It was a rainy day when I headed out, and, the neighborhood was proportionately dreary with its industrial lots and trash soaked back alleys, not far from the docks in Long Beach. As with a previous blog post, this started with Facebook and Debbie Park Bobshosky (an independent rescuer, and soon to be amazing friend), reaching out to help a dog in need. Amidst fostering Paisley with 4LifeRescue (her blog post will be later), I was watching Debbie’s post about a senior street dog, who had been injured. This dog had been limping and dragging her leg for weeks, and her homeless owner/friend reached out for help. So, Debbie was there, working her magic, getting involved, changing lives in her modest and quiet way.
Below is the first public photo of Lova, the senior street dog.
Debbie’s original post:
4/5/2016: WILMINGTON, CA (LA COUNTY): This is Lova and She is approximately 10 years old, between 30-40 pounds, and 2 weeks ago she endured a very painful and damaging injury to her shoulder/and/or leg (unknown as to what happened to her). I am being told she has been dragging her leg since then, just started eating again last week, and appears to be in a lot of pain.
Her owner Jose is homeless and lives in the side/tarp areal of an auto body shop. He found Lova as a very scared and skinny stray about a year ago, and it took Lova a very long time to trust Jose, but eventually she did, and now she sleeps near him. Jose loves his baby girl and would like to keep her, but can’t get her medical care ASAP. Also, Jose has expressed that he is willing to relinquish her to a good foster/rescue so they can get her the medical care she needs and give her a better life. If you can help, please donate and share. Rescue and foster help is also needed.
4/6/17: I NEED TO CLARIFY SO THERE IS NO CONFUSION: Jose is willing to relinquish Lova if that is the best way to keep her safe. We are not calling A/C because she would lilely be euthanized due to her age and her severe medical injuries as well as potentially being labelled “aggressive” for being so scared if captured and kennelled and taken to the shelter. PLEASE HELP ME SHARE LOVA TO GET HER MEDICAL ATTENTION ASAP AND EITHER returned to her owner OR relinquished to a good rescue. Thank you so much.
I wasn’t sure what I could do, but I offered my help, and, was asked if I could bring Lova to the vet. I knew Debbie didn’t have the money yet, or rescue backing, but she would not leave Lova in her painful situation. This is how Debbie is, and, why I always help her if I can.
When I arrived I was barely able to drive my car through the cluttered and pot hole ridden alley. I parked and Jose found me. Lova was nearby, sleeping underneath a broken down car, a purple studded collar stood out on her dirty, wet, and matted fur. Lova was calm, but aware enough to look at me with wary.
In case Lova was to be returned, I was advised to see her living and safety conditions. Jose showed me where they lived, and, I know he was embarrassed because he was hesitant and apologetic. I extended warmness, this man deserved it. The situation was that Jose’s friends who owned the auto shop let him live in the back area. It was a like a shed, but with less protection, tarps and metal pieces for a “roof”. There were many cats and lots of things piled high.
I spoke with Jose, who was so kind, and I asked “what do you want for Lova? “The best life she can have” he said….”She’s not safe out here….Would it be you taking her?” “No” was the reply I regretted having to say, “I already have a foster. But, we will find a good foster and/or adoptive home, you have my word”. A promise that is not smart to make when fosters and adopters are lacking, especially for senior and medical dogs. But I had a feeling, no matter what, I would keep this promise. Jose went on to say that when Lova passes, he would love to have her ashes, for her to be with him forever. I held back my tears, yes, I will also do my best to bring her back to you, when she passes.
Jose helped me get Lova into the car. At this point she had allowed me to pet her. He kissed her “goodby” and told her with parental strictness “you need to be good Lova”. I was thinking, look at her, of course she will be good….she is old and injured! Little did I know, Lova had sas. “One more thing” Jose said, “before you leave can I tell you how to say her name? It is “Low ba or Low va” or “Low vita”. There is much meaning in her name, I’d like her to keep it, and she knows it well.
Lova displayed little emotion once we pulled away from her papa, who moments ago was crying into her fur. She was stoic in my car. A soaked dirty statue looking forward through the windshield from the back seat. Self control and poised, this dog is a survivor I thought, there is something very special about her.
The drive to the veterinarian was easy. She wasn’t trying to climb into the front seat, or, like some dogs, onto my lap while I drove. If it weren’t for the strong smell of wet dog and dirty dog, I wouldn’t have known she was there.
Before the vet, we stopped at McDonalds. I wanted Lova to have a treat of hamburger and fries. Lova did crack her statue like dignity and sniffed into the bag. She ate cautiously, inspecting each piece before accepting it. Lova didn’t want the bun. I’m not starving, she seemed to be communicating, I’m not a charity case, I can make decisions, I have been loved. I knew Jose made sure Lova ate before he did. And, her behaviors echoed this back.
We arrived at the vet. I carried Lova in. Though neither of us knew, our path together was set in motion.
