Calli - WestieMed Grant Recipient March 2015


We picked up Calli from Tri-State Yorkie Rescue in Evanston, Indiana the morning of January 14th. We found her darling face on when we decided to look for another Westie after losing our little girl “Cotton” in December. She would have been fifteen years old this month. Calli was very fearful and wouldn’t make eye contact but sat quietly in my arms for seven hours till we got home in Michigan. She slept almost constantly and we attributed it to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and so just held her and loved her. She had never been out of a cage until her rescue, but with patience, she has learned to trust us and tries to please. She has learned to go through doors when opened and climb steps; she was so fearful of everything.

I noticed Calli’s ears were full of black “coffee grounds” looking stuff, so, thinking it was ear mites, the next day we took her to our Vet for a “wellness check”. He treated her for an extremely bad yeast and bacterial infection in both ears, mutating the ear canal membranes so much that they are almost closed off. She is very hard of hearing and can’t tell where sounds are coming from and therefore she bolts and cowers when startled. Surgery may be needed to open the canals at some time in the future.

She had two teeth removed because of rot due to sawdust being used as a filler in her food and she had also been spayed so we thought her lethargy was due to all the stress of these surgeries and also trying to acclimate to new surroundings. It was when she started to learn to play and run after her new “squeaky toys” we realized she had trouble breathing and thought that being so tired should not be lasting this long in a two-year-old dog. We took her to the Vet again and even though the “wellness check” had eliminated blood problems and heart issues, after two x-rays he diagnosed her with Chronic Bronchial Disease. He also re-checked her for Heartworms due to her lethargy. She has not responded to antibiotics or bronchial dilators and she is now on Prednisolone, which we were hoping she wouldn’t have to take because of the side effects. So far, tragically, she hasn’t responded in a positive way to any of these treatments. The sad thing is that now that she has learned to play, her disease causes her to gasp for air and she stops playing and now sleeps most of the time.

After another x-ray at the end of this month, to see if there has been any change after the prednisolone treatment, he has suggested that we will need to see a lung specialist. What that will lead to we don’t know.

Calli is such a sweet and adorable dog – very patient and good about all she has been put through to be treated for her ailments, and we haven’t even mentioned her footbaths for allergies. We were told about “WestieMed” by a really good friend who has also rescued many dogs. When we heard we were able to get financial support to help Calli have a healthier life, we were elated and very grateful. There will be ongoing expenses related to both, her ears and lungs. We will have to wait to see if we need to take her to a specialist because, so far, she hasn’t responded to any of the protocols our Vet has prescribed for his diagnosis of Chronic Bronchial Disease.

My husband and I are so grateful to WestieMed for their support and plan to love Calli and take care of her for the rest of her life. It’s been bittersweet – seeing her blossom and then realizing she has so many limitations.

Dorie Southwell

Update June 25, 2015

Calli - WestieMed Grant Recipient March 2015
Calli – WestieMed Grant Recipient

You last heard from us on March 20, 2015. Calli was on a steroid and was thought to have Chronic Bronchial Disease. Our vet felt that since she wasn’t responding to either bronchodilators or the steroid, we should see a specialist, which we did on March 31, 2015. Calli received an ultrasound from a veterinary cardiologist, was treated for lungworm and they ruled out a fungal infection in her lungs and Pulmonary Hypertension. She was then seen by a specialist in internal medicine. The final diagnosis was Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). The high humidity here in Michigan is making it difficult for her to breathe, so, our air-conditioning is on constantly, which is helping. We are keeping her in the house as much as possible as this helps

Calli also has many allergy problems which are causing her much distress. She is currently taking numerous Pharmaceutical and Natural medications that are not totally effective, but, it is better than it was. Additionally, because of diarrhea and vomiting, she has been diagnosed with colitis and so, is now on special dog food that seems to be calming that down, but seems to be somewhat allergic to it which is exacerbating the itching in her infected ears. She is driving herself “nuts” with the scratching.

