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In Loving Memory of Persy: June 16, 2007

We lost Persy last night, June 16, 2007. On Friday afternoon he had what my vet called "probably a mild stroke".   I had gotten him to the vet within about 45 minutes of the attack and he was given an injection to help with the effects of the stroke.  Persy came home with me.  By evening he was eating, drinking and walking on his own, but doing some circling. 

Saturday he had a good day.  In the AM he went to the park to sniff and mark and lounged in the yard with the other dogs where I was working until it got too warm.  Saturday evening after having napped in the AC of the house most of the day, he had another attack.  This time it was a grand mal seizure followed by about two minutes of agonizing vocalizations as if he were in tremendous pain.   It was horrible that I couldn't comfort him.

  Persy was rescued on June 11, 2002 and brought into a Michigan shelter where he was aptly named Perseverance. He came to me five years ago having endured more than any creature should ever go through.   He had to go through 5 surgeries to help correct various complications from the bullet that shattered his jaw.  He was always so stoic through all of it and never showed any sign of pain.   Over the past year, Persy had been growing increasingly fragile and "old man-like", but still very much a happy boy.  Last summer, he couldn't rise off the floor on his own, but acupuncture and herbal therapy totally improved that.

   Considering his past, Persy could have been fearful of people, but instead craved human attention and always politely demanded pats and hugs from everyone he could entice to pet him.   He was a certified Social Therapy dog through TD Inc.  Persy was a very gentle trusting soul and the sweetest guy I've ever met.   Having Persy in my life has always been a gift to me.   He has epitomized the purpose of rescue.

Spirit of Perseverance Fund

Celebrate Persy's life with your contribution to help fund
veterinary services for MWCR foster Collies with traumatic injuries.  

Your donations to the
'Spirit of Perseverance Fund' are tax deductible. Thank you!

Did Persy or his story touch your life?  Please share your memories with us here: 

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** If you note that permission is granted, portions of your e-mail may be posted on this site in a memory page for Persy.

Persy in June 2007

Read the inspirational story of how Persy came into MWCR  - story below

Persy has been Adopted This Collie has Special Needs

by his foster mom!

Latest photos of Persy

Latest Update on Persy

 Persy's Adoption is Pending!

This article is about a collie named Perseverance.

His story will break your heart...


Perseverance...  We call him Persy for short and you will learn through photographs and reports just how appropriate this name is for him.


We first became aware of Persy when we got an e-mail from the Menominee Animal Shelter in Michigan  telling us about a purebred male collie they wanted to place with a rescue organization.

Persy had been running loose for over 2 months in the county and he was covered with mats, sores and of course ticks and bites. 

Their Shelter’s vet recommended shaving off his coat so they could treat his sores.  He was afraid that Maggots would start to hatch in the sores.

His jaw had been broken and they thought he would need surgery to repair what had healed incorrectly.  He had not been neutered.

The Shelter said that Persy is as sweet as the day is long, and just longing for love and affection.  He was extremely gentle and trusting despite the condition he was in and what he had apparently gone through.


Their Shelter is small and it did not have the resources needed to provide Persy with the care and treatment he was going to require.  They wanted to place him with an organization that would find a loving home for him during his recuperation and ongoing care.


We came to discover that his jaw was broken because he had been shot in the face or in the head and the bullet fragments or shot was still in the jaw.  There is a scar on his head and the vet believes the bullet grazed his skull and lodged in the jawbone.


While the vet had Persy under for x-rays, they neutered him and decided also to do a dental, since the teeth were in such bad shape along one side of the jaw.  Two teeth broke off during the x-ray procedure.  Several of his teeth were badly infected and draining, so four back teeth were pulled.  The two vets who did surgery said the poor dog must have been in absolute agony, and it's a wonder that he didn’t develop a blood infection.  They felt that he would be able to eat almost anything once  the mouth heals from surgery, so they did not recommend anything further.


Based on the appearance and condition of his teeth, Persy could be nine or ten years old but based on his overall health, the vet feels he is closer to being four years old.


Amazingly, he tested negative  for both heartworm and Lyme disease.


