Jan. 2008 update: Farewell Sierra Sabrina
~ 11/23/06 Sierra (now Sabrina) Update Available! ~
This is Sierra. She is a 15 week old female Yorkshire that was rescued from a bad breeder. If you keep an eye on our website, you will know that we recently had a litter of 5 male Yorkies that were rescued - their mom was Sydney (you can see them on our success page). Anyway, Sierra was the only female of the litter, and almost did not make it. We have had Sierra, like her brothers, since she was only 2 weeks old. Sierra was always the weakest of the surviving littermates (one passed away). Anyway, thanks to the love, care, and perseverance of her foster family, Sierra was syringe fed and appeared to be happy and healthy.
However, we became concerned that Sierra was not gaining weight as she should (she is now still only 2.1 pounds) and began to drink and urinate excessively. We held our breath while we waited on the results of her bile acid test (to help screen for liver shunt), and were all relieved when it came back within the normal range. However, she still had these confusing symptoms. We had the bile acid test rerun as well as additional blood tests.
We were devastated to learn that Sierra is in kidney failure. Our vet has not seen such a young dog with kidney failure, so we had to decide what to do. Currently Sierra is active, happy, and playful - she just urinates excessively at this time. Although there is no known "cure" for this, and we realize that Sierra may not have much time in this world, we also realize that miracles can happen, and we are committed to making Sierra's remaining time on this Earth as happy and healthy as we can. We have found an extraordinary person that is home all day to continue fostering Sierra, and who is committed to helping us with the cost of continuing treatment and testing. However, this financial burden is going to be too much for one person to carry, and our financial resources are diminishing. That is why we are asking you to PLEASE make a donation on behalf of Sierra, no matter how small, in order that we may continue providing her with medication, a special diet, and to help us get additional tests performed on her to see if there is anything we can do to prolong her sweet life.
We ask you to look into this sweet angel's face, an angel we thought we had saved, and had secured her a long and happy life away from this unscrupulous breeder who bred her mother for drug money. We cannot bear to think we have brought this baby this far - only to lose her to this dreaded illness. We will only be able to live with ourselves if we know we have done everything humanly possible to help her. But to do this is going to take more than love - it is going to take the love, prayers, and financial support from those who have come to know and love her. PLEASE consider making a donation on behalf of Sierra - she deserves a chance and as long of a life as we can help provide. Thank you.
To make a donation via mail, please indicate in the comment section of your check that the donation is for Sierra, and mail it to:
P.O. Box 22482
Knoxville, TN 37933
You may also make donations via PayPal using the donation button below. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can still use the PayPal link to make donations using your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card.
The "DONATE" button has been removed temporarily - please see the 9/3/05 update for details!
Thanks so much to those who have already donated. Please note that anonymous donations are also welcome. We will not list your name on the donations page if you prefer to remain anonymous.
Please note - Sierra is now in permanent foster care and is no longer available for adoption.
SBRET has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for Sierra. We have not only received several generous donations to help Sierra, but have received several offers from people to provide Sierra with a forever home. We decided that the best thing to do for Sierra was to find a home for her that was not only experienced with Yorkies, but that was willing and able to contribute toward the potentially large expenses of caring for her. We were very lucky to find a wonderful permanent foster home for Sierra - with Linda - all the way in Pennsylvania. Linda has been involved in rescue herself for years, and has fostered several critically ill dogs in her lifetime.
Once we decided where to send Sierra, we had the unique task of trying to figure out how to get her to Pennsylvania safely, and in a manner that we could afford. Luckily, a SBRET volunteer volunteered to fly Sierra (in the cabin with the volunteer, of course) to her new foster home. Logistics were a bit tricky, but it was decided that the SBRET volunteer and Sierra would fly on Independence Air to Washington DC, drive most of the way to Baltimore, stay the night in a hotel, and meet Linda in Baltimore. Then, Linda would drive Sierra the rest of the way to Pennsylvania.
The trip started when Karen, Sierra's foster mom, dropped her off with another SBRET volunteer (also named Karen) for the transport. It was a sad time for Karen and her family, because they will miss Sierra, but they know that Linda will provide the best of care. Once the heartfelt goodbyes were over, Sierra was on her way. The trip was indeed very exciting. Sierra was a perfect little lady in her airline carrier! Sierra also caused quite the ruckus in the airport. She got all KINDS of attention. The security personnel asked to hold her at the security check in station. Then, when Sierra arrived at the airline gate to await her flight, she caused QUITE the sensation at Independence Air. The gate attendant for the airline was a true animal lover and held Sierra a good portion of the time! We found out, when talking with her, that her daughter, who is currently a medical student, also has kidney failure. The attendant had donated a kidney to her daughter several years ago. Although the transplant had since failed, and her daughter was again on the transplant list, she had a positive outlook on life - and the kindest, gentlest spirit. Sometimes in rescue we see the worst side of humans, but there are times like these that we are reminded that there are truly wonderful people in this world, and we feel truly lucky to have met this very special lady.
