Layla’s tri-pawd transformation
Like many of the dogs and cats we take into our care, we can only guess what Layla’s life was like before the Richmond SPCA. Unfortunately, she bears sad clues of the mistreatment she had suffered, but those days are behind her thanks to the love and care she has received since arriving here in January.
Sweet Virginia Barn Cats is a private rescue organization we regularly partner with to save the lives of dogs as well as cats in rural Southwest Virginia shelters. They pulled Layla from a municipal shelter in Clarksville last month. The 5-year-old dog was severely underweight and not bearing weight on her left front leg. While they worked to keep her comfortable and help her put on weight, they lacked the resources to treat her injuries and reached out to the Richmond SPCA about transferring her to deliver more intensive medical care.
When Layla arrived at our humane center on January 25, we discovered she was also heartworm positive. Fortunately we have received a generous Healing Heartworm grant from BISSELL Pet Foundation, and the next day Dr. David Molinas began Layla’s heartworm treatment while also spaying her and performing a dental cleaning with extractions. While she was under anesthesia, he also took radiographs on her injured front leg.
Dr. Molinas looked at the X-rays with shock that the sweet dog before him had been shot. Her radiographs showed a multitude of small pellets, that were most likely birdshot. He knew that to relieve Layla’s pain, he would have to amputate her front left leg, but she was too frail to have that surgery right away. First she had to put on weight to be strong enough for that operation.
On January 31 we sent Layla into foster care to recover from her spay and heartworm treatment and prepare for her next procedure. Sara Sewell is our go-to foster for orthopedic cases like Layla. She opens her heart to the most broken dogs and loves them back to health.
“Layla is a warrior,” Sara said. “She is strong. She has a calm, inquisitive demeanor that suggests she has been through so much in her life.”
After two weeks with Sara, Layla returned on February 8 for Dr. Molinas to take her back to surgery. After her surgery she is quickly learning to navigate the world on three paws. It’s clear when spending time with Layla that her entire outlook has shifted. She trusts the people around her to care for her, and if there’s any memory of the human who once treated her so cruelly, it’s far behind her.
Update: Layla was adopted on February 19, 2022.
Tabitha Treloar joined the Richmond SPCA in 2005 as an admissions counselor and has been our director of communications since 2010. She and her husband live in Richmond with four Richmond SPCA alumni – two cats and two dogs.