Watching this dog, it's hard to believe she was moments from death just three weeks ago.
River is a beautiful one year old dog, who is part Australian Shepherd and part Akbash. She belonged to a very loving family but she developed severe health problems a few days before Christmas.
River's owners took her to an emergency veterinary clinic and received some tough news. The cost of diagnosis and treatment was going to be overwhelming, and the care she would need for her illness would be impossible for them to manage.
It seemed River had Addisonian disease, a hormonal imbalance with serious and complicated symptoms. Grief stricken, they believed that their only option was to end River's suffering and have her euthanised.
They were struggling with the thought of explaining this to their children who were in love with this wonderful animal. Even their other dog was very attached and would be devastated.
River lay helplessly on a blanket on the floor, too weak to move, yet still able to lick their hands and wag her tail slightly. As River was seconds from death and the couple said their tearful goodbyes, Serena, a veterinary assistant at the emergency hospital realised that she had also fallen in love with this gentle dog. When River's final moment came, Serena asked her owners if they would consider a last resort that could spare River. They were eager to hear Serena's plan.
It so happens that Serena is a university student, pursuing a career as a veterinarian. Her mother is also a veterinarian who owns a clinic nearby. Serena's family is no stranger to Addisonian's disease as they had a dog with this condition a few years ago. Together, their experience and access to treatment could provide River with the ideal home and a good chance at successful management of her illness.
Serena called her parents and asked if she could bring the dog home. It would take all of them together, along with considerable expense, to properly care for her. Her emotional phone call and obvious love for this little dog were obvious and her parents agreed to come to the clinic to see what could be done. River's beautiful personality was obvious and the decision was not difficult. With very mixed emotions, River's owners gave her to Serena, knowing that this would be the second chance at life that she deserved.
Serena and River have become inseparable. This video shows River at her first puppy class, where she met the other students, all golden retrievers. River is a very friendly dog and she quickly discovered how much fun can be had in a room full of playful puppies.
River is feeling much better now as she receives the care and medication needed to treat her illness. It is heart warming to see that this dog who was seconds away from death can be so full of love and joy!