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‘Little train wrecks’ on the mend

Honor Animal Rescue seeks support for needy animals.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 24, 2016
  • East County
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Wearing cat-print scrubs, Lisa Jonsson rose from her seat as soon as she heard the whimper.

Across the room, a premature chihuahua puppy rested on a heating pad inside a tote-sized animal carrier. His two-hour rest was over. It was time to eat.

Within minutes, Jonsson, a veterinary technician at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, had him securely in her hands sucking fiercely on a syringe full of puppy formula. 

He was the only pup in a litter of 10 to survive more than a week.

On Feb. 12, Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue accepted the unnamed puppy along with four others into its care. Their Ladybug, is still being nursed to health at Animal Ark in Arcadia. 

The unnamed pup lasted the longest, dying Sunday.

“It’s the hard part of rescue,” Honor’s Executive Director Dari Oglesby said. “You do the best you can. You put in all the time and energy you can and some of them just aren’t strong enough to survive. We gave them the only chance they had. It’s very sad. It’s heartbreaking actually.”

Thirteen more pups, many of which are sick with parasites, arrived for care Feb. 21.

Ladybug is expected to be transferred to Nate's Honor Animal Rescue soon.

The nonprofit took in two other dogs, Pumpkin and Cleo, earlier this month, as well. Pumpkin, a black-and-tan shepherd mix, suffered severe neck injuries after being attacked by two dogs. Cleo, a stray, had a collar so severely embedded in her neck that it nearly severed her spinal chord.

Taking in so many medically needy animals within one week is unusual because funds to care for them are limited. But, in these cases, Nate's Honor Animal Rescue couldn’t turn them away.

“That’s when you throw you hands up and say, we’ll figure something out,” Jonsson said, adding the rescue has many other needy animals under its care. “We have a lot of little train wrecks.”

Honor has an Emergency Medical Fund to assist with special medical needs, but it is continuously in need of replenishment due to the cost of veterinary care. Surgeries for animals can exceed $2,500.

“We try to help with as many special needs cases as we can,” Oglesby said. “We wish we could save them all, but we just don’t have the financial means to pull that off.”

Oglesby said Nate's Honor Animal Rescue needs puppy training pads, dog food and other donations to help cover its needs. Individuals also can donate to the organization’s Emergency Medical Fund. 

Last year, Nate's Honor Animal Rescue adopted out 1,500 dogs and cats. This year, it’s already reached 250 adoptions, up 30% compared with this time last year. 

Its monthly operating budget is about $40,000.

For information about Nate's Honor Animal Rescue or to donate, visit honoranimal




Pumpkin was attacked by two other dogs and untreated for a week.
Pumpkin was attacked by two other dogs and untreated for a week.

Pumpkin arrived at Nate's Honor Animal Rescue Feb. 9 after being attacked by two other dogs. She had been tied up outside at the time, and her owners waited a week before taking her to animal services for euthanasia. 

Her cheerful disposition and tail wagging won her time and animal services contacted Honor about taking her. 

So far, she’s had two surgeries to close her wound and she’ll need up to two more, as well as about three more months of care before properly healed. 



Cleo's collar cut through one-third of her neck, to her spinal chord. Courtesy image.
Cleo's collar cut through one-third of her neck, to her spinal chord. Courtesy image.

When someone brought 9-month-old Cleo, a stray, to Sarasota Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, her collar cut through one-third of her neck to her spinal chord, nearly decapitating her.  

Medical providers removed the collar and began treatments, including antibiotics and bandaging the wound. 

Nate's Honor Animal Rescue took her Feb. 7 and has continued her care. She’ll require medical care for about another month.





Honor employees fed the last viable pup of Ladybug. It died Sunday.
Honor employees fed the last viable pup of Ladybug. It died Sunday.

Owners brought Ladybug, a chihuahua, to the vet after she took more than 45 minutes to deliver her first puppy. She was sick and her contractions were weak. 

Her owners could not afford her care and signed her over to the vet.

Three of her 10 pups were stillborn. Six died after birth. One, who volunteers at Honor have kept unnamed until a home is secured, remains and is being syringe fed every two hours.

Ladybug remains in the care of Animal Ark, in Arcadia, until her condition is more stable, likely sometime this week.


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