We received a text from Tink’s owner asking to surrender her to rescue because they could no longer care for her.  This little girl just turned 5 last week and had been suffering for quite some time.  Her itch is so intense that she received 3 baths in less than 24 hours of receiving her and was whisked off to our vet the very next day.   Tink has a severe case of Malassezia dermatitis which is why her skin resembles elephant’s skin.  Her ears are swollen shut, her nails were considerably overgrown, she has a heart murmur and is in need of a dental.  Poor Tink is not spayed and was bred with the owner’s other dog.  We will spay her once we get her skin under control.   Her initial vet bill was extraordinarily costly and we will incur more cost once she gets her dental and spay.

This little girl is as cute as a button and so sweet and gentle.  She has a long road of recovery and we are so thankful we have her now.  She needed us and with the help from WestieMed, this little nugget will get everything she needs.  We are committed to her health and happiness.

Karen Simondet and Kay DeLoach, WROC

Update October 28, 2021:

Tink has been in rescue for three months now and we’ve made quite a bit of progress. Her fungal and yeast infections have been eradicated, though we are still dealing with three types of bacteria. We’ve pushed out her spay and dental procedures because we do not want to do a surgery with bacteria on the skin. She is still receiving her medicated baths, every other day. The biggest change is in her personality. Though very sweet and quiet from the start, Tink has a bit of a wild side and loves to play! Now that she is feeling so much better, she exudes confidence that every little girl should own!


Update March 1, 2022:

It has been six months since Tinkerbell came to WROC and we’ve held off getting her dental and spay surgery done due to her persistent bacterial infection. However, during her recent checkup, several palpable mammary masses were discovered, so we bit the bullet and proceeded with surgery and sent out for biopsy. The good news is that the mammary tumors were benign. There was quite a bit of bleeding and her abdomen filled with fluid, so we continued with warm compresses several times a day. Turns out the surgery was the easy part. Tink suffers from Epidermal Dysplasia and though management of this condition is possible, curing it is considered impossible. Since we are unable to bathe her until her stitches come out, Tink has taken a step backward so we are doing everything we can to help control the itching until we can bathe her again. We must remain diligent in treating her to ensure long term comfort which is costly. We are so thankful to WestieMed for helping us accomplish this! In true Westie fashion, keeping Tink quiet has been a challenge! Nothing seems to phase this little girl. She is tough, resilient and lives every day to the fullest.

Karen – WROC

Update September 28, 2022

I can’t believe it’s been a year already! Tinkerbell just had her 3 month follow-up with the dermatologist specialist and though she is doing well, Dr. Werner thinks there is room for improvement. She has grown hair in her chest area, something I did not think was possible! It is sparse, but nevertheless it is an improvement. We will continue to administer 25 mg Atopica once daily, 1/4 tablet Ketoconazole 200 mg and we added 250 mg Terbinafine daily. If we don’t see a change with the Terbinafine, then we will change her anti-yeast treatment to Itraconazole. She has also been on a hydrolyzed diet this past year which is mainly for her irritable bowel disease but this also aids with her skin issues. As a last resort, the next step is allergy testing in order to formulate allergens for immunotherapy. She continues to get two medicated baths a week.

She is comfortable, happy and continues to keep Dewey in check. What a difference a year can make!


Sammi - WestieMed Grant Recipient Nov. 2019


Sammi’s life from the beginning was bleak. He came from a pet store and his new owners probably didn’t know anything about his breed but did know that he was a cute snowball and they wanted him. They taught him cute tricks like sitting up and begging but he never saw a veterinarian for three years. He started his itching and biting at himself until his belly was a thick gooey black yeasty mess and he didn’t smell very good so he ended up being tied outside for a good majority of his short little life getting worse and worse with no protection from fleas or mosquitos.

Luckily, a neighbor and a dog lover saw his plight and asked the owners if they could take him in. They bathed him and tried to fix his itching but he continued to bite at himself and lick his paws raw. They didn’t know what to do for him so they contacted Westie/Cairn Terrier Rescue of SW OH who took him in. He had the worst case of Malassezia Dermatitis I had ever seen and he had what looked like a mass next to his sheath. This was going to become expensive and he wasn’t neutered to boot.


Sophie - WestieMed Grant Recipient April 2013


Sophie found her way to Carolina Westie Rescue in late January of 2013. Coming from the northern part of North Carolina, she had quite a trip down to our location in Southeastern NC, in Wilmington. Sophie belonged to an older couple who could no longer give her the care and attention that a little Westie needs. The couple mentioned they had Sophie since she was a puppy. Now, however, with their work schedules being what they were, they did not have much time to spend with her. They also revealed that Sophie was around ten years old and had a “little skin problem”, but was otherwise healthy. During the surrender, along with Sophie’s records, they also gave me some of her medication which included Prednisone, Ketoconazole, and Tramadol. I took copies of what health records they gave me and after the couple filled out a surrender form, Sophie and I were on our way.

Sophie is quite small for a Westie, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in sweetness. She is friendly as can be and she greeted all the other Westies in my house as if they were all long lost friends. She did not seem shy at all or unhappy to be away from her old home or owners. Actually, she seemed to fit right in. Not long after she arrived though, I noticed that under her long, just groomed coat were feet that were black, swollen, bleeding and infected. Her belly was also black and she had a bit of a limp. She also appeared to have an old scar on the top of her head. She was small but slightly overweight. Her chubby appearance made her little head appear even smaller.

The next day I took Sophie to my veterinarian along with her records. My vet looked at Sophie’s past, which only dated back six months. In those records, my vet said that she had an infection in all four feet; and that her previous vet was not expecting a cure and could only hope for management with Cefpodoxine, Prednisone and medicated shampoo. My vet put Sophie back on the Ketoconazole along with Clindamycin and Pharmaseb shampoo. He took a skin scraping, a parasite screening and performed a physical exam. We noticed that Sophie’s teeth looked terrible and decided to get them cleaned at a later date. I wanted to try and get her feet on the road to healing first. My vet felt that by being more consistent and omitting the Prednisone that Sophie would start to improve. He thought that the past diagnoses of Malassezia were correct. My vet also mentioned that Sophie’s limp was from a torn ACL of her right rear leg.

