes to be given soft gentle attention, but she seems a bit depressed to us. She went to the vet’s this evening for a spay tomorrow, and Barbara’s getting a foster home to care for her while we’re out of town this Thursday through Sunday. The individual attention will probably help her cheer up. I hope.

  • Yay! That’s super news! I can’t believe what a quick response there has been to Jake’s need. It’s just absolutely wonderful. :-)

  • Harleysmom

    I’m shedding a few grateful tears. My faith in humanity remains “intact”. Unlike Jakes future…happily! Yea everyone! We love you!

  • YEA!!! My check is still going in the mail tomorrow a.m. I know there are a ton (at least 20, right?!?!?) of Shelties with you that need food and medical care.

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