It has been determined that Persy will probably not have to have surgery on his jaw.  The four veterinarians who have seen him have all said that his jaw injury was not a new injury.  Surgery might help but not that much.  It would involve re-breaking the mandible in two places to correctly realign it and then an external apparatus of wires would be attached to eight pins that would have to be imbedded in his jaw.  For his jaw to heal correctly this apparatus would have to be in place for two months.


At this point, surgery would be more cosmetic than a medical necessity.  It will not significantly improve his quality of life or improve his ability to take in nourishment.  The four veterinarians have all said that the jaw is not causing him any pain and the cure would be worse than the injury.


Persy’s main trouble with eating was due to the several rotting, decayed, and pus-oozing teeth that were surgically removed.

Through all this, Persy remains friendly, curious, and alert perhaps because of the slightly quizzical expression that his jaw causes.

Persy is still eating mostly softer foods but he does get a small amount of hard food each day.


The bullet fragments that remain in his jaw and in the roof of his mouth should not cause him any problems.


With everything that he has been through, Persy is amazingly friendly, happy, and personable.  One of the vets made the point of saying that, despite all the head and mouth issues this boy has, Persy is not at all head shy, and lets you poke around in his mouth at length.


Persy is now in long term foster care in Minneapolis, MN.  Despite the fact that he has a longer recovery period ahead of him than many of our other Collies in rescue, his foster mom believes that Persy will find his forever home once he heals from his wounds, puts on some weight, and starts to grow his coat.  He only weighed 40 lbs when he came into the shelter.

Perhaps in the fall of this year. 


Getting acquainted...

A little shy, but isn't he adorable!


 Enjoying a little nap

 Checking out the countryside

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Ramon and Persy

Tasha     Daisy     Persy


Sharing a delicious meal

Persy at Play

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Ramon and Persy

Persy  Tasha  Major  Daisy



Persy was fostered in Minneapolis, MN and adopted by his foster family.


Latest photos from Persy's mom:
Click for larger image

7/16/02: An update on Persy's from his foster mom:


He could not possibly be more sweet! He is so very polite.  He wags his tail quite often (bald rat tail... it's like a whip!).  His expression remains that slightly quizzical but penetrating look .  He makes great eye contact and still has that spark we saw initially in the pictures that were forwarded by Kim when we first learned about him.


He has very short fuzz all over his body and extremely dry skin from the scabs.  A few areas are still a bit scabby, but it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all.  He gets along famously with my kitties as well as with Tasha and Daisy.  He loves to run around the yard with Tasha and seems quite fit. I have not heard him bark once (Tasha and Daisy make up for it though).


Last night my goal for Persy was to learn the stairs.  My house is a 1 1/2 story so he has two sets of stairs to navigate for full foster mom following range.  Tasha was very patient helping to teach him go up and down the stairs.  She walked very slowly next to him...it was really cute.  He's still a bit wobbly, but now is freely going up and down the stairs on his own.  I'm getting to be an expert teacher at stairs since neither Daisy nor Tasha knew about stairs before coming to live with me.  It's a HECK of a lot easier with another dog around to show them the ropes!  It took Daisy two weeks!


One sad thing is that I think that poor Persy has some troubled dreams.  He was sleeping next to me while we were watching a movie last night and he was either chasing something or being chased and it seemed like he was scared.  I just stroked his side until he calmed down.  Poor baby!  Made me cry to think what he's been through.


It's heartbreaking to think that he can be so friendly and sweet, trusting and loving after all of the hardship he's endured at the hands of humans.  He looks at you with pure trust and "love me" is clearly communicated through his eyes.  Persy does have an Elvis curled lip ala "Thank you...thank you very much!"  Most people haven't noticed a problem with his jaw at all.  He's eating just fine and a LOT!  His digestive system is working just great and normally as well. Thank goodness!


We are going into my vet first thing tomorrow just for a general check-up and to have them be familiar with him... just as a precautionary measure.  Persy seems like he's very much on the road to recovery. I'd like to be able to help him with the dry skin though.  Sleeping on the office doggie bed next to me as I type.


Several of my neighbors have been over visiting.  One neighbor brought her 1 1/2 year old grandson and Persy couldn't have been more gentle and sweet with him.  Sniffed him a bit and wagged his tail.  What a gentle soul Persy is!  Seems to be very accepting of new situations and new people.


