BY Sarah smith
When Cammy the Golden Retriever heard her family’s voices she tried to jump off the examining table at the Ark Animal Hospital earlier this week.
But the emaciated dog, after wandering loose for 55 days, was just too weak to make that leap.
Neighbors found her on a hiking trail near her Menahga home. She’d lost half of her body weight. She was down to 32 pounds, from a healthy 68.
The Etter family spent four days looking for her. Heartbroken, they figured they’d never see her again, since the area got blasted with two huge snowstorms right after she disappeared.
When she resurfaced, “I spent days crying,” said Sadie Etter, whose husband Daniel carried her out of the woods after neighbors alerted him. She looked like a bag of bones.
“She tried to jump out of his arms,” Sadie said. Kids Kamryn, Darryl and Louisa all wept at the sight of the skeletal dog that’d been their companion for nine years. Their voices, upon entering the veterinary clinic, perked up the despondent dog.
Cammy has a long road ahead, said Ark vet Mia Long. Vet Stacy Melzer is actually Cammy’s doctor and voiced similar thoughts.
“I think she’ll do well,” Melzer said. “She’s making good progress already. She looks brighter and she’s able to walk a little bit longer than she was when she came in.”
Cammy is anemic from not getting good nutrition while she was on the lam, Long said. It took the dog awhile to start passing liquids, but that was a good sign.
An IV tube is hooked to her front leg to feed her electrolytes and fluids.
She will get a small amount of food initially. Long said she can’t pig out or she might get sick.
“You don’t want to overwhelm them with food,” Long said.
But Cammy’s prognosis, while guarded now, is optimistic.
She tried to follow Sadie out the door of the clinic.
“Her eyes look a lot brighter today,” said vet tech Erin Witkin. The Ark staff is pampering her with attention and soft pats on her bony head.
“She’s never not come home,” Sadie said, almost tearing up again. “Our neighbors all called to see how she was and she’s been terrorizing them for years.”
With good care and lots of love and food, Cammy might be up to terrorizing them again someday.
“Baby steps,” Melzer said.