4/7/2016- UPDATE ON LOVA: Erin graciously offered to transport Lova this evening last minute as I learned my contact could no longer bear witnessing Lova suffering so much for any longer. We decided to help with the hope that we will eventually get the donations we need to help her. As of tonite, Lova was examined, x-rayed, and being boarded and Hungtington Beach Pet Vet. What we know is that she has two fractures that are over two weeks old and BB pellets in her leg. We also have learned that this senior is incredibly sweet and deserves the best.
4/10/2016: UPDATE: Lova has been taken to the vet, on 4/7/2016, and surgery is needed to repair 2 fractures in her front leg and to also remove BB gun pellets. She will also need dental treatments and cysts on her back have been found. (Per Jose and his love for Lova) Lova will not be returning to homelessness and to him. Jose wants her to be kept safe from harms way in the future. DONATIONS ARE GREATLY NEEDED SO PLEASE DONATE AND/OR SHARE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
After taking Lova to the veterinarian where she would be treated and boarded thanks to the donations Debbie was raising, I began visiting every day. I would bring my yoga mat and a dog brush and treats. She was picky and only liked one type of treats (the fancy organic freeze dried ones). On those days, as I brushed her I was taking in more than her mental and emotional status, I could feel things under her thick coat of fur. What are these bumps on Lova’s bottom? Are they giant skin tags, or, tics, warts? Why does she have black skin and very little fur on her bum? What is going on with her teeth which were swirled looking with exposed nerves. And most urgent, what happened to her leg? On her X-ray I was told they saw many bb pellets, but these didn’t explain her fractures.
At night I would lay in bed and think about Lova and her history. Who first picked her as a puppy? Who had her spayed? Did someone raise her and maybe even name her? Then what happened? How, did she end up on the streets? How long was she on the streets? How was she there at such an advanced age, running with fear from everyone but Jose? How was this sweet girl victimized by “kids” who shot her and were said to have beaten her with a tireiron? My heart sunk even deeper for her in those dark hours.
As the time of surgery came closer, I was anxious for Lova. When they went in to fix her leg, the results indicated there were two fractures and there was excessive calcification and lots of damage to her muscle tissue. As much calcification as possible was removed without causing more damage to her muscle tissue. The fracture was not able to be lined up straight and two pins with an X formation were placed to ensure stability. Lova would need physical therapy and pin removal in six weeks. When under anesthesia she had the mass/and warts/growths removed from her back. Most were filled with blood, and drained and stitched up. Lova’s dental needs required fillings and a deep cleaning. After 2-3 months recovery, Lova was to be able to walk without pain, but she would always have a limp. No pain, this was our biggest hope for her. Debbie and I were already grateful.
So I continued to visit and added carrying her outside for some sunshine, a little freedom for this street roamer was better than nothing.
While all this was happening, Debbie visited Lova and was fundraising like crazy for her. People everywhere came together to financially pull Lova through. Friends and family, rescue buddies, and rescue people we didn’t know yet, and others on Facebook donated for Lova’s care. Many offered to help her owner Jose, and aid was offered to him also. There were so many shares, prayers, and much love coming in. After knowing how people harmed Lova, it was redeeming to see how hundreds of others loved her.
I learn from each dog, however, this one, in particular, seemed to have something unique to teach. And, with no words to do so with, I watched Lova closely. Her wise eyes, her spinx like pose, her stare underneath her white eye lashes. Lova was communicating with me each time I saw her. One thing with Lova that I learned was the absence of expectations. The absence of Lova needing to be anything other than herself, or recover at a pace any different than her own. We started so low, I had no idea how high we could get. So, it was completely okay that she wasn’t too impressed by the hours I spent next to her, and, that I shuffled in day after day with my yoga mat, brush, water bowl, and treats. She knew more than me. She was wiser, she survived unimaginable circumstances for more than a decade, including betrayals from many humans. My presence was only another factor in her life, not salvation for either of us, at least not yet.
At the vet, it was evident that Lova was not handling being kenneled very well. Understandably as she used to have complete freedom. The staff often said they would look in her kennel just to “be sure that she was alive”. So, as soon as my foster, Paisley, was adopted, I brought Lova to my home to foster her. Honestly, I hadn’t thought through the logistics, thankfully she knew how to be in a busy home with dogs of different personalities.
The first day in our home, I carried Lova out front to go potty (without a leash), thinking there was no way she could go anywhere fast. Then to my chagrin, Lova took off down the street with conviction, hugely limping, but zipping away with determination. So, there I was chasing a dog hobbling away from me with a giant cone and a funny shaved lion looking hairdo. I felt like such a fool! This wouldn’t be the first time I underestimated Lovita.
In our home, Lova had to be separated while healing. She needed to mostly rest. Lova wasn’t a fan of this, but it beat being kenneled. She was restless at first so I opened the blinds, giving her a front row view of the happenings of our Huntington Beach neighborhood. Knowing what was outside seemed to give her some peace.
Soon Lova settled in quite a bit more….her healing- mind, body and soul- was beginning. And, it was beautiful to watch.
