Meet Holmes

Holmes then and now

I wrote about Mojo the other day, but there was so much more to his story that we couldn’t talk about right away.

The photo above, on the left, shows the dog that we were expecting to take into rescue. The dog on the right is the actual dog we picked up. The dog on the left is a small, young, apparently healthy male. The dog on the right is approximately three to five years old, has a tumor on his head, can’t see because his vision is blocked by bilateral cherry eye, and is a 1 out of 5 on the body mass scale.

How long do you have to neglect a dog, before he gets from ‘a’ to ‘b’?

The rest (it’s long) after the cut.

We don’t know how much time has elapsed between “A” and “B”. We don’t even know how old Holmes is. Initially, we were told he was one year old. His intake form said he was born in November, making him five months old. The vet’s best guess is that he’s at least three to five years old. I guess time flies when you’re watching your dog starve to death.

What breaks my heart the most is that no matter how much Holmes has been neglected, starved or left to rot in a cage, this is still a dog who wants to love you. He loves toys, and other dogs, and being on the couch. And he wants to love people, even though they scare him, especially hands that move to close to him. I suspect that hands+Holmes has not equaled good things very often in his life before this. In spite of this, that Frenchie DNA (the DNA that says “I was born and bred to love people, like Border Collies were born to herd or Jack Russell Terriers to dig”) tells him that he should love people. Let’s hope that people can finally be worthy of that kind of love.

Here is Karen’s full write up on Holmes (which includes an explanation for his name change). At the end, you can download his veterinary report, and see his photos (caution: graphic imagery). We have initiated a cruelty investigation against Holmes’ former owners.



When you go to pick up a rescue from a surrender; you never know exactly what you are walking into. Unless you receive pictures and a brief background history on the dog, then you have a much better idea of what you are picking up, or so you would think.

That’s how the story of Mojo begins. An advertisement on Kijiji selling a “tri colour French bulldog” I sent an email asking her to surrender her to rescue on March 4th, 2011. She replied informing me she found a home for her bitch but had the son of the dog she just got rid of, who had cherry eye in both eyes, and she “couldn’t even give him away.” I notified Carol asking if we could take him in. She immediately said yes and I set up a time on Sunday March 6th, 2011 to pick up the young looking 1 year old frenchie. I asked if there were any other medical issues other than his cherry eye and I received an emphatic NO.

As my sister and I sat waiting for the family to drop off their beloved pet on Sunday that they had to surrender due to their inability to afford his neutering, “another” $600.00 cherry eye surgery along with not ever having any kind of vaccines. We were quite surprised when and $80,000 Lexus SUV pulled up beside us. The owner jumps out and opens the back door, reaching in between her two young children and pulled out only what I can describe as a remnant of the picture that I was given and in my mind of what I was supposed to be seeing. Not even holding him to her, probably because she didn’t want to get any of his stink on her. She said “here ya go”. I quickly took him and placed him in the van, because his little skeletal body was shaking in terror. Before I could even say anything she said, “by the way that spot on his head is new, one of the other dogs must have gotten him.” ??? OTHER dogs, Really? First it’s not a scratch or bite; it’s more of a tumor type bump which takes more than a few weeks to grow, and what other dogs? I didn’t want to question anything, she still hadn’t filled out the surrender form and could have very easily said forget it give me my dog. So I bit my tongue, and anyone who knows me knows that was a feat in itself. All said and done, he is now ours. As I sigh in relief I jump in the van and put it in drive. Then the smell hits me, a stench of feces and urine with a blatant smell of perfume in the attempt to disguise his true state.

We got him home and were able to see him “walk” for the first time. I would say it was more like a wobble. Very little strength in his back legs, his knees were all over and his ankles were very weak. His shoulders aren’t right either. I had to put him on the scale, and almost cried when I saw 14lbs on a skeleton that should easily be 24lbs.

Normally I don’t bathe a rescue for the first couple days till they settle in and get more comfortable. But he was in dire need of a bath and to be honest. I didn’t want him on my couch smelling the way he did. I reached down to pick him up and he threw himself to the ground and did a good impersonation of frog road kill. I have been a veterinary technician for 8 years, bathed A LOT of stray cats and dogs in those years. I would compare the state of the water and his filth with the state of a stray animal.

