Sonny - WestieMed Grant Recipient August 2018


February of 2017, I went to the Humane Society of Broward County and laid my eyes on the cutest white Westie-mix. I knew at first contact I had to rescue him from possibly being put down.

After getting him home we voted as a family to name him Sonny because of his bright personality.

After a few months of having him, I noticed that Sonny walked to the left and then started to limp a little. It wasn’t until after I took Sonny to see the Vet a few times we came to the conclusion that x-rays were needed to be done to rule out cancer and get to the root of the problem. I agreed and even though they ruled out cancer they informed me that my son Sonny has Hip Dysplasia, a torn CCL, and Arthritis. The doctors felt like Sonny suffered from these conditions for a while and without surgery or intensive rehab he will become lame and damage his good limbs.

Sonny has a true Westie spirit and loves to play and be active, but with those types of injuries, he had to stay medicated and sometimes restrained to help the healing.

Although Sonny is a rescue dog he was the one who truly rescued me. Being diagnosed with Lupus three years ago my world seemed a little overwhelming and I felt alone in this process. Sonny came into my life this bubbly and loveable creature that stayed by my side during terrible Lupus flares, I would be remiss if I was to give up on him when he never gave up on me. As the cost of Vet visits added up and now the new cost of treatment I was at a loss.

Only with the help of WestieMed, I am able to move forward in Sonny’s intensive rehabilitation so he can be that typical over-active Westie that he was designed to be.

Thank you so much for assisting us with the care of our family member SONNY!

Melody Black

Selena - WestieMed Grant Recipient September 2017


In late June, I signed on Facebook to find that several of my many Westie loving Facebook friends had sent me, Director of Westie Rescue NYC, a link to a tiny seven-year-old Westie mix who had come to find herself abandoned in the NYC shelter. Her name was Selena, and she weighed only eleven pounds. She came from East Harlem, NYC, having been brought to the shelter by a neighbor of her owner after her owner had become too ill to take care of her. Well even in her bedraggled state, she looked cute-as-a-button in her intake pic. I knew I could not leave her there even after the shelter informed me that her teeth were very bad and that she had arthritis. She also had cataracts, but at that time, I didn’t know that she was practically blind. Selena’s condition put her into a precarious position. If the right person or rescue did not come along who was willing to take her, Selena could very well be put to sleep. Of course, I took her home with me!

The good news was that Selena had already been spayed before going into the shelter, so she didn’t need to have that operation, which meant that I could bathe her right away. Cute-as-a-button though she was, she was also very, very stinky!

More good news! The stains on Selena’s front teeth had made them look to be much worse than they actually were. After a dental that required only three extractions of tiny front teeth, Selena had a movie star smile to match her fantastic personality. And she showed few signs of arthritis. Almost immediately I had a potential adopter lined up for her.

Selena proved to be one sweet, sweet dog who loved nothing better than to be right by my side. She immediately got along well with my twenty-year-old cat and with one of my Westies, twelve-year-old Missy Paulette, who is usually very jealous. She didn’t get along as well with sixteen-year-old Casey Jane, but then no one does except Missy Paulette. When Casey Jane snapped at Selena, Selena didn’t snap back. She would only try to move out of the way. But Selena kept getting into Casey Jane’s way, and so I began to suspect that maybe she couldn’t see very well.

Soon it became more obvious that Selena could not see very well. When walking, if not watched, she would walk right into a building or off a curb. At home, she liked to stay in one place either on the bed or on the couch. When I would come into the room, she would gaze towards me, with an inquisitive unfocused stare.

Selena’s adoption fell through. The couple that was going to adopt her did not feel able to take on an almost blind dog.

By this time, I had fallen in love with Selena and I knew I had to find a foster home for her quick. Not only was I working long hours, but with three senior pets of my own, keeping her was not the right thing to do. Luckily, a wonderful foster home was found and Selena’s foster mother will continue with her story.

