SAFE AT LAST: ECE Facilitator Nancy Feldman waits with Daisy for an initial medical exam at Banfield Pet Hospital. Daisy has been to two other vets since being rescued. Photo courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital
By: Natalie Childers and Savannah Anselmo
On Aug. 14 exactly one week before schools were set to begin for the 2023-2024 school year, a young mastiff stood abandoned, malnourished and in pain from infections on the side of Highway I-27.
Nancy Feldman, an ESE Support Facilitator and consultant, was driving home when she saw the lost dog, later named Daisy, wandering the road. Without hesitation, Feldman pulled over to help save Daisy’s life.
“I never question it in my mind. If you see something, you do something,” Feldman said. “I just think that we are all here together and we are all in this together. I could never pass by someone that is in need.”
After pulling over, she led the stranded mastiff back to her car and immediately got to work. She found a water bottle in the woods by the road, used it to hydrate Daisy and then turned her lanyard into a makeshift leash.
After tending to the dog, Feldman called a friend who specializes in animal rescues and had her bring supplies. Once police arrived on the scene, they informed Feldman that the most likely course of action would be to take Daisy to animal control. In fear of Daisy facing euthanization, she decided to try to find a different outcome.
“I do not really believe in fate,” said Feldman. “But it seemed like everything fell into place. And so that is why I am thinking that this story is going to have a happy ending.”
She made several calls to veterinarians in the area and eventually contacted Banfield Pet Hospital where she spoke to Alex Gabriels, a receptionist at Banfield who agreed to temporarily foster Daisy. After arriving at Banfield, it was discovered that Daisy had a disabled microchip from the previous owners who had originally left her on the side of the road.
Blood work tests were done to find that she had a double ear infection, hookworms and tapeworms. It was additionally confirmed that she had been previously used for breeding and likely had given birth to about three litters of puppies already. Daisy’s health complications were treated, and she went to The VCA Promenade Animal Hospital the next week, where her skin was evaluated and she was given more medication.
“She was honestly one of the least fussy dogs I’d ever seen. She’d try to walk away from anything she didn’t like, but did not put up much of a fight beyond that.” Gabriels said. “It was really the puppy dog eyes you had to watch out for. She could make you feel guilty for anything.”
Daisy’s numerous health conditions have piled up a considerable amount of medical bills. Fortunately, Feldman has been generously covering the costs while Daisy recovers back to full strength. Feldman has currently paid approximately $1200 in medical fees and has recently gotten her spayed.
“It really was not even a question for me,” Feldman said. “I was in a position where I could afford to do it and it made me very happy to make her feel better.”
Alex Gabriels, a receptionist at Banfield, became attached to Daisy while caring for her at Banfield and made the decision to temporarily foster her while she healed. After a month of medications and rehabilitation, Daisy has made incredible progress and not only physically looks healthier, but also clearing her infections. She was taken to a rescue center, but was denied, so she had to stay with Gabriels for longer. Soon after, Gabriels registered Daisy into the county as adoptable which resulted in a family wanting to adopt. The family was immediately enchanted when they saw her and have provided her a safe home since.
“I look around and I see the world on fire and the things I can do about it are small, but I can decrease that suffering by just a little bit,” Gabriels said. “So if that means fostering a dog for a little bit to figure out where she can go and get her healthy, it is one less awful thing that is happening.”