When Laura Manukian, a volunteer for Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, saw a picture of Dikran, she knew she had to help.
Dikran, also called Deke, is a 7-month old Armenian Gampr who was found as a stray and starving on the streets of Armenia. His front legs are deformed, probably a birth defect caused by malnutrition. The wrists on his legs are constantly bent and at times it appears as if he were standing on his wrists instead of on his paws.
“Deke had his ears cropped,” said Manukain. “He probably was born to a breeder who threw him out because of his birth defect.”
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue worked around the clock to raise funds to bring Deke to America, and on May 15, 2013, rescuers had raised enough money for Deke’s freedom airplane ride to his new life in Los Angeles. The cost to fly Deke more than 7,000 miles was around $4,500, now the rescue group is working towards getting Deke the medical attention he desperately needs.
“Armenia is not very knowledgeable when it comes to dog rescues,” said Manukian. “They have a primitive view on dogs and how they should be treated. They wanted to put him to sleep and that is ridiculous when in the United States he could be fixed.”
Armenian Gampr is a strong, independent breed. Canines are usually bred to become guard livestock dogs. Because their natural instincts are similar to herding dogs, Armenian Gamprs need a daily job to keep their minds busy and stimulated. When fully grown they can weigh between 100 and 130 lbs, Deke is only 40 lbs.
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue knew they would need an experience handler to work with Deke. This is his only chance at becoming an adoptable dog. Dave Guild, from K9 Adventures has been working with the pup for the past three weeks. He is doing obedience training and showing Deke how to be a loving and disciplined American dog.
“He is responding well to the training,” said Guild. “We are not going fast at it because of the defects with his front legs. When he is moving he looks normal. When he is sitting that’s when the symptoms present worse.”
Manukian and Guild both say that Deke’s condition is not causing him any pain. The problem seems to be muscular and not bone related, but they will learn more about it and what can be done when the dog goes back for a follow up exam on July 5th.
“We needed to wait and see how Deke would respond to the training and better nutrition,” said Manukian. “The vet told us he was too young to be operated on and that we needed to wait for x-rays to decide what could be done. That’s what we’ll find out on our next appointment.”
Guild says that surgery will be the only thing that will fix the legs. “The [better] nutrition has helped a little but it won’t fix the problem.”
Manukian wants Deke to find his forever family and learn what it feels to be a spoiled, loved dog. Coastal German Shepherd Rescue will continue covering Deke’s medical expenses but Deke won’t be available for adoption until there is a medical plan set in place and until Deke is ready to attend adoption fairs.
“Deke needs the right home and owner for rehabilitation after his surgery,” said Guild. “If I could take Deke, I would. His rehabilitation will depend on a controlled environment. A home might not be ideal.”
When Deke is ready to be adopted he will require a home that understands him and a strong leader he can bond with. More than anything, what Deke needs is emotional and mental rehabilitation to get him ready to be a house pet. An experienced dog person would be his ideal future owner.
Deke was saved from the streets of Armenia but he now needs help getting the surgery that will allow his front legs to look and fuction like the legs of any other dog.
“When Deke looks into your eyes your heart just melts,” said Manukian. “He is very affectionate and loves to be on your lap. When you see him walking that way, it hits you and you just know you have to help.”
Visit Coastal German Shepherd Rescue’s PayPal donation link to donate towards Deke’s medical costs. If you are interested in adopting Deke, contact Coastal German Shepherd Rescue.