I think I gave in to her sooner than I should have, setting her free from her enclosed island near the windows. I let her integrate as the pack respected her calm energy. And, I thought she could be in the home and yard without being too active, however, she proved to me that she was no bump on a log. Lova moved around with the other dogs and insisted on a spot on the couch, air snapping when Saige would rub her muzzle along the area where Lova was laying. Lova made it clear from moment one, that she was a couch dog. Lovita was fitting in just fine without being a pushover. This spunky senior was persistent in getting her way, but fair, making friends with the other dogs, causing zero drama. Love allowed the senior little Boston Terrier in the home to remain the alpha.
One day it happened, she walked towards me using her front leg, which the biggest expression of “look at me!” in her eyes. It’s hard to explain the joy of seeing her walk for the first time since her injury, I am so lucky I have a video of it (I wish I could share it on this blog post). I teared up as Love headed straight into my arms, such pride in her her eyes, her gummy smile wide.
But unfortunately a set back came, a pin was accidentally left in (after the others were removed) and the bumps on her bum needed some work and even a biopsy….steps forward, steps back, but steps nonetheless. And, the biopsy was clear ❤
While having Lova we were asked to help out a tiny puppy, Maximus, another survivor of the docks in Long Beach. Max was found drowning in-between boats in the bay. A tiny puppy with a ton of fear who would scram and scramble away so fast. Skittish, that’s the best word for him early on. He wanted nothing to do with any of us! Well, funny thing about a pack, they surprise you. They called Max in and provided him structure and comfort, and, they all fell in love with lil Max, even Lovita. Max came out of he shell of fear, and transformed into the neatest puppy. He was quickly adopted by a wonderful young lady.
By the end of May, Lova was pack walking, chasing squirrels with Saige and helped Saige feel better during pre 4th of July fireworks by sitting close to her when she was trembling.
With her guardian angel and favorite Auntie Debbie, Lova had her first beach day. Saige was there too with her (we lost Saige recently to Lymphoma-she is how I began this blog, these photos mean the world to me). What a memorable day…..smiles captured forever.
Lova became beautiful to not just Jose, my pack, Debbie and I, but to the world. Debbie entered Lova into a “beauty contest” the below photo was of her, and Lova took 4th place so she won a spot in Bodacious Babes 2017. The quote I chose for her was “Lovita must be Irish because her eyes are always smiling”. I had we no idea what breed Lova was, from looking on the internet we thought Carolina dog? But she’s my family, so she is Irish also.
The write up for Lova’s calendar entry: “Lova, our beautiful Carolina dog, came from the streets and quickly settled into her new home. This girl has whispy white eyelashes and a love for getting up early to visit with the squirrels. Lova is sweet, independent, and grateful as she leans gently towards her mommy for a kiss to say “thank you” before she eats her meals. Lova embodies all the wonderful reasons to adopt a senior and a street dog and her family cannot imagine life without her.”
So as it often happens, life sent me in a different direction. While I was losing one family and home, I was keeping another family together. And, now, there was a need for a new home for us and a new pack leader for my crew. Guess who stepped up? Lova. And, her first executive decision? Welcoming in a giant mama pit bull, TurtleDove, as our foster dog. What a great decision Lova!
Here is the pack Lova helped create….
In late July 2016, I officially adopted Lova. Here is our adoption picture….
In August of 2016, we took Lova to visit Jose. Debbie, my cousin Colleen, and myself went to Long Beach. Debbie brought Jose a photo album of Lova’s pictures and picked him up and drove him to a park where we could meet and talk. Jose told us the story of her name, of “Lova” being a historical wolf who saved a family and a village. He told of an ancestral history for Lova and I thought, how neat would it be to get her DNA history run? Jose would like it, I tucked the idea into my back pocket. This, I thought, was something I will do. We will return to Jose again and Lova will have her story to tell him.
Lova loves life, she loves adventures, hiking being her favorite along with going to Starbucks for pupa chino’s and the park. I notice on our walks that her joy is immense and she cant get enough. The days when she doesnt get a walk, she follows me around the home (hounding me) all day, waiting for me to grab my fanny pack. These outings seem to fulfill her wanderlust.
I was able to get ancestry done for our wise wolf, Lova. These are the results, I must admit, I love them! I see these breeds in Lova, however, I never thought of a few before having this run. Here is ancestry for this sweet senior who came to us with little known about her.
I could have guessed German Shepherd Dog and even Labrador, but how had I not thought of the stubborn, stoic, and thickly furred Chow Chow? Or, the bull headed Bull Terrier? And our Lova is part American Staff Terrier, like TurtleDove? Very cool! I cannot wait to take these results to Jose next time we see him.
So this is the story of a street dog who after being alone for so long, was found and loved by a homeless man, “seen” and taken on by Debbie and others who helped pay for her medical care, and finally finding her forever family and pack. Lova is a tapistry, whose healing was weaved by so many who love her.
We love Lova so much. I tell her story because I dream of this for every street dog, for every senior dog, and, well, just basically for every dog.
This is my favorite photo….doesnt she look heaven sent? Glorious! Lova, the beautiful female wolf.