Betsy - WestieMed Grant Recipient February 2016


Hi, my name is Sharon and I’d like to tell you about a gorgeous little Westie named Betsy.

I previously adopted Sally (formally Phylan), a Westie, from Many Tears Animal Rescue and occasionally checked out the MTAR website to see how other Westies were doing. 

I noticed a very small scared-looking Westie called Betsy on the website that wasn’t up for adoption because MTAR was trying to sort her ear infection/abscess out before she became available. She was an ex breeding bitch that was not treated for her ear infections, which lead to a blocked ear canal and a very large abscess. Betsy needed a major operation called a Total Ear Canal Ablation but the vet based near Many Tears Animal Rescue in Wales was unfortunately unable to carry out this vital operation on her because of the complications of the infection, abscess and the pain she would have to endure during. He suggested that she be put down

Sally Wallace, a long-standing fosterer for MTAR took on Betsy in the hope her local vet would be able to do the operation. Unfortunately, he was unable to carry out the TECA as he thought it would be far too painful for Betsy to be put through. The only solution left was to put Betsy up for adoption on the understanding that she may only have days, weeks or months to live and to have a final chance of as much pain-free peace and quiet, in a loving home, as possible. 

I happened to check the MTAR website a few days after she was put up for adoption and my heart went out to her instantly. Reading her prognosis cemented my resolve to give her the best possible end to an otherwise neglected and painful life. I have two other Westies and they instantly took to Betsy when I visited Sally to collect Betsy.  The very next day I took Betsy to my local vets called Newnham Court Veterinary Hospital to register her and have her ear checked over. Blood tests were taken and it turned out the infection in her ear was a nasty one (MRSA) that is resistant to all antibiotics bar one, which is injectable only. On hearing this I thought it would be all over for her but it turned out this practice had a specialist in ear complications such as this one. Martin Smith BVSc MMedVet (Med) CertVD GPCert (EM&S) MRCV is the specialist that saw Betsy and confirmed that he could do the operation. Because of this nasty bacteria that has infected Betsy’s ear, it would make the operation particularly difficult to do, due to removing as much of the infection as possible. There was also the possibility of facial nerve damage during the operation because of the very large abscess, scar tissue and possible growth around the facial nerves. The nerve damage would be cosmetic only and would not affect her quality of life. The ear canal had to be removed because the ear was completely blocked and the infection was trapped inside the inner ear and had burst through the inner ear wall to below the ear lobe causing the very large abscess. 

The initial quote for the TECA operation was about £2500 including medicines required. She needed the operation ASAP so, on the advice of Mrs. Sally Wallace, I set about starting a Go Fund Me page. With the help of the Westie community on Facebook, Sir Hamish McTavish Westie Rescue Fund, Westies Rescued UK and many other very generous people the donations to date have reached £2855. The vet’s bills have so far totaled £5,450 due to her staying in the hospital for two weeks following the operation trying to fight the MRSA. The MRSA infection has been eradicated but she has another infection that’s taken its place. Luckily this is treatable with antibiotics at home. She also recently needed a small piece of the ear lobe tissue removed because it wasn’t healing as expected. It’s been so painful for her to have her ear flushed clean that she’s been sedated for each one.

With the vet bills mounting each day I had to ask for help from WestieMed. I wasn’t guaranteed funding so when I received the email saying that the Board of Directors had approved funding and the full amount available, I broke down in floods of tears. I am eternally grateful to WestieMed for helping me to help Betsy.

I was expecting not to have Betsy for very long but it turned out she had a chance of recovery and a possible fulfilling life ahead of her. This is meant to be for Betsy. Her journey had bought her to one of the very few vets in the country that was willing and able to carry out this type of operation with the complications and increase her chance of survival. (Nothing was guaranteed).

Betsy is now recovering at home and her ear still has a way to go in the healing process but this has not stopped her happy sweet nature and she sure loves her hugs and kisses.   

I owe a great debt of gratitude to so many loving and generous people. Thank you to all who have helped Betsy and all the other Rescue Westies out there around the world. 


Update November 17, 2016

Sorry I’ve not got back to you. I’m in the middle of moving from Kent to Somerset, starting a new job and it’s hectic. 

Despite all the vet’s efforts, Besty didn’t make it. She went in for an operation to open her up further because the infection just kept coming back and the drugs were being changed to tackle it regularly. We ran out of options.

When she was opened up, it was found that the infection had spread down her neck and under her chin to her other ear. I got a call while she was on the operation table and still under anesthetic to say it would be kinder to put her to sleep. It was devastating but the right thing to do for her. I cried my heart out for her. 

