Beagle needs operation, home

Posted: March 9, 2013

The Winchester Star

Leslie McLean (left) and Jenny Wright pose for a portrait with Dee Dee the beagle at the Clarke County Animal Shelter. Wright is director of the shelter; McLean is the treasurer of the Clarke County Humane Foundation, which has helped to pay for the dog’s medical expenses. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

BERRYVILLE — Clarke County Animal Shelter Director Jennifer Wright is amazed at the attitude of Dee Dee the beagle.

The little brown, black and white dog, estimated to be about 5 years old, was brought to the shelter Feb. 25 with a large pouch in her stomach that was almost dragging on the floor.

“The pain she had to be in,” Wright said with a slight shake of her head. And yet “she came in the door so happy.”

Dee Dee was found in a wooded area near Watermelon Park along the Shenandoah River. Judging from the marks on her neck, Wright thinks she was wearing a collar at some point. “It looks like someone cut the collar off and let her go.”

No one claimed the dog, which required immediate medical attention. Wright said Dee Dee had two tumors in a mammary gland that needed to be removed.

Clarke County officials don’t have money in their shelter fund to pay for more extensive medical care, so Wright turned to the Clarke County Humane Foundation (CCHF).

The foundation was formed in 2000, when the county government needed to replace its animal shelter on Parshall Road.

The facility no longer met state standards, leaving the county liable for fines of up to $1,000 a day.

Supervisor Barbara J. Byrd — newly elected at the time and representing the Russell District — was placed in charge of a committee to decide the future of the old shelter.

Byrd assembled a group of county residents, who agreed the structure had to go, and they organized the Clarke County Humane Foundation to raise the money to replace it.

The new shelter, designed by veterinarian Dr. Tom Davis, cost $1.5 million — $1.2 million of which was raised by the CCHF. The county government contributed funds that had been reserved for repairing the old building.

It opened in October 2004.

The humane foundation leases the building — on land donated to the foundation by Betty Casey — to Clarke County for $1 a year.

“We do the big maintenance,” said CCHF Treasurer Leslie McLean, such as the damage from the 2012 earthquake.

The foundation continues to hold fundraisers to cover those costs and also pays to spay or neuter every animal adopted from the shelter by a local resident, if the adopting family cannot afford the cost.

And the CCHF helps with emergency medical care for all shelter animals. The group pledged the $250 to cover Dee Dee’s operation.

On Tuesday, the beagle was taken to the Hillside Veterinary Hospital in Charles Town, W.Va., to have her tumors removed.

The operation was a success, Wright said, but Roberts found another issue. Dee Dee also has a hernia, and her spleen and part of her intestines have slipped down into the pocket.

The removal of the tumors had taken so long that keeping the dog under sedation longer would have been a danger, Wright said, so the veterinarian chose to delay the hernia surgery until the patient has had time to recover from the first one.

Dee Dee is scheduled for that surgery on March 19.

McLean said the next operation could cost $500 to $1,000. She hopes local residents will again show their generosity and contribute to the CCHF’s fund for the medical costs.

With the operation, Dee Dee should be out of pain and ready to find a new, loving home.

She is very friendly, but “tentative,” McLean said.

Wright said she thought the dog had been more neglected than abused. “She doesn’t know what to expect.”

When Dee Dee overcomes her shyness, she loves to be petted and scratched, and her tail conveys that message.

To contribute to Dee Dee’s medical fund, send a donation to the CCHF at P.O. Box 713, Berryville, Va. 22611.

— Contact Val Van Meter at