Maxwell Martin (Adams = Fostering) Maxwell came to the West Highland White terrier Society (WHWTSOC) following the passing of his 90-year old owner through the thoughtfulness of a neighbor who had helped with his care. The owner had made no provisions for Maxwell in the event of the owner’s death. There were no family members who wanted to take him. The neighbor wanted to have Maxwell placed in a good home with folks who appreciated the breed and, who knew how to handle a dog who was clearly sight-impaired with cataracts on both eyes. The neighbor researched Westie Rescues and found the WHWTSOC.

Living the closest to Glastonbury where Maxwell was located, Pam & Tom Adams, with the help of Joann Philips, picked Maxwell up at the end of October of 2021. He had been well taken care of and was healthy other than having cataracts on both eyes. For years, Maxwell had not walked for more than 300 feet a day. He had no knowledge of the common commands. He now can walk close to a mile and, responds to “come” – sort of. The neighbor found Maxwell’s AKC Registration Papers and, it turns out, Maxwell was bred at the same Kennel as the Adams’ Gilligan and Lisa Regan’s Fiona. Maxwell and Gilligan were born 12 days apart in the same year.

The WHWTSOC Rescue Committee decided that Cataract Surgery would improve Maxwell’s quality of life. Maxwell was taken to the Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine, Inc. in North Haven, CT. The initial examination showed that only one eye was a potential candidate for Cataract Surgery while the other had a detached retina that, likely, had been detached for a long time. The Pre-Op testing yielded more bad news. The left eye which originally was thought to be a candidate for surgery was found to have a detached retina as well and, glaucoma. The Vet said that the pressure in his left eye was nearly 4 times higher than it should be resulting in Maxwell feeling like he had a constant Migraine Headache. Since Maxwell was totally blind already due to the detached retinas, the decision was made to remove the eyes and replace them with prosthetic eyes. In the end, only one eye could have a prosthetic, the other had an infection behind the eye precluding the implant.

Maxwell is back home with the Adams and doing well. He moves about the house like a little white Roomba – bumping into walls or gates then, redirecting. He is getting around well and his appetite is far better than it was pre-surgery. He seems happier and, when he no longer has to wear his Cone, he will be able to resume going up and down stairs and play out in the yard. He will certainly thrive.

Funding for Maxwell’s surgery came from the generosity of the WHWTSOC Rescue Fund, Pam & Tom Adams and WestieMed.

Update November 6, 2022:

Maxwell is doing very well. Despite the fact that he is totally blind and, seems to have some hearing issues, he is moving around the house fairly easily. At times he looks like a little white bumper car but, does not hesitate to wander about with ease. He especially enjoys exploring our backyard pen, sniffing his way around and, leaving his “calling card” on the plants and fence. He will even return to the deck, negotiating the 2 steps up to the deck and, walking to the backdoor. (All of this is contained within the pen so, there is no danger of him getting lost. We are also out in the pen with him and, his brother and sister anytime they are outdoors.)

Max has been back to Dr. Dorbandt at Central Hospital for Veterinary Care twice since his surgery.  The last visit showed that Maxwell had a little dry-eye in his prosthetic right eye.  We were prescribed eye drops to solve that issue.  He gets one drop I the AM and, another in the PM.  Other than that, everything is going very well. Maxwell is in great health, eating well,  becoming a little more sociable and, wagging his tail a lot more frequently.  Maxwell has even begun playing with toys, something he never did when we first got him.

A huge Thank-you to WestieMed for the grant that allowed us to get great care and treatment for Maxwell’s Glaucoma, eye infections and detached retinas.


Pamela Aey Adams


We first saw this little Westie girl on a Facebook “found dog” post after she was found as a stray on the side of a country road. She was well-groomed, happy, and appeared to be healthy so we were certain her people would come looking for her. The finder had her scanned and she was microchipped but the chip had not been registered. When we reached out to the finder to help, she indicated she was not able to keep the dog so we offered to hold her in one of our volunteer foster homes while continuing to look for her owners. Our volunteer picked her up and called her Gladys. Within a few days, someone reached out to us claiming to be the owner so we requested proof. Then Winter Storm Uri hit the area and our attention was drawn elsewhere.