Anyway, the funniest thing about this transport happened when the flight was delayed. Believe it or not - the attendant was holding Sierra when making the announcements! You should have seen the passengers faces! Once the flight began, Sierra didn't make a sound and slept the entire way! Then Karen and Sierra got their rental car and started their drive toward Baltimore. By this time it was getting late so they decided to find a hotel. They have to admit that they did sneak Miss Sierra in right past the lobby attendants at the hotel! But, just like on the plane, Sierra was a little angel, didn't make a peep, and the hotel staff will never know that they had a 2 pound visitor! Ha! Ha! However, Sierra did need some play time before snuggling in for the night at the hotel.
The next morning Sierra and Karen made it to Baltimore where they met Sierra's new forever foster mom, Linda, and her good friend! Linda immediately fell in love with Sierra - can you blame her? Since that time, Sierra has been to Linda's vet, and had an ultra sound performed, which indicates one kidney is worse than the other, and that the damage seems to indicate she may have gotten into something (possibly a poison or contaminant) shortly after she was born. She is continuing with her treatment and stable at this time. This vet, as well as our vet, is still uncertain as to how long Sierra will live. However, for now her condition is stable and she is a happy, playful little dog, and for that we are thankful! Please stay tuned for updates about Sierra's progress in the future. We are just thrilled that she is doing as well as she is.
Note about fundraising: We want to thank the many generous contributors that have donated on behalf of Sierra. We are currently maintaining this fund and will pay for veterinary care as needed. Because her condition seems to have stabilized at the moment, we are going to discontinue the urgent request for funds. Once the current Sierra fund is depleted and we foresee the need for more help on behalf of Sierra, we will resurrect fundraising efforts for her.
Our little Sierra, now known as Sabrina, has come a long way since last summer when we originally
sent her off to be in permanent foster care. No one, our vet included, really expected that Sierra
would be alive by this time but boy did she have other plans! Not only is she alive today but she
is thriving in her new home with her most special forever mommy Linda and the steady stream of
foster Yorkies she shows the ropes to. Sometimes she is referred to as "the fox," both due to
her cute little pixie face and to her great delight in scattering the chipmunks by lying in wait
and springing out at them. She plays like a fiend with the other dogs and sometimes drives them
nuts with her endless supply of puppy energy. She weighs a whopping 4.25 pounds and her hair
is "au naturalle," which means it does its own thing in great abundance!
We are all thrilled that she is so happy and active (well, maybe Linda wishes she weren't
quite so active) and really having an almost totally normal life. Of course, nothing has
changed since we last reported that Sierra has compromised kidney function due to some
fairly severe abnormalities, but with the combined efforts of Linda, her vet, and the
determined, spunky attitude of our "little wild woman" we are all cautiously optimistic
for her future. We hope you enjoy the new pictures that Linda sent and will still keep the
website updated on how our little miracle girl is doing.
Again, thanks to everyone who sent in donations to help with Sierra's care and a huge
thanks to Linda for taking in a tiny little puppy with a very uncertain future.
Jan. 2008 update: Farewell Sierra Sabrina
We mourn the loss of our miracle girl, Sierra Sabrina. Her name means Mountain Nymph, which fits her perfectly.
She was Goddess of the mountains and springs and our little fox woman - with bushy tail, sharp quick bark, and her
determined mind in protecting the property. Her Tasmanian devil sound will be missed as will her Spinning, when
she was happy, or had to go out.
She was quite clever and quick, and loved to challenge her sister Tigerwoman Tinkerbelle to hold on
to her favorite toys. Lying in wait for hours, Sierra Sabrina would find just the right moment
to gently, silently slide into that prized possession and so stealthily remove it from its "protected" spot,
and with a swish of her tail and a twist of her neck, dangle it proudly in Tinkerbelle's glaring face.
She'd hold it and swish it from side to side until Tinker attacked and grabbed it back.
She was a good girl right up to the end. She always made it to the piddle pad, even at night, and
in the end, she would dance on my face until I got up and carried her down the stairs to let her
hop out onto the deck pad and release her quart full of pee. Then back in the house and up to bed.
In the end, it was she who wisely told me that this was it. She spent the better part of Friday
outside in the doggie bed snuggled with Abbey and their blankets in the warm sun just soaking it in,
coming in only for Abbey to get water. Saturday she raced, and beat, Tinkerbelle for a last romp in
the yard. Sunday when she knew I needed her to drink or by hydrated, she went to her bowl,
looked at it, looked at me, and turned around and went to the living room bed.
When I finally made the tough decision she was grateful, relaxed and almost limp, like she had
given it the best she had. She was the best little mountain nymph. I cherjish the 2 and half years of spunky,
tasmanian devilishness and love. Lovely, charismatic, and a real lady of the mountain - that's our