Recently one of our community members asked me what we knew about Barli’s history…and the answer is not too much! We adopted him on March 13 and gathered all the info we could while we were at the shelter, although much of Barli’s past is a mystery!
Barli was found in December as a stray. The shelter got a call from animal control that a puppy had been found; they went and looked for littermates but none were to be located. Even then, Barli was as cute as could be and it’s easy to see why they named him Baby Bear:
He’d been found covered with fleas:
Barli then went in for his first round of puppy shots. The following week, he went back to the vet for neutering. While he was there, a transport of puppies and dogs from Hurricane Harvey areas entered the clinic. The puppies were grouped together, including Barli. Little Barli became great friends with one of the puppies and, when they returned to the shelter, they were housed together to await their forever home.
Sadly, though, the other puppy soon fell ill and succumbed to distemper. Barli was tested for distemper and tested positive but never showed any symptoms, not even the earliest signs of distemper, which begins much like a cold.
Barli was held until he no longer tested positive for distemper–so his shelter stay became a three-month one.
Distemper is often fatal in rescue dogs and puppies, not only because of the ravages of the disease as it progresses to neurological impacts but because shelters are often not equipped to quarantine sick animals and must resort to euthanasia to stop the spread among the population. Fortunately Barli was in a private shelter that had the resources to quarantine while they waited and watched.
He was also fortunate because he’d had that first round of puppy shots before he was exposed to the ill puppy, an immunization that probably saved his life. In fact, when we took Barli in to talk with our veterinarian, he said Barli most likely tested positive for distemper, not because he had the illness, but because of the recent immunization.
As for breeds, the shelter guessed that Barli was a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix. Next month, we’re going to review the Embark DNA kit to learn more about Barli’s heritage both in terms of breeds but also genetic and health trait tests. I’m especially interested the test for the MDR1 genetic mutation, often seen in both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, which can create sensitivity to some heartworm preventatives and other drugs. It will be great to get those results and put some more pieces of Barli’s puzzle together!
Although some parts of Barli’s backstory will forever remain a mystery, one thing’s for certain: he is one happy little fellow! Barli loves his big sister Tiki (so much so that he refused to walk without her last week when she was feeling a little arthritic), loves playing in his creek, and has settled into his home so quickly it’s hard to believe he wasn’t born in this house!