During the first week in August, Monica posted Selena’s story and photo on Facebook. I knew Monica already had two senior Westies, so I offered to foster Selena.  When Selena arrived, I took my Westie, Milo who is also a rescue, outside to meet them and go for a nice walk in the park right across the street. Milo took an interest in Selena immediately, and so did I. She is a little love bug. And when we met up with a friend of mine who spoke to her in Spanish, Selena’s ears perked up.  We realized at that moment that she is bilingual.

Selena - WestieMed Grant Recipient September 2017
Selena – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Selena settled in with us quickly. I noticed a difference in just a few days.  Her appetite improved, she loves her treats and she loves eating out of Milo’s bowl, even though she has one of her own!  She is a feisty little thing, very funny and a real charmer. All she wants is to love and be loved. I know she can’t see, but she looks at you as if she is looking into your soul. I now call her Lena. Here she is with Milo.

It was clear to me from the beginning that Lena couldn’t see well because she bumped into things a lot. She has walked into my front door head first.  When we got into the building elevator, she couldn’t see and her foot slipped down between the cab and the elevator shaft! Fortunately, I was able to pull her out quickly. It was so scary. And she has trouble seeing the edge of the steps forcing me to continually lift her up with her harness. Unfortunately, I walk with a cane that she bumps into and walks in circles around. I have tripped over her twice. She walks very close to me because she can’t see where she is going. After learning that WestieMed may be able to help with the expense, I took her to the ophthalmologist to see whether anything could be done for her to improve her sight, her quality of life and to increase her chances of being adopted. The vet confirmed that Lena has cataracts and they would only get worse, but they are operable. Lena is only seven and she is healthy other than that. Getting her cataracts removed will be life-changing for her.

Well even though she and I keep getting tangled up, Lena has made it very clear to us that she is happy in our home, and she doesn’t want to go anywhere else. I have watched her bloom in a short period of time. She has taken a liking to all of Milo’s soft toys, destroying quite a few of them, because she loves to rip the stuffing out!  Milo doesn’t mind, he would rather play with his ball anyway. The two of them enjoy one another’s company and get along perfectly well together. Lena does love being the center of attention, and sometimes I do need to remind her that she is not the only dog in the house. I am so very pleased with her progress. I very much look forward to the day when her sight is improved, because Milo and I love her and hope to adopt her once her eyes are fixed. Thanks to the generous grant from WestieMed this now looks very possible.

Update July 11, 2018:

Selena (now Lena) is doing very well since her surgery in January.  She has been back to Cornell for two follow up checkups and passed with flying colors.  The doctors were very pleased with the outcome.

When I first got Lena, she would cry like a banshee every time she went out for a walk. Since the surgery, she has calmed down significantly.  She has gained a great deal of confidence.  In the past month or so, I have really seen a difference.  She jumped off my bed onto a pillow so she feels confident enough to get down by herself.  This past week, when I take her to the dog park, she has ventured out to meet other dogs rather than just sitting on my lap.

Everyone loves her.  The nurses and doctors adored her. My other dog, Milo, had been her protector and big brother.  They have been getting along very well. 

Everything has worked out beautifully thanks to the help that WestieMed gave us towards her cataract surgery.  It made a huge difference for Lena.  I can’t thank you enough.  I will send you a photo shortly.

Best regards,

Pat Gorman

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

Merlyn - WestieMed Grant Recipient April 2014


Merlyn came to New York Westie Rescue from a shelter. His owners had surrendered the old boy saying that the wife had ‘suddenly developed allergies’ to him, but his condition told another story. He was underweight, arthritic, his coat was very thin and his skin was not in good shape. His teeth were a mess, as well. He was old, grumpy and didn’t see or hear very well and walked with an odd gait from arthritis. He also had a growth in his left ear and an ear infection. He’d never been neutered, so his prostate was quite enlarged and like a lot of old men, he dribbled a bit. Poor Merlyn really wanted to be loved but wasn’t sure how to respond sometimes when he got it. He startled easily and would snap out of fear sometimes. We weren’t sure of his exact age, but the vet estimated that he was probably at least twelve or thirteen if not older. He didn’t have any adopters that were very interested in taking him on, so NYWR made the decision to keep him in the sanctuary.

