Thyme and Sage Ranch Jennifer Petkus — My Adopted Puppy Died
I would have preferred talking to someone who could have heard this story in it's entirety but hear goes. I hope I don't leave anything out...
A few months ago when watching a program I saw a small dog that needed adoption and it got me thinking strongly about replacing a family pet that we had lost in February from cancer and her old age. When checking many of the county facilities I found that the dogs were mostly larger breeds and that if they had a small one it was gone before I could even get a hold on it.
While surfing the web I found that there were many "rescues" listed and many that even listed animals that had been saved from puppy mills.
One month ago I found the perfect dog that meant for our family. I was not able to see the puppies but after seeing the mother dog and knowing what breed she would be mixed with and getting a description, my son and I picked the dog that would be our "Kasey". She was described as a tan and white female and after looking at the pick of the mom we knew it was meant to be.
I sent the deposit as requested and asked for updates each week. I had been told that the mother had been rescued and was in foster care and was an hour away. I have all the emails that can prove our conversations since that is how she preferred to do her business. I only received the one set of pictures because she claimed her "foster" did not have the ability to send her more.
Then suddenly she contacted me and said I could pick her up a week earlier than originally planned. I made the appointment to pick up Kasey on May 31, 2008. When we got to the Thyme and Sage Ranch, in Richland County, where she claims to "rescue" her animals, we first saw people and cars every where. Then we saw horses, geese, dogs, and puppies in a pen in the yard. It was a warm day and the sun was very hot but when I asked about my puppy I was told it was too cold for her and she was in the back of the truck. Jennifer Petkus, the owner of the site, went to the truck and brought me back a little puppy that was what had been described to me when I made the agreement with her.
Kasey was very animated and it was obvious that she wanted to play and have any kind of companionship. Kasey did smell pretty bad but I felt that after looking at Jennifer who did appear to have feces or dirt all over her it was possible the puppy had played in the barn area as she smelled much like manure. After Jennifer "checked out" another couple who was receiving their dog she came to me and said she would check me out. While we were waiting my son heard Jennifer speak of Disney, the dog Jennifer had listed as my puppy's mother in the advertisement, and that she had died. When we went up on Jennifer's porch I asked her about Disney and she told me that there had been a terrible accident with her at the foster's home. She said that the foster had left Disney outside with their dog and that the other dog had attacked Disney and caused life threatening injuries to her. She even went as far as to say that Disney and a puppy had been intended to be adopted by the foster family and now they could not take the puppy. She informed me that the puppy that was returned was a black and brown female. I had said maybe we would want to look at her since my son wanted a black and brown dog in the beginning anyway. Jennifer then quickly said that they dog looked more like a Chihuahua than a Yorkie and we would probably not be happy with her.
I talked to my son and he said he was happy with our choice and glad he picked her. I let it go and continued our paperwork. Jennifer then hurriedly got a couple sheets of copied pieces of paper out of a box and had me sign a spay/neuter contract that also has a health clause and safe environment agreement. She then quickly filled in some blanks on a piece of paper with Kasey's breed, name, and filled in a bunch of X's where the vaccination information should have went. Jennifer then gave me two sheets of paper about Coccidia and Giardia and mentioned it was something she could get if she was stressed out and if so to contact my vet. This did not bother me since I knew she would not have any stress and Jennifer said Kasey had been vaccinated on Friday (May 30, 2008). Including checking with my vet ahead of time on what to feed her and when to bring her in for her next shots. After finishing the paperwork we packed Kasey up after some pictures for Jennifer's "Happy Tails" part of her website, Jennifer told me that we might want to water Kasey from time to time on the way home and feed her since they had withheld food since 8 a.m. that morning. I didn't question it because we had a two hour drive home and I didn't know if she would get car sick or not being so very little.
We then drove home, stopping a couple of times for water and potty breaks but she was amazing on the drive home. I was in complete shock that she did so well. My own 10 year old (very healthy) Shih Tzu/Maltese dog does not do good in a car for 10 minutes let alone 10 miles.
When we drove home I tried to feed Kasey and it was obvious she did not have much interest in food and I figured she was just excited. I spent time with her on Saturday and Sunday trying to get her to eat better but she really did not have much interest but was however drinking. I did call Jennifer on Sunday and ask how to get Kasey to eat better and then tried to wet the food and it seemed a little better and Kasey started to eat. I even went and bought some wet food and mixed it with the dry and she ate some of that too but still not eating as well as I would have thought. I did contact my vet and he had pretty much the same suggestions and as long as she was drinking I felt all was well.
On Wednesday night, June 4th, I noticed that Kasey seemed much more tired but I had played with her quite a bit and she pretty much stayed right by me most of the time so I felt she was just tuckered out being so very little. We had bad weather that night and into the next morning. When I heard the very bad weather about 7 a.m. I realized that Kasey had not woke me up and it scared me. When I got to the crate I realized that she had been sick in the night and when I opened the door she did not come to me as she usually had done. I reached to the back and she was limp. I immediately called my vet and ran her in to be checked. At that time she was dehydrated from being ill in her crate and had depleted her glucose levels. I was used to being up in the middle of the night to let her out and feed and water her already and then my husband would before work as well. This was obviously very upsetting to us.