We never know, from one day to the next, how she will be breathing. Even so, she is a remarkably happy dog and brings us much joy. We love her and are committed to keeping her comfortable for the rest of her life, however long that may be.

Dorie and Jim Southwell

Update February 15, 2016

The short life of our dear little Calli ended on January 2nd, 2016, two weeks shy of being with us a year. She was a precious gift and brought us much joy.

We read about cold laser therapy on your WestieMed website in November and found a holistic vet forty miles away and we took her for many treatments – twice a week for five weeks along with some enzymes that were to help break up the scar tissue in her lungs.  We did what we could to save her, but the Pulmonary Fibrosis was, evidently, too far advanced and we had to let her go.  

Thank you so much for all your support.  We will always be grateful for your help!

Calli was a special gift.  Even though she was with us for such a short time, she knew love and gave love.

 Dorie & Jim Southwell

Lola - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2012


Lola came to us in late September as an owner surrender. I picked Lola up late in the day after traveling for several hours and we headed for home, another four hours away, with two syringes of insulin in a cup of ice that the owner handed to us as we were leaving. Lola was very quiet until we made our first stop to meet with Steve & Mary Lou Mercurio, our very first volunteers for our new rescue that we had begun a mere month prior. We were meeting them on the way home to get some sorely needed supplies they had picked up and a collar they brought for Lola since she was surrendered without one. While I got out to stretch my legs, Mary Lou took Lola into the grass for a little walk and some relief while Steve went in search of insulin for our newest Westie. Once Lola had her potty break and some water, Mary Lou opened the bag of special kibble they had picked up for me and we gave a bit to Lola. When she smelled the food, she went wild and ate it so fast that she worried us. So we waited a while and then gave her another small bit; the same result. She would become frantic the moment she smelled the food. We were afraid to give her any more at that point, not knowing if or when, she had last had her insulin, as that information was not forthcoming from the person who surrendered her. She was scheduled for a vet to visit the very first thing in the morning, and we felt we’d given her enough food to get her through until the vet could give her a thorough exam. The rest of the ride home with Lola was not as quiet, because she knew that food was there and she was frantic to get to it, and she was just as bad with water. We finally made it home at about midnight and after another walk around the yard, it was time to turn in. Since it was her first night, I put Lola into her crate and put it in my room. It was not to be. The crate made her crazy so I let her out. We both needed to sleep. She cried and cried until I picked her up. Once in my arms, she settled down and fell asleep whimpering and twitching. She slept next to me the entire night as close as she could get.

The vet visit the next morning showed that Lola was significantly underweight at only 12.8 lbs. Her blood glucose levels were extremely high and she had a bad case of conjunctivitis in both eyes. It was at that point that we discovered that she was almost completely blind, a far cry from the “slight problem with her vision” that we had been told. The vet figured that she might be able to distinguish light, dark and possibly some shadows. She was also dehydrated and suffering from a really bad case of diarrhea and loaded with internal parasites of every possible kind. Through all the poking, prodding and needles, Lola was a champ. She stood still and let the vets and the techs do whatever was necessary with never so much as a growl or whimper. We left the vet armed with medications and a regime for her insulin, Lola leaning into my leg as we walked. She had become my little white shadow and remains so.

Upon returning home, it was time to collect the rest of the pack and bring them home. Lola was introduced to them one at a time and was very good with all of them. Never a growl or snap, no matter how exuberantly the others sniffed at her. She was equally good with Louie, the bulldog as she was with Shakti and Maggie, the other Westie girls. She sniffed Keeks the kitty very thoroughly and then groomed him, much to his dismay.