After the game plan was laid out, I was very consistent with Sophie’s meds and baths. She seemed to improve for a time, but unfortunately, she then regressed. I called my veterinarian back and told him that Sophie was not getting better and he said that it would take a long time for her deep Pyoderma to heal. I knew from dealing with Westies that I should have seen some sort of improvement by now. I had been treating her for almost two months and she was not getting better. I then made another vet appointment and took Sophie back for a recheck. The vet did a senior blood work wellness profile and we made plans for a biopsy, histopathology, and culture and at the same time, he would clean and pull the teeth that were necessary. I took Sophie back ten days later to have all this work performed and poor little Sophie had to have six back teeth extracted. They were rotted at the roots. I do not think she had ever had her teeth cleaned.

Wilmington, NC isn’t a very large city. But, we are fortunate to have a canine dermatologist who visits from Raleigh twice a month. I called and made an appointment with Dr. Barbara Atlee, the dermatologist. The appointment was two weeks out. That would give us time to have the culture and biopsy results before seeing her.

Sophie’s lab reports came in a few days before our appointment to see Dr. Atlee. Her culture results stated that she had Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. This staph was also Methicillin-resistant. This meant that every antibiotic that my vet and the previous vet treated her with did absolutely nothing to stop the infection. However, we now had a list of antibiotics that would successfully treat her infection. Her antibiotic list was very short. One of the antibiotics that Sophie’s staph was sensitive to was Zeniquin and a topical antibiotic called Mupirocin. The Zeniquin proved to be hard to find and expensive, but I found it. Sophie’s biopsy stated that she also had Demodex. We put her on a course of oral Ivermectin to treat that.

Sophie - WestieMed Grant Recipient April 2013
Sophie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Sophie had her appointment with Dr. Atlee, the dermatologist, a short time later. Dr. Atlee examined Sophie, then looked over all of her records and labs and concurred with the diagnoses and protocol. Dr. Atlee also supplied me with a two-page “Treatment Sheet” to follow, which is always helpful. It consists of a detailed protocol to follow to get Sophie well and happy.

I believe that now little Sophie is on the road to healing. Her feet still have ulcers, but are not as swollen. She hates to take her oral medication but is always a trooper when I treat her feet with Mal-a-Ket wipes and Mupirocin ointment. I put her Ivermectin in her food and, as she always loves to eat, she wolfs it right down. Speaking of that, we now have Sophie down to a respectable weight; and her cute little face is in proportion with the rest of her body.

This year has been very hard for Carolina Westie Rescue. We took in three senior owner surrenders almost at the same time. All three had heath problems. Thankfully, two have found their forever homes. Sophie still has a long road ahead of her, but now I think we are on the right track to getting her well.

Thank you WestieMed for your offer to help with Sophie’s medical bills. The Westie community is fortunate to have an organization such as yours.

Sydney Christian
Carolina Westie Rescue
Wilmington NC

Update January 13, 2014

Sophie is doing well now and is still with us. I will soon get back with you with pictures and an update on her health.

I can never begin to express our gratitude or come close to letting WestieMed know how thankful we are that they have been there for us.

Sydney Christian

Carolina Westie Rescue

Jessie - WestieMed Grant Recipient June 2012

Jessie (Now Jesse)

I had registered with Rescue Me and got a notification about a Westie that needed a home. I had written back immediately with my phone number and said that I had had Westies with skin problems before, my beloved Jake and Carli. Carli had passed last September at 16 years old and Jake several years ago at twelve years old with a spleen and liver problem. Both of them had skin issues but nothing like I have seen on WestieMed.

I was told that the mother had Alzheimer’s, rules the home and wanted Jessie put to sleep so the two adult daughters put him on Rescue Me. I went over to their home that night and I could see that he had terrible skin problems but I was really looking at his personality which was very sweet.

When I picked Jessie up to put him into the car he growled at me, and the suspicions started that I might have an abused dog beside a severely neglected dog. I have since discovered that he is quite territorial and in true Westie nature doesn’t back down and needs to be distracted. I’m learning too. I think this posed problems in his previous home and lead to abuse because they couldn’t handle him. I’m trying to understand.

I had asked what kind of food they had fed him and was told “dog food” but they gave a bag of pig ears to me as food. There was quite a lot of dancing around answers to direct questions but I was given a vet record and certificate of ownership. Jessie had been purchased from a “breeder” in Missouri.

I got online in the morning to check skin problems in Westies and the WestieMed site came up with pictures of Malassezia Dermatitis and it looked just like his skin problem. I’m so grateful to have found that information. I scrambled around to find a vet that could take him on a Saturday. I had just moved to Oregon from Virginia and I didn’t have a vet here. I feel fortunate to have happened along with a vet that has experience with skin issues.

Jessie is four years old, weighs thirty pounds, and he is neutered. He’s very large for a Westie but not overweight. He’s friendly, good with children and likes other dogs. All good. We are working on the skin problem with the vet; he’s on antibiotics and medicated baths twice a week. He’s responding well but may need antifungal treatment. I have him on a limited ingredient lamb and rice meal at this time but we may go to home-cooked through the Balanced In program that my vet told me about on the internet. I’m being challenged to write this and playing fetch the squeaking chicken this very minute.


Update October 1, 2012: (now Jesse)

Jessie - WestieMed Grant Recipient June 2012
Jessie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

I have changed Jessie’s name to Jesse without the “i”. 

He is doing so well.

It’s been a slow process but he’s coming along very nicely as you can see in the photo.

Theresa Medina

Update January 7, 2013

Jessie - WestieMed Grant Recipient June 2012
Jessie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Thank you again for all that WestieMed does for Westies in need.