He is afraid of fireworks... he and Daisy both... great!  I am imagining that thunder will be the same story.  Hopefully he'll settle in a bit before we learn about that.


I think that's about it.  He seems quite happy to be here and we're happy to have him.





7/25/02: An update on Persy from his foster mom:


I've been on vacation for a few days "Up North" with my family... the whole gang. Dogs too. It was quite an event.


Persy remains one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met.  He is the perfect houseguest and quite a gentleman.  After being mistreated at the hands of humans, he certainly trusts them now.  He is very gentle, but playful with the other dogs at times. 


He is great with kids, however, he got a bit overwhelmed with all the activity during our vacation.  He spent a lot of time back in my bedroom in a crate with the door open.  He would periodically come into the hallway and peek out to see what we were up to.  He does not spend much time in a crate at my house, although he has the option at all times.  I think that all of the noise and general chaos that comes with having a big family was a bit much for him. 


He was pretty easily coerced out by different members of my family; brothers, teenaged nephew, little kids.  He just needed an extra invitation to venture out and then go back to where he felt safe.  Any noise that is sudden and loud frightens him...understandably.  Screen door slams, cupboard creaks, car door slam, hammering... SCARY!   So far, he's concerned about thunder, but not totally freaked out.


My nieces and nephews helped walk the dogs and Persy was great with them at all times.  He does pull on the leash a bit, so it didn't work very well with my 5 year old niece.  We've been working on Persy's recall and tested it on the trip.  He was off leash for some walks down the sandy roads in the woods and stayed right with us at all times.  He seemed like he felt very comfortable with this and came right back with a mere whistle.  I'm confident that he now knows his name is Persy (either that or he thinks it's "good boy"). 


I'll take a sample into the vet tomorrow to re-test for the giardia.  Healthwise he seems fit and stronger.  His skin is no longer scabby, but he still has a bit of dandruff.  His fur has grown out so now he resembles a smooth collie rather than a bald one.   It got quite chilly the other night up north so I put him in one of my tee shirts.  His fur will be a beautiful dark mahogany color.  He's been eating great.  Wants to have some crunch to his food.  He also likes chew sticks.


Everyone who has met Persy is smitten with him (including me!).  He loves to be close and follows me everywhere.  He likes to lean on me and get pats and hugs.  He looks to me as much as to the dogs for guidance.  He has had no accidents in the house. 


In terms of a family situation that would work for Persy?  I think he might like to be an only dog if he could sometimes socialize with other dogs.  He's quite jealous of the affection I show other dogs, not in an aggressive manner, but merely scoots his head in to edge out the girls.  Daisy knows this trick too!  Persy would be ok with a family that had quiet children.  It would be very jarring and upsetting for him to be with a boisterous and noisy family. I've not seen him be afraid of any people at all as long as they are gentle and quiet with him.   He seems fine with men, women, children and cats.


Persy is quite a special boy and very easy to love.  He wags his tail often and "tells" me how grateful he is to all of the people who've helped him.  He has the capability to melt your heart with those penetrating eyes and happy tail.  He would make a great therapy dog.



8/08/02: An update on Persy from his foster mom:

 Persy is such a love! He becomes very shy when there are unfamiliar people at our house. He prefers to view things from a safe vantage point when I have guests. I feel that he would not do well in a boisterous household. Whenever things get too noisy or his space gets invaded with too many people he retreats to a crate. (I keep crates around the house for "doggie private time" privileges - the dogs go inside the crates and the door is open so they can leave when they wish). Normally, Persy likes to be near me at all times when we are at home. I don't get a whole lot of privacy! If he wants attention he will come and put his big head in my lap and wag his tail. Who can resist that?!


When he first arrived at my home, Persy was reluctant to venture outside at night unless he was leashed and I went out with him. Even into my fenced back yard. I think he feared that he would not be allowed back inside! Poor guy. He is growing more confident about being outside alone and will bark if someone approaches the yard. He has a lovely big full collie WOOF. When Daisy and Tasha bark too much(!), Persy will whine at them. He does NOT like to go outside into the rain. Thunder concerns him, but he does not panic about it. Firecrackers and sudden noises startle him greatly which is understandable after what he's experienced in his life.


