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From the moment he was found, Ramos was in bad shape. Brought to WSHS by a wonderful Good Samaritan, 2 ½ month old Ramos weighed less than 2 pounds when he arrived. If it wasn’t for the woman who found him, he would have surely died on the streets where he was born.

Plagued by a congenital condition called an imperforate anus, Ramos was constantly constipated and unable to defecate normally due to the underdevelopment of his anus. Our veterinary team determined that there wasn’t a surgical option that would help the issue and prescribed a regime of supplements, including stool softeners, in the hopes that these measures would make Ramos more comfortable, pass stool more easily, and help him live a more normal life.

Ramos was placed into a foster home, along with a new friend; a kitten who also had a manageable birth defect. The two were the perfect match, becoming instant friends and helping each other ease the transition into the next steps of their lives. Knowing that Ramos had a new buddy and a loving foster home gave us comfort considering the uncertainty of how his health issues would play out.

It was initially thought that Ramos’ congenital deformity would be an issue he would have to deal with for the rest of his life. On top of this, animals with these sorts of physical anomalies were often struck by other ailments to be diagnosed down the road. So when Ramos started to also have urinary issues, we thought the worst.

Ramos hated receiving his supplements, and after a while it became harder and harder for the foster home to administer them. Urinary issues, including peeing outside the box, can be stress related, and we hoped that at least we could pin that on having to constantly pill and medicate him. Miraculously, as Ramos grew, the defect in his anus became less pronounced until it no longer was an issue for him. With that good news Ramos could now live a life without the seemingly endless amount of medications and supplements he was being given.

However, much to everyone’s dismay, the urinary issues continued and with the ominous warning from our vets that further genetic defects could someday rear their ugly heads, we began the process of trying to sort out what was causing Ramos’ latest medical problem.

Just when we thought he was in the clear, and Ramos started to live a more normal life, we had to again start the arduous process of supplement trials and medical tests. In case this was a behavioral issue, we also worked with the foster home to remove any triggers that may have been causing him to urinate outside of his litter box. Nothing was working unfortunately, and to top it all off, the medical examinations revealed he was also dealing with a painful condition called stomatitis which affects the teeth and gums.

Ramos friendThis bit of information was critical in potentially determining why Ramos was having his urinary issues. In some cases, inappropriate elimination can be attributed to another unknown, undiagnosed medical issue. Think of it as your cat trying to communicate with you in a sense. By peeing outside of the litter box, for example, your cat may be trying to draw your attention to the fact that something isn’t right and they need your help. The thought at this point was that Ramos was urinating outside of the litter box box because he was in pain from the stomatitis. The complicating factor with this potential diagnosis was that stomatitis can be the cause itself, or a disease brought about by a stressed immune system trying to deal with another underlying health issue.

With no other information available, the veterinarians decided the most prudent course of action would be the removal of all Ramos’ teeth; a drastic action that seemed at the time to be  the only humane choice. The procedure would alleviate the pain and discomfort from the stomatitis, and by removing this stress it was thought it would also solve his litter box issues. It was a decision we didn’t take lightly, and our goal was to find a way to give Ramos a comfortable, normal life. Without a change, that would never happen and Ramos would never be able to find his forever home.

A few days before the surgery was scheduled, results came back from a pre-surgery test that shed new light on his situation and the surgery to remove his teeth was postponed. Further testing indicated that Ramos was suffering from urinary crystals which can cause discomfort and blockages, the most serious being the inability to urinate completely, causing a slow and painful death.

As it happened, Ramos suffered what would have been a fatal blockage in foster care while awaiting the dental surgery. Thanks to the adept observation of our foster home, he was immediately rushed to the hospital when the issue was noticed. After much care and days of unsuccessful catheter procedures, perineal urethrostomy surgery (the removal of the narrowest part of the urethra which is most susceptible to becoming blocked by crystals and stones ) was eventually performed and proved to be the surgery that saved Ramos’ life.

Ramos is back in his foster home, reunited with his foster brother and loving foster family who has now become his permanent home. His stomatitis has cleared up and he no longer is urinating outside of the litter box. He is on the mend, and finally able to live a happy, healthy life. You can’t believe how grateful he seems, now able to play, eat and enjoy his life without pain or discomfort. An amazing cat with so much joy and love to give.

