Opus was brought into an open access shelter on a cold February day after being confiscated. His cage card simply read, “DOG IN THE BACKYARD. NO FOOD OR WATER. ALSO NO SHELTER. DOG IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES.”
As many of you know, this past winter was ruthless with its “Polar Vortex” and sub-zero temperatures. We will never know what gave Opus the will to live as his body parts began to freeze to the ground and break-off or, as a result of starvation, why eating part of a garbage can and a glove became his best option… the abuse that Opus endured is unfathomable to most and unconscionable to all.
Opus was diagnosed with advanced, untreated Cushing's Disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism. He had secondary skin infections, frostbite and a foreign body in his belly that required an endoscopy by an internal medicine specialist. After weeks of non-stop attention, vet visits, special diets, a slew of medications…one day Opus woke up with a golf ball sized lump above his elbow. Fine needle aspiration and a consult with a pathologist comfirmed that Opus had soft tissue sarcoma. There was nothing else we could do.
At this time, Bridgid, TAF’s Medical and Rescue Director, decided to adopt Opus and give him the best last few weeks as possible. He lived with her and her other dogs, including some of TAF’s Canine Rehabilitation Team, played in the yard, ate special home cooked meals…and stayed by her side 24-7.
As I live and breathe, I don’t think that I will ever come across another dog like Opus. I feel so blessed to have witnessed such courage, acceptance, strength and love from an animal that, by all rights, should have hated the world.
In the end, our sweet old man went out with dignity and grace. Opus walked into the vet, sat himself down on his mom’s lap and ate treats out of the palm of her hand. Though his body appeared tired and worn out, Opus couldn’t have been happier as his mom wrapped her arms around him and repeatedly kissed his muzzle. It was then… that Opus passed on. Though our hearts are broken that Opus is no longer with us, we rejoice knowing that he left with a smile on his face and in the arms of the person that he loved more than words can express.