Charlie – Special Needs
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Billy and Bonnie – Special Needs
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Charlie – Special Needs
November 18, 2018
Billy and Bonnie – Special Needs
September 21, 2019

JACK - Fort Myers, FL

ESRA Special Needs Springer

ESRA INTAKE #2019-0037FL
Age: 12
Gender: Male
Color: Liver and white

Poor sweet senior Jack and his senior companion, Tiana, were relinquished to a Tampa, Fla., shelter at the beginning of February 2019. While both seemed of sound temperament, signs of severe neglect were obvious to anyone who laid eyes on Jack.

Jack and Tiana's freedom ride

If this twelve-year-old boy could only talk, we wonder what he might say about his life before being turned over to ESRA. Our commitment to his care came just in the nick of time. While his companion (now known as Ginger) was in fairly good condition, Jack’s condition was horrific and has resulted in his acceptance into ESRA’s Special Needs program. Even the shelter staff was relieved to see these two come into ESRA’s care, and they literally cheered as this pair was sent on their way with one of our rescue volunteers.

First of many vet visits

When ESRA volunteers first met Jack, he was a very sad sight to behold. This poor boy was covered in scabs, missing a vast amount of hair, and suffered from severe dermatitis, alopecia, and patchy red areas of inflammation known as erythema. He was severely undernourished, had mobility issues, infected ears, and possible heart disease.

After Jack settled in temporarily with one of ESRA’s foster families, additional issues became evident. It was obvious that Jack was in pain, and, within a week, he went into a downward spiral, which his foster mom calls a “crash,” while out for a brief walk. Off to the emergency clinic they went. During this visit, it was discovered that Jack had a severely decreased range of motion of both the left and right hip and a possible torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) of his left stifle. He was sent home with instructions for a lot of rest and medication to aid with pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, just three days later, Jack crashed again, and was right back in the ER for further testing and diagnosis. What they found next just added to this poor boy’s problems.

During his second ER visit, radiographs were ordered and suspected infectious Bronchopneumonia was confirmed. Jack's temperature had spiked to 105.6 degrees. His teeth were clenched and he was shaking uncontrollably. He was also anemic, running a fever, presented with ataxia (impaired coordination) and hypokalemia (a low level of potassium in the blood serum which can further exacerbate the potential risk for a cardiac event).

While reviewing the X-rays, the attending veterinary specialist discovered that Jack had even more problems. Foreign bodies were found in his gastrointestinal tract. These objects appeared to be two bottle caps and a metal pull tab from a can of some sort. Though these ingested foreign bodies were a concern, Jack was in no shape to undergo surgery. Due to his medical instability, a period of observation was deemed necessary, coupled with a few additional prescriptions to help with pain, infection, and healing. After a two-day stay at the hospital, Jack was released back into the care of his foster family with specific instructions for a follow-up visit to address these additional serious issues.

X-ray reveals foreign objects: two bottle caps and a metal pull tab

Fast forward three weeks. Coupled with proper nutrition and a huge dose of TLC, the medications given to Jack have improved his health greatly. His hair is beginning to grow back. He has put on some much-needed weight and has become rather spunky and visibly happy. For what might be the first time in his life, he is learning to play with toys and is enjoying them immensely! He has a spring in his step now and is often seen wagging his tail. His pneumonia is almost completely resolved, and to ensure its continued improvement, an additional course of medication has been prescribed.

However, while all of this improvement is wonderful, the foreign bodies in Jack’s stomach still pose a very serious potential threat to his health. ESRA is currently working with his care-givers and veterinary providers to determine the best course of action for the removal of these objects as soon as Jack is physically able to undergo such a procedure.

This dear boy deserves a chance to enjoy the new-found happiness he is experiencing today -- not just for a short time, but, hopefully for weeks, months, and even years to come. Though he’s been through so much, his foster mom reports that he’s a “glass half full kind of boy” who exudes a joyful personality and loves receiving cuddles.

With your support and ESRA’s continued commitment to his care, it is our mission to help Jack realize a much happier, healthier, and pain-free life. We look forward to sharing updates with you on Jack as he progresses toward the new adventures that await him, and we are extremely grateful for your contributions to his care and your prayers and well-wishes for his continued recovery.

UPDATE 3/25/19:

While Jack has certainly found some well-deserved happiness, his medical issues continue to be somewhat challenging. Jack has recovered from pneumonia and is beginning to look and feel so much better, but we must still address the foreign bodies within his stomach.

With the help of a very capable veterinary practice -- Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center in Largo, Fla. -- a plan has been put in place. Jack will be going to their facility on Wednesday, April 3, to prepare for their removal. First, he must undergo a cardiac evaluation to ensure that any suspected heart issues will not prevent him from safely being anesthetized. His procedure will involve a minimally invasive endoscopy through his throat, directly into his stomach, for retrieval of the two bottle caps. Recent X-rays reveal that he has most likely already passed the metal pull-tab -- good news as long as no intestinal damage was done through the exit process. Secondly, another series of X-rays are needed to confirm that his pneumonia is completely resolved. If all goes well, he will most likely have the procedure the following day, and a one- or two-day stay will be necessary so that his recovery can be monitored and to make sure he is not sent home prematurely.

Of course, while all of this sounds pretty simple, there is always a chance that the caps cannot be retrieved through this type of procedure. In that case, a more serious and invasive abdominal exploratory surgery would be needed. Given Jack’s age and less than optimal health, this could be a very complicated process. We are hoping that will not be the case, and continue to solicit your prayers and well wishes for Jack.

The outpouring of concern and generous donations for Jack and his ongoing care has touched us all, and we are extremely grateful for your kindness and support. Please continue to watch this page for further updates after his procedure has occurred. We look forward to giving you some good news for this sweet boy in the near future.