The story of Ramos isn’t new to us. In fact, most of the dogs and cats we help have issues and illness that most humane organizations would not be in a position to do anything about. Time and time again, animals come to us from people who say that we are their last resort. That no one else has the time, money or resources to make a difference, and save the life of the cat or dog in need.

We pride ourselves in helping animals who are less fortunate, who have been turned away, who have no other hope. We extend our resources and abilities to spare no expense or leave no stone unturned in our quest to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome these wonderful, needy animals in our community. Yes, this is expensive and time-consuming, but when you see the happiness of Ramos playing or purring on your lap, you know that it has all been worth it.

We exist to continue the amazing, life-changing work we do thanks to donations of support from people like you. For the last 45 years, West Suburban Humane Society has vowed to make a difference in animal welfare, and our community at large. Your support will help us reach our goals. 

As we close the book on 2017, your contribution now will ensure we can help more animals like Ramos in 2018!

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In an effort to save more needy cats and dogs in Chicagoland and beyond, we have created an emergency medical fund to ensure cats and dogs brought to our shelter will be able to receive life-saving veterinary care without hesitation. The fund, called the Mowgli Fund and named for an abandoned cat with medical issues who was saved by WSHS’ efforts, was started on #GivingTuesday, November 28th, 2017, with grassroots donations and an endowment from a longtime donor. 

Emergency medical care for a single animal can cost thousands of dollars and these expenditures account for over 40% percent of our overall budget. Most animal welfare organizations do not have money in their budgets to help animals with severe health issues, leading to those animals being turned away or in some cases, humanely euthanized. Since 1972, we have made it our mission to help those animals most in need, and we regularly take on cases that require extensive medical treatment. However, on a yearly basis, the financial need for care regularly exceeds the organization’s means. The Mowgli Fund allows WSHS to continue our mission by providing funding for, among other necessities:

  • Emergency surgeries and ER visits for at-risk animals
  • Extensive testing and specialist consultations
  • Ongoing medical care and treatments, including physical therapy, medicines and supplements

WSHS Executive Director Carolyn Mossberger believes the fund is crucial in furthering the mission of the organization. “We are asked on an almost weekly basis to take an animal that has a treatable medical need. The Mowgli Fund allows us to continue to provide help to the most at-risk homeless animals in our community, giving countless numbers of cats and dogs the second chance they deserve.”

Mowgli

Mowgli, who the fund is named after, was abandoned by his owners when they moved out of their apartment. Fortunately, a kind realtor happened to stumble upon him when she went to the apartment to assess for future listing. She made some calls to animal welfare organizations to see about admitting Mowgli to their facilities, but was consistently turned down as none had the means to take on an 11 year old, sickly looking cat. That was until she reached us here at WSHS, and once we heard of the direness of Mowgli’s situation, we happily welcomed him through our doors.

Mowgli was in rough shape and needed immediate medical care. The main issue he had was a severe case of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder that affects the intestines. After many rounds of expensive medical testing and treatment, Mowgli was able to finally go to his forever home, a wonderful volunteer who gave Mowgli a loving place to spend the rest of his days.

Cats and dogs like Mowgli are constantly turned away by animal welfare organizations who unfortunately do not have the resources to invest into these amazing animals. We want to be the exception to the rule and with our emergency fund, we will be able to honor the memory of Mowgli by continuing to help future animals recover from their ailments and find their own forever homes.

DONATE NOW TO HELP US GIVE THE LIFE-SAVING CARE OUR ANIMALS DESERVE!

As much as people try, sometimes the resources just aren’t there to care for animals the way they should be cared for. That was the case with Helen’s original owner. She found Helen as a puppy and loved her dearly, but financially, adopting an animal at that time in her life wasn’t the most prudent thing to do. Puppies are cute though, and sound judgement is sometimes suspended because of said cuteness.