The first few days were a learning experience for both of us, me mostly, I think. I learned that Lola thought it was okay to potty in her crate and then eat and drink it. She soon learned that she could have all the freshwater she could drink and would be fed regularly and given healthy treats. I learned to recognize symptoms of low blood sugar in a little creature that couldn’t tell me how she was feeling. I learned not to underestimate the value of a dedicated veterinary team. She learned to use puppy pads when she couldn’t wait and to potty outside when she could. I learned to walk carefully so as not to tread on tiny white paws that were never more than a few inches from me, ever. She learned to trust and I learned that my heart could break multiple times a day watching a little dog who wanted to run and play and couldn’t.

As time passed, Lola’s diet was adjusted and blood sugars brought under control. She still suffers from some bouts of colitis occasionally but is doing much better now that she has been on a grain-free allergy diet and getting some additional home-cooked Westie diet. She still has a hearty appetite and will eat just about anything, given the chance, so vigilance is a must.  She takes her insulin injections very well, stands still and never flinches or cries.

As she began to feel better, Lola wanted to be a part of the pack playtime. Unfortunately, because she cannot see, she wasn’t very successful as a playmate, always bumping into the other dogs and not being able to see the ball or whatever toy they were playing with. She would try, and then after getting a couple of growls from the others, would sit back with a wistful look on her face. When outdoors, she tried to run with the others but would stumble, bump into things, or trip and finally, give up and come back to my side to become the little white shadow once again. She no longer tries, although she sometimes forgets herself when she gets excited that someone’s come to visit and runs to greet them only to bump into the door. We’ve nursed more than one sore nose these past couples of months.

Lola has a very sweet disposition and has never met anyone she did not like man or beast. She is a very lovable, social little dog; no longer shy, timid, frightened or frantic. Lola is happiest cuddled in your arms or next to you, but she does like to be outside and feel the wind in her fur and sniff the places where the squirrels have run. She is the sweetest, most gentle little creature I have ever been blessed to know.

Her life will change now, thanks to WestieMed and the incredibly generous Westie community around the world. She is scheduled to have her cataract surgery on December 27th. She will “see” the New Year in, in a new way; and I believe that we will see a new Lola, as she discovers the world around her. I may lose my “little white shadow”, but she will gain a whole new world of wonder. That’s a very good thing.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Those words are inadequate to express our gratitude for the gift you are giving this sweet, gentle, 3-year-old little angel dog. We will continue to keep you updated with Lola’s story and progress.

**Lola is currently sponsored by Steve & Mary Lou Mercurio. They provide the funds for her insulin and supplies every month in honor of their dear Chloe, who was also diabetic and now runs free at the Rainbow Bridge.

Josie Myers-Smith
Westie Rescue of Western and Central New York

Update January 18, 2013

Lola and I arrived at the vet yesterday morning, 1/17/2013 at 7 am. When I pulled into the parking lot, Lola started to vomit. I wasn’t surprised, because she had fasted, and with her colitis, she sometimes spits up a little bile if her tummy is empty for too long. We were ushered into the exam room almost immediately and Dr. B took another look at her eyes to make sure that all was well. Everything looked good to proceed with the surgery. She had the surgery yesterday afternoon and it went pretty well. I say pretty well because there was a slight problem with her left eye. 

In young dogs, the area that they call a capsule that is behind and around the lens is very thin. In Lola’s case, this capsule tore a bit. Dr. B attempted to implant the new lens but was unable to make it stay in place because of the tear. So she did not get a new lens in that eye. However, the cataract was removed and she does have vision in the left eye, it is just a bit less clear than the right eye, which got a new lens. So she does have vision in both eyes and he said that she probably won’t notice much of a difference in her sight because of the missing lens. Many people who have this type of surgery for their dogs, don’t even bother with new lenses and the dogs are able to get around just fine.

She has a couple of different kinds of eye drops that she gets throughout the day and evening. One is an antibiotic type and the other is atropine, which dilates the iris. This is to ensure that it doesn’t get “sticky” and consequently not move which would affect her sight. She is also on an oral antibiotic. 

