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An island dog with an embedded collar gets a second chance at the Richmond SPCA

Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2018

On October 7, 2018, The Richmond SPCA transferred three dogs from Turks and Caicos into its care. These three dogs have made an incredible journey, but one dog in particular, Jazzy, has a harrowing tale of survival. His story begins with a chance meeting on a deserted beach with Richmond SPCA communications specialist Anne Goddard Rand. In today’s blog she recounts the incredible rescue of a dog who was on the brink of death.

Crystal blue waters, white sand beaches, not a human in sight…my husband and I took a morning stroll on a deserted beach that was nothing short of paradise. The solitude was a welcome departure from the festivities at the hotel, and we couldn’t have been happier than to enjoy the natural beauty that Turks and Caicos had to offer. It was by chance that my husband spotted a little black dog under a rock overlook. As dog lovers, we both let out an “Aw!” and quietly approached the pup to get a closer look. As we came within two feet of the dog (who would later be named Jazzy), the sickly stench of infection reached my nostrils and what I thought was a red collar turned out to be a gaping wound encircling his neck. Jazzy’s eyes were wide with pain and he quickly jumped up to retreat further into his misery. It broke my heart. My husband and I tried in vain to coax Jazzy to drink water or allow us to catch him, but he was too timid to allow us to come near him. I had never seen an animal in such suffering.

I am sure my husband didn’t imagine our romantic stroll to turn into one of misery. I was at a loss for what to do. Did a remote island like Turks and Caicos have animal control? Was there a vet nearby? In my heart, I knew Jazzy would likely succumb to his injuries, and I sobbed the entire walk back.

When we arrived back to our hotel, I used the limited cell service I had to look up any form of assistance. Luckily, the Turks and Caicos SPCA was the first result returned in my search. I immediately called and to my surprise I reached the Director of the Turks and Caicos SPCA (TCSPCA), Susan Behr. I frantically told her about Jazzy, and she said she would dispatch a team of volunteers to trap him.

What a relief! Not only was there a humane organization on this island, but one that had the resources to help him. Though the rescue was far from over, I was relieved to know that there were caring and compassionate individuals that were dedicated to saving the lives of animals on this island. 

WARNING: The next photo may be disturbing. 

The next morning, the volunteers successfully lured Jazzy into a cage and transported him to TCSPCA headquarters on the island of Providenciales. Upon his arrival, a vet quickly worked to anesthetize Jazzy and surgically remove the deeply embedded collar. The wound was severely infected and Jazzy’s condition was poor. Susan relayed that his daily dips in the ocean probably saved his life and prevented the infection from spreading further. Though he had been suffering for months, Jazzy was a fighter and was determined to live.

Upon his transfer to the Turks and Caicos SPCA, veterinarians worked quickly to remove the collar that was deeply embedded in Jazzy’s neck. Photos courtesy of the Turks and Caicos SPCA.

Susan continued to provide email updates on Jazzy’s condition. I asked how I could best help the TCSPCA with Jazzy’s recovery and she said that donations were most needed. Along with giving a personal donation, I queried my Facebook network and started a fundraiser for Jazzy’s medical costs. After receiving donations from many of my compassionate friends, I received another offer to assist in Jazzy’s recovery; the offer to bring Jazzy to the Richmond SPCA. After reading about Jazzy’s plight, Richmond SPCA CEO Robin Starr graciously offered to transfer Jazzy into the care of the Richmond SPCA. I was overjoyed!

Captain, Jazzy and Mate receiving medical examinations upon their arrival to the Richmond SPCA.

The TCSPCA worked with an American organization, Island Dog Rescue, to transport Jazzy and two other “potcake” dogs, who we named Captain and Mate into our care on Sunday, October 7. During their stay here, all three dogs have received an array of medical care including heartworm treatment. The dogs have also worked with our volunteers to build confidence in their new surroundings. One of the lucky pups, Captain, has already found a loving home, but nothing would make me happier than to find Jazzy—a dog who was lost in paradise—a true paradise in a loving home.

If you are interested in adopting Jazzy or Mate, please call our adoption desk at 804-521-1307. Jazzy’s adoption fee will be paid by Anne Goddard Rand. Mate is not yet available for adoption as he continues treatment for tick-borne diseases. You can assist with medical costs for homeless pets like Mate with the purchase of Fur Ball raffle tickets at www.richmondspca.org/raffle.

Editor’s note: All three dogs have now found loving, lasting homes.

Anne Goddard Rand and Tophe (dog)

Anne Goddard Rand is the communications specialist at the Richmond SPCA. Prior to working for the Richmond SPCA, she worked in the wildlife conservation field with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the National Wildlife Federation.

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