We got Lou Lou, half Westie half Italian Greyhound, a few months ago. She came from an abuse case in Texas. There were more than 30 puppies in a home. When the owner found out that she was going to face charges with running a puppy mill, she locked the doors and took off. For a few weeks these dogs were alone. Most were in very bad shape. Lou Lou was still a baby at the time and her mother took care of her well.
Authorities picked up the dogs and took them to a rescue in Texas. There are so many dogs needing adoption in Texas that they opened a shelter in Minnesota to transfer them too. All 30 of the puppies were loaded up and driven across country. When they were almost to the Minnesota facility, Lou Lou got out of her pen and they could not catch her. For about a week she was on her own in a rural area that is populated with wolves, coyotes, bobcat, bears and eagles. She somehow was found and because of her microchip, she was brought to the facility.
I had contacted the rescue a week or so earlier and told them about myself and how I was looking for a forever friend. We live on a small farm in Northern Minnesota where we raise our four children. My husband, Justin, and I are both disabled Navy veterans. Justin was injured and I have severe anxiety, depression, panic disorder and PTSD. I was just looking for a dog that was needing of some love and comfort as much as I am. A few days after Lou Lou was returned, they called me and explained her situation. She was very nervous and scared. She has high anxiety and won’t eat much. I packed up my car for the two hour trip and went to get her. I know right away we were just made for each other. Right away I noticed that her jaw was crooked. I called my vet and got her in to see her right away.
During that time when she was loose on her own, her jaw and several teeth were broken. By the time I adopted her, parts of the broken jaw were rotten and she could not chew. We didn’t know the severity of her injuries or that she was even injured when we brought her home. A surgery right away that day to try to stop the rotting was necessary. We spent nearly $1,000 that day plus her special milkshake-like food she had to eat through a muzzle (to hold her jaw in place) since then. It would be 8 weeks until she could take her muzzle off for an appointment. They were not convinced that their surgery was a success so we made an appointment with a dental specialist, but it would be a month until we could get in.
Since getting her I have made huge strides in my recovery and my anxiety is almost none when she is with me. Years of insomnia fizzled away as she lays on top of me to sleep. We are the same. I needed her as much as she needed me.
She was not a normal puppy. She didn’t want to play. She just wanted to chew on things like a normal dog. But slowly she came out of her shell and will wag her tail and chase the children as they run playing. She has learned that the sound of the blender means I am making her runny food she can drink. And she goes with me everywhere.
Finally it was time for her appointment. She will still need one more surgery, but she will be just fine. Crocked mouth, but a normal puppy.
I am in the process of worrying with my veterans Association psychiatrist to get her registered as my service animal.
I am grateful for a group of people far away who saw my worth and wanted to help my sweet baby.
Update October 14, 2021:
Lou Lou can move her jaw. They decided that the risk of the surgery making it worse or not helping at all was not worth the cost of doing it. She will always have a crooked mouth but if they pull her k9s, then her teeth won’t hit the roof of her mouth or her lip. She probably won’t ever be able to have a hard bone to chew on, but they said she can have stuffy toys and will be able to eat normal food and treats. They said to take the muzzle off after her last appointment since it was most just causing sores on the outside of her mouth. She has been crazy happy since then! We think the muzzle was making her depressed. Until they pull the teeth and for a few weeks after, she will still be on the liquid food and then we will be mixing it to get her on normal food. She played with her first toy the other day! It was a unicorn dog stuffy toy. She takes it with her everywhere! There is a possibility she may have arthritis issues in the future but the vet was pretty confident that she should be just fine.
Update October 28, 2021:
Lou is out of surgery and a little sore and groggy. She will be on pain meds for a week and in two weeks can eat normal puppy food! The Dr. said she did wonderful and there were no issues!
So forever grateful!!
Update October 30, 2021:
Lou Lou had a rough night. She was sneezing and rearranging her mouth all nigh. They said it would be normal for the runny sneezing nose because of how close the k9 is to her sinus. But that seems to have cleared up today! She doesn’t mind taking her pain meds because she gets to share a small taste of pudding with the kids! It makes her sleepy though. But she seems totally herself other than tired! We even caught her trying to steal my oldest sons slippers! She has a rug in my room that she brings all her treasures too. Her stuffies and other toys and anything of the kids she decides is hers as well as a few socks haha! The vet said by the baby teeth she had left, she was born at the end of February some time. Just a baby!
We are excited to see what she thinks of “real” dog food in a few weeks! We will let you know! Thanks again!
Update July 17, 2022
What can I say about this sweet girl? Lou Lou helps me wake up with a sense of purpose that isn’t a responsibility (I have a lot of those). Whenever I’m starting to have an anxiety attack, she’s right there, putting her face up to mine, saying ‘Hey. I’ve got you.’ When nightmares creep in or insomnia, she lays on my chest and helps me sleep peacefully. We are brave for each other. We have both been through so much trauma. She was afraid to go outside. I was afraid to go anywhere. She was worried something bad would happen again. So was I. She was broken physically when I got her. I was injured in my brain. We needed to see our struggle in each other. From the moment she saw me, she hasn’t willingly left my side. She knows I will keep her safe and has learned that bad things are not going to happen again. She has been through so many surgeries and treatments and now she is healed. I’m still working on mine, but she is right there with me, proving that it can happen. Proving that you can live happily in the present despite what has happened in the past. Somehow she always knows what I need. I think it’s because she can truly say she has “been there”. She grounds me in my anxiety, comforts me in my depression, brings peace to my panic, love in my sadness, bravery to my fear, and laughter to my darkness. I have a lot of healing left to do, but because I have her, I know it can get better. She will sit with me and face it with me. Just like I did for hers She has proved it time and time again. Through heart ache, through medication withdrawal, through failures and success, through setbacks and breakthroughs, through crippling fear, debilitating depression, she is there. Hundreds of times Justin points out how Lou Lou and I are the same and going through the same things. And he shows me how strong she is. And how I am, too. Happy One Year Adoption Anniversary Lou Lou. We saved each other.