Humane Society rescued pup that's now featured on its calendar

Two years ago two puppies turned up in Kewanee days apart both nearly starved to death.
The first, a four-or-five-month purebred pit bull they named Twiggy, was brought to the Kewanee Veterinary Clinic by two women who claimed the pup was found shivering and shaking under bushes near Arrow Towers by two boys who were playing in the area. The dog was weak and extremely emaciated. In spite of efforts to save her by a veterinarian and his staff, Twiggy died two days later.
The next day — a Sunday — another puppy was dropped off at the Kewanee Animal Shelter. It was about the same age and same breed as Twiggy, but, at first, no one made the connection between the two. The second dog was given the temporary name of Tyra.
The initial story was that the dog was found along the road between Kewanee and Galva. The investigation lead to a change in the story that the pup had been picked up at the Galva drive-in where someone was trying to dispose of it. Turned out later that story wasn’t true either.
When she arrived at the vet clinic Tyra was diagnosed as underweight but ate food and barked, something Twiggy never did.
After a lengthy investigation in which stories changed several times, it was determined the dogs were sisters and originated with the same owner of a female purebred pitbull who had produced a litter of eight or nine puppies.
One person was charged with neglect in connection with what happened to Twiggy but no one was ever arrested in Tyra’s case.
According to Kellie Wallace-McKenna, director of the Kewanee Animal Shelter, no one was ever found guilty, sentenced or fined in Twiggy’s death. No charges were ever brought against the original owners who, Wallace-McKenna said, meant well, but weren’t particular as to who they sold or gave the puppies to, and learned a valuable lesson.
The Kewanee Animal Shelter screens everyone who wants to adopt a dog or cat for a reason. Some people may want a pet but aren’t capable of providing adequate care. Both dogs, in their brief lives, had apparently been passed from owner to owner as many as three times, none apparently willing or able to give them proper care.
Without sufficient feed, water and someone to take responsibility for their physical condition, they wasted away until one died and the other one nearly did. It was eventually learned that Tyra had been found being hidden in the bedroom of a boy who was sneaking her chips and other “human food.” The father of one of the boy’s friends heard about the situation and rescued her.
Tyra’s case actually opened a new source of support for the animal shelter. The Humane Society took responsibility for both dogs’ emergency care. That started running into the thousands of dollars which caused a big jump in the money already owed in veterinary bills. When Tyra didn’t improve she was sent to a specialist who found she had sclerosis of the liver. It was treated and her life was saved but there was a big bill to pay.
The Humane Society had just opened a Facebook page. Someone got the idea of opening a PayPal account and set up a fund for Twiggy and Tyra’s vet bill. Immediately, donations started coming in from pet lovers anywhere in the world taking some of the financial load off the local community. The plan has been used several times since to help pay expenses for shelter cats and dogs who needed surgery or extensive treatment of some kind.
This week the Henry County Humane Society-Kewanee released its 2014 calendar and guess who’s on the cover? Her new name is Bailey, but it’s Tyra posing proudly on the cover as if guarding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Wallace-McKenna said she was adopted by her foster “mother” and is a “thriving and happy dog.”
The photos and layout for the calendar were done by John Wangelin, a Humane Society volunteer who manages the group’s Facebook page. It was printed by B & B Printing of Kewanee. The calendars are $10 each and available at the Kewanee Animal Shelter, Kewanee Veterinary Clinic, The Star Courier, B & B Printing, Page’s Pampered Pets, Marquis Pet Resort & Spa (north of Bishop Hill and west of Kewanee Hospital), Heartfelt Gifts, and 7 Sisters Esthetic Services & Jewelry, all of Kewanee, and at Galva Pharmacy.
All proceeds from calendar sales will go for the ongoing support of the no-kill Kewanee Animal Shelter. At least half of the dogs pictured in the calendar were adopted from the shelter. Every one of them has a smile on its face — some happy dogs.
Twiggy and Tyra reminded us of two things — be sure anyone who wants to adopt a pet has the know-how and resources to do so, and if you see or know of a situation where a dog or cat is thin and malnourished or being mistreated, report it to police or the Humane Society.
Doing the right thing when it comes to mistreated pets is not a crime, failing to do so might be.
Congratulations, Tyra, on surviving and finding a good home. Making the cover of the animal shelter calendar isn’t too shabby, either!