Persy is very social when we visit the dog park. He likes to greet every dog and person. Often quietly following people until they notice that he has been patiently waiting to be acknowledged and has received proper attention. It's interesting that he prefers it quiet at home, but plays, chases and mixes it up at the dog park. He likes to herd the dogs as well. He will chase a ball and periodically bring it back to me. Tasha rarely lets him get very far with the ball because she thinks all ball chasing dogs need "extreme herding". Persy gets distracted and drops the ball when she nibbles him.


Persy never jumps on people, but he does have very strong paws and will paw my legs (OUCH!) if he wants my attention. He, like many other collies, will mouth me and nip and nibble my arms and legs. I would recommend that he not go into a home with small children because he does get rather rough with this. It's like he doesn't quite know his own strength. He would prefer being with quiet, older children.


As a result of Persy's jaw injury, he has a MAJOR backwash problem when he drinks. I have to keep rags by the water bowl because it gets pretty swampy around there. His jaw doesn't quite match up so he can't hold all the water in so it dribbles out. He also is a VERY MESSY eater. I have to wash my kitchen floor continually with him around. My collies get quite put out at the mess in the water dish, so I must refill the water dishes quite frequently... they do not want anything to do with the backwash factor!


Another issue that will come up for Persy is that he will have to have his teeth cleaned professionally more often than other dogs might. He doesn't have the normal chewing friction, although he does enjoy some crunch to his food and enjoys chew sticks as well. We are starting to work on my brushing his teeth, but so far he is not very thrilled with the concept.


He may have some other health concerns regarding his digestive system that I have been in contact with the vet on our Board of Directors about. Will update later about that when we get it all sorted out.


Persy was great for the news people, but as I mentioned, he was VERY shy when they were in the house. I had to do quite a bit of coaxing to get him in the same room with them. He preferred to watch from the safety of the hallway. Daisy, typical of her "Diva-ness", was furious at not being center stage. She did manage to get in a couple of shots though.


Persy will need a fenced yard. This seems to make him feel more secure to have boundaries. He actually runs back into the yard if something startles him!





9/11/02: An update on Persy from his foster mom:

Perseverance - he lives up to his name once again!

Persy, the stray Collie found in June, who had nearly 1,000 ticks, was covered with open wounds and sores, was discovered to have been shot in the face and possibly left for dead.  He again lives up to his aptly given name, Perseverance.  He is being fostered with me and is the absolute sweetest, most loving collie that I have ever met.

Already scheduled for a full dental surgery to check out a mouth that is distorted due to the past broken jaw still full of bullet shrapnel, Persy wound up at the ER vet last Saturday evening with a badly abscessed tooth.  He was drooling blood and pus out of the corner of his mouth.   We came home with strong antibiotics and some pain medication to avoid having to endure two surgeries in one week.  (Thanks to our board vet who advised that he could make it several days as long as his temp, white blood count and platelets remained normal).

Monday he was checked out by my regular vet to discover why he turned up anemic at the ER vet, but he rechecked with normal blood levels across the board, much to my great relief.  This is something that we will continue to monitor even though it may have been due to a machine level being slightly off.

Tuesday morning he went in for his surgery.  He loves everyone he meets, but for the first time he didn't want me to leave him with a stranger and it broke my heart!  Reluctantly, I left the vet's office with tears welling up in my eyes and a very full heart for this boy.

I was phoned in the afternoon during Persy's procedure and because I had had to leave my desk for a bit (my cell phone is mostly useless in my building) they couldn't reach me.  I understand that things got very exciting in the room at that time.  The dental specialist found my regular vet to confer about removing several teeth,but the most disturbing part was that they discovered that Persy has a gaping hole in the lower jaw from the bullet wound.

Hole in jaw with exposed shard


A floating piece of broken jaw had worked it's way partially out and has been irritating the back side area of his mouth and tongue.  The jaw piece is probably about 3/4 inch long and very sharp.

3/4" shard of broken jawbone

Persy's body was doing the right thing by attempting to expel the foreign object, but he must have been in agony with that shard poking in the back his mouth and tongue!!  The complication is that because the edges of the hole are healed open, the wound will heal like the hole of a donut - from the inside.  He may always have a deep crater in his mouth as a result.

