A severely emaciated Neapolitan Mastiff named Sydney was covered in flies, feces and urine and could hardly stand when she was rescued. At barely 90 pounds, she was placed in the care of Valley Mastiff Rescue on July 25th, thanks to Friendly Giants Dog Rescue and a Good Samaritan Sydney's rescuers call "Sydney's Angel". Sydney was weak and frail, and her rescuers say that her starving body could barely hold her up. In fact, Sydney was rated 1/5 on the body condition index, the lowest score possible.
*** Refer to the bottom of the article for the latest updates on Sydney's progress ***
A victim of horrible neglect, Sydney has suffered a life full of excruciating pain, agony and misery. She had never received any love or attention, nor had she ever received any of the essential medical care she desperately needed. At one year old, Sydney seems to have never walked on grass before in her life.
Pain is a constant factor in Sydney's life. She walks with a wobble and limp, and often yelps when she walks. Unable to squat, Sydney urinates on her ankles and struggles to get up from the lying position.
During her physical exam after she was rescued, Sydney's response to tests was heartbreaking to her rescuers, as she constantly cried and let her caretakers know that the basic assessment she was undergoing was extremely painful for her.
Sydney is crippled with several orthopaedic conditions and has only one good weight-bearing leg. According to veterinarians at the DMV Veterinary Centre, she is suffering from the worst case of hip dysplasia ever seen or documented in medical reference books.
France told DogHeirs, "Sydney's pain is all she has ever known, it is second nature to her. She cannot stand for very long, maybe 2 minutes now and then she crashes to the ground. She will come on walks, but we need to stop for some down-cuddle time; she rests, struggles to get back up on her feet. Its very hard for her."
"She can run, she spurts and goes crazy, actually unbelievable when you think about it, but its bunny hopping," Frances said. "Then, again, she crashes to the ground in relief. She will yelp often in her day when walking."
Despite the neglect Sydney has endured, this sweet Mastiff has only demonstrated love and friendliness and craves human attention and touch. "Sydney sits and waits for hugs and kisses. She follows me everywhere, I never have to put on a leash. She drops to the ground and enjoys belly rubs and massages. She just is so in need of love and touch," Frances said. "She looks you right in the eye too, when she walks she will lean against your leg as to seek support in case she trips, because that happens."
Above is a photo of Sydney and Georgie, her best friend at Valley Mastiff Rescue. "She likes Georgie a lot (He is in kidney failure and very sick and I guess he is no threat to her.)", says France. Currently caring for 10 dogs, Valley Mastiff rescue is a sanctuary for abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted dogs and many of their dogs have special needs requiring extensive medical care or behavioral rehabilitation.
Sydney is in desperate need of medical care; costs are estimated at $12,000. The first surgery planned for Sydney is arthroplasty, where surgeons will cut the head of her femur bone to alleviate the excruciating pain Sydney has to deal with every day. This will cost $2,500. Sydney will then need an external steel splint for her front leg for four months. This radial wedge and ulnar osteotomy will cost $4,500. Finally, Sydney needs a complete hip replacement at a cost of $5,500. Sydney will be cared for at the DMV Veterinary Centre in Montreal, Quebec, under the caring hands of Dr. Madore.
France said, "Sydney is facing a long road ahead before she is pain free and can become a dog again. If you ask me what real courage is, I would answer: SYDNEY. She survived horrid living conditions and atrocious neglect without ever knowing the meaning of love and managed to adapt and survive."
Keri Borden, a dedicated rescue worker who volunteers with Cool Dog Rescue, Friendly Giants Dog Rescue and Pilots n Paws Canada, shared Sydney's story with DogHeirs and told us that, "This rescue [Valley Mastiff Rescue] cannot afford the 12K in bills that are about to come up. They will simply go under. But the love of the breed and her story...they are determined to show her that someone in this world cares for her."
Update September 4, 2013:
Since arriving at Valley Mastiff Rescue, Sydney has gained a healthy 18 pounds. France says that Sydney is happy and that her joy is evident in a recent video she took.
"Her issues are ortheapedic and can be fixed surgically, this will give her not only a pain free life but a long happy life at our sanctuary. Sydney is more than welcome to make the sanctuary her forever home if an adoptive home does not come along," France added in a comment below.
Update: September 19, 2013
Sydney's journey towards full health has begun. She underwent her first surgery this week. The surgery was called an arthroscopy and the doctors removed part of her femur bone to alleviate pain.
France said the surgery went well and she was stable throughout the procedure.
Here's a video of France picking up Sydney from the vets after her first successful surgery.
One of the vets was thinking that Sydney might be incontinent, but France explained that Sydney just pees when she sees men or when she feels like it. "I explained there was still some 'fear issues' she needs to work out. We will still keep an eye on her, she just needs to learn to pee outside," said France.
Sydney will have the staples from her surgery removed in 2 weeks. For now, the doctors have instructed Sydney to have complete bed rest for 2 weeks - so no running, no playing, no jumping and only short walks. She is on painkillers and with help from the donated funds she has a harness/sling to help her avoid falling when out for the walks.
France wanted to thank all of Sydney's supporters. She told DogHeirs, "The love felt from around the world for Sydney is more than words could ever describe. because of all of you, Sydney will get the medical care and surgeries she needs. We will even be able to build a fenced in area for her and she will be getting hydro therapy sessions for her recovery, both things we could never afford before. Your donations turned her life around and will make her life pain free. Thank you for showing Sydney what love is all about."
Update: November 24, 2013
Here is Sydney 6 weeks after her arthroscopy running and enjoying the first snow of winter.
She will be seeing the doctor in mid December to schedule her front paw surgery.
January 23, 2014
Sydney underwent her second surgery for her front paw on Tuesday, January 21. Frances Turcotte provided DogHeirs with an update on her progress and how the surgery went. "Sydney's paw surgery lasted 8 hours, it was performed by Dr. Madore at the DMV on Tuesday. It was an extreme case, but Sydney remained stable during the whole procedure with minimum blood loss. Today, I visited her and she was a bit drowsy on the pain medication but managed to walk a few steps."
"The titanium fixations will remain for approx. 4 months and require daily cleaning. She is strong and walking on it already without painkillers or medications. It's so nice to see her paw straight for the first time."
Update: February 5, 2014
Sydney had her second surgery on her paw and after 17 days in hospital could go back home with France. Here are some pictures of the fixations in her paw and leg.
Update: May 11, 2014
Sydney is doing fantastic. For the first time in many months she does not have any metal pins in her leg, no cast or bandages. "Freedom at last," wrote France. "Doctors are happy to say the angle is now 5 degree on her paw compared to a devastating 65 degree angle she knew. Its a new Sydney!"
Want to help Sydney?
You can also donate directly to Valley Mastiff Rescue online here or via mail. Checks should be made payable to Valley Mastiff Rescue at: 67 chemin Legros, La Pêche QC, J0X 2W0, Canada.
Valley Mastiff Rescue is a federally registered Charitable Organization #84050 2934 RR0001 and tax receipts will be issued for direct donations over $20.00. Valley Mastiff Rescue is also a Donation Recipient of the DogHeirs Giving Back Program for non profits.
See more photos of Sydney here: Sydney the Neapolitan Mastiff
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