After the initial check the vet asked me to leave her there and to treat her with IV fluids. Later that day Kasey perked up and based on the shot record Jennifer gave me my vet only checked her fecal matter and found the highest levels of Coccidia and Giardia parasites that he has ever found in a sample from a puppy and felt it was the only cause for Kasey's illness. I treated Kasey and my other dog with antibiotics (precautionary for my existing pet) for the next 24 hours and made sure that she got some nutrients and drank as much as possible. Right down to sleeping with the puppy next to me so that I would know if she made a noise and could get her out and help if need be.
Kasey seemed to pick up some and Friday I thought we were out of the woods. Saturday morning I woke up and again Kasey had not woke me up and found that she had been ill in her crate. I immediately got her some water and her medicine and tried to soothe her since she did nothing but whimper at this point. I kept her warm and in my arms for two hours until my husband got up. But because she was now throwing up and I knew it was the last symptom we did not have before for a Parvo test my husband and I again ran her into the vet.
Once at the vet's office, we were immediately taken into the back and a Parvo test was administered. The Parvo test came back as a very strong positive, not any doubt at all. This was so very upsetting to me since I had called Jennifer when Kasey got sick and she said that she had used Pfizer 7 Way on Saturday before we got Kasey. This didn't fit since I knew she had said that she vaccinated her on Friday when I signed the papers. That was not the only lie since on the bottom of the paperwork Jennifer wrote 7 Way Van Guard which is not the preferred vaccination and can be bought just about anywhere per my veterinarian. These lies started to add up but I did not address her about them at this point because I was not sure if my puppy was going to be okay or not, at least when she first got sick.
On Saturday June 7th after the positive Parvo test my vet told me that he would have to hospitalize Kasey and keep her a couple days. He said she was still not out of the woods but he would do what he could. I was however very satisfied that my veterinarian would do his very best because he had done so much for our dog that passed away in February and as a disabled police officer I know this doctor is the one that handles all the canines in the department I used to work for as well. We stayed long enough to see that he was able to get an IV in Kasey, not what I thought since she was only 1.3 lbs. That was a sign that we really thought she would be okay. We then left Kasey in their care on Saturday mid day and waited to hear from the vet and his staff.
I did call Jennifer from the office there with my husband and the vet with me and she blamed my family for causing stress and that it was our fault that she caught Parvo. Parvo has an inoculation period of 7-14 days and that meant she already had it when I brought her home. It was just good that my other dog was as healthy as she is and that she is current on her vaccinations. When I told Jennifer that she lied to me and that I might have been able to save her she told me "I don't have time for this" and before she could hang up I guaranteed she would hear from me again. She treated my vet and myself like idiots and gave us absolutely no respect at all. There were no apologies at all and nothing but blame. She is surely not the woman I would expect to be running a "rescue".
So on Sunday night I did not hear from the staff and started to worry so I called the office. I did not hear and felt it would not be good when I did. Monday morning my phone rang at 8 a.m. and it was indeed my vet. He told me that Kasey had died. He said her body temperature had dropped Sunday afternoon and that she again became lethargic. He said her heart rate started to decline and he tried to give her medicine to help her but that the heart had been damaged by the Parvo and she did not make it. This was devastating to me but worse I had to tell my son about this and this was supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life as he was starting driver’s education that morning.
So after collecting myself and breaking the news to my son, I spoke to my husband and we decided that Kasey's little life and death would not be vain. I called the Richland County Sherriff's Office and spoke with them about this entire situation since my vet said that even had she been vaccinated once he felt she could have possibly made it. I initially was told that they would have a deputy go out and investigate this situation since it is obvious that she allows puppies to play where geese feces is and that alone is a danger to the puppies and to their owners because Giardia is contagious to humans. Jennifer should know that and did not say she didn't but said my puppy was never on her grounds. I know that I put her down not knowing that was the case and many others picked up those puppies not knowing that either. It was also my understanding that Thyme and Sage Ranch holds the contract for the animal control services for Richland County. This alone needed to be reported because healthy animals could be put there and get ill on that property before getting back to their owners.
Well after the initial phone call, I was notified later that no deputy would go out because it was a "civil matter". I informed my contact person that I was upset about this because it was more than a civil problem this was a health hazard. I was informed however that there was an upcoming meeting and that the contract for the Animal Control services would be discussed at that time. I told the contact at the county that I was not going to stop calling and that I had just begun.
So since then I have talked to members of the Richland County Board of Supervisors, the Richland County District Attorney's Office, the Ochooch Mountain Humane Society, Dane County Humane Society, and Dr. Yvonne Belay from the Department of Agriculture.