He fights everyday to keep her alive. One morning, Kiki the bulldog woke up in a puddle where he was excreting. She was barely able to stand. Skip Van Der Marliere, the founder of Southern California Bulldog Rescue, says, “I thought this was her last goodbye.” It’s only one of many trips to the vet for Kiki after Skip took her in about two months ago. It’s only one of the occasions she’s come through. Kiki’s rescuers believe her former parents locked her in a cage in a garage for most of her early life, causing her to develop scoliosis. And it’s the most quickly handled of her ailments.
Her former owner handed her over in May. She was in remarkably poor shape: malnourished and weak, with large infected bed sores and two forms of debilitating, untreated autoimmune diseases, one of which affected her painfully raw and infected skin and the other her bowels. “She was also able to walk, but it was painful due to blistering sores on the bottom of her paws,” Skip notes. “Despite her health problems, she was always curious about what was going on around her and enjoyed human contact.”
Skip has been working hard to keep Kiki alive, to get her well enough to enjoy her new life. It is not always easy. Even after many visits to the veterinarian, Kiki’s skin problems remain serious, and she is having difficulty gaining weight. Kiki can’t take the steroids or stem cell therapies that would improve her bald, irritated skin until her bowel problems, which have been difficult to handle, are under control. So Skip is experimenting with some “novel meats” that he hopes she can tolerate, such as duck and rabbit.
There are plenty of medicated baths and cool gentle scrubbings with all sorts of different brushes for Kiki’s skin — teeth brushes, makeup brushes, anything soft that could provide some relief to the little dog. And, while Kiki isn’t always in the mood for a soak, she loves the attention, which she probably didn’t get much of before.“She now only lies still while you pet and scratch her. “You can tell she enjoys it,” he remarks.
Kiki still doesn’t feel good. She has no energy and is not interested in toys or snacks. If she becomes seriously ill again and needs oxygen or surgery, Skip and his husband will not take her through the crisis. But, amid the ups and downs, that is not the case right now. “It is not her time to go,” Skip says.
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