After proper vetting, a new diet, dental cleaning, and neutering, he seemed a bit more comfortable and began to settle in, although because of the damage done by the severely enlarged prostate prior to coming into rescue, he would have to wear a belly band most of the time. He soon appointed himself the Lord of the Manor and when we got another little old fellow, Egan, who was in really terrible shape, he took up his post as Egan’s guardian and would watch over him, a task that he took very seriously and continued until Egan was well on his way to healing.

Unfortunately for Merlyn, his ear was not responding well to treatment. The vet tried a number of things but nothing was working and his ear began to get worse. We finally made the decision to get a second opinion. The vet we took him to decide that the only thing that was going to end Merlyn’s constant discomfort with his ear was a partial ablation of the ear canal, which is a very expensive procedure.

Thanks to WestieMed, we are able to schedule this surgery for Lord Merlyn, and provide him with some comfort and relief in his old age. Thank you WestieMed for the great work that you do and making it possible for Merlyn to start feeling better!

Josie Smith, Director
New York Westie Rescue

Update July 14, 2015

I am sorry to tell you that our sweet, loving little Merlyn passed to the Rainbow Bridge on June 4th of this year. After the surgery that Westie Med provided the funds for, a biopsy of the tumor that had invaded his ear canal revealed that he had a rare form of cancer, ceruminous adenosarcoma. There was nothing at that point that could be done to help him so we kept him comfortable in our hospice program and he survived with a good quality of life for several more months. Unfortunately, the tumor caused a stroke and when he lost his quality of life we made the decision to let him go.

Thank you for making the surgery possible, and allowing him to live without the pain of the tumor pressing on his nerve, and being loved and cherished. All of our Westies are special, but there was something about Merlyn that made him extraordinary. He was an extremely loving, loyal fur baby who was grateful for every little kindness and always thanked me for everything with a kiss. It never failed. Before he would eat, he would say thank you. When I tended his ear, he was grateful and would say thank you. Right up until the end he took his thrice daily house patrols quite seriously and would check each room and door to make sure that there were no intruders. He guarded me with devotion and never left my side. I miss him terribly.

I am more grateful than I can ever express for the help that WestieMed provided that allowed us to be blessed with him a while longer, and for him to experience the love and care that he was so grateful for. There are not enough thank you’s in the world to fully express our appreciation for the wonderful work that you do. So many Westies count on you.

With Eternal Gratitude,
Josie Myers-Smith

Sugar - WestieMed Recipient October 2009


We received a call from the Olympia Animal Shelter in June 2009.   An elderly woman surrendered her Westie because she had sadly lost her home in a spring flood and she had never been able to recover after the insurance and the FEMA assistance and she had to give up her dog.  She could not feed herself let alone feed or vet her dog, so she left it at the shelter.   Sugar had an ear infection and some fleas, and the shelter asked for us to come and get her.  We took her to the vet, and lo and behold poor “Sug” had a plethora of medical issues.  She had a heart arrhythmia, heart murmur, she had arthritis in both back legs and her hip, she had a bad disk in her spine and an infection in her ears.   We did x-rays, sonograms, called in a cardiologist, and cha-ching our bill hit $900 and that was ½ off for rescue price (original bill was $1800).   Alas we sent her to foster care, where she was a bit grumpy, not too affectionate, and her mission in life was hunting and her goal was to kill a cat.  Unfortunately, the foster mom had six cats, and Sugar had to be relocated.

We eventually found an adopter for her.  Nice elderly lady who loved Westies.    Sugar lasted fourteen days and they returned her because she wasn’t affectionate, felt bored, wouldn’t listen, she was very stubborn and very unmanageable and cranky… so off she went back to foster home to chase cats. In August we found another adopter and she kept Sugar for about four days, and found her to be difficult, unaffectionate, stubborn, and as she politely put it … challenging!  Off she went off to yet another foster care.