One day, little 4 month old Helen was bouncing around the house per usual and took a tumble off the couch. She instantly shrieked in pain and her guardian rushed over to see what was the matter. She knew something terrible was wrong when Helen couldn’t put any weight on her front leg. She immediately took Helen to a local vet who, after some initial testing and x-rays, gave her the bad news - Helen had broken her leg.

To fix the leg would cost a fortune and Helen’s owner, no matter how much she loved her, just didn’t have the money for the surgery. She informed the vet that in her opinion the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize Helen and spare her the pain she was in. The vet agreed at that moment, and said that’s what they would do. However, the vet knew of another option that they kept to themselves. There was no way that little Helen was going to be euthanized for a completely treatable broken leg. That’s when the vet called us.

We were saddened to hear about poor Helen’s plight and gladly agreed to take on her care. We shuttled her to an orthopedic specialist who did an amazing job repairing Helen’s broken bones. From there, Helen went into foster to heal and recover with Ann W.

Ann is one of our best fosters, and she also has other dogs of her own that help socialize and provide companionship to the foster dogs we give her. One of her dogs, Greta, was adopted from us a few years prior. She was also an amazing dog but suffered from severe epileptic seizures. Not many people would be able to care for a dog like Greta, but Ann had no problem at all. Unfortunately, during Helen’s foster stay with Ann, Greta passed away and Ann was heartbroken. And who was there to comfort her? You guessed it - Helen.

Helen and Friends Edit“When Helen came to my house in June as a foster, I really meant it to be a foster arrangement and then have her go to her forever home,” explains Ann. “Little did I know that my home was meant to be her forever one.”

Shortly after Greta’s passing, Ann made it official and adopted Helen. Helen now spends her days playing with her favorite toys, going for long walks and of course, giving lots love and cuddles. “She fits right into our hearts and she doesn’t seem to realize she’s much smaller than her new brother and sister, Fred and Alice,” says Ann. “She is a very sweet girl and we all love her so much!”

You see, our rescues come in all shapes and sizes, and from many different circumstances. No two are alike. Sometimes it’s stray cat who’s suffered an accidental injury. Sometimes it’s a homeless dog whose genetics have betrayed them. Sometimes it’s a cat or dog who has nowhere else to go but to us.

We want our doors to always remain open for these needy cats and dogs. That’s why on #GivingTuesday, November 28th, 2017, we are raising money for the Mowgli fund, our newly created veterinary emergency fund that will allow us to continue to give life-saving care to dogs like Cody and Helen, and cats like Mowgli and Preston.

Please, on November 28th, give what you can to the Mowgli fund and help us keep making a difference in the lives of cats and dogs in Chicagoland and beyond.

DONATE NOW TO OUR NEW FUND!

Traveling at 30 miles an hour in the early morning on a sleepy suburban road, Preston was trapped. Somehow his tail had become stuck in the axle of a car and now this poor cat had to run alongside the car for dear life while the unaware owner of the vehicle started their commute to work. While driving, the vehicle's owner heard what sounded like muffled yowling from outside the car. Upon stopping and looking around the vehicle the driver was horrified to find Preston, scared and bleeding, attached to the car.

Preston was moving and seemed amenable enough to be picked up, so the Good Samaritan released Preston from the car’s grip, placed him gently in his car and brought him immediately to us. Upon arriving at the shelter we knew right away that he needed immediate medical attention.

Aside from obvious abrasions, Preston’s tail was roadburned and raw on the underside and broken at a 90 degree angle. There was also an old wound: a fracture of the tibia that had healed unnaturally, causing part of the bone to be sticking out through the skin near his back foot. The pain must have been unbearable as the skin was bald from Preston licking the area in a vain attempt for relief.

We took Preston to see Dr. Hayes at Boone Animal Hospital and the doctor knew exactly what to do to help. A portion of Preston’s tail needed to be amputated at the break and the bone from the old fracture-wound needed to be shaved down so it no longer would protrude through the skin and cause irritation. Dr. Hayes and the team at Boone worked tirelessly to patch up Preston’s wounds and repair his damaged body, eventually releasing him into a foster home when he was strong enough to move around on his own.