I can honestly say I’ve never met a dog like her and no other dog will ever match her. I miss her so much every day. 

Thank you for your help and I’m so sorry that she didn’t make it. Without your help, I would not have been able to help her as much as I possibly could. We really did take it to the last hope. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I will be donating in the future, just very tight on money due to losing job. xxx

Sharon Elliott

Annie WestieMed Grant Recipient February 2016


Annie (aka Annabelle) was originally a breeding female in a Missouri puppy mill.  It is unclear how many years Annie was breeding in the puppy mill before she was sold to an individual in Springfield, MO.  Although it appeared Annie’s life would take a positive turn and she would soon be in a loving home with her new owner, Annie’s happy ending did not occur.  Annie’s new owner simply chained Annie to a tree in their backyard.  She did not have shelter in the backyard for protection from the elements nor did the family provide her with any love or attention.  Annie remained outside chained to a tree where she sat in mud and dirt the entire day. She was filthy and flea-infested when she was saved by the Westie Rescue of Missouri, Inc. program in the fall of 2015.  It is unclear how long Annie endured these horrible conditions.

Westie Rescue of Missouri’s mission is to prevent cruelty, abuse or neglect of Westies. They have amazing volunteers who want to see that all Westies have a warm, safe and healthy environment where they can develop to their full potential while we search for their new “forever” home.  Westie Rescue provided Annie with veterinarian treatment where she was shaved and treated for fleas to relieve her infestation issues.  She was also diagnosed with arthritis in her legs and hips at that time.  Annie was then transported to her assigned foster parent, Ben M., where she was nursed back to health in preparation for adoption.

We were looking to adopt a rescued Westie, and we contacted the Westie Rescue of Missouri in the fall of 2015.  Annie’s foster parent contacted us at that time to tell us that Annie was a five-year-old female, and she was almost ready for adoption. Ben advised Annie had difficulty jumping up on furniture or climbing stairs due to her arthritis; however, she was taking Rimadyl for pain twice a day, and she seemed to be improving.  Ben also advised he just received a five-year-old male Westie in excellent health who was ready for adoption as well.  He advised Watson was very energetic and active in comparison to Annie.  I couldn’t resist rescuing two Westies at the same time!  We were very happy to adopt both Annie and Watson!!

On November 15, 2015, we welcomed Annie and Watson into their “forever” home!  When we took Annie to our local vet for a checkup, he advised Annie had significant arthritis and he suspected she was older than five and suggested she may be seven or eight years old.  He recommended we continue to treat her arthritis with Rimadyl twice a day. Annie and Watson have become best buddies and they love chasing each other in the house and in the backyard.  After chasing Watson in the backyard, I noticed Annie was not placing any weight on her right rear leg.  This continued for a few days, so we took Annie to the vet.  He has diagnosed her with a torn ACL.  She will need to have her ACL repaired to allow the sweet girl to walk on her right rear leg. 

We are very grateful to WestieMed for being available to help our sweet Annie and so many other Westies. Thank you so much!
Kim and Don Knoche
Bloomington, IL

Update March 8, 2016

Annie WestieMed Grant Recipient February 2016
Annie WestieMed Grant Recipient

Annie had her ACL surgery yesterday and everything went well! She’s at home now resting comfortably.

The vet advised all of Annie’s joints are full of arthritis and her left rear leg has a minor tear in her ACL as well, so, unfortunately, I’m sure more surgeries are in her future.

Thank you WestieMed for the financial assistance your organization has provided to help Annie!

Kim Knoche

Update October 25, 2016

Annie WestieMed Grant Recipient February 2016
Annie WestieMed Grant Recipient

Annie is doing great! Her surgery went very well.

She has a little stiffness in her joints in the morning, but once she gets moving, she’s fine! Annie can now go for a long walk now, and she just started jumping up on the couch to sit next to me a few weeks ago, so she’s almost back to being herself!!  

I actually adopted two Westies at the same time. Watson is a male, and the vet thinks Watson is approximately three years old. The vet thinks Annie is approximately seven or eight years old…she definitely is an older Westie because this little girl has arthritis in all of her joints!

I’ve attached a photo of Annie walking with Watson!! As you can see, she is doing very well! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping our family with the expenses to pay for Annie’s ACL surgery! It was an unexpected cost we weren’t prepared for!

WestieMed is amazing!

Thanks again!