At this point I was worried and the new foster mom called and said she seems to have something wrong with her vulva, and she is now peeing in the house and poo-ing in the house and licking nonstop.   Off we went back to the Vet.  This time we had to go to a new Vet as the original Vet stopped giving us a discount and was 100 miles the other direction.   The new vet said she had an infection but it seemed she had been on and off antibiotics and she wanted to do a culture to see what this infection was resistant to.  Her urine was too dilute to get a reading for any kind of bacteria.  The Vet also voiced her concern that she could have  kidney stones or bladder stones.

The culture came back with E-Coli infection, she was prescribed antibiotics, and she had to come back in three weeks for a recheck.   After the three weeks, she returned to uncover an underlying Staph infection and off again was the culture (at this point we are at another $800) and she was prescribed antibiotics again and we did a radiograph for stones.  We found none.

By October we were teetering at $1600 worth of bills (after the discount) and a dog who was challenging and no one was “enamored with“ as an adoption option.   Sugar was not very affectionate, she liked to be with other dogs, she didn’t engage with them.  No one was interested in adopting an eight-year old Westie with a heart condition, bad legs, arthritis and a disk problem, and to boot, not an overly affectionate dog.   Sugar’s idea of humans was mostly that they were put on this earth to serve her food, and she loved to be naughty.  She did have a great sense of humor if you liked a smarty pants attitude.  Numerous times her new foster mom just burst out laughing.   Sugar liked mischief, and if you tried to get her stuff, she would challenge you like the “she-devil”.  She would also like to grab your stuff, and run with gay abandon through the house on a wonderful gleeful chase.

Five months into rescue I thought – now what?  I have adopters who only want a dog as a companion who will play with their dog, like kids, go for walks, or is a cuddle bug and wants to be loved.  Sugar met none of the qualifications.   Five months later, and $1800 worth of bills I was very stressed and asked WestieMed for help to offset our cost.   They graciously helped us.

Sugar - WestieMed Recipient October 2009
Sugar – WestieMed Recipient

The sun finally shined through the clouds and Sugar is now adopted out on a temporary basis with a former applicant of ours who has adopted a Scottie and two Westies from us over the years.   She has three other dogs, and Sugar is in heaven.  She is in the group, does her own thing, and the owner has a lot of fun chuckling with her humorous escapades.  Her comment is that she keeps the yard free from cats, and squirrels and she takes her job seriously.  Our adopter graciously took Sugar into her home at no adoption fee, to give her a chance at life.  We have no idea how long Sugar’s heart will hold out, but at last, she has found a place to land, and is having a bang up time patrolling the back yard.  Here is a photo of Sugar and her new Mom taken November 2009

Karin Parish
Seattle Rescue Rep. Seattle, WA

Update April 14, 2010

Sugar - WestieMed Recipient October 2009
Sugar – WestieMed Recipient

Sugar is just fine and happy!   She lives in a cottage by the sea with wonderful gardens.  She has 2 brothers and a little sister.  The attached photo is, left to right: Ferguson, AnnieBelle, Sugar and Henry, on one of their weekly bath days!

When I acquired Sugar, I was told she was a “special needs dog”, but no one ever told her that! Despite her arthritic hips, she chases Ferguson around the house until HE gives up, and he’s several years younger. Suggie has quite a personality, and she’s actually quite funny, although grumpy in the morning when she doesn’t want to get out of bed and I have to go to work.

Suggie is currently on no medications (she did have her teeth cleaned last week tho).

Thanks for doing what you do, helping these little lost souls to have a better chance in life.


Update September 29, 2010

Sugar - WestieMed Recipient October 2009
Sugar – WestieMed Recipient

Suggie is just fine.  She’s got Ferguson, Henry & Annie as mates.  She has a wonderful life:  food, mates, a safe dry, warm house, a beautiful garden to play in and a Mommie who loves her!

Although Ferguson is about five years her junior, she chases him around and tuckers him out.  He entices a match, she goes for it, he gets tired first.

Suggie may walk funny & have a lop ear, but she doesn’t believe she has any special needs!  I get a kick out of her and I wish she could speak to me, because I also think she’s a very funny dog.