Preston was in foster care for about 8 months before he was well enough to be adopted. After a brief stay in our adoptable cat room Preston met Erica R, one of our amazing volunteers. She was all too happy to adopt him and let him continue to recover alongside her other fosters, which included a litter of kittens. Preston had to wear a plastic cone (which sort of looks like an Elizabethan collar) for several weeks while he healed, but this resilient guy didn’t seem to miss a beat. “Preston is adorable,” Erica beams. “His large, gold eyes draw you in and his markings are so cute. It’s fun to watch him twitch his little tail when he’s getting excited, especially while watching birds.”

Preston Ferrari EditNow fully healed and recovered, Preston has also been a wonderful big brother to several litters of kittens Erica’s fostered. He’s playful with them, but always gentle and it’s obvious the kittens adore him. Erica kept one of the kittens, Ferrari, and she and Preston have become best buddies.

“Preston is such a fun and important member of my family. He becomes more affectionate and trusting every day,” says Erica. “He was so lucky he made it to West Suburban Humane Society where he got care and love from all the doctors, staff, and volunteers who helped in his recovery. And I’m lucky Preston is a part of my family.”

We approach every day with desire and determination to help the most needy cats and dogs in Chicagoland. Behind us stands an army of dedicated and talented veterinarians, shelter staff and volunteers, each of them pitching in to make a difference in the lives of animals like Preston.

On #GivingTuesday, November 28th, 2017, we will be raising money for the Mowgli Fund, an emergency medical fund created to make sure we always have the resources available to give cats and dogs like Preston the care they desperately need. Please share these stories and mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday - our future cats and dogs in need will thank you.

Help us continue the good work we do and mark your calendars for November 28th, #GivingTuesday. Thank you!

DONATE NOW TO OUR NEW FUND!

 

On #GivingTuesday, November 28th, 2017, We Will Be Raising Money to Help More Animals Like Cody

Cody came to us from Perry County Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in southern Illinois who didn’t have the means to keep him at the time. We had Cody here about a week when we observed that he would sometimes limp when he was walking. Our volunteers also noticed that while he would try to run around and play, after about 5 minutes he would plop down and not want to get back up. We took him to the orthopedic vet where they discovered that he had a torn acl. They also found that his kneecap was not where it was supposed to be; they believed some sort of blunt trauma completely moved it.

This sort of unexpected medical issue is very expensive and most organizations would be unable to come up with funding to give Cody the necessary treatments that he would need to live a normal, healthy life. Fortunately here at WSHS, our mission is to give animals like Cody the chances they deserve. We dipped into our medical funding and our veterinarians performed successful surgery to get him back on his paws.  

Cody was placed into a foster home tasked with assisting with his rehabilitation and training. The home fell instantly in love with him, adopting him him shortly after he arrived. “The doctors weren't 100% sure that this risky surgery would work to relocate his kneecap, but it was worth taking a chance to save his leg,” explains foster parent and adopter Sarah M. “Recovery from surgery took several months and was very hard on a puppy that loved to play, but now that he's all healed up and done with rehab he’s better than ever.”

Cody 2Before his surgery, Cody was unable to run normally and would tire easily. Now, thanks to donors like you, he can run around for hours with his favorite giant red ball and live the life of a happy dog. We want to continue to make a difference in the lives of cats and dogs in Chicagoland and beyond, which is why we have created the Mowgli Fund. The emergency medical fund will ensure all animals that pass through our doors will get the life-changing medical treatments they deserve.

On November 28th, 2017, we will be participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving. On that day, we will be raising money for the Mowgli Fund to help more animals like Cody. These treatments, and your donations, really make a difference - just ask Sarah, “Cody is very happy that West Suburban Humane Society took a chance on him. Without them, there is a good chance he would not have had a chance at a full, healthy life!”

Help us continue the good work we do and mark your calendars for November 28th, #GivingTuesday. Thank you!

DONATE NOW TO OUR NEW FUND!

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WSHS can accept credit-card donations online using a secure server. Click on the Donate Now button. You can choose how your donation will be used! All donations are tax deductible.

In addition to monetary donations, we are always grateful for non-monetary donations. Click here to find a list of accepted items we would greatly appreciate receiving.