Dec 24, 2009 4:40 PM by Andy Koen
At first glance, veterinarian Dr. Kevin Conrad says two year Camille is most definitely underweight. She's weighs a fragile 24 pounds and Dr. Conrad says dogs her size typically range from 35 - 40 pounds or more.
"Not only is she thin and emaciated, but she is also very, very stunted," Conrad said.
This is Camille's first vet visiting since she and over a 100 others dogs were rescued from a sled dog facility in Hartsel last week. On a scale of 1-9 with one being near death, and 9 being morbidly obese, Conrad gives Camille a score of 2.
But even more troubling than her weight is her lack of appetite. Unlike her kennel mates at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter, Camille has been less than eager to eat.
"She may not be accustomed to the food that she is being offered at this point in time," Conrad said. "Even though she is thin and hungry, she just may still need to acquire a taste for it."
Conrad ordered that Camille be put on a special diet of canned puppy food mixed with white rice. She needs the extra protein and nutrients the puppy food provides to overcome her condition. Additionally, the blandness of the white rice is gentler on her stomach.
"It's a matter of simply finding the food that she likes to eat and we'll put some meat on her bones," Conrad said.
Other than her weight however, Conrad says Camille is a healthy pup, a relieving diagnosis shelter director Mary Steinbeiser.
"She doesn't to eat so she doesn't really even want to take treats," Steinbeiser said. "When have you ever seen a dog not want to eat a hotdog?"
Dr. Conrad expects Camille to regain her appetite and her weight in another 2 to 4 weeks. Her next hurdle will be getting accustomed to being cared for by humans.
"She's been a creature at the end of a chain for her whole life so far," Steinbeiser explains. "Now she needs to learn how to be a dog."
Camille will be taken on several walks, and be given lots of time interacting with volunteers in her kennel. Since she will eventually be adopted her out to a good home, the shelter will need to get Camille acclimated to everyday noises she's never heard before like a telephone, a door bell or even the sound of a car pulling up in the driveway.
"It's just going to be a process of slow exposure to a lot of stuff that we all take for granted," Steinbeiser said.
She's confident that, given the right amount of love, Camille will find a good home. Her former owners, Sam and Diane Walker are facing multiple animal cruelty charges.