Pedigree Foundation Logo
Sugar’s care was funded by a grant from The Pedigree Foundation.
Mac - WestieMed Recipient December 2008


The story about Mac…the sweet old boy.

Mac came into the foster program in April 2008.  His owner was very ill with cancer and the wife didn’t want to deal with Mac.  He had been kept at the Vets Kennel off and on for up to two months at a time.  Mac turned 14 years old this month.

His skin condition was very bad.  Poor Mac had several hairless patches on his back and legs.  He was constantly biting his feet and legs.  Mac has several what I refer to as warts or growths on his face and ears and several on his legs.  The Vet has said it’s nothing to worry about but, he does have a face only a Mother could love with his bent ears.  But Oh what a sweet boy.

We offered to foster him here in Indianapolis, IN.  I had him for a few weeks and got him started on meds and a healthy diet.  He was then adopted by a husband and wife (both retired) who lived in northern Indiana.  We felt it would be a perfect situation for Mac.  Bless his little heart, just when he was getting used to his new surroundings off he goes to yet another strange home.

The people who adopted Mac after three several weeks decided that they didn’t want him.  They said he was snapping and growling at them and would stand and stare at them without moving.  It just broke my heart.

So, off he goes again to another foster home in Northern Indiana.  Prospects for Mac are not very good.  His sight is failing, he will be on medication for the rest of his life for his skin condition he has arthritis in his joints…and in true Westie fashion, he does growl & pretends to bite you if you want him to do something he doesn’t want to do.  I say he pretends to bite you because he never actually “bites” he just puts his almost toothless mouth over you.

When his foster Mom in Northern Indiana contacted me again about fostering Mac, I naturally said yes.  He is still here with us and I doubt that he will be leaving to go to another home.

It has been very difficult financially to make sure he has his daily medications but with the help of WestieMed, we should be able to carry on.

We are blessed to have Mac and will love him and keep him safe for the rest of his life.

Thank you WestieMed for helping us make Mac comfortable for what time he has remaining.

Pam Hammersley Westie Rescue – Indiana Volunteer

Update September 22, 2009

I wish I had good news about our little foster Mac boy.  Unfortunately, he went to the Rainbow Bridge on February 27, 2009, with congestive heart failure.

We certainly appreciated WestieMed helping us out financially.  I just wish we could have done more for him.  He was a wonderful Westie.

Mac came into the Rescue Program at age 12.  He was somewhat confused and had some difficulty adjusting to his new surroundings.  But before long he was sleeping with us and knew he was loved and well cared for before he went to the Bridge.

It’s always so hard to find homes for the older Westies.  If only people knew how loving and kind they could be.

We still miss Mac.

Pam Hammersley 
Westie Rescue – Indiana Volunteer

Wesley - WestieMed Recipient


October 2000:

We received our lovable Westie, Wesley, on July 8, 2000. The Westie Rescue service said Wesley came from an abusive/neglectful home. He was suffering from severe lung problems and was never properly treated for a broken leg. Arthritis had set in to the legs and hip area. Most importantly, Wesley was hospitalized for pneumonia in February, but these effects were still plaguing him. He was put on antibiotics to help the lung infection but all efforts were failing.

Wesley was sent to a internal medicine specialist where it was determined that he was suffering from chronic bronchitis. The course of treatment included a trachael wash which would swipe his lungs and determine exactly what treatment needed to take place to stop the “crackling” and coughing from his chest. In October, Wesley was finally medically stable enough to have the trachael wash done, and was also neutered at the same time. The rescue service believes Wesley is around 10 years old but we know that he has many happy years ahead of him!

The tracheal wash determined his lungs were still severely infected and inflamed and he has been put on more aggressive antibiotics to rid him of this problem once and for all. Wesley has also been put on medication for his arthritis which couldn’t be done until they determined what was wrong with his lungs. We know Wesley feels like a new dog since he’s been with us these last three months but we hope this will help him feel even happier and healthier.

Wesley - WestieMed Recipient
Wesley – WestieMed Recipient

Wesley has fit right in with our family. He loves his sister, another Westie we bought before Wesley. Madison is three years old and they love to wrestle and chase each other around the house. He also takes a daily walk with her around our neighborhood. They’re best friends.