Kim Knoche

Zak - WestieMed Grant Recipient February 2016


Zak was advertised for rehoming. I contacted his owner who told me the reason for her getting rid of Zak was the fact he had growled at her granddaughter. From the picture she sent, I could see he had skin problems. I could cope with that and get Zak’s skin sorted. I was told if Zak did not have a new home in a few days he would be put to sleep.

I arranged to rescue Zak so I drove to her place seventy miles away. I was very saddened to see Zak when I arrived. He was in such a mess. He wouldn’t leave my side. He never went back to his owner – he just wanted to be with me.

I took him home and during the course of that evening, Zak became lame and really struggled to walk. I got Zak to s vet the next morning for a health check-up. This is when I discovered how badly Zak had been neglected. His nails were so long they were curling. He had a problem with his testicle and his small body riddled with infection. His gums were so swollen he could barely eat and his teeth were black.

Zak started on antibiotics he was sick when he ate. Zak has now been neutered and had dental work done. Seven (7) teeth were removed as well as two large warts removed from his face. It has now been discovered that Zak may have hip dysplasia. He has an appointment on February 29th with the joint/bone specialist vet so his care will continue. He is now in a safe and loving home for the rest of his life. 


Update May 24, 2016

It is with a very heavy heart I have to inform you our beloved Zak whom you helped and we rescued, passed away suddenly in May. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the help you gave us to allow Zak to have the operations. We are missing him terribly.


Rupp - WestieMed Grant Recipient - January 2016


We recently received a call from a local vet about a Westie in urgent need named Rupp.  He is five years old with severe skin allergies and his owners dropped him off to be euthanized.  The vet knew that with the proper medical care, right home, and time, he could recover.  Unfortunately, his family felt that they didn’t have the time, resources, and energy to care for him any longer and wanted him euthanized that day.  Instead, the wonderful vet convinced them to surrender Rupp to the clinic to give him a chance.  The vet called our rescue group and asked if we could take him in.

We didn’t even pause and said what time can we pick him up?  When our volunteer arrived she said Rupp had the worst case of skin allergies she had ever seen.  He was covered head to toe with open sores, oozing wounds, scabs, flaky itchy skin, and extensive hair loss.  He was immediately put on antibiotics, anti-fungal meds, pain medication, and medicated baths daily.  Even though his skin was really bad, the worst part of his condition was you could look into his eyes and see he had given up on life.  He was in a lot of discomfort and felt defeated.  He just wanted to be left alone to lay in his bed and had no interest in eating (and what Westie doesn’t want to eat).  

We knew that besides healing him physically, we needed to help restore his Westie spirit.  After a few weeks, his skin improved and his wounds were healing.  Best of all, he started to perk up, bond with his foster family and started to play with their Westies.   Toys started to interest him again and he even destroyed his first plush toy in true Westie fashion.  Despite all his progress, his itching was not improving.  The vet determined that we could continue to treat his flare-ups with medication, but his best chance of complete and full recovery was to see a dog dermatologist and start allergy treatments.  

Allergy treatments can work miracles, but they are expensive and cost more than we can afford, especially as a new rescue.  Fortunately, WestieMed has stepped-in to cover his allergy testing and treatment so Rupp can have a long, healthy, and happy life.  

We are so extremely thankful to WestieMed for being Rupp’s guardian angel and providing the funding for medical treatment he so desperately needs to he can recover and find his new forever home.  Thank you again so much!   

Preston Cares Network/Kentucky Westie Volunteers

Update December 23, 2016

Rupp - WestieMed Grant Recipient - January 2016
Rupp – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Thanks to WestieMed, Rupp was able to receive allergy testing, allergy shots, and daily medication to help control his severe allergies.   It was a long road for him to recover and for his hair to regrow.

We had many setbacks with flair ups and more medical treatment, so he stayed in his foster home for ten months total.

However, after a lot of searching, we found the perfect home for him in Louisville Kentucky. It seemed like it was meant to be since new mom Megan is a pharmacist and is very knowledgeable and comfortable giving allergy shots, medication, and lives only a few minutes from his vet dermatologist!  

He now also has a new Westie sister named Lexi who has shown him the ropes including where the squirrels like to hang out in the back yard.  

Without WestieMed Rupp would not be starting his new life.  Thank you so much for helping these little white dogs!

Morgan - WestieMed Recipient August 2009


Morgan, age seven years, was surrendered to Westie Rescue of Austin because the family had just been told he was diabetic and would need lifelong care, insulin shots, and careful diet.  With two small children in the family to deal with, the mother felt she could not handle the added stress, so they contacted us and brought him to our program.   We got him to our vet the following Monday and started the insulin injections, working gradually to establish the dosage level most appropriate.