As you can see, Jesse is doing very well.

He is healthy and happy.

There are places on his neck and chest that the fur is still growing in, I was thinking that maybe his skin was so damaged from the yeast that it might not grow but it is

He is just a joy and worth all the effort.

Theresa Medina

Wilson - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2011


Wilson was found by Animal Control in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ on September 26. Ten days later, in response to the shelter’s plea for a rescue to take him, I went to pick him up. Wilson had bad timing as this was right before Montgomery and all the other show people who do rescue were unavailable.  I was not sure that I was ready for a dog as sick as Wilson reputedly was, but it was clear if I didn’t take him, nobody would. So I headed over to one of New Jersey’s most grim, underfunded shelters to meet my new charge.

When I got him, Wilson was so sick it was truly frightening, and so I took him straight to my vet.  Upon seeing him, the vet confirmed this was exactly where this very sick little dog should be and felt he should stay there for a few days.  Wilson received intensive care and repeated observation for five days, which helped enormously in diagnosing his various problems: severe starvation/emaciation (weighed nine pounds when he was found), raging Giardia, Coccidia, worms, Malassezia, secondary bacterial skin infection, ear infections, and eye infections. Due to his Malassezia, he had lost a lot of hair and smelled like yeast; due to his horrid living conditions (apparently he was living as a feral dog) and bad health, he smelled like urine. Due to his sickness, he was unable to eat normally; he had no appetite, refused almost all food, ate only small amounts of what he would take (I fed him by hand during this time), then regurgitated most of it. Each time, I would clean it up, and try again.  He slept almost constantly and I gave him the softest beds I could find since he was so thin that he could not comfortably sit or lay on a hard surface. On top of that, he was withdrawn and depressed. The vet estimated this little guy was just about five years old.

Gradually, Wilson began to recover. The first milestone was when he could eat food without the obvious pain that it first caused him, and when he was able to keep things down without regurgitating. Since his medications were all oral, this was a critical step in his recovery.  Whereas he could initially only handle chicken and rice, eventually, he was able to eat dog kibble, and eventually began to put on weight.  With the help of frequent medicated baths, he started to grow some hair back. Emotionally, he had been damaged too, and seeing the rehab from that was even more touching than seeing the physical issues resolve.  While he still was not comfortable anywhere except in his pen, he began to come out of his shell, seemed to start to enjoy being patted, and even started to make eye contact with me after about a month.

Now, three months into rescue, Wilson has made amazing progress. He shows great affection for people and other dogs; he enjoys walks and comes to me to get patted and even lets me hug him which he would not tolerate initially. The vet was amazed that his ear infection, which was so bad the vet feared he would be deaf from scarring, has completely resolved.  His skin had cleared up nicely and the odor almost is gone.  Once he was well enough, he was neutered.  That operation was a little scary since his pulse went so high, but he made it through. The dental cleaning done at the same time showed that while he has no enamel left on his teeth, at least none needed to be pulled. Wilson needs regular tooth-brushing though, for the rest of his life.  Wilson is still waiting for his forever home to come along, but he is safe and sound in the meantime.  

I am deeply grateful to WestieMed for the critical help it provides.  I decided to start rescuing after I had been showing and breeding dogs for a year or two and thought, well, if I am going to bring more dogs into this world, I’m going to help the ones who are already here.  As an independent rescuer, I receive no funding from any regional club and no donations other than the modest adoption fees which rarely cover the medical care that rescued dogs need.  I rescue dogs “part-time”; generally, one at a time.  I spend a great deal of time on the phone with potential adopters, advising them on the perils of buying badly bred dogs (many, I find, are considering a rescue dog as a cheaper alternative to a pet store purchase) and helping them identify quality Westie rescue groups. While it feels like a very small contribution to the welfare of dogs in need, as they say, “it is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness”.  I see myself as lighting single candles, one by one, for Westies in need.  I have found how gratifying it is to be able to rescue dogs, even on a small scale, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to play a role in these little miracles that WestieMed makes possible.

Lisa Curry

Update February 13, 2013

Wilson - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2011
Wilson – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Attached is a picture from April 2012, the month we adopted Wilson from Lisa Curry. The other picture is from January 2013 where Wilson is enjoying the warmth of a wood fire on a cold day.

We got about six inches of snow last weekend and Wilson had to confine his outside duties to shoveled paths/driveway, but by the second day the snow had compacted a bit and his short legs were able to break through the snow to the ground allowing him to bound along through the open snowfields. He was very cute there, and about everywhere else. He is allowed on our property off the leash and seems to enjoy the freedom, but it makes him a less willing walker on a leash. We are on a private access road so he doesn’t have access to a road with traffic on it. We also supervise his outside times, and somehow seems to know where our upper property ends, he never leaves that area even if he is in hot pursuit of White Tail Deer, yes they are frightened and bound away, off into the woods and Wilson stops at the end of the mowed areas.

Wilson - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2011
Wilson – WestieMed Grant Recipient

I think Wilson is doing well and we continue to learn how to deal with his sensitivities to food and other possible allergy reactions. He has a regular veterinarian was he has been examined and resulted in us having an abscessed tooth removed. This relieved him of pain, we believe. With help from Lisa we selected a grain-free, limited ingredients sweet potato/fish kibble for his basic food.

I continue to work on developing trust and obedience that allows me to groom and trim nails…progress is being made. He will nip and fight back. I have used a Dremmel drum sander on his nails one foot at a setting, and not all the way down on each nail. He is somewhat comfortable with that maybe due to his familiarity with a hairdryer after a bath. He is quite reasonable about taking a bath. The Dremmel and hairdryer are perceived mostly by the vibration, not hearing as his hearing is very poor – not an effective watchdog but boy can he bark, sounds like a much larger dog.

He seems to be very comfortable living here and with us.

