It got to the point that Willow was so hungry, she ate gravel and dirt to fill her belly.
But it was the kindness of a stranger who saved her life. Someone on Saturday saw Willow wandering around east Maple Ridge at 256th Street and 128th Avenue, barely able to walk, and brought her into the SPCA Community Animal Centre.
Now the SPCA is trying to find the dog’s owner and how it got to the point that Willow came within a few heartbeats of death.
“She has no identification to link her to an owner and we are seeking the public’s help in identifying who may be responsible for her,” B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever said Wednesday.
The young Siberian husky weighed only 15 kilograms, below a normal weight of 24 kg.
“She has been assessed with a score of “one” on the canine body-conditioning scale of one to nine, meaning that she is severely malnourished.”
Once she was brought into the SPCA, Willow was taken to the Dewdney Animal Hospital, where she received around-the-clock care. She’s now back at the SPCA and gaining strength every day.
“When she first came in, she was unable to lie down due to abdominal pain caused by rocks and soil in her gastrointestinal tract,” says Drever.
“There were no food remnants in her stomach, so we think she was eating gravel to try to stay alive.”
Since she was brought in Saturday, she’s already gained a kilogram.
“She was barely able to walk when she came in. Her muscles are still very weak and she sometimes loses her balance, but is now able to walk nearly a block with support.”
On Wednesday, Willow was made available for media photo ops for three hours.
“This is an open investigation and we urge anyone who recognizes this dog or who knows anything about this case to please contact the B.C. SPCA’s animal cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722 immediately.”
The Maple Ridge SPCA dealt with a similar case in 2010 when a golden retreiver was brought in in similar condition.
Trooper recovered and was adopted out to a caring family.