POSTED: Friday, October 30, 2009 - 5:06pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:25pm
At four months old, Puppy, as he was named, should be acting like one.
But when Mary Vechot took him home Tuesday from the Animal Services Shelter on Fred Wilson, he just sat and moped around.
"Then I noticed a change. He didn't want to eat or anything, and I said, well? maybe he's just a little shy," she said.
But little Puppy wasn't playing shy.
He began vomiting the next morning.
So Mary took him to the vet.
"They did the procedure. Within 15 minutes, they found that the puppy had parvo."
The puppy she adopted less than 24 hours before was sick with a fairly common and sometimes deadly disease.
New Hope Alliance is the non-profit hired by the City to help adopt out puppies like Puppy.
We asked their director over the phone how this happens.
"There's a strong possibility that it already came in sick and didn't start showing symptoms and there's also a possibility that it got sick at the shelter," said Director Rebecca Rojas.
But even though little Puppy was sick, Mary thought he was safe because New Hope Alliance provides something extra that most shelters don't; insurance.
"I said, well, I have insurance. Unfortunately, the insurance they gave me didn't kick in until the following day," she said.
So all the vet bills from day one of puppy's care are not covered.
"That didn't even cross my mind to take my puppy to the vet within a day after I got him," Vechot said.
While New Hope doesn't know when or where Puppy got sick, they're refunding Mary's adoption fees and paying her vet bills.
They're also paying for Puppy to stay at a hospital to recover for the next five days.
But Mary says it's all been too much to handle.
"I'll never go there again. if anything happens to this puppy, I won't get another dog," she said.
A word of warning tonight.
Parvo can creep up on animals.
One day they seem fine, the next - they can become deathly ill.
You can test animals for parvo, but the illness has a lengthy incubation period and won't show up on tests until the animal gets sick.