Jerry and Barbara Peterson

Update November 17, 2013

Wilson - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2011
Wilson – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Wilson was in for surgery on October 14, to remove a sizable growth on his left cheek and a smaller one on his neck. Attached is a picture of that event. While there he was again diagnosed with Yeast problems and has been on Ketoconozole tables each day and the ear medicine now only his left ear. His feet and legs are about back to normal with hair and while he continues to like to lick, he is not licking his feet and legs, they must have itched.

The vet also put him on a very strict prescription diet by Hills Z/D, it has only modified protein and we have even stopped using HeartGuard as it has a beef flavor. He is not one a topical heartworm med, forget the name.

If we can identify a food allergy we may be able to get him off of prescription medications such as ketoconazole, albeit we’ll continue it in his bath regiment. I have the approval to give him baked potato (microwave) and white rice with nothing but the cooking water. He likes those as a treat, and does okay with the prescription kibble, he liked the salmon and sweet potato much better, I also used a canned salmon to add interest…hope he can eat fish in the future.

I am beginning to think Wilson may have been abandoned by a family in the city area who simply couldn’t afford to treat him, and was ashamed of his condition to the point of not taking him to an animal shelter – he may not have been in Liberty State Park long before animal control picked him up. This guess is not important but reflects our affection for him and wondering about his earlier life. He has many “family dog” characteristics, he was not simply a “puppy mill” caged breeder.

Hope your good work helping our dog friends is going will, you remain in our high regards for your good work, and some even for non-Westies : ) which is a lovely breed I have come to believe, albeit they are a Terrier!


Pedigree Foundation Logo
Wilson’s care was funded by a grant from The Pedigree Foundation.
Bacall WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011


Bacall came into our lives quite unexpectedly.  I volunteer at the Baltimore Animal Shelter, BARCS.   In the past I have been able to resist the temptation of adopting every dog at the shelter, but not this time. 

As I was walking past a room used for washing the dogs, I noticed a little Westie face peeking out from the towel as she was being dried.  Of course, I had to see her, and when the towel was removed, she was missing about 80% of her hair.  What hair she did have was matted and unkempt.  Bacall’s skin was elephant-like, inflamed, very dark, and had a yeasty smell.  Her former owner brought her to BARCS because of the cost of returning her to good health and the frustration of dealing with Malassezia.  She certainly didn’t look comfortable, and I told the office that I would be willing to foster her and help her get back on her feet.

BARCS generously gave me some medication for her and a bag of Z/D.  The following week I brought her back to BARCS for some routine booster shots and was told that it might be best to take her for some blood work. 

This led us to Greater Annapolis Veterinary Hospital. Many Westies from Maryland Westie Rescue have passed through their doors, so the doctors are very familiar with Westies.  Dr.  Duane Woodburn put her on some medicine that brought her relief, and the blood work came back negative for kidney or liver disease.  We could almost see her condition improve from day to day and often would ask if it was possible to see such changes on a daily basis.

In the meantime, my wife and I decided that we would adopt her.  When you look at her sweet face with her big brown eyes what else could you do but adopt her?  She has a nice temperament and gets along well with our other Westie, Bogie.

Another week went by and suddenly Bacall stopped eating.  Up to this point, she had a great appetite, so this was very unusual.  However, about this same time she had been caught on top of the table finishing off my grandson’s lunch and later that evening helping herself to some more food from the garbage can.  So, it was back to the vet to see if she had eaten anything that was making her uncomfortable and causing her not to eat.  The x-rays only revealed a Westie with a very full stomach and intestinal tract.  However, during the course of that week, she continued to be plagued with various symptoms – shaking and not eating being most predominant.  After four additional trips to the vet, it was determined that some of the medicine she was taking was not agreeing with her, so two of the meds, Ketoconazole and an anti-biotic, were stopped.  She continues her treatment with Atopica and a spot on a treatment called Allerderm.   She also is bathed with Malaseb shampoo.  Presently, she continues to improve and is getting her “Westitude” back again.

All of this resulted in many doctor’s bills that were adding up quickly.  I knew about the work of WestieMed through the Westie Imprint and our Westie club, Chesapeake Bay Westie Club.  Thanks to the great people at WestieMed, our bills are getting paid and little Bacall is getting better.  We are so thankful that there is such an organization that is interested in helping rescued Westies.   

Update February 20, 2012:

Bacall WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011
Bacall WestieMed Grant Recipient

Bacall continues to amaze us with her recovery from Malassezia.  It has been eight months since she started her medicines and has grown thick hair all over her body.  I have even had to trim her a little to keep her looking at her best.  She still takes a generic form of Atopica but on an every other day pattern with the hope that she can eventually take even less.  She does have an occasional bath with Malaseb shampoo.

In October she was losing a little hair under her eye and upper forelegs and since Ketoconazole doesn’t agree with her stomach, our vet prescribed  Mal-a-Ket Plus which is a spray.  That cleared everything up nicely.

She was in a Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria, Virginia and was joined by our other Westie, Bogie, along with about 80 Westies.  She loves to play with Bogie and it is great fun to watch her try to entice him to play.  We call her the social director.   It’s not uncommon to see Bogie and her guarding our front hall and loving anyone that walks through it.  She has a nice temperament and loves to cuddle on the sofa.

Thanks again to WestieMed for helping us get Bacall on the road to good health.

Ric and Ceil Durham

Bailey - WestieMed Recipient April 2009


Bailey was an owner release from a family of Pearl City, NY to Westie Rescue of NY.  Bailey is eleven years old.  When his previous owner contacted us, we were told that Bailey had some “skin issues”. They let me know that they tried to help him, but he needed more time and attention that they were able to give him because they have three small children.  We were sent a few photos, which we later found out were about nine months old.  Upon contact with their Vet, we found out that Bailey had always had skin issues that were addressed sporadically.  It seems that they took him into the vet, but didn’t always follow through on treatments.  It was the Vet’s opinion that Bailey desperately needed treatment and follow through.  We agreed to take Bailey in and deal with all his issues.

