Caring about Calvin

by Susan Linden on Saturday, April 28, 2012

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in New Beginnings

Calvin a Lovable Dalmatian Mix

Calvin in his foster home

Calvin came into Rescue on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

He arrived at his foster home in Illinois at 8:00 pm in the evening after a long journey from Tennessee. Seven caring humans took time out of their day to spend several hours transporting him a small piece of the way on his journey to a new life. They all fell in love with him and want to know how he is doing. Even during those few hours in a vehicle, a bond is established.

On the last leg of the trip, our volunteers Taylor and Meg gave him a name: Calvin.

Dogs were the first domesticated animal and have been a friend of humans for at least 15,000 years. There is something in them that makes them love us and there is something in us that inspires us to cherish them.

We knew that Calvin had been a stray for sometime and that he had tested positive for heartworm.

A disease transmitted to a dog by an infected mosquito, heartworm is costly to cure and requires a long recovery period while the worms in the heart die. Calvin made a trip to our vet on Monday, April 23, for an examination and further tests, to make sure that he was healthy enough to undergo this treatment. When the test results came back on Tuesday, we learned that Calvin also had whip worms, and that his blood work revealed a number of irregularities, including a low platelet count. Platelets are cells in the blood that are involved in the clotting process. We began treating the whip worms and decided to give him some time to settle in before we began the treatment for heartworm. Calvin’s appetite was not normal.

On the morning of Thursday, April 26, astonishing new information about Calvin reached us.

While he was still a nameless stray in Tennessee, Calvin had consumed an entire tray of D-Con rat poison, which had been placed on the floor of the garage on the property where he had been living outside for several months. This rodenticide works by causing severe internal bleeding. It generally takes a rat several days to die after ingesting this product.

A call to my vet confirmed our fear: most dogs that eat D-Con pellets bleed to death.

A date sheet available made available online by Reckitt Benckiser, Inc., the company that makes D-Con, advises that “the anticoagulant action of this product may produce prolonged prothrombin times for 20 to 30 days after exposure.” In case of ingesting by humans or animals, vitamin K1 is recommended for 30 days and it is noted that “in severe cases, blood transfusions may be necessary.”

Calvin is now getting a vitamin K1 tablet twice daily. We are cooking extra yummy meals for him. So far, he has found them irresistible and is even looking forward to mealtime. Last night he was served chicken livers sautéed in olive oil, served sliced on a bed of greens and bacon bits, and topped with French bread croutons. This was followed by a dessert of yogurt and blueberries. He licked his dishes clean!

Calvin has been with us for only a week today. We hope and pray that this sweet boy’s new beginning will lead to the long and happy life that he deserves.

Calvin enjoys being outdoors with the other dogs.

Calvin loves being outdoors with the other dogs.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Campbell April 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

WOW! This boy has been through so much. Not only is he very lucky to have been ‘found’ by Dalmatian Rescue of Illinois, I believe ‘we’ are also lucky – he’s got so much love to share!

How do the dogs digestive tracts react to the rich ‘human’ foods? Since Callie has lost so much weight & has become VERY picky, we’re giving her fresh ground turkey for her meals (cooked). She also lets me know that the food has to be warm!! At least she’s eating, though not as much as I’d like. She’s still hanging in there, does not seem to be in pain, & still has her doggy attitude! I think I’ll add some yogurt to her diet. Any food suggestions???

We know her time with us is limited, but we’re making the best of the time that we have, & cater to her whims :)


Diane Mullins April 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Dogs can and do live happily and well on “human” food. Not the calorie laden, fatty, salty foods our diets have become. Rather, high quality protein such as chicken, turkey and especially eggs can provide. Sweet potato, pumpkin, oatmeal and even green beans are rich in vitamins good not only for humans, but our canine friends. Salmon, rich in omega 3′s is as good for dogs as humans. Apples are a nice treat, especially for dogs who are overweight. Always remember to cook meat and eggs thoroughly. Dangerous are chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts and grapes. Also resist giving fat trimmings that can cause pancreatitis especially in older dogs.

Plain cooked rice and pasta can help put on some pounds on those dogs underweight.

I have fed my dogs human foods for years. The result was they lived 4-5 years longer than the average breed lifespan.


Susan April 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Since Calvin was not eating, I started with something really smelly and tasty: liver and bacon! He loved this special dish and gobbled it up. I did the same for my Rosy when she was dying of cancer. Since Callie is getting older, you certainly have the right to spoil her a little. :-) The dogs deserve to have a least a little bit of the good stuff. Diane has given us lots of great ideas. Thank you, Diane!


Christy Edwards April 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Thank you for the update on Calvin. I was one of his drivers to a new life. I also feed my labbie girl who has cancer a “cooked human food diet”. Once you get in the habit of the making the recipe – it is easy and I am convinced it has allowed Maddie to fight off the more debilitating aspects of the cancer so far. Please keep us updated on Calvin. He was a sweetie.


Susan April 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thank you, Christy! I will keep everyone updated on this darling boy. What do you feed your girl? I am always interested in new dog food recipes.


Heather October 15, 2012 at 4:10 am

Please keep me informed! He is precious!


Susan October 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

Calvin is doing well. He has completed his treatment for heartworm disease, and he has been neutered. He is ready for a new home! Are you interested in adopting?


jimmy v December 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm

is calvin house broken and does he do well if he has to stay by himself for 4 or 5 hr

jimmy v


Susan December 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Calvin is housebroken and he is crate-trained. He has no problem staying in his crate for 4 or 5 hours.


donna February 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I am looking for a dog for my sixteen yearold nephew. We would like to work with a dog who would make a good companian to visit nursing homes or hospital wards with children. We might also consider agility or frissbee sports.

Jason is adhd and comes from a home where he and his brothers suffered emotionally as a result of parts constant domestic violance and drugs. Jason is currently in a residental treatment program. He has alwas shown interest in dogs but never had one. I think that calvin might be a good fit.


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