SCARS Rescue Stories

The animals of SCARS have many stories to tell. Here are just a few of them.

Before proceeding please understand that some of these stories may be disturbing to some readers. Although some do not have a happy ending, many of these animals are now in loving forever-homes.


Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) is dedicated to reducing the number of homeless animals in Northern Alberta, Canada

We believe that there is a suitable home for all homeless animals: young or old; large or small.

As a volunteer-run, non-profit society, we care for these animals by providing veterinary care and foster homes for animals in need until a permanent home is found. These private foster homes provide the animals with warm shelter, food, exercise, and tender loving care (something that so many of the animals we receive have never experienced).

SCARS does not practice selective intake procedures and operates in a triage manner: taking the animal in most medical need first. As a result our medical expenses are enormous. Please consider donating to our rescue efforts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Harrison's Story

Each week, SCARS visits the Calling Lake pound to collect the dogs and cats that are brought down from the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17. We are grateful the Municipality collects these animals so we can give them a second chance.

When we first saw Harrison in September of 2005 or for that matter smelled Harrison, we felt terribly sad. We could see he was in desperate need of medical attention. It was obvious he was suffering. His eyes were swollen, his teeth were rotten, his face and body was covered in sores, and his belly was bloated from malnourishment and worms.

Amazingly, he was still happy and full of love. But he was in poor condition and we knew it would take this little guy many months to fully recover. His first vet visit confirmed he had Glaucoma, a painful condition that puts pressure on the eyes, and Demodex, a skin condition caused by parasites. We could not treat his painful eyes or teeth until we treated his Demodex and malnourished body. He had to become stronger before he could undergo the extensive surgeries needed to fix his eyes and teeth.

After many months of treatment and seeing specialists, we received the sad news that Harrison’s eyes could not be saved. The Glaucoma had caused too much damage and was causing him too much pain. A specialist in Calgary suggested prosthetic eyes so a volunteer drove him to Calgary where he had the surgery. Fortunately, the surgery went very well. Several months later, Harrison’s eyes were pain free and we could turn our attention to his teeth. Another specialist recommended all his teeth be removed, something which seemed tragically obvious. Harrison received the surgery he needed to alleviate the pain caused by his rotting teeth.

Harrison, though almost fully blind since he was just a few months old, has adjusted amazingly well to his new life. His forever family is able to take him for bike rides and walks. They also take him camping and he has even made an appearance at SCARS adoption days. He loves life and he loves people. If you didn’t know his story, you would never believe a once haggard little Husky cross puppy with so many medical problems was able to transform into a beautiful adult dog. Harrison will live the rest of his life with a loving family, just as he deserves.

A huge thank you to Olivia and Ryan for fostering Harrison and making him part of their family and to Laurel and Mike for fostering Harrison while he was in Calgary. Harrison LOVES each of you! As well, thank you to all the veterinarians who made a healthy life possible for Harrison!

Harrison has been adopted. Please see his Look At Us Now story

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ingrid and Greta's Story

When four-month-old sisters, Ingrid and Greta, were taken into SCARS care on September 19, 2008 Ingrid weighed 20 pounds and Greta 24.4 pounds. (Their foster dad had named them after the movie beauties Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo.) They both were severely emaciated and suffering from demodex. This mite infestation occurs in dogs that are malnourished and puppies are more vulnerable because of their underdeveloped immune systems. The extreme itchiness causes dogs to scratch, so Ingrid and Greta were covered with open, bleeding sores. The scratching causes infections so Greta and Ingrid were foul smelling. Their entire coats were infected and their feet and faces were swollen. They were also full of worms. They must have had some interaction with humans, because Ingrid had a choke chain around her neck that was on so tight the vet had to cut it off with a bolt cutter. The foster parents suspect Greta may have lost part of her tail at the hands of the same person that put the choke chain on Ingrid. Despite their poor introduction to life and to people, Ingrid and Greta love people, and are friendly and gentle.

After two weeks of proper food and medications, "the ladies" were beginning to make a comeback. The open sores had healed, the swelling had gone down, and Ingrid, who had been the sicker of the two, was beginning to make efforts to play with her sister Greta. Greta was always looking out for Ingrid. She had been sharing her food with her, bringing her toys and trying to get Ingrid to play with her in the garden. Everyone was happy to find that Ingrid had gained 10 pounds and Greta almost 7. The dried scabs had fallen off, helped by a couple of baths with organic non-soap shampoo. Ingrid had a little jacket for when she was outdoors.

Excitement mounted in the foster home when one morning in early November, it seemed as though a fine black peach fuzz was appearing on Ingrid! In a few days, it was unmistakable, and one morning a white bar, to match Greta's, appeared across Ingrid's chest. Greta's patchy coat, which had been dull, was being shed. The best guess that Ingrid would be brindle was wrong; Greta and Ingrid were looking more and more alike. They are each others' best friends: they groom one another and play together. The ladies continued to eat three big meals a day, plus fresh fruits and vegetables. They travelled twice with their foster family to their cabin in the Kootenays, enjoying the mild fall days there and running along the lakeshore. At 7 months of age in mid November, little Ingrid, now looking rather sturdy, weighed 41 pounds, outstripping her more delicately built sister.

It is now mid December 2008, and they are finally ready for adoption. Both ladies have soft and silky coats, with a bit of a wave. They love the off-leash park and other dog-walkers frequently comment on how striking a pair they make, and how friendly they are. With all they have gone through and at their age, their foster parents intend that these two ladies spend their lives together. They have a joy and enthusiasm for life and a love of people which they are ready to share with a special home.

Ingrid and Greta have now been adopted.