From Euthanasia’s Brink: The Life Saving Flight to Freedom of a Young German Shepherd

Facing imminent euthanasia at a Houston animal shelter, a German Shepherd named Lyon found himself in a desperate situation. Rescued just in time, he was severely underweight, afflicted with a bad infection, and exhibited a mysterious facial tic. His condition was critical.

Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home
Source: Pilots n Paws

Lyon Was Critically Underweight

When Lyon was first discovered, his health condition was alarmingly poor, painting a picture of neglect and suffering. As a young adult German Shepherd found in the BARC shelter in Houston, he was in a state that demanded immediate and intensive care.

Weighing only 73 pounds, Lyon was drastically underweight, especially for a dog of his breed and size, which typically should weigh well over 100 pounds. This severe undernourishment pointed to a prolonged period of inadequate nutrition and care.

Compounding his malnourishment was a severe infection in his lymph glands, evidenced by a prominent and worrying swelling under his chin. Such infections can be debilitating and potentially life-threatening if left untreated, indicating that Lyon had been enduring significant discomfort and pain.

A Strange Facial Tic

Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home

Additionally, Lyon exhibited a strange facial tic, a repetitive and involuntary spasm that added to the complexity of his medical condition. While the exact cause of this tic was unclear, it raised concerns about neurological issues or past illnesses, such as distemper, which can leave lasting effects on a dog’s health.

But his fate took a turn for the better when Rottweiler Rescue Society stepped in to save him from his scheduled euthanasia. Lyon’s condition when he was first discovered was one of critical vulnerability. His physical state not only reflected his immediate medical challenges but also hinted at a history of neglect. It was a situation that required urgent medical attention, compassionate care, and a commitment to nursing him back to health, which he eventually received thanks to the intervention of his rescuers.

A Life Saving Flight

life saving flight for Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home

Lyon’s recovery journey began with a life-saving flight to Kansas, a pivotal moment in his path to healing. This critical transfer was facilitated by Pilots N Paws, an organization dedicated to transporting rescue animals. The pilot, Derek, played a crucial role in Lyon’s story, flying him from the precarious situation in Houston to a hopeful new beginning in Kansas.

Upon his arrival in Kansas, it was clear that Lyon’s road to recovery would be a long one. “When I saw him in the plane, he had a large swelling under his chin,” Donna Elliott, Lyon’s foster recalls, highlighting the urgency of his situation.

The Road To Recovery

The first steps in his rehabilitation involved addressing his severe underweight condition and the infection plaguing his lymph glands. The swelling under his chin, a stark indicator of his neglected health, required immediate medical attention. Lyon was started on a regimen of two high-powered antibiotics, and thankfully, the swelling began to resolve quickly, signaling the first positive turn in his health.

Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home

As Lyon settled into his new environment, his weight became a primary focus. From a frail 73 pounds at the time of his rescue, his caregivers aimed to bring him to a healthy weight of over 100 pounds, fitting for his breed and size. This goal was pursued with a carefully monitored diet and gradual introduction of exercise, tailored to his recovery needs.

A significant turning point in Lyon’s health journey was the reevaluation of his heartworm status. Initially diagnosed as high HW+ at BARC, further tests conducted by Donna’s vet revealed a negative result. This fortunate discovery allowed for timely neutering and microchipping while Lyon was under sedation, aiding in his overall health and well-being.

He’s Slowly Gaining Weight

Today, Lyon is a transformed dog. His weight has increased to 89 pounds, and he is well on his way to reaching his ideal weight of just over 100 pounds. His gentle nature shines through in his interactions. “He loves everyone and just likes to go up to everyone and say hello,” Donna shares. Despite his large size, Lyon is a gentle soul, showing no interest in cats and remaining calm around other dogs.

Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home

In terms of health, Lyon has overcome his initial challenges. His facial tic, which resembles a chewing motion, does not affect his quality of life.

Lyon’s current living situation provides him with the care and space he needs but Donna already has three German Shepherds and a Belgian Malinois and can not keep Lyon.

Lyon’s Perfect Forever Home

The ideal home for Lyon would be one that can accommodate his size and loving nature. His new family should be prepared for a dog that measures 38 inches from neck to rump and should understand the responsibilities that come with keeping such a large breed. The commitment to keeping him as an indoor dog, never tied up, and continuing his heartworm prevention is essential. A home where someone is present during the day would be ideal for Lyon, as he thrives on human companionship.

As Lyon awaits his forever home, his story stands as a powerful reminder of the impact of rescue and rehabilitation. From a dire situation in a shelter to a loving temporary home, his journey with Donna Elliott and the Rottweiler Rescue Society highlights the incredible difference that care and compassion can make in the life of a dog. Lyon’s story is not just about the challenges he faced but about the hope and love that await him in a new, forever home.

Lyon the German Shepherd looking for home

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