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How This Sick Puppy Was Saved By An Irving Park Foster Home

By Kelly Bauer | February 28, 2017 5:17am | Updated on March 3, 2017 10:34am
 Roxy, who has demodex mange, was rescued by PAWS Chicago and is living with a foster parent while receiving care.
Roxy, who has demodex mange, was rescued by PAWS Chicago and is living with a foster parent while receiving care.
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Courtesy PAWS Chicago

CHICAGO — Roxy, an 8-month-old lab mix, was bleeding and crying at night in pain when she came to her Irving Park foster home.

The pup has demodex mange, an infestation of mites that eat and live in her hair follicles and oil glands, said Sarah McDonald, a spokeswoman for PAWS Chicago, the Lincoln Park shelter that rescued Roxy.

Roxy lost large patches of fur to the mange, developed open sores and her skin became itchy and painful while her eyes crusted. She is on so much medication — including painkillers, antihistamines to help with her itching and antibiotics — the pill containers fill a gallon-sized ziplock bag, McDonald said.

PAWS Chicago was able to place Roxy with foster owner Kathryn Skrundz, 23, of Irving Park, but even Skrundz was "a little surprised" by how many medications Roxy needed.

“I was really sad that this happened to her. I don’t really know exactly how it happened. I think it was negligence or something,” Skrundz said.

Demodex mange has left Roxy, 8 months, with bald patches across her body. [Provided/PAWS Chicago]

Roxy came to Skrundz's home about a week and a half ago. She was bleeding — PAWS made sure Skrundz would be OK with that, she said — and had open sores. Her paws were swollen to twice their usual size.

And Roxy, though she should've been an energetic pup, only wanted to "lay around."  She would cry from the pain — even while sleeping, Skrundz said. The puppy loves to be petted and would want Skrundz to touch her even though it appeared to hurt her or make her uncomfortable.

Skrundz was determined to help animals in need however she could, though. PAWS paid for Roxy's food, pills, vitamins and the medicated shampoo she needed to get rid of the mange.

That meant Skrundz had to bathe the puppy two to three times a week and get her to take her medication. It was hard to get Roxy to bathe at first because of her sores and pain, Skrundz said, but now the puppy "jumps in the tub." And Roxy even enjoys her vitamins and fish oil, eating them like they're treat, Skrundz said.

Roxy's fur has started to grow back on her legs, Skrundz said, and her paws are "kind of back to normal." She's stopped bleeding except when her wounds occasionally reopen.

Roxy's paws were bald and swollen to twice their usual size. [Courtesy PAWS Chicago]

“Now she doesn’t cry nearly as much,” Skrundz said. “She’s much happier and playing more and running around and stuff like that.

“She is really happy and very energetic a lot. She’s like a little puppy, basically. And she loves attention a lot.”

Skrundz isn't sure she'll be able to keep Roxy until the lab's ready for adoption — she is allergic to the puppy — but she hopes Roxy will be able to find a home once her foster period is up. The dog will be done with most of her medications within 10 days, Skrundz said, and could be adoptable within several weeks or months.

“I’m hoping that she gets adopted into a really nice family with somebody that can play with her a lot because she likes to be played with,” said Skrundz, who wants to continue fostering pets in need. “Anyone that I can help I would love to help. I’m really sad that I can’t keep fostering her.”

Roxy's not the first animal with special medical needs PAWS has had to help. The no-kill shelter routinely helps animals suffering from frostbite in the winter and also helps care for other animals. It covers the costs of care and supplies for the pets.

You can learn more about fostering through PAWS and submit an application online.