Morgan had dropped from 26 pounds to 19 pounds in the three months before we got him.  He was in serious condition, but with the implementation of the insulin, he responded quickly and became stable.  However, within the first two weeks, he developed cataracts in both eyes and literally went blind over a weekend.  I finally realized what had happened because he kept bumping into me to follow me – he could not see!!

Our vet referred us to an animal ophthalmologist who said Morgan was a good candidate for cataract surgery.  His cataracts were well-formed and should be easy to remove.  But the surgery was going to run approximately $1500 per eye.  A new lens would be inserted to allow for better depth perception and restore his sight to almost normal.

His first cataract, in the left eye, was removed in early June and the change was dramatic!  For the first couple of days, Morgan was not sure that he could really see, but once the eye settled, he was thrilled!  We had to restrain him from jumping for a week, but he did not mind, and the healing went smoothly. 

We are planning on having the other cataract remove in the fall, so he can see again with both eyes and have better depth perception.  Morgan is such a loving and delightful Westie!  He is a big gun but thinks he is still lap-dog size.  He has bonded nicely to his foster family and will make a wonderful companion for a new family.

We are grateful for the assistance that WestieMed is providing so that Morgan can have normal vision again.

Update September 30, 2009

Morgan’s surgery is scheduled for October 16th for the removal of the second cataract, and he should come through with flying colors the vet said.  I will send you another update after he recovers.

Thank you again so very much for WestieMed’s wonderful assistance for Morgan!!

Barbara Ott 
Westie Rescue, Austin

Update March 2, 2010

Morgan is doing fine.  He had his second lens replacement in Oct. and it also was a success.  He can see beautifully.  We had a set back toward the end of the year when we were notified that Vetsulin was no longer available, and that is what he was on.  So we made the transition over to human insulin, went through several more glucose curves until we could establish a level of units that seem to stabilize him.  Now that he is on Humulin N, he actually has better curves than he did on Vetsulin.

Due to his diabetes, he got a few inquiries, but no serious potential adopters, even though his eyes were seeing again, and he was fairly stable on his insulin.  I was also preparing to retire from my day job at the end of December and making plans to move to Tennesse in February.  I felt that sending him to another foster home would be stressful for him, so I decided to bring him with me along with my own two Westies to our new home in Tenn.

Morgan has made the adjustment to our new home very well.  He was confused the first couple of weeks, and would not let me out of his sight.  Now that we have been here a month, he has relaxed and is settling in with our new routines.  I am home nearly all day now, and he still stays close but is content to lie on a doggie bed near me.  My own two Westies have also gone through the same adjustments, and my husband laughs now – he can find me anywhere as there are three little white dogs with their noses pointing to the closed bathroom door……

It looks like Morgan is now a member of our family.  He is happy and playful, and stable on twelve units twice a day.  I am still unpacking boxes, and as soon as I find my camera (it’s in a box somewhere….) I will send you some current photos.

My heartfelt thanks to the assistance we received from WestieMed for Morgan’s care and eye surgery.  He is such a happy Westie and very comfortable with us.  I love him to pieces.

Barb Ott
Retired from Westie Rescue Austin

PS – Westie Rescue/Austin is still alive and well.  One of my foster moms, Linda Duncan, stepped up to take the reins and has been busy rescuing and adopting Westies already.  She is doing a great job. 

Update July 29, 2010

Morgan - WestieMed Recipient August 2009
Morgan – WestieMed Recipient

Morgan is doing great.  He can see about as much as 85% as a normal dog, being restricted only because he cannot focus all that well with his artificial lens in each eye.  But he gets along great and is a happy camper.

I retired from rescue work after the first of the year and we moved from Texas to Tennesse.  During that time Morgan never got any interest in being adopted, primarily due to being diabetic and his age, so we adopted him and he came to Tennesse with our three other dogs, and he has adapted beautifully to his new home, here with us.  He will turn ten on Christmas Day, and I cannot imagine not ever having him as part of our family now.

Morgan’s diabetes is stable and he has regained his lost weight.  He is a sweet, gentle loving Westie, and so eager to please.  He is my shadow, lying at my feet right now as I type and sleeping beside my side of the bed at night.  His eyes have healed beautifully and the new lens has given him back his life.  We are eternally grateful for the help WestieMed gave Morgan toward the huge cost of his cataract surgeries, which came to nearly $3500 with the follow-ups and meds.

I have attached a photo taken of Morgan in our new home in Lawrenceburg, TN.  Isn’t he handsome!!

Barb Ott