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2010-01-20 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

“Quinn” an emaciated English Setter found wandering by Animal Care & Control in the Bronx the day afterChristmas wins “Best In Shelter”. Hands down.

Thisorange belton boy may have been an abandoned hunting dog. He is the smaller field variety Setter, somewhere from five to seven years old. What was a 35 pound English Setter doing in the Bronx? Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but his delightful demeanor does.

Our walking skeleton has an exceptional capacity for love. Everyone who meets Quinn gets stuck with his Cupid arrows. Besides being pathetically thin, he melts you with his appreciation for any attention. Each person, including those in the hospital waiting room, falls for Quinn. Can love really conquer all? His prognosis is grim. Only time will tell if this reciprocal devotion can mend his kidneys ravaged by untreated Lyme disease.

Although Quinn’s fans have canine connections, his new godparents may be too late to save him. We thought he was starving when he was pulled from the Manhattan shelter by Aunt Bonnie, coordinator of the search for Vivi the Westminster Whippet, best friend to all missing and homeless dogs. Actually, Aunty Phyllis officially pulled him via her “4 Paws Sake” rescue so he could be moved from the Manhattan to Brooklyn shelter where Bonnie could get him. Quinn’s a three-borough boy.

Shown in photo, “Quinn,” Best In Shelter. Shown in photo, “Quinn,” Best In Shelter. Surely a little TLC can fixstarving. Aunt Maura, a member of the English Setter community, had three homes waiting before we learned why he was so thin. A wonderful couple came from Connecticut, but they had just lost a Setter to kidney disease. Meanwhile Quinn continued to get the best of care at Aunt Tracey’s kennel in Deer Park, (the same haven where our Afghans from the New Mexico hoarder and Manley the blind Boston Terrier found refuge).

Quinn’s intake photos grabbed me. Bonnie lives in Queens so I offered to visit Quinn and take him to my vet. I too fell under his spell. How could a dog look so horrible and still be so happy? Lumps in his neck and a picky appetite indicated something beyond hunger. Lymphoma? No. A preliminary test stained dark as can be for Lyme. Ironically the city shelter had released him with doxycycline, the correct antibiotic for Lyme. At first I thought that diagnosis was a reprieve until his blood work revealed kidney values that made my veterinarians cringe.

Pets for Adoption Shown, left, longhaired kitten Pets for Adoption Shown, left, longhaired kitten Lyme nephritis in dogs is generally fatal. Quinn’s kidneys are close to failing. He is also anemic, his bone marrow no longer producing red blood cells. He has an additional urinary infection. Despite this, presently he appears pain free. He adores us, “walkies,”his squeaky toy, other dogs, and even the kennel cat that clobbered him for disturbing his nap. So how do you put a dog like this down? We decided to start Quinn on meds plus an appetite stimulant and kidney diet, and then search for a hospice home.

Shown, right, “Kaya” ~ female Pit Shown, right, “Kaya” ~ female Pit After giving him his first mega-dose of six drugs, Quinn was resting under his comforter and suddenly the blanket started to shake. I panicked, thinking he was having some sort of reaction- a tremor, perhaps, until I realized he was merely wagging his tail.

Aunts Honi and Carol, both AKC judges, also integral to the Vivi search accompanied Bonnie when Quinn left the city shelter. Also bitten by the Quinn Love Bug, they wanted to foster him but were cautioned his exposure to shelter upper respiratory infection made it risky to put him near their senior Dachshund until he waited two more weeks. Time is of essence. Bonnie asked Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue ( to post Quinn on their Yahoo Group as a hospice dog since none of us are able to take him. Theresponse was an answer to our prayers.

Quinn’s Cupid arrows flew above and beyond because immediately Eileen, a volunteer for Above & Beyond, offered to adopt him. She and Tom are experienced with Setters and Springers needing extensive medical care. Their dogs are treated royally. They have a large PA home on 10 acres furnished with K-9 comforts extraordinaire like dog futons and a furnished suite, (if isolation is needed) plus an electro-magnetic impulse bed for sore joints. Eileen’s vets have already seen the nasty blood work so she intends to combine traditional and holistic approaches. His special home-cooked renal diet will include “the salmon steaks in the freezer that have Quinn’s name on them.” We couldn’t conjure up a better home for Quinn.

Above & Beyond is sharing transport with us. While I hesitate to print this prematurely, I need to praise Quinn in the present tense. This special Setter reminds us how precious life is. Hopefully by the time you read this, Quinn will be relaxing near Harrisburg. As Eileen writes: “Spoiling him is the absolute top priority….and I thank you for entrusting him with us. It will be hard knowing his days are numbered but Tom and I will be better for knowing and loving Quinn.”

Paw Note: Quinn’s legacy of love extends to other homeless dogs. His Aunt Tracey, active in the English Springer Spaniel community, also coordinates the Garden Specialty Association (GSA) dog shows that precede Westminster. Thisyear the public can come see more than 40 individual shows, breed specialties as well as obedience and rally, at the Nassau Coliseum from Feb. 11th to 14th. Through GSA at these Westminster Weekend Shows, breed rescues are promoted, but because of “Best In Shelter” Quinn, Last Hope Animal Rescue foster dogs are invited too. More details soon.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: Young “Kaya” in Cage 36, victim of an eviction, is part of the plentiful Pit collection. Other Pit types waiting for that certain someone include: “Bradley” Cage 1; “Ginger” Cage 39; “Roxy” Cage 25; “Brie”-American Bulldog Cage 46. Thislonghaired kitten in the food prep room will be available as soon s he tips the scales at 2.2 pounds for his neuter.

More Males: “Teddy”- chubby Retriever Cage 6; “Nicholas”-Shepherd mix Cage 5; “Winston” lobby black cat.

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