In addition to that disturbing discovery, Persy lost 3 more molars (two on the left side, one on the right)  that must have also been quite painful for him.  All wounds were left open to drain and Persy is expected to bleed slightly from the mouth for several days as he recovers.  He must be much more comfortable now that all of those things are taken care of.  We will return to the vet in 7 days to check the hole in his mouth and make sure all is healing nicely.  He is on yet another course of antibiotics to ward off any post surgical bacterial issues.

I was so happy to see him last night when I picked him up!  His tail was wagging and he sat down and gave me his paw.  He is such a good boy!   He ate a small meal and had no vomiting last night, but we were both exhausted and went to bed early.

Persy lives up to his name once again!

It is felt that his continued dental problems are a direct result of the malocclusion of his jaw/teeth and not something that is systemic.  Because of this odd alignment, he simply does not have the normal friction needed to help keep them clean.  After he has healed from surgery, we will work on getting him used to brushing.

I'm home for most of the day to be with him, and he is resting right near me as I type  He also seems very happy and he ate a good breakfast of soft food.  There is still much drooling, but he is such a trooper!  What an amazing guy he is!  I can't tell you how terrible I feel that he has been in more pain.  He doesn't deserve to endure any discomfort in his life.

I thought you would all want to know about Persy and his latest ordeal.  I will share a photo of the jawbone shard and the hole in his mouth if you like.  I need to go into work for a bit to attend an important meeting and will do my best to get them scanned while I am there. 




9/21/02: An update on Persy from his foster mom:


Persy's latest vet visit-



another 1/2" shard of broken jawbone


Persy's visit with the dental specialist who performed the surgery on Persy last week, as you know, revealed that yet another shard of broken jawbone was protruding from the hole in his mouth/jaw.

I went back into the surgery area to hold him while they removed it. He really was a very good boy and seems to understand that everyone wants to help him. He is very sensitive about anyone poking around on that side of his mouth (go figure!). Attached is a scanned photo of the piece of jawbone which was about 1/2 inch long.


I was able to ask a lot of questions about this whole situation with Persy. The doctor feels that the hole is the bullet hole and the reason it is "open" is that when the bullet entered his jaw, the jawbone shattered and the flesh was cauterized by the heat of the shell. The hole is quite large, the edges of the hole are healed and will never cover the hole. Being a good MN country boy, the vet said that it looked to him to have been larger than a .22 caliber to have made such a large hole.


Gross, huh? Actually, quite horrific. It gets worse.


When the jaw was broken/shattered it was not fixed (obviously) and healed in a damaged position. What is now holding Persy's jaw together is a "callous" of calcified material that grew and is literally connecting things together. You can feel this callous from the outside of his face. The bone fragments are free floating and since they are not receiving a blood supply are "dead" His body is doing what it's supposed to do and rejecting them as foreign material, so they are being expelled through the open wound. He expects that in the future more bone fragment as well as possibly metal shot from the bullet will come out through that hole. Possibly up to a year of things being expelled through the hole.


When I asked him about surgery to remove the foreign objects, he explained that by performing surgery it would be opening up (no pun intended) the possibility of massive infection for Persy, because his system has been so compromised. Plus everything is so scattered throughout the jaw it would be practically impossible to get everything out.


I also asked about the possibility of reconstructive jaw surgery, but he said that it would be really risky if at all possible because the only thing in there holding things together was that callous. There was nothing to pin anything to. What used to be bone is now flesh. He also said that if a really good orthopedic surgeon could manage to fix his jaw that recovery would be 8-12 weeks for Persy. He would advise against it since it might wreck things for Persy's jaw permanently. The vet said that if it were his dog, he wouldn't attempt having any reconstructive surgery because of the high risk involved for Persy.


On the brighter side, he did say that Persy was probably somewhere in a range of 4-6 years old, could still use a few more pounds and that a year of good nutrition will turn things around for him systemically.


Today is the last day of Persy's antibiotics (the latest course) so we'll keep our fingers crossed about his immune system keeping him healthy! I've been feeding him yogurt (like any woman would do herself on antibiotics! <wink>). Someone mentioned some other homeopathic meds ... pro-biotics? Anyone have any experience with these?