Through the great generosity of the volunteers of Westie Rescue of NY, we were able to coordinate transportation across NY state from Pearl River, just outside NYC to Rochester, NY, approximately 325 miles away.  Upon meeting Bailey for the first time, my heart broke.  This Westie had the worse skin condition I had ever seen.  His left eye was almost completely sealed shut.  Just to the left of his mouth a large sore broke through his fur.  His underbelly was completely black with very tough skin.  But, through all this Bailey was a sweet boy.  The lady who transported Bailey let me know he was very good during the whole trip.

Bailey arrived in Rochester, NY on a Sunday.  The next day I made an urgent call to our Vet and was able to secure a late afternoon appointment.  Bailey was diagnosed with an eye infection, chronic Dry Eye, UTI, Malassezia and skin lichenification.

Bailey was put on Clavamox for his infections, for his eyes he was prescribed Mycitracin Ointment and Optimmune Ointment and he was to be bathed with Malaseb shampoo on a regular basis

It’s been over a month since Bailey has been with us.  The sore next to his mouth is gone, his eye infection is gone, although he will have to have Optimmune Ointment administered to his eye twice a day for the rest of his life.  His skin has greatly improved, although I have been told that he will always have skin issues.  We are committed to seeing everything through.  On his next Vet appointment, we hope to find out his UTI has completely cleared up.

We will be updating again soon.
Gloria Mueller, President, Westie Rescue of NY

Dolly - WestieMed Recipient February 2009


Four-year-old spay female.  I received a request to surrender from the owner in May 2008, however, they changed their mind.    I asked them to please surrender her over to me when they called before her operation would be more costly the longer they waited.  They wanted to try other options, changed dog food, and so forth.   I tried to keep in touch, alas it was a cell phone and the calls went unanswered.   Nine months later a four to five-old female showed up in Tacoma Shelter as stray on the street.  (aka the name Tacoma Dolly)  I am certain that this is the same dog as the odds of two dogs, same age, same tumors, same-sex, and same geographic location are probably impossible.   In our state, the Humane Society and Shelters charge you $75 to dump your pet.  If it is found as a stray then there is no charge.   Since the people who FOUND Dolly said they had taken it to Banfield vet for an estimate, and since I know the previous owners had taken her to Banfield vet for surgery and that was the same vet the owners told me they went to.   It is the same dog hands down.

Dolly - WestieMed Recipient February 2009
Dolly – WestieMed Recipient

As you can see from the tumors she has a severe calcification of tumors in both ears and which are also coming out the back of her ears.   After speaking to four Veterinarians and understanding the surgical skill of the procedure, we have found a specialist for this operation (see description of the procedure below).  Four Vets in two separate clinics agreed that Dr. EB is the best to do this operation and he ironically was the cheapest.   We are also getting a discount from the clinic.

Diagnosis:  Dolly has had chronic ear infections and underlying Malassezia.  The chronic ear infection was not kept in check and this is the outcome.  Otitis Externa.  This disease is mostly seen in floppy-eared dogs like cockers, and such.

These are tumors that have calcified.  You cannot un-calcify tumors so no amount of antibiotics or medicine will make them go away.   Alas, we are very far past the simple solution for recovery.  The middle ear has built up an infection and has now burst through the inner ear canals and is seeping pus.  The calcification of the tumors are the consistency of stone.

My primary vet explained this operation in layman’s terms for me.  Since she gives me a discount on surgery –  I asked if she could perform this operation.  She said it is a very specialized operation and you must have an experienced surgeon to perform this procedure.  Ironically there are only four in the Seattle area, and one who works out of both the Clinics I use for my rescues!

Procedure: Splay/cut open the ears and work off a CT scan or an X-ray to see how deep the tumors go (as she now has them jutting out the back of her ears)

Remove the outer tumors (which have calcified into rocks) and lay open the ear and remove the inner ear canals  (I believe the middle and inner are also scaled/removed) which the infection and tumors grow out of.    Go deeper into the eardrum and microscopically shear layers of the skin off the eardrum slowly so you can make sure it forms scar tissue and nothing can grow on it and no bacteria can ever form on it/in it? .. then they come back out.  The inner canal is now gone… which has produced all the poison/toxin of this disease, and they sew it up.   The dog has loss of hearing but can hear muffled sounds

She will be at the vet for three to four more days after surgery due to the pain of this surgery and she will be heavily medicated.   She will be released into foster care, and come back in fourteen days for suture removal and then have a six-week recovery.

She also suffers from a bad immune system, and she is being treated for and of course Malassezia and she is on antibiotics.   Dolly also needs dental care and has some bad teeth but we have rescue funds to cover that.

I have never in my life seen anything this gruesome and Dolly is in a lot of pain, but she is a very happy and sweet dog, is great with kids and other dogs even in this pain.    She is fifteen pounds.   She is happy and cheerful and pleasant and will make someone a fabulous dog.   We are grateful to have you as our safety net and guardian angels.   Sometimes in life, you are our only way out of a situation when we are pinned against the wall for funds.

Karin Parish, Rescue Coordinator Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue, Westies Westie Club of America, Rescue Rep for WA/OR/ID Westie Rescue USA Rep for OR/WA/ID

Update April 13, 2009

Dolly is doing well after surgery.  Her ears are healed and she can hear – not clearly but she can hear!  We are waiting a bit longer and then going to have her dental work done.  Then she will be ready for adoption.

Karin Parish

Update May 26, 2009

Dear Dolly Supporters:

Before you check out the photos….

My question was  … are you going to keep her?   …. and the answer was “what do you think?”

WELL, she finally got adopted but my gosh have we had more setbacks with this little girl. Our little tumor girl.

To date, she has cost me at least $3700 with one trip to the ER… (However, we had the funds to cover it with the two grants and money raised by donors)  … And she had her dental done, and her ear on one side never was cleared up  (which we weren’t too sure of).

