Hungry and in pain from a rare skin disease, the Alaskan malamute’s future looked bleak until he found a new life with a partner from Adelaide.
Sad, withdrawn and her body covered in painful lesions as a result of a rare skin infection, Sweetheart’s future looked bleak.
After months of intensive care by the RSPCA, life took a positive turn for the Alaskan malamute when he was adopted by funeral celebrant and end-of-life companion Michelle Jewels-Parson and her husband Rick Parson.
“We saw Sweetheart’s profile on the website but there was no picture and it said she was a special needs dog who had some ongoing medical issues,” he said.
“We organized a moment to go see her and we knew that she was much more than the dog we saw that day.”
Mrs. Jewels-Parson says that Sweetheart had a special connection with a person who was dying and hopes that she will become a therapy dog to comfort and support others. .
“We brought Sweetheart (into a home) and it was the most beautiful thing to see this dog so connected to my client,” the 51-year-old said.
“She noticed when my client was crying and upset and went right up to her and kissed her.
“Sweetheart has been on every visit since then and is now undergoing formal training as a therapy dog so we can volunteer our time together in hospice settings.”
Mrs. Jewels-Parson said that Sweetheart was a dog saved by a community of people.
“The RSPCA has gone to great lengths to contact our vet with his previous conditions,” he said.
“They gave us a lot of paperwork and evaluations so we knew exactly what we were getting into.
“What we didn’t realize at the time is all that care that is given to dogs that come in with special needs or that are really neglected, it’s all covered by donations.
RSPCA veterinarian Dr Brooke Hasler said Sweetheart’s serious condition caused ulceration across the surface of her skin, which is likely a rare diagnosis called erythematosus multiforme.
“The medication, love and patience made her beautiful caring nature begin to shine through her pain and sadness.
“(It) made it difficult for her to walk, lie down or be touched,” Hasler said, adding that she never complained.
Originally posted as Sweetheart’s transformation after being saved by the community