Special Needs Dog Graduate 2014

ESRA 2014-32 TX

Did you follow the compelling Special Needs story of Clayton in 2014? His dire touch-and-go medical troubles, ongoing for months, captivated the hearts of thousands of ESRA friends worldwide and inspired the foundation of the Clayton Nation Facebook Community. He became a celebrated ambassador across the country for ESRA's Special Needs Springers. He thrived, thanks to this program and supporters.

Clayton was adopted and now had a forever home in addition to his fan club.

Clayton's Story

In early 2014, ESRA was notified about a handsome three- or four-year-old liver/white English Springer Spaniel languishing in a small, rural West Texas shelter. He was weak, lethargic, and just barely hanging onto life. While he was in the shelter, a rescue angel checked on him every day and reached out to ESRA-Dallas for help. Once the dog was released, he was whisked to a 24-hour emergency facility. Seriously underweight, he was dehydrated, emaciated, and unable to stand on his own. Simply holding his head up was impossible for this critically ill boy. He was literally dying of starvation. Although the vet felt he had no chance of survival and recommended euthanasia, ESRA refused to give up and arranged for him to be delivered to a specialty and critical-care animal clinic where Dr. Lisa Thompson, the chief veterinarian, had a reputation for performing miracles with critical care patients. Her expertise was this dog’s only hope. Our irresistible boy was named Clayton after his rescue angel in West Texas.

Caring for Clayton was going to be extremely expensive, so his story was publicized through the ESRA website and on social media. Tens of thousands of dollars were quickly raised so that important tests could be run and various procedures could be tried in order to save Clayton’s life. His digestive system was fragile and damaged, so a feeding tube was inserted through his nose. A blood transfusion was also necessary.

It appeared for a while that Clayton’s condition was turning around. However, he continued to suffer setbacks as his body wasn’t able to produce the proteins he required. He also developed pneumonia. More transfusions were given, and risky but necessary surgery was performed twice. Clayton spent three weeks in the critical care unit before his body started to absorb nutrients. Clayton was sent to his foster home with a spreadsheet listing more than 25 medications, each to be administered at different times of the day. His foster family spent eight hours daily meeting all of his medical and nutritional needs. Throughout this time, monetary donations and gifts of treats and toys poured in for this brave boy.

Clayton rallied for a while, but his condition then deteriorated once again. After much research, Dr. Thompson suggested a fecal transplant. Although this was an experimental approach, she had found positive outcomes. Clayton’s Springer foster brother was chosen as the donor and the procedure was performed. After nearly a week of anxious waiting, Clayton turned the corner. He was going to live!

Over the next several months in foster care, Clayton very gradually regained his health. Eventually, that starving 32-pound boy transformed into the strong and healthy 55-pound dog we celebrated! He was adopted by a loving family, and he lived for the rest of his life on a beautiful farm in Kentucky with his Springer brothers, a cocker brother, and horses.

Clayton became a symbol of perseverance and hope throughout ESRA.

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