Wesley seemed very hesitant of people when he first came to us, especially of men. He often hid behind furniture so he could feel safe when he feel asleep but as the weeks went by he came out of his shell and made his presence known. His Westie personality is shining through! He loves to spend time outside just looking around the neighborhood and barking at squirrels and rabbits. He loves to give kisses (he didn’t know what they were when he first came to us). He may be an older dog but we have taught him new tricks! He watches Madison and imitates her tricks, after all he knows if he does it he gets one of his favorite treats.

Wesley - WestieMed Recipient
Wesley – WestieMed Recipient

Wesley is a joy to have. He is absolutely spoiled rotten and loving it! Thanks to WestieMed and Westie Rescue of Greater Washington, MD, his medical costs have been covered – and they have been pretty expensive.

Second hand dogs do make first rate pets!

C.O., Hagerstown, Maryland

Clovis - WestieMed Recipient


May 2000:

Rainbow Bridge, January 2003

I took Clovis into foster care on April 22, 2000. Prior to coming to me, he had been in several ‘temporary homes’ in a very short time span. So, he was feeling very insecure. Disoriented and scared, he endured the long ride home snarling and crying. Looking back, I’m not too sure who was more scared – Clovis or me!

Once home, I thought the best way to help Clovis feel more secure was to get him used to his surroundings and into the ‘routine’ of things as soon as possible. Unfortunately, things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. As those long hours turned into days, it became very apparent that Clovis was suffering from more than just the stress and anxiety associated with his recent change in homes — he had some serious medical problems!

Within a day, I observed increased problems with his skin, the hot spot on his tail, and the ear infections — All of which were already being treated. In addition, he was drinking water excessively, gorging his food, vomiting, had gas & bloating, diarrhea, was dripping urine, had difficulty defecating, sensitivity to the back and tail, and was limping. As the symptoms worsened and his back & leg pain became more prominent, I knew this little guy required some immediate medical attention.

A visit to the veterinarian, with a thorough examination and x-rays, revealed that Clovis was suffering from many ailments. He had severe arthritis and some damaged ligaments — The result of injury/trauma to the back legs, hips and spine many years prior. Since the injury went untreated, Clovis had compensated for the pain by manipulating his spine (he often stood in the shape of a C), and shifting his weight to one side. The manipulation had also caused muscle loss in his left hind leg, which he would hold up or drag at times. Unfortunately, surgery was not a feasible option at that point in time – only long-term maintenance for the pain. The exam further revealed that Clovis was around 10 years old (not 6 or 7 as originally thought), and he had cataracts which had caused some vision loss. As if that wasn’t enough, he also had acute atopic dermatitis, epidermal dysplasia on his belly, legs and throughout his back, and yeast infections in both ears. Although blood tests were required to confirm a diagnosis, the vet believed the urine dripping was possibly related to an infection, and the excessive water drinking was indicative of diabetes or something more serious. Fortunately, those tests confirmed no infection, diabetes or serious diseases! So, this lead the vet to believe that the excessive water drinking and food gorging/vomiting was stress related, and he hoped those symptoms would disappear as Clovis became more comfortable in his surroundings.

Needless to say, all that news was quite overwhelming, as well as the cost of the medication and veterinarian bills incurred. And, Clovis would require further follow-up visits and blood tests to make sure he was responding to the treatments.

Even though I was able to give Clovis the love, attention and care needed to help him heal, I was not in a position to personally cover his overwhelming medical expenses. Fortunately, WESTIEMED stepped in and covered most of Clovis’ medical expenses — giving him a second chance at a healthier and happier life, and adoption!

Since that first visit, Clovis has had several follow-up exams and tests, as well as an emergency visit for an aggravated old head/neck injury. However, I am happy to report that he is doing remarkably well! He is very happy, and he is looking and feeling better each and every day! Although, he will require a life-long maintenance program for his arthritis and allergies, all of his other symptoms have either disappeared or they are currently under control with a good diet and medication.