However, after she was adopted, her other ear became infected again and the new owners had to take her back into the vet… Lo and behold if she didn’t have estrus.. and go into heat!  There is no hum-drum in the life of Westie Rescue!

Two vets told us she was spayed.   Apparently it was a c-section scar!   Poor Dolly is like the “never-ending story”.

She is getting spayed in a month, and she is back on antibiotics, and the new owners adore her.   Here are their latest photos of her.  Her new owners will be RV-ing around the country and she will be a copilot. I do believe she has her driver’s permit as we speak.   Since her recovery, she has a stellar coat and no allergies to speak of.

Before you check out the photos…

My question was … are you going to keep her?   …. and the answer was “what do you think?”

Look at the photos.


Thank you again for all your support… hope to see you at the Westie Walk on June 27th.

Karin Parish 
Westie Rescue Rep (OR/WA/ID) 
Scottie Rescue Rep (Seattle)

Boo - WestieMed Recipient


June 2007:

On a beautiful Sunday morning in early May, I took my four and half-year-old Westie to PetCo for a new leash. Stanley is not just my baby, but everyone’s baby. When we walked into the store, a woman approached us and told me that a two ad half-year-old female Westie at our local shelter was scheduled to be euthanized that coming week. She was relinquished by her owner due to her skin condition. She told me that I could look her up on the shelter’s website. That evening I looked her up and couldn’t get her off of my mind. I had no intention of getting another dog. I thought I would adopt her and get her well so she could be placed in a forever home. The following day, I left work early and drove to the shelter. I could not believe my eyes! This little girl was so thin. She had lost her hair on all four legs, rump, chest, belly, and even her face. Her paws were so swollen and she had open bleeding wounds all over her body, even inside her ears. I named her Boo because she had “boo boo’s” all over her little body. She raised her head but would not stand up. When the volunteer took her out of the cage, she could hardly stand up, her legs shaking uncontrollably. She didn’t want to be touched, as I can only imagine the pain she was in.

She was taken to Stanley’s doctor immediately. She had to stay there overnight and was quarantined for several days. She had skin scraping performed on four areas of her body. Thankfully, mange was ruled out, though Boo was diagnosed with a skin condition called Malassezia. She was put on medications, nine pills per day. She also has front leg joint issues which will need to be monitored. When Stanley met Boo several days later, it was love at first sight, though Boo wasn’t too sure about Stanley. She was food aggressive and a little rough with the man of the house, though as she started to get stronger, so did their relationship. She gained six pounds in the first two weeks! She can now jump on the bed, and Stanley and Boo are inseparable. They play “racetrack” throughout the house and constantly tackle each other. I can sit and watch these two play for hours. They are so happy together!

Seven weeks have now passed, and Boo is doing very well. The vet bills are mounting, but WestieMed came to the rescue! She had her third vet appointment on Saturday and is now being treated for an ear infection. She has hair sprouts everywhere except her paws, but we are hopeful hair will grow. If it doesn’t, we’ll just nickname her “Socks”. Boo’s food aggression has subsided, and she gained another pound. Stan and Boo sleep side by side, and she even gives Stanley kisses. He is such a handsome boy and deserves to be kissed all the time!

I am amazed that she has done so well in such a short amount of time. She is a completely different dog, and has so much personality. We are still getting to know her, but she surprises us every day. She is sweet, loving, and very determined! Stanley flattens himself out to fit under the sofa. She is trying to learn this trick, but gets stuck every time. She brings so much laughter into our lives. Boo found her forever home with Stanley. I cannot imagine our lives without her. Stan and I thank WestieMed for their support. We cannot wait to share photos of Boo will ALL her hair. Thank you, thank you, thank, you!

Karen & Stanley

Boo - WestieMed Recipient
Boo – WestieMed Recipient

Update July 2007:

Hi everyone, its me Boo!

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then I must have the biggest soul ever. I’ve been told that in heaven, dogs run free in grassy fields, nap on white fluffy clouds, and are given treats bypassing angels. My Mom takes me and Stanley to my Growlma’s house every morning before work so we can play in her big backyard that has lots of grass, trees, dirt, and fruit. We chase each other all day long and sometimes I pull strawberries right off the plants. She gets so mad because I never leave any for her. There are also lots of squirrels in the trees too, and I laugh at Stanley because he never catches one. I get lots of treats when I’m there cause that’s what Growlma’s do! Mom says I have a fat belly. It grew seven pounds since I was adopted. I am finally at the weight I should be. At night, I sleep on fluffy clouds called “down” and sometimes I can’t find Stanley because he hides under the sheets to torment me. He is one goofy boy! Mom is finally realizing that I am one smart dog. She didn’t know that I can twirl in a complete circle on my hind legs. I had to show her the other night to get her attention. After all the ruckus I caused, she finally got out of bed, and as I was dancing in circles down the hall, I led her to the dry water bowl. Stanley thinks I’m a show-off. 

I remember the day Mom found me. Dogs remember things like that. I wasn’t happy and my owner abandoned me for something I had no control over. I heard rumblings from the staff that my time is almost up because I wasn’t exactly pageant material. They were talking about my imminent demise (completely oblivious to the fact that I had two and half years of English prior to my arrival). Have you ever come across a broken dilapidated house, but with a little TLC saw its potential? Mom saw that in me. She’s a sucker for black noses and perky ears. My ear infection is gone now, so are the sores. Mom is so excited to see pink ears for the first time that she kisses them. Weird, huh? I’m still taking lots of medications, which seems to be working except on my paws. I can’t seem to leave them alone as they are still hairless because I chew at them, so Mom officially gave me the middle name “Socks”, though she failed to tell me. I read it on my new dog tag.

