There seemed little hope for Buddy, a mixed breed pit bull with special needs.
The dog was blind, had heartworms and bore a scar to the back of his neck that suggested horrible abuse that was the likely cause of his blindness. The odds were stacked against him.
“The shelter is in no means an ideal situation for this guy,” said Jena Troxler, supervisor of the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter. “Loud sounds of constant barking mixed with all the smells of other animals and people in and out. By some miracle, the perfect adopter walked in the door the same day staff decided to give him a fighting chance after he passed all behavior testing.”
It was Pamela Kyzar of Lake Charles, who had earlier lived in Destrehan for nearly 13 years.
Kyzar felt this need to adopt another dog and she’d seen one on the shelter’s Facebook page. She inquired, but adoption paperwork was already in process for that dog so Kyzar went to the shelter for another one.
When she entered the shelter a little over a week ago, she was shown a dog but thought it might be too energetic for her, particularly with her dealing with a rare blood disorder that required chemotherapy.
So shelter personnel asked her how she felt about adopting a dog with special needs, which left Kyzar taken aback at first. They went to a room where they could talk and that’s when she met Buddy.
“As we were talking, I noticed he would inch his way up to me,” she said. “The longer we spoke the closer he inched to us and then he came over and just laid on my feet like, ‘I’m home.’ As we continued talking, I noticed his face getting closer and closer, and then I realized he was following the sound of my voice. When he could smell me, he gave me the sweetest kiss.”
Kyzar said she was a goner.
“Stick a fork in me, I’m done,” she said. “This is my baby. We fell in love with each other in an hour.”
It was hard for her to leave him at the shelter to get heartworm treatments, but she promised him she was coming back to get him.
“My heart melted, but I called every day,” she said. “I knew this care was high risk. I’m a nurse, and a dog lover and rescuer.”
A week later, Buddy was with Kyzar, who says he’s making an amazing transition to her home.[pullquote]“This is my baby. We fell in love with each other in an hour.” — Pamela Kyzar[/pullquote]
In that time, someone she calls “an angel” – the United Way of St. Charles – donated money to the shelter for anything needed for an animal. Troxler bought a Halo for Buddy, which helps him orient to new surroundings without hurting himself. The gift meant the world to Kyzar, who is dealing with her illness.
But she’s made time to find ways to help Buddy.
Kyzar salvaged small Christmas bells from decorations and pinned them to her shirt, which helps Buddy find her by sound.
“Their hearing and smell and taste are their eyes,” she said. “It’s really amazing what they use to compensate for them not being able to see.”
Despite Buddy’s disability, he’s already house trained and acclimated quickly to his new home without issues. He doesn’t need to be alpha dog so all is well with his new family – Charlie the Maltese mix and Joey the Shih Tzu, also rescues.
Kyzar is a strong advocate for rescue and adoption, praising these dogs for being gentle, kind and grateful for everything done for them.
“I just want people to think first about adopting a rescue because a lot of the adoptions and rescues have had horrendous starts in life,” she said. “They have been abused, starved and neglected. They have every reason in the world to be angry, bitter and aggressive, and yet they are the sweetest, most kind-hearted animals you will ever encounter. They are just amazing.”
And so is Buddy.
“He is so gentle and loving, and he is more than happy to let the alpha dog be the alpha dog. He does not push himself on anybody. He is just one of the most amazing dogs I have ever known.”
In fact, Buddy and his new owner may have been destined to meet.
Diagnosed with PTSD nearly 25 years ago, Kysar, 62, said her new fur buddy has brought peace to her own life.
“I haven’t slept this good in decades,” she said of his staying close. “I thought I was rescuing him and being his eyes, which I am, but he’s also rescuing me. I think he is giving me more than I ever dreamed possible. If I had to say which of us two are givers, I’d have to say it’s Buddy.”
From Laddy Bo to Buddy
- Buddy, a pitbull mix, arrived blind, with heartworms and a scar on his neck suggesting a wound from a heavy blunt object may have caused his blindness.
- Buddy gets a Halo that helps him acclimate to his surroundings. It was made possible with a donation from the United Way of St. Charles.
- Soon after coming to the Animal Shelter, Pam Kyzar adopts him.