Thanks to WESTIEMED, and a lot of TLC, Clovis was able to receive the necessary treatment to help him heal, adjust to a pain maintenance program, and have a chance to live out his golden years happy, healthy, and as ‘pain free’ as possible.

Thank you WESTIEMED!

Editor’s note: We are happy to report that Clovis’s wonderful foster Mom in Richmond, Virginia, is adopting him and making him a permanent part of her family. Clovis is one lucky boy!

Update – October 2000:

It has been six months since Clovis joined the family, and I am happy to report that he is thriving and adjusting to his new home, surroundings, and sister Chloe (a seven year old Westie) remarkably well! While the road to recovery has been long and bumpy, Clovis has made tremendous progress both medically and socially.

Clovis’ skin has completely healed, and his coat has finally grown out. In fact, he just got his first “Westie Cut” and looks marvelous! We continue to battle the perpetual ear infection, yet we are making progress. With persistence, the vet believes that we will beat this too! Unfortunately, there is no “fix” for Clovis’ past injuries and the arthritis he suffers with. However, the long walks, daily exercise, massages (his favorite part), and playing with Chloe help to keep him limber and on all four paws! He has not had any arthritis medicine for over 3 months – now that’s great news!

Equally gratifying to watching Clovis heal medically has been watching his social skills change and a new personality evolve. He has learned how to play instead of being a bully, and often shares his toys and food with Chloe. He is not as gracious with his treats — they remain under close surveillance and guarded until every morsel is consumed. Clovis says that he has to “draw the bone” on some things. Even though he continues to struggle with some jealousy – he would be most happy as the only Westie in the family – he is learning that there is enough love and affection to go around!

When everyone says that Clovis is lucky to have found me, I always reply that I am lucky to have found Clovis! He is a very special Westie, and I am grateful to have him in my life every day! Thanks to WestieMed, and all of the other people who have been instrumental in Clovis’ healing!

Clovis - WestieMed Recipient
Clovis – WestieMed Recipient

Update – September 2002:

Clovis could have ended up in another ‘good home’ – One that also provides shelter, nourishment, love, affection, exercise and medical care…but, I like to think that Clovis found the ‘perfect home’ when he came to stay with me and his big sister Chloe.

It has been over two years since Clovis first touched our hearts, and I’m happy to report that he continues to thrive and brings joy to our lives every day. We can’t imagine not having him around!

Today, Clovis is a well-adjusted and happy little man. However, every day continues to be a challenge as I battle his perpetual ear and skin infections, as well as arthritis from his prior injuries. I’m thankful for the times when things are ‘under control’ and when they aren’t…well, I just deal with it. Clovis makes it easy to care for him — He’s very accepting of the grueling routine. Even with very little hearing and sight capability left, Clovis continues to enjoy life like most Westies…playing with his sister, taking long walks, chewing the mail, protecting his food & biscuits, barking at trucks and digging!

I know that Clovis will require ongoing medical care for the rest of his life, but I remain forever grateful to WestieMed for their assistance in helping Clovis with the initial veterinarian care/treatment to get his problems under control. With WestieMed’s assistance, the initial medical care that Clovis received was instrumental in helping to make his ongoing medical maintenance needs more manageable today. Thanks again WestieMed!

Teresa, Clovis & Chloe Showalter

Update – February 16, 2003: – CLOVIS April 20, 2000 – January 21, 2003

It is with great sadness I report that Clovis went to Rainbow Bridge on January 21, 2003. In late November, Clovis began coughing and it was determined that he had a collapsed esophagus and bronchitis. Soon after, the bronchitis turned to pneumonia. Since his heart and lungs were strong, we were optimistic that he could beat the pneumonia with antibiotics and we would be able to treat the collapsed esophagus with long-term maintenance. In the weeks that followed, Clovis’ health deteriorated but he never lost his true spirit and will — He was a fighter to the end.

While Clovis’ time with me was short, he gave me a lifetime’s worth of love, joy, laughter and so many wonderful memories that will live on forever.


Teresa Showalter