Holly - WestieMed Grant Recipient December 2014


Holly age thirteen and her bonded sister Hannah age eleven, came into foster care with me through Westie Rescue of Missouri in September of 2014 after their human parents divorced, and they were taken to the local shelter and left. Holly and Hannah both had skin issues and needed to be totally shaved, both were also in need of dentals and had between them needed a total of fourteen teeth removed. Holly upon entering rescue was noted to having heavy yellow staining to her tail and hind legs with constant squatting to urinate noted. We knew that for Holly to have such heavy staining to her hindquarters she must have had a long-standing untreated UTI or possible bladder stones. WRM provides excellent care for Holly with extensive blood work and x-rays to try and determine the specific of Holly’s problem. X-rays showed no stones and urine analysis showed a typical UTI. Holly immediately went on antibiotics and improved with no signs of infection after her antibiotic where finished. A short two weeks later Holly presented again with symptoms of a UTI and again a urine annalist and x-rays were done with no stones noted but infection present in her urine. A double dose of antibiotics was prescribed for Holly and once again she improved quickly. Holly and Hannah by this time had been with me their foster mom for two months with no interest from anyone in adopting them. I have fostered more Westies then I can count over the years and have loved and wanted to keep each of them, but always knew in my heart that their forever families were out there somewhere waiting for them and it was for me to help them on their journey to finding their forever families. Till Holly and Hannah arrived. WRMS policy is to never separate a bonded pair and I knew in my heart that they were mine. I adopted Holly and Hannah on the first of November and all seemed well till the next day! The day after adoption Hannah and Holly both presented with health issues. I will at this point set sweet Hannah aside, to share about Holly. Holly once again presented with signs of a UTI. Test, x-rays, antibiotics. Repeat this scenario two more times. Holly’s vet decided that Holly had possible bladder stones that were not showing up on x-rays and would need an ultrasound done to determine if stones were indeed what was the underlying cause of Holly’s persistent UTIs. I live in a rural area and so a two-hour drive to the nearest vet specialist in St Louis, who could do an ultrasound was scheduled. Taking an unpaid day off from work for me and my husband was necessary to get Holly to the specialist for her appointment. The specialist immediately felt that Holly presented with more confusing symptoms than just a bladder stone and set to work requiring an extensive blood panel, ultrasound and a sterile urine sample (taken by inserting a needle into her abdomen to acquire the clean sample needed.) The results of her ultrasound showed no stones in her bladder and the specialist determined that Holly had been born with a fold of skin that partially covered her vulva. Through the years the skin had become thicker and heaver covering more and more of the vulva. The skin would not allow all of her urine to be eliminated from her bladder, would gather and breed germs, that then travel into Holly’s bladder creating the ongoing constant problem of UTIs. Specialist office visits, ultrasound, sterile urine samples taken, totaled over $800 and the missed days from work all creating a hefty amount, that would have been financially draining for us and now Holly faces surgery to correct the problem which will be the only way to ensure the UTIs that she has been plagued with all her life stop. Holly’s surgery estimates are given to us as being at $1,000 and up. Thanks to WestieMed we know the problem and will be able to provide Holly with the surgery needed. Holly is scheduled for surgery after the first of the New Year. Unfortunately while dealing with Holly’s issues we have also been dealing with her sister Hannah’s health concerns. Hannah has been diagnosed with fast-spreading bone cancer. Since Holly and Hannah are so very bonded we feel that it is in Holly’s best interest to see how things go with Hannah, and how Holly adapts to her life long companion being gone from her life. We will be monitoring Hannah closely and when the time comes that we feel she is ready to go, we will be with her to whisper in her ear to tell her what a good girl she is, that she is loved and we will walk her across the Rainbow Bridge. We are told it will not have her much longer. Our concern is that surgery may be too much of a hardship on Holly so quickly and so WestieMed has been kind enough to grant us extenuating circumstances to see how Holly does and postpone her surgery for a while if needed. I do not regret adopting these two precious girls as my own. Short though their time with me has been, I love them dearly and they have enriched my life. We would have moved heaven and earth to get them whatever care they needed but our thanks to WestieMed will never end for having to not concern ourselves with the finances of how we could manage it all. Because of WestieMed and their generous supporters and donators we can focus on loving and caring for Hannah with whatever time remains with her and making sure Holly has the best care possible as she goes on in her life without her best friend.

Sue Alley

Update January 29, 2015

I wanted to let WestieMed know that Holly passed away. She had developed some sort of neurological disorder over the past month that we were trying to determine the cause of when she became paralyzed and was in considerable pain. I am crushed. Thank you to all at WestieMed for the financial support for Holly. Oh, how I wish we could have fixed her. It just was not meant to be. I would not have traded my short time with her for anything.