She is wearing the cone and will have to keep that on for a week minimum and how long ultimately depends on how well she is healing. She managed to slip it off this morning, but it’s back on and more secure now. I ran her collar through the loops instead of the hunk of gauze that was holding it in place.

Her near sight will be fuzzy until the inflammation from the surgery subsides a bit and then it will correct to becoming as perfect as it can be. Her distance sight is very good now.

She has been doing well, doesn’t fight the eyedrops and takes her pill like a champ.

She has been “talkative”, alternating between earsplitting howls, barking and a strange little noise that sounds like she is talking.

She runs around looking at everything and then just wants to be held. Right now she’s on my lap and if I put her down she will complain – loudly. In a bit she will want to get down and then will run around again, just looking and looking. The funniest thing in the world was when she looked at Louie across the room this morning. He is her snuggle buddy and is a large American Bulldog mix. I wish I could have captured the expression. 

Her eyes are a little sensitive to light right now and I notice that when she is on my lap she is keeping them closed. This sensitivity should subside as she becomes accustomed to the light that for a long time, she hasn’t seen in this way.

We are using wee-wee pads and keeping her indoors for now because it is VERY bright outdoors today and extremely windy. We must protect those little eyes.

We will go to the vet today at 5:45 for a recheck to make sure that everything is doing as it should and then she will have to go back again next week sometime and several times thereafter until he declares her fully healed. 

I am extremely impressed with Dr. Burgesser, who did the surgery, and Lola adores him. He clearly loves the animals and is very thorough and concerned about them. When he talks softly to Lola, he picks her up and holds her and she simply melts in his arms. It’s pretty funny to watch actually. When he is examining her, he is talking softly to her the entire time. He does not address me until he is through with the exam and has picked her up to cuddle her.

Yesterday when we picked her up, he had Tom (who went with me to get her), hold her while he took the time to show me the inside of her eye and the new lens. He doesn’t make you feel rushed at all and makes certain that all of your questions are answered before you leave the exam room.

He also gave us a nice discount on his services. The last thing he said to me was “You are going to end up keeping this one, aren’t you?”  I told him that unless a very special angel came along, she would likely remain in the sanctuary with us.

Josie Myers-Smith, Director
Westie Rescue of Western & Central New York

Update January 18, 2013

Lola saw Doc Burgesser tonight for her 24-hour recheck and he said she is healing nicely and all is as it should be. She’s doing very well and so we don’t have to go back now for a whole week! He also waived the office call fee today. He also SAT DOWN ON THE FLOOR and played with her for a while before he let us leave, lol! I think I might be in love with this vet….

Josie Myers-Smith, Director
Westie Rescue of Western & Central New York

Update January 26, 2013

Lola had her one week follow up with Dr. Burgesser yesterday.  She is doing VERY well, with less inflammation than expected and healing properly. He allowed me to take the cone off and said now that she is free from that, we should see even more improvement. She is already watching animals on TV and following my movements as I go through the house. On the way back from the vet yesterday, she was looking out the window and watching the lights. It gets better every day. We haven’t had her outside much (she’s using wee wee pads) because our temperatures have been in the sub-zero or just slightly above range, and more importantly, the winds have been ferocious, so I didn’t want to take any chances. She has a few more days of the antibiotic drops and atropine to keep the iris from getting sticky and then it will be prednisone drops for about a month. We’ve had two follow up visits so far, and he has not charged me for either of them. I don’t expect that to continue, but it was a nice saving on top of the already discounted fee for the surgery. I’m thrilled with how he treats Lola, he is kind and sweet to her and she just loves him. It is hard to fake that kind of caring. We hit the jackpot with this vet!

I will continue to keep you apprised of her progress as each recheck happens and when she does something that shows the improvement. Thank you again so much for helping this sweet little girl.

Josie Myers-Smith, Director
Westie Rescue of Western & Central New York

Update June 20, 2013

Lola had her appointment with Dr. B and got a clean bill of health.

Josie Myers-Smith, Director
Westie Rescue of Western & Central New York