His veterinary appointment was on March 7th, 2011 6:00pm, we saw Dr. Peters. She did his health check, distemper vaccines, heart worm test and full blood workup. Thankfully his heart worm and blood all came back negative. We now have to work on the injuries he does have and get some weight on him so he will be ready for his surgeries. In his appointment we found that he has a lot of tarter on his teeth and will require dentistry at some point. He has a huge ear infection that is being treated twice a day by cleaning and antibiotics. He is also on antibiotics for large pustules on the pads of his feet, we believe from either standing on mesh crate floors or standing in feces and urine all the time. He has a pea size tumor on his forehead that will need to be excised, along with his bilateral cherry eye and neutering.

The Veterinarian also agreed that he was much older than 18 months as indicated by the previous owner. From his appearance we are guessing more like 5 years old, if not older.

Now aptly named “Holmes”, (A reverend named Herbert Holmes made it his mission to free a slave that had been arrested for fleeing to Canada. Reverend Herbert Holmes was not a man to be taken lightly. He was a driven man and a natural born leader. He had chosen to make his life’s mission about the betterment of his community especially in support of those who had escaped the brutality of slavery. He was educated and charismatic. He was a leader who could rally the people. And so he did.) We hope that Holmes will be able to liberate the other dogs he was held with, and be our beacon of light for freedom.

Holmes is one of the sweetest, quietest French bulldogs I have come across. He doesn’t bark, cry, snore I don’t know if he even has vocal cords. But I do know he has a tail, because he uses it freely every time you talk to him. He loves to lean on whoever is closest. That includes the resident dogs. He rubs his face and body all over my mastiff, even Ulric, the foster who takes awhile for any animal to get close to him. Holmes has NO fear of dogs, he runs to them freely and quickly. Humans are another story. He is slow to approach you, but once he knows he can trust you there is no getting rid of him. Hugs scare him; hands coming to him too quickly scare him. He will only eat off the floor. He won’t take anything out of your hand; he will wait for you to throw a treat at him on the floor.

I have never been more certain that when Holmes gets the proper nutrition, the surgeries and recuperation time, he will look on the outside what we already see on the inside. He will be the perfect pet for anyone who is lucky enough to call him theirs.

Download vet report

Images (graphic) :

12 replies
  1. H. Houlahan
    H. Houlahan says:

    Re: Age

    One thing we found with the very severely neglected Montana dogs, and some others, is that food and medicine and decent care has a way of rolling back their ages, even as estimated in veterinary exams.

    He may indeed be as young as was stated.

    Which does not reflect *better* on his former owner.

    I do not know how it is that neglect causes the teeth to go bad prematurely, but it apparently can.

  2. Susan
    Susan says:

    When I think of how disciplined I have to be to keep MY Frenchie from turning into a brindle blob, it boggles the mind what it must have taken to emaciate that poor boy. So angry, but looking forward to seeing his recovery.

  3. Marie
    Marie says:

    WTF is wrong with people??? Glad he is safe now. It makes me want to strangle that owner though. Or maybe starve her. I just don’t get it.

  4. Sarah Ann
    Sarah Ann says:

    I can see what a sweet boy he is already! He is now getting the love & care he deserves. Looking forward to seeing how he does. Newman is sending some snorts his way!

  5. Kerryn Mills
    Kerryn Mills says:

    I would just like to say, how on earth can anyone be so malicious as to hurt any animal the way they have!! I am so glad there is a criminal investigation out these horrible humans (If you can call them that!) I have happily donated and would love updates on his recovery through all this neglect. I would also love to adopt him, how can I do this? I live in Australia and here Frenchies are considered kings and Queens. We take care of them and pay a tremendous amounts just to have one be apart of the family. Please any help on how I can take this little guy home and make him apart of my life I dont care how expensive it is to have him- Please!!!

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Hi Kerryn —

      Thanks so much for your support of Holmes. While we’d love to consider you as an adoptive home for him, Australia is an awfully long flight. Have you considered adopting a local dog? I can certainly ask around for you. If not a ‘true’ rescue, then perhaps a retired dog might be closer to you, and looking for someone to love 🙂

      We’ll keep you updated on Holmes – he has gained TWO FULL POUNDS since he’s been in Karen’s care!!!

      • Susan
        Susan says:

        2 pounds – that’s a great start! We’re here rooting for the little guy. Based on his overall size, what do you think will be a healthy weight for him? Or is it too early to say?

  6. Heather
    Heather says:

    This makes me so happy that Holmes is now happy and how you were able to get him before he may have died. I love it when wonderful ppl take in animals.

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