Editorial Note: If you would like to adopt Rikki, please reach out or apply at www.mikeyschance.com.
We have good news about Rikki, a sweet Husky mix shot in the head and abandoned for dead in Washington State — she’s doing amazing, has largely learned “how to be a dog” and appears to be in the best of hands with her foster mom.
But on September 10, 2023, it will be a year since deputies found her, bleeding and seizing from the wound in her head in Franklin County, WA — and she’s still looking for her forever home.
Lydia, the emergency veterinary clinic staffer who took the call from deputies about Rikki and has been fostering her ever since, told Lady Freethinker Rikki is an incredible survivor and a fantastic companion.
“She had -1 house manners when she first came to me,” Lydia said. “She had to learn how to walk on a leash, how to be a dog, how to play. Now, after almost a year, she’s really become more comfortable in my home and more comfortable about life in general.”
Rikki has completed basic obedience and knows how to sit, wait, and be in a kennel. She is currently about 3 years old, spayed, vaccinated, microchipped, and DNA-tested — with results showing she is a mix of Husky, Australian cattle dog, Labrador retriever, Australian shepherd, Alaskan malamute, and Samoyed.
Her profile on nonprofit Mikey’s Chance Facebook page notes, “I love people and will use my ice blue eyes to look into your soul and make you pet me.”
While Rikki is happy to sleep all day in her bed, she’s also always up for a walk, Lydia said — adding that they enjoy walking together for about 3 miles, four times a week. Otherwise, Rikki doesn’t much like being outdoors unattended, given her likely history of being kept in her former owners’ backyard where she was treated “like a lawn ornament,” according to Lydia.
Rikki loves car rides, going to the park or coffee shops, and what Lydia described overall as “being involved” — whether that’s curling up next to Lydia in the evenings or shadowing her as she goes about her day.
One thing Rikki’s history has shown is that when caring people have stepped up for her, she has met them more than halfway.
When deputies called the clinic in 2022, they were looking for a humane euthanasia. But when the clinic staff saw Rikki, they knew they had to give her a chance.
“When you work in emergency, you see a lot,” Lydia said. “I was expecting a dog with half her head blown off, but she walked in on her own. The doctor looked at her and didn’t think she needed to be euthanized.”
The vet staff started treatments but decided to leave the bullet inside Rikki, deciding its removal likely would have caused more harm. Rikki survived, and Lydia started calling around, looking for rescues that might be able to take Rikki — including Mikey’s Chance, from which she had “foster failed” with a 3-legged dog who now shares her home.
“I said, ‘There’s this dog’….” She paused. “It always starts like that.”
Mikey’s Chance agreed to help if Lydia agreed to foster her, as Rikki understandably had some behavioral issues due to her trauma.
Lydia had to section off her house in order to introduce a wary Rikki to her three other dogs and also invested significant time into socializing her and teaching her to walk on a leash, play with toys, and remain peaceably in a kennel when Lydia was away from home.
“Now, she can basically meet any dog,” she said. “She can be loose in my yard now, and she doesn’t pace the fence anymore. She has been ‘cat tested’ and does well with dog-savvy cats. She also has done great with older children who understand how to be around dogs.”
Because she suffered from brain trauma, Rikki does occasionally have seizures. But the veterinary clinic has found a treatment plan that works well with her.
“Seizures can be scary, but when they are managed with proper care, she can live a very healthy and happy life,” Lydia said. “She runs, she rolls around in the grass, she goes for car rides with her tongue hanging out. The seizures don’t hinder her life in any way.”
Rikki will likely need the medications — a combination of a liquid added to her breakfast bowl and pills twice daily — for life. But they aren’t as expensive as some might think, averaging about $45 a month, and Rikki also is a trooper about taking them.
“She’s great about taking her medications,” Lydia said. “She doesn’t ever fight me about them.”
An ideal home for Rikki would be a family or individual with a non-chaotic house and a fenced yard who is willing to continue her treatments, take her for walks, snuggle up in the evenings, and remain patient with her as she continues to adjust to life and learn boundaries. Older children, dog-savvy cats, and another canine companion also would be a great fit for her, Lydia said.
“She just needs her own person or family who is willing to give her a little effort and time to adjust because she has had trauma,” Lydia said. “She had horrible owners, and she got shot in the head, so at times she can be a little weird. But she is an amazing dog.”
On the criminal end of things, Lady Freethinker has since learned that the man arrested pleaded guilty to second-degree animal cruelty charges and received a suspended sentence of 180 days (meaning he won’t serve jail time), 2 years of probation (during which he can’t own animals), and $650 worth of fines. The judge hearing the case refused a request for the defendant to pay restitution to Mikey’s Chance to cover the costs of Rikki’s care.
Lydia said that sentence, which she called a “slap on the wrist,” is frustrating — and we couldn’t agree more. But she’s remaining focused on what matters most.
“Rikki is safe and loved, and that is what matters,” she said. “Her socialization, manners, and just learning to be a dog have made leaps and bounds. She’s a happy girl who is all about snacks, naps, and hanging out.”
If you’re interested in adopting Rikki, or know someone who might be, please reach out to Mikey’s Chance or submit an adoption application at www.mikeyschance.com.
Otherwise, please share her story with friends, family, or on social media to help find her a loving forever home!