Tanner: The Wheaten Who Stole My Heart


Sadly we can’t save them all, Tanner was one of the lucky ones.

Rescues; everyone likes to hear about the tragic story with the happy ending.They do occur don’t get me wrong, however the frequency is not as often as you think.

Why you may ask? Well to take on a rescue you must have some very key elements in place:

·      The hospital’s financial support

·      Support from the entire veterinary team

·      Individual emotional strength

·      Realistic approach to the final outcome(s)


Meet Tanner, the second rescue for North Town Veterinary Hospital. He came to use mid-February with a severe tail infection.

I remember the day I received the call from the team: “Jodi we have this case in hospital, the owners would like to surrender the case over to us for ongoing treatment and to find him a forever home as they are no longer capable to continue his care at this time otherwise we will need to humanely euthanize him as he is in a great deal of pain and is suffering.

“Do you think we could use the Oscar fund to save him??”  The Oscar fund is our charitable organization here at North Town that is designed to assist pets in need. (Offering Subsidized Care for Animal Rescue)

I needed further details before deciding if this was a suitable case to take on as a rescue. I inquired the necessary details on this patient from the attending veterinarian. The doctor further communicated to me that the team wanted to help Tanner and not see him euthanized.

Seeing young animals euthanized is one of the most challenging aspects in our industry, it affects each and every team member on many different levels. Sadly this is a situation that many veterinarian hospitals face almost daily. I was in the positon to approve it; however, the decision to approve this rescue I knew would come with many challenges as rescues always do.

I approved this request and thought to myself “how hard it could be to get a tail infection under control…this was my first mistake”

I arrived to work Monday morning and was looking forward to meeting our new rescue. I was immediately informed from our team that his pain level was extremely high, the team could not approach Tanner’s hind end without him lunging at our team in attempts to bite them and keep them away from his tail. I met with our exceptional team of doctors and was informed that this infection was bad, really bad.

They communicated that the tail would need to be amputated and his first disc in this spinal column was in jeopardy of being removed also to prevent further spread of this infection. I went up to my office and thought to myself “I have bit off more than I can chew, this poor dog will need to be euthanized” This realization broke my heart, I again met with our team of doctors who had come up with a labour intensive treatment plan that they said “may work”.

The doctors recommended daily intense wound management treatments in the hopes that his tail could be saved.  The numerous bandages changes were a challenge certainly, we seen episodes of aggression that worried our entire team. Did we take on a rescue with not only a health issue but with behavioural issues also??

I must admit there are many bumps in the road to rescuing an animal!

After numerous bandage changes, pain and antibiotic medication administration and countless hours spent with Tanner so he could learn to trust us and understand that we were here to help him, our hard work paid off! Our team put forth 110% with all the recommendations and treatment plans laid by our doctors

Throughout this process of rehabilitation we did determine that yes he did have some behavioural issues; however, they seem to be much milder than we originally thought.

After many weeks of treatments Tanner aggression from the pain subsided, he began to trust and honestly in some ways he seemed to understand that North Town was his new home.

Once Tanner was out of the woods medically I began bringing him into my office daily to get him out of the hospital setting and have some room to stretch out and socialize. He enjoyed his daily morning retrieval from his kennel very much.  Tanner began to know and expect “our daily routine”, seeing his bum swaying side to side and seeing his newly healed tail brought joy to my heart. We did it, we saved him!

I must admit I am not the only one who would take the time to make Tanner feel special during his two month stay with us. Tanner went for a sleep over weekend at one of our team members houses, he had countless long walks with many of our team members just to get him out of the hospital setting. I would hear stories of our team members coming in on their days off just to brighten Tanner’s day and ensure he knew we were here to help him. I am so proud of our entire staff base here at North Town Veterinary Hospital, our response to Tanner is his time of need was phenomenal!!

The process of finding him his forever home did pose some challenges as he went to several residents for trial weekend periods before we finally found a suitable fit for him. We determined he is best as the only pet in the household as he does have work ahead of him regarding his behavioural issues.

I am elated to report that Tanner went to his forever home a few weeks back, he is thriving and enjoying his new lease on life!!

I returned from holidays to find this gift left for me from one of our team members. I will remain in close contact with Tanner new owners, certainly he is a case I will never forget.

Fairy tales can come true!!


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on this rescue case, if you wish to donate to our Oscar fund please do not hesitate to contact our facility at 905-451-2000 for further information.



Written by Jodi Nantais, RVT