I do have to say that as dire as everything sounds, Persy plays and runs and seems as happy as can be. He has such a sunny and charming personality! He's eating great and with much vigor! He doesn't seem unhealthy in any way and seems to be thriving. What worries me is that his pain tolerance is so high that it's very difficult to tell when something is bothering him. Poor guy. He's suffered so much in his past that this must seem like nothing to him!


The vet asked us to return in a few weeks to check the hole again, but you can bet that now that I know where to look we'll be doing some inspections!




11/06/02 An Update from Persy's mom:

Persy had a final post-surgery check on his jaw to examine the bullet hole.  I took him in to the vet alone and he was terribly shy and tried to hide behind me! Several days later I was back at the vet with Tasha for an ear infection and brought Persy because he had had a bloody stool. He was a transformed dog with his foster sister by his side. The clown was rolling onto his back asking for a tummy rub and pushing in front of Tasha to be petted as the vet was trying to obtain a sample from Tasha's ear. He certainly does get confidence from being with the girls!


The wound was healing nicely, although will always remain open. There is a concern that food may get stuck in there and there is also a danger of more bone shrapnel exiting the wound through the hole. Persy puts up with my periodic examinations very well. The vet reiterated his opinion that Persy's entire immune system and health situation will take a year of good nutrition to make him an entirely healthy dog.


Since the weather has turned cold Persy has been very stiff, so I spoke with the vet about this. We think he is arthritic. Poor guy just can't seem to catch a break! I've started him on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.  It will take several weeks to see if it makes a difference. He still very much enjoys chasing and herding at the dog park. I try to help him stretch out before any exercise. He gives big sweeping play bows. He is so cute!


Persy had his first trick or treat experience -


The other dogs were banished to the basement because they get too whipped up and bark too much at the kids. Daisy is quite put out with this arrangement every year - as you can imagine. After I got them all comfortably installed downstairs with chew sticks watching CNN I started back upstairs and Persy followed. I figured... what the heck? We'll try it.


When the trick or treat kidlets began arriving he never barked once at them.  He came up behind me as I was passing out candy and stuck his big head over the candy bowl to check things out. He wanted to see if anyone was there to pet him, tail wagging ready to say hello. He wasn't scared of the costumes at all. I was very proud of him. He is such a gentle boy.


That guy is really a treat! (all pun intended!)


August 2003 - Persy has further complications from his bullet wound!  Read about it here!

March 2004 - Still more complications - click here 

Fall 2006

Persy has been hanging in there as a distinguished Senior Citizen.  This summer he began having difficulty rising up from a slippery surface and his hind quarters began to weaken.  He had begun to sleep a lot during the day and have trouble waking in the morning.  Obviously, all of this rest was not giving him energy.

I brought Persy to Dr. Choi at the University of Minnesota Integrative Medicine (holistic medicine combined with traditional Western medicine) who prescribed some herbs that helped his energy level and some herbs to help his joint inflammation.  After examining Persy by looking at his tongue, analyzing his pulse rhythm and feeling down his spine - she announced that he was lacking in "Chi" (Qi), or basic life force.  After only several days on these herbs, Persy perked up considerably.  I'm so thrilled that his quality of life has been enhanced!  He has been more alert and more wakeful during the day.  He typically gets up without needing assistance and he seems much happier and is able to romp and play with the other dogs. 

The herbs aren't damaging to his liver where Western NSAIDS like Rimadyl would be, so I'm very happy to have found this option of treating his old age status to improve his life.

Since the last update, Persy became certified as a Social Therapy Dog to visit nursing homes and hospitals.  He also passed his Herding Instinct Test on sheep.

As always, Persy is incredibly sweet and good-natured.  He loves people and looks forward to any activity where he can be petted and mingle with his adoring fans.

Andi Wulff


Would you like to help the other Collies that we have in Rescue?  Of course your financial donations are always appreciated.  But there are many other ways that you can help.  Please visit our "How Can I Help?" page for more information.

Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue is a self supporting organization.  We do not receive money from government agencies or the United Way.  We are in constant search for financial support and rely on the private sector for donations.

Many of our veterinarian offices are very supportive of our rescue efforts and they have been generous with discounts on services for our foster families, but it still takes a lot of financial support from caring people in our local communities.

We are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service

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