Boo - WestieMed Recipient

I am going to the groomer’s next Thursday and Stanley’s going with me so I’m not scared. He hasn’t been since March because Mom has been reoccupied with my hair growth. As you can see, he needs it. Mom wants me to get used to the groomer, and already told them I need my special shampoo so they said to bring it with her. Not much to cut right now, so I’m just going to get a trim. Mom isn’t allowed to use scissors on us because one time she made Stanley look like a Chihuahua. Can you imagine? I already resemble a Llama, so she doesn’t want to take any chances. Mom’s good at a lot of things, but definitely lacks talent in the hairdressing department. 

I would have never come this far if I hadn’t found my angels. Growlma spoils me, Big Brother Stanley is at my side all the time, Mom loves us really hard, and Westie Med helped me get the treatment I need to get better. You are my angels, and this must be heaven! 

Love Boo 

Update November 2007:

Unfortunately, Boo’s progress has turned for the worse from what seems to be “out of the blue”.  She was making wonderful progress up until November as she was only being treated for chronic ear infections (yeast).  She broke out in what appeared to be hives and boils, and her skin turned beet red, and her paws were swollen triple the size.   We rushed her to pet emergency, where we waited for four hours, only to be turned away due to all the emergencies that evening.  The following morning, Boo was taken to her regular vet.  Another blood panel was performed and the results were high in some areas that were believed to be due to steroids.  She was given an anti-inflammatory and an antihistamine injection.  She was also put back on Itraconazole, Orbax, Tramadol, Clemastine, and Atopica.  The atopica made her vomit even though it was given to her one hour before meals.  The only way we found to keep her from vomiting was to administer the atopica at midnight (the alarm was set).  Her baths continued every evening with Malaseb shampoo, and her paws are soaked in Epsom salt twice daily for the swelling.  The vet commented that there is no explanation he can come up with to explain the hives and boils.  Her diet has not changed since July and there is nothing in her environment that has changed.  He suggested her next visit be with a dermatologist.  After this visit, she improved tremendously, although her belly shows signs of scaring. 

Update December 2007:

From all appearances, Boo seemed to be doing very well, up until one week ago.  Within seven days, she has managed to pull all her hair from her paws, muzzle, and under her tail.  I researched specialists and called upon one yesterday.  Since their offices are closed until after the new year, I brought Boo back to her vet today in an attempt to get her comfortable until we get an appointment with the specialist.  The same round of drugs was prescribed including an e-collar.   Another skin scraping was performed on all four paws which came back negative for mange.

As I write this, Boo and Stanley are curled up with each other on the sofa…sound asleep!  It is obvious that this week has taken a huge toll on Boo, and my heart just breaks for her.  Our one and only option are to get to the root of the problem so she can be treated properly.  We are very anxious to see the specialist.  We will never give up on our girl!

Boo - WestieMed Recipient
Boo – WestieMed Recipient

Update January 8, 2008:

Hi all, it’s me Boo.  Today I had my visit with the dermatology specialist, Dr. Alexander Werner.  I liked him right off the bat!  He scratched my ears and I could tell it took everything out of him to refrain from kissing me.  Mom took all my medical records with us including my diary that she has made entries to since my arrival.  She edited the diary to reflect just the “medical & diet” facts, which I am grateful for because I really didn’t want my new doctor to hear about my potty training setbacks early on.  That would have been embarrassing.  I was a very good girl with Dr. Werner and I did not shake at all.

Dr. Werner said I look like I have epidermal dysplasia from previous tests that were performed at my regular vet, which is why my skin is turning very dark, scaly, and has thickened, and Malassezia as the secondary infection.  This is what mom believed as well, but my treatment has changed completely.  Dr. Werner changed all my meds, ear care, and diet with the exception of the Atopica which I am already taking.   I had an ear scraping test done too.   My new meds are Ketoconazole 200 mg every other day, Cephalexin 250 mg twice daily, and Atopica 50 mg every other day.  My pretty ears will now get Epi-Otic Advance for cleaning every 3-7 days and Betagen Otic drops (six to eight drops) every day for ten days – then twice weekly.  My beauty regime consists of Malaseb shampoo and ResiCort conditioner two times a week, Genesis Topical Spray for my paws two times a day for seven days.  To help with the paw swelling, I am to have my mom soak my feet in vinegar and water.  That can’t be so bad, right?

Dr. Werner also told mom that I must stick to a very methodical and strict diet.  I am not allowed to deviate from eating IVD Duck & Potato dry kibble and IVD Duck Canine wet food.  For mom to administer my meds, Dr. Werner said to ball up the canned food into little meatballs.  No girl likes to be on a strict diet, so Stanley graciously agreed to support my new endeavor by eating the same food so I am not tempted.  He’s such a great boy!  He’s going to the groomers next week, but I’m not going this time.  I have to wait until my paws are feeling better.

I am to keep wearing my baby socks because I’m told they “breathe”, and I have really gotten used to them.  It’s much better than the e-collar.  I have a follow-up appointment in four weeks and Dr. Werner will have a look at Stanley just for good measure.  

Keep your fingers & paws crossed because on top of this fantastic personality of mine, I am truly pageant material!!

See you all soon, Boo

Update February 14, 2008:

Boo had her follow up appointment today with the specialist.  Boo has progressed remarkably well.  She has grown fur on her paws including between the pads for the very first time since adoption.  Dr. Werner prescribed the same round of medications which will eventually be reduced to a few times a week over the next three to six months.  The only problem we have encountered in the last five weeks is keeping the Atopica down.  It was suggested that we freeze the pills and she will also be taking Metoclopramide (Reglan) 5 mg to help coat her stomach in preparation for the Atopica (one to two hours before mealtime).  Her diet will remain the same for now though we will test other foods in six months to rule in or out “food allergies”.  Regardless, Boo will be on Atopica for the rest of her life.  She has not had any further ear infections, though she did develop a tumor just below her bottom lip.  It is believed to be benign and may resolve itself due to the fact that it started as a small pimple and then metastasized triple the size in three days.  Dr. Werner appeared to be very confident that we shouldn’t have to be back for three to six months.  But with this good news, it was also made clear that a relapse can happen and they usually do with a vengeance.   This is not a curable disease and we will forever be treating her condition.  

