Jack Sparrow is getting the happy ending he deserves…no matter how short that time may be. Friday, his rescuers got the sad news that the sweet dog that had been so incredibly abused has several aggressive cancers. Now they are working on what they call Jack Sparrow’s bucket list – a list of fun and cool things every dog should get to do – while they work to spread the word about animal abuse.
See update at bottom of post.
Jack Sparrow – or Captain Jack as his rescuers are now calling him – came in as a stray in Waukegan (see original post). He had a swollen eye that looked infected, but it turned out to be from blunt force trauma…most likely from a baseball bat. The eye socket was shattered and his eye was removed. He then suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Now comes the word that lumps removed from his mouth are cancerous - osteosarcoma, malignant melanoma and carcinoma.
“The vet says he may have three to six good months – we think it will be less,” says Monica Ryan who is giving him a home through Wagging Hearts Rescue while he’s still here on this earth. “It’s heartbreaking to think that he’s been through so much and is finally getting loved and spoiled. Now, this cancer diagnosis…it’s just so unfair and we're devastated by the news.”
Jack hasn’t had use of his back legs since the stroke…but as of Saturday morning his tail has been wagging. He’s happy, loving and sweet. His rescuers have decided that Jack Sparrow’s bucket list is a good way to show him what a dog’s life should really be like before it’s time to say goodbye. To give him the love he's been denied especially after all the abuse he's suffered.
“You know, the most horrific cases make the news but there are so many other animal abuse cases that we never here about,” adds Ryan. Captain Jack is her 503rd foster dog and not her first abuse case. “It’s a huge problem in our society. Jack loves people and attention that I hope by getting him out to enjoy life – to have his bucket list – more people will understand. And, he'll get to have more very happy times.”
Jack Sparrow’s bucket list includes a visit to a fire station and police station, a possible trip to a major league baseball game, the dog beach, massages (lots of them), and much more. He's even shooting for cover model of Modern Dog Magazine. Saturday morning he hit a local park and Jack Sparrow had his first professional photo shoot.
“I want him around people and friends because he just love socializing...being loved," says Ryan. “He looks a little scary right now to adults. However, the kids came up at the park to take a look at him and pet him. They feel sorry for him and ask questions…that should be encouraged to bring more awareness.”
As they plan field trips and give Jack Sparrow the best life they can, they also hope that someone recognizes him. He came in through Waukegan Animal Control and the investigation is ongoing as to who may have abused Jack. Ryan would love to see the abuser face charges for what happened.
“Someone had to see something. He was someone’s dog at some point because he’s so friendly,” she adds. “We don’t know if his owner abused him or if it was someone else. We want people to look for signs of an animal being abused and know that it‘s not OK and that they should speak up. We are working on pamphlets to hand out telling them what to do.”
In the meantime, Jack Sparrow – Captain Jack – is getting used to his cart. He currently scoots around quite well on the floor but his legs are tangled like a pretzel. He’ll be getting physical therapy and also lots of massages to help him stay comfortable.
“He’s going to get to ride in a convertible when it’s nice. We hope he will get to ride on a float with Wagging Hearts Rescue for the Fourth of July,” says Ryan. “We are continuing to come up with ideas. As long as he’s feeling up to it, we’ll be checking items off Jack Sparrow’s bucket list.”
Some of the tumors have already started to grow back. Ryan will monitor Jack Sparrow’s heath to make sure he’s not in too much pain and that he can still eat. He continues to get lots of love for the time he has left. They'll make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye when the time comes.
“We had him on the bed last night and he was very happy, but didn’t quite know what to do when it was time to relieve himself,” she adds. “He scooted to the side of the bed but couldn’t jump down. We are working on getting a mattress for the floor so that he can sleep with someone and cuddle. Despite all he’s been through, he’s the most trusting dog.”
Waukegan Animals Getting Saved (WAGS), a non-profit that helps raise funds for animals taken in by Waukegan Animal Control, continues to raise funds for Captain Jack. The funds are paying for veterinary care, physical therapy and other things he may need. A fundraiser is slated for May 3rd. Ryan hopes that Jack can make it. In the meantime, Jack Sparrow’s bucket list continues to grow. Follow his progress on the Jack Sparrow Support Facebook page to keep tabs on the bucket list.
On Wednesday, Jack Sparrow suffered another stroke. After all he went through, it was his time to go. His foster family said a heartbreaking good bye. Run free, Jack Sparrow, Run Free.
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