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Little Dogs Need Love, Too

Laser and Clay, once homeless, cleared a big hurdle when they were rescued. The next hurdle will require a little help from friends.

A small, cute dog is almost always a sure attention-getter. There's something about a petite pup with an inquisitive face that can make any heart melt and any grouch go, "Awwww ..."

Clay, a Jack Russell/rat terrier mix and Laser, a purebred silky terrier, are two compact cuties, but they are cuties in need. 

Despite being lively, focused, beautiful and rating very high in the "awwww" factor, both dogs became homeless, abandoned by owners they trusted.

Their futures looked bleak until LifeLine Animal Project stepped in and rescued them - Clay from a DeKalb apartment complex where the owners moved and left him and Laser, who was unceremoniously dumped at a vet's office. Both pets were hungry and frightened when rescued. Both were in need of patient, loving care, which LifeLine supplied.

Once their basic needs were addressed, it was soon discovered that both needed leg surgeries. Although Clay and Laser are about 2 years old and are otherwise very healthy, they suffer from avascular necrosis of the femoral head in one hind leg, a condition that causes lameness.

"It's not uncommon in smaller breeds," says Kathryn L. Haines, a veterinarian at LifeLine, "It can be remedied through a surgery commonly called FHO, or femoral head ostectomy."

Clay doesn't know all the big words attached to his condition. He simply doesn't let it slow him down.

When he first got to LifeLine he was stressed and suspicious of everyone. Fast-forward a few weeks and now he's an I-never-meet-a-stranger type of terrier who greets people with a rapidly wagging tail.

He'll run up to anyone who seems like they might want to pet him. He loves to be loved. He's even very friendly with cats.

"He just needed to know he was safe," says Haines.

Laser was a tangled mess when he came in, and was soon spruced up at Tailwaggers in Decatur. Also high-strung and unhappy before being rescued, he's calmed with attention and training from LifeLine's staff.

A lively, focused young dog, he's not as good with cats as Clay is and should be adopted into a home without felines.

But before adoption, these two pups need to be brought back into step. 

"We've gotten FHO for a few dogs we've rescued at LifeLine," states Debbie Setzer, community outreach director for the Avondale non-profit, "It restores mobility and eliminates arthritis problems in that area as a dog gets older."

But it's not inexpensive. While LifeLine doesn't shy away from aiding homeless pets in need, finding money to help dogs like Clay and Laser can be a challenge. Specialty surgeries like FHO for dogs at LifeLine are often performed at Price Creek Animal Hospital in Bremen, a practice that has successfully done many FHO operations.

To get surgeries for little Laser and Clay, some help is required. To that end, LifeLine is asking the public and supporters of homeless pets to help get these two dogs back to "four on the floor" condition and ready for a new home.

"Every amount helps, and is appreciated, " says Setzer.

To contribute, go to LifeLine's website donation page. Before you hit "send" make sure to fill out the section for comments and leave a little encouragement for Laser and Clay. LifeLine staff promises to pass on all good wishes and virtual hugs to the two rescued pups.

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