In January of 2015, someone abandoned several Shiba Inus at a Florida shelter. All of the dogs were ill, but one pup, Nikko, was so severely sick that the shelter slated him for euthanasia. Thankfully, Kathy Crandell of the Shiba Inu Rescue of Florida heard about Nikko. Volunteers Amanda Chicoine, Stephanie Nieto and Judi Fidler picked up the pups from the shelter.
Steven, Nikko’s foster pawrent, was speechless when he saw the pup. This is what Nikko looked like:
He was missing large patches of fur. His skin was thick and swollen due to a severe infection that had also spread to his eyes and ears. Steven feared that Nikko would not survive the night. To keep the pup from chewing and scratching at his skin, Steven dressed the emaciated dog in baby clothes and checked on him several times throughout the night.
Weighing in at only 13 pounds, the weak Shiba could barely take 10 steps before he would collapse. In addition to the skin infection, Nikko is deaf, has a heart murmur, as well as heartworms. The worms have been very difficult to treat due to the dog’s fragile condition. It was months before veterinarians began treatment and they are using the most gentle course of medication possible. They fear anything too aggressive will kill him.
Nikko has been with Steven for 11 months and the change in him is remarkable. The dog, now weighing 23 pounds, finally has the energy to play with a toy. Steven filmed the first time that he found Nikko playing with a toy and posted it to Facebook:
I caught Nikko finally playing with his toys!
Posted by Steven Mobley on Monday, October 12, 2015
Despite his improvements, Nikko’s health isn’t perfect. He is still not heartworm free. Veterinarians do not expect that to happen until February of next year. Until then, his doctors do not recommend that he receive dental work or be neutered.
Sadly, Nikko has had several episodes where he loses mobility in his back legs. Doctors believe this is because complications from his heart murmur and heartworms disrupt his mobility when he gets overly excited.
None of these issues have hindered Nikko’s playful spirit. Steven, who is now the pup’s forever human, says:
We love Nikko very much and are absolute in our resolve to get him completely healthy. He has so much spark in him and time will only tell the level of recovery but for now he is quite happy and enjoys walks and playing.
Caring for Nikko and other rescue Shibas like him, is extremely expensive. Shiba Inu Rescue of Florida runs entirely on donations. To help dogs like Nikko, you can donate via SIRF’s website.
High paws to everyone at SIRF and to Nikko, for stealing everyone’s heart with his beautiful spirit!