What a week it has been! It started with the rescheduling of Jack’s endoscopy. Due to staffing constraints, Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists had to postpone the procedure by a week. Jack, apparently, had other plans, as you will read below.

Both bottle caps passed naturally!

Early Wednesday morning Jack passed one of the bottle caps in a very loose stool. He was taken to Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Ft. Myers to make sure that he was okay and to see the whereabouts of the second bottle cap. X-rays showed that the remaining bottle cap was already into his colon and within a few inches of also passing. Medication was given to prevent potential infection, coupled with fluids to keep him hydrated. After the ride home, Jack exited the vehicle and decided that he wanted to rid himself of that additional bottle cap. He passed this one as well, and it seemed to pass freely, with no adverse effects.

We are thrilled for Jack that he no longer needs the endoscopy procedure and are even more pleased to report that X-rays also revealed that he has completely recovered from pneumonia. What fantastic news for this sweet and special Springer!

Many thanks to Jack’s followers and supporters for your continued prayers, well wishes, and financial contributions. We will continue to monitor his progress and hope, in the weeks to come, to find him a loving Forever Family who will be as committed to his care as his ESRA family has been.

UPDATE 4/22/19:

As the story of Jack continues, his sweetness and determination are constant reminders of ESRA's rescue mission -- to love and care for those who may have found themselves in need of a little extra help.

Jack’s transformation continues. While he has added a few much-needed pounds and has begun to develop a fuller and silkier coat, the neglect that he experienced prior to coming into our care continues to plague him in the form of painful joints and an ear infection that keeps returning in spite of various treatment options.

Though Jack sometimes shows his senior status due to age-related aches and pains, his spirit remains young at heart. He’s a cuddler and seeks out attention. He woos his foster sister -- a much younger girl -- with flirtatious behavior. He can be found turning on the charm at any time of day. His happiness is evident despite a neglectful past.

It is time for Jack to find a special family to call his own. His departure from foster care is going to be very difficult on his current caregivers, but they want for him nothing but the very best and are determined to see him to that end.

Could Jack’s future involve you? If you’d like to offer Jack continuous love and the best of care, we are certain that he would not only be grateful, but also the love he would impart on your life could be life-changing to you as well as this dear boy.

We appreciate everyone’s love and concern for this precious soul. Without his generous supporters, the possibilities for Jack’s future would not be so bright.

UPDATE 6/13/19:

Jack has finally begun to thrive in foster care – getting to a healthy weight, becoming more mobile through proper prescription medications and supplements, sporting a beautifully soft and silky coat, and learning to really enjoy toys. But just when we thought his troubles were over, a mass was discovered at the site of his left anal gland.

At the recommendation of the state coordinator, his foster family immediately took Jack to their local veterinarian. Upon physical examination, Jack’s veterinarian reported that the mass was potentially cancerous. Within two days, Jack was seen at nearby Blue Pearl Veterinary Practice specialty hospital, where he underwent a complete CT scan to determine the size of the mass, its position relative to his sphincter muscles, the potential for metastasis to other organs and lymph nodes, and to aid in an overall diagnosis and treatment plan.

Luckily for this sweet senior, the three- to four-centimeter mass appears to be contained (with the exception of one neighboring lymph node) and shows clear margins. Surgical removal and the proper treatment protocol should minimize the risk for further complications or a life-threatening prognosis. ESRA quickly scheduled his surgery in an effort to help Jack to realize many more good days as he has experienced in recent weeks.

While this news has certainly come as a shock to Jack’s many supporters, there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. A family would like to formally adopt both Jack and the female Springer, Ginger, who came into ESRA’s care with him. We couldn’t be happier for this pair but also want to ensure that this wonderful family will be adopting them in a healthy state, or at least to the best of our (and attending specialists) ability. ESRA’s commitment to its Springers does not stop after a dog is brought into foster care, but continues throughout their foster status and until their adoptions are finalized.

The cost of Jack’s care, to date, has been monumental. In order to ensure that he has a promising future, we must do all we can to help him, even though his medical needs (and expenses) are far from over. With your continued financial support, prayers, and positive thoughts being sent to Jack, we intend to do just that.

ESRA Special Needs dog Jack heads home post-surgery

Heading home after his surgery

UPDATE 6/17/19:

Here’s the good news we’ve all been waiting for -- Jack is recovering from surgery which occurred Monday afternoon and is doing very well! His surgeon consulted with his caregivers, re-evaluated Jack’s earlier CT scan, and determined that his lymph nodes may not have been affected at all. So, it was decided, in Jack’s best interest, to forgo the removal of the lymph node and focus on the tumor only.

After its removal, Jack’s incredible surgeon, Dr. Jason Eisele, reported that the adenocarcinoma tumor had stayed encapsulated within the anal sac, which is fantastic news! He usually sees such tumors “spidering out” after breaking through the sac, and that was not the case with Jack. Our boy also did amazingly well through the anesthesia process, something that can always be a concern for dogs in their senior years.

Jack’s prognosis for a complete recovery is good, and his surgeon also reports that his sphincter muscles should be fine after healing. He will be monitored closely by his foster family and then his Forever Family. If, his lymph nodes appear to be affected down the road, his adopters will address treatment options to keep this cancer at bay while keeping Jack happy and comfortable.

The outpouring of support for this sweet boy has touched us all. We couldn’t be happier to be able to share such positive news, and we extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has been in Jack’s corner throughout his battle to overcome this latest medical challenge. It has been our goal to “bring Jack home” and the success with today’s surgery has brought him one day closer to that special day. .

The cost of Jack’s care, to date, has been monumental. In order to ensure that he has a promising future, we must do all we can to help him, even though his medical needs (and expenses) are far from over. With your continued financial support, prayers, and positive thoughts being sent to Jack, we intend to do just that.