Boo’s energy has quadrupled, her eyes are bright and she harasses Stanley with a vengeance!  My boy is an angel and puts up with all of her shenanigans.  Boo visited Indiana Bones & the Temple of Groom today!  She received her very first Westie cut and is absolutely beautiful!  She was given a Valentines Day bandana and a bow in her hair.  She insisted on removing the bow.  She is very much a tomboy!  To me she was always pageant material, but today she is hands down the BEST IN SHOW!! 

Thank you again Westie Med for all of your wonderful support and dedication to this supreme breed!


It is with a heavy heart that my baby girl died April 23rd.

My mother’s gardener put out snail bait without our knowledge or request.  A different guy came to maintain the yard in the absence of the regular guy.  The fill-in did not know my babies go to mom’s twice a week.

Boo Boo fought really hard at our emergency clinic for two days.  She had the best care ever, and we still couldn’t save her.  She was treated with Toxiban and the sodium levels kept spiking.  She went into cardiac arrest.

I am so heartbroken and three weeks later I still can’t stop crying over my baby girl.  I am trying to rationalize why this could happen after all she’s been through.  January was really the month that changed everything for her – for us.   Boo had quite the following…my entire family and my friends showed up at the clinic.  She was so unique and special and she touched our lives like no other.  There will never be another Boo Boo.

This picture was taken on April 13th.   I miss her so very much.


Update June 26, 2008:

Sending you my “thank you” is long over due.  The loss of Boo had really taken a toll and still; when I speak of her or write about her, I get that lump in the throat and the tear drops start falling.  Sometimes I wish I can fast forward a year so it stops hurting.  But with the sorrow, so much ‘good’ has taken place because of this one special little angel.

One year ago, this little girl pulled at my heart strings.  I called her the “throw away dog” because I couldn’t fathom someone dumping her at a shelter because her hair was falling out.  I don’t understand how people can be so ignorant, selfish, cruel, and so blind to the fact that these animals feel pain, joy, fear, comfort and love.  In all honesty, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but what I did know, is that I made a commitment that would mean the world to this one dog.  Her setbacks were my setbacks.  Her progress was my progress.  I remember when she had her first relapse, I put her in my lap and cried.  I spoke to her and apologized over and over again that I haven’t been able to make her better.  I also promised her that I would never give up on her.

One year ago I was uneducated in the world of throw away dogs, and how important rescue is.  Because of Boo, I became a volunteer for rescue.  I am currently fostering a little Westie girl that was picked up from the shelter on Monday.  She is grossly underweight, eyes crusted shut, ears swollen shut and covered with ticks.  I took her home and worked on her for over three hours.  Not one sound came out of her.  Not one complaint.  She let me warm compress her eyes, clean her ears and pull ticks.  She did not resist her bath or blow dry!  In fact, she curled up onto my lap as we sat on the bathroom floor with brush and blow dryer in hand.  She received vet care on Tuesday, will need drops in her eyes for the rest of her life, and just yesterday has responded to my voice.  Yes, she can hear, thank God!   She will go into permanent foster care on Sunday where she remain until she has been rehabilitated and ready for her forever home.

I will be sure to let them know that if she doesn’t find a home, then her home is with me.

I have a little boy here too.  His name is Howard and he was rescued from the shelter 4 weeks ago.  Howard has helped Stanley and me considerably in the day to day activities.  He is full of life, a bit on the devilish side, and gives great kisses.  I was to have him for one week and deliver him to his permanent foster home.  I did make the 80 mile drive, spent the afternoon with his new foster mom; only to turn around and come home with Howard in tow.  He belongs with Stanley and me.  His adoption is pending, but soon he will be a permanent member of the family.

I received your card and it still sits on my window sill.  It will always remain on my window sill for years to come.  Sometimes people don’t know what kind of impact they can have on someone else.   You had a huge impact on our lives.  The emails we’ve shared talking about our dogs, the support and knowledge I received from WestieMed’s website, the money sent to get Boo’s care rolling, the eternal candle and of course, the card. Simple words that meant the world to me. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done for us, and continue to do for others.

Love, Karen

Update May 9, 2009:

We are doing well! Stanley continues to be the great ambassador of all the rescues I bring home (he protects them, amazing!) and keeps order in the household; and Howard, the clown that he is introduces toys to them all. It is heaven!

Shortly after Boo died, I called my friend Kay and suggested we start a rescue organization. I found two Westies in my local shelter that were dumped because of their skin issues, so I adopted them.  Kay took one and she also found a Westie with Addison’s so she took him in as well.   We decided it’s official – we are doing this, so Westie Rescue of Orange County & Beyond was born.  I spent the next several months creating our adoption packages, brochures, adoption agreements, etc. and Kay worked tirelessly on our articles of incorporation and applied and received our 501c3 status.  We have also just been added as a rescue partner with WHWTCA.  Since then we have rescued thirty-si Westies in less than a year!  Currently, I have two skin cases with me; Wesley and Molly, and at any given time, Kay has a pack of six or more in her home.   We have had a number of seniors come our way, but it was Perry that made a huge impact.  Perry came to us a few months ago at the age of fourteen.  He was relinquished by his owner because of his incontinence and it was believed he had diabetes.  The shelter was set on euthanizing him, and Kay moved mountains to get him released to us.   Not an easy task when an owner tells the shelter he is sick.   Turns out he is not sick at all.  He is just a wonderful little senior citizen who is living the good life with Kay.   No Westie will ever be turned down regardless of age, health, or skin issues, and we are working on bringing awareness to the joy and privilege of adopting seniors.  

This is the reason Boo came into my life.  An artist in Michigan; Lara Harris is currently working on an oil painting of Boo for me. It will read “My Girl, My Inspiration, My Angel”.

Karen and Westie Stanley