Once the storm passed, we reached out again to the person who claimed to be Gladys’ owner and she confirmed it was indeed her dog, sending copies of vet records and the microchip number as proof. She told us that she had been giving it more thought and she had decided to rehome the pup. She told us she had a special needs child and it was getting to be too much to have the dog as well. While we were disappointed to not reunite them, we were able to learn more about Gladys’ personality and received all of her medical history so could set about finding the best furever home for her.

Gladys has a unique, spirited personality. She has an opinion on everything – either she loves it or she hates it and there is no real in-between. While that is helpful with things she loves (tennis balls and treats!) it makes things she hates a little more challenging. In one of her foster homes, we noticed that she flinched a lot when approached on the right-hand side. She also hated being petted on the head and being approached from behind. A trip to our veterinarian determined that she had an unusual- shaped oval cataract on her right eye. Gladys was referred to a doggy ophthalmologist where they determined she was an ideal candidate for cataract-removal surgery. While we were happy to have a definite diagnosis, we were also concerned about preparing Gladys for surgery.

If Gladys didn’t like her head touched or being approached from behind and flinched constantly, how were we going to give her all of the needed eyedrops without her snapping out of fear? We knew this was best for her and so the work began. Gladys’ foster mom practiced taking a muzzle and e-collar off and on and practiced administering saline and anti-inflammatory drops. This process took several weeks and once we felt Gladys trusted her foster mom enough, we scheduled her surgery.

Thanks to WestieMed, Gladys had successful cataract-removal surgery on Monday, October 4th. She will continue to get 12-14 eyedrops a day for the next several weeks which requires the muzzle, e-collar, and a lot of patience. Gladys also has at least four additional follow-up appointments to ensure that her eye stays healthy during recovery. Once fully recovered, Gladys will be matched to her furever home, one that understands that trust is gained over time and one that will play ball for hours on end.


Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston

Update July 21, 2022:

It has been a little over six months since Gladys successfully had her unusual cataract removed and life has changed in many ways. Still spunky and sassy, Gladys has been busy exploring parts of life that were previously unseen. Squirrels are no longer safe in the backyard and she regularly hunts bugs on her nightly walks about the neighborhood. Earlier this year, Gladys helped foster a pack of puppies and enjoyed evening playtime where she could be a puppy again.

Gladys has been busy looking for her furever home.  While many have applied for her, none has been the right fit for her unique personality.  We know her perfect furever home is out there.  In the meantime, she enjoys cuddling with her foster mom, bossing around her foster siblings, serving as copilot for car rides, and learning what it means to be a loved dog.  

Gladys has completed her follow-up doctor appointments with flying colors and continues to take her eye drops without any complaints.  Although she has been cleared from the eye doctor, she will continue eye drops for a year to make sure the healing is complete.

We are grateful for the help WestieMed provided to allow us to give Gladys the gift of full vision and improve her quality of life. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Maggie Escriva

Volunteer, Intake Coordinator

Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston

Update November 9, 2022:

It has been about a year since Gladys’s surgery and life could not be better!

Gladys found her furever home!She found the perfect furever home, complete with a patient mom and feisty fur brother (WSRH Alum Travis). Gladys now enjoys daily walks, lots of playtime, and more ball time than she ever could have imagined.

Gladys still takes her eye drops without any complaints and recently got a good follow up report from the eye doctor for her one year check up, but this time with her MOM!

Happy Tails, Gladys!



Budgie (aka Angel) had been purchased in New York from a breeder. Her pet parent traveled to Melbourne, FL, when she was approx nine months old, brought her to the local shelter. Budgie is now 9 yrs old. It is unknown how long it was before she was adopted from the shelter or how many families she had been with before living with her last owner before she came to my family.
Her owner had passed away and, along with another terrier breed dog, had been put on a back porch. By whom, it is unknown. A neighbor had been feeding them once a day and ensuring there was water. Another neighbor intervened after learning the two dogs had been abandoned on the porch. After attempts to have local animal control assist, the kind neighbor researched and located Sunshine State Westie Rescue, who immediately sent someone to rescue the dogs. It was thought that her time on the porch was a few months; however, the paperwork I have from the first vet she saw after rescue stated that the owner had passed a year prior. I can only hope the paperwork information is a misprint, and the time being abandoned was, in fact, only a few months.

Budgie was found without any hair, weighing 8 lbs, and as most rescues, suffering from multiple health issues. The foster family (bless their hearts) treated her for an ear infection, UTI, and skin problems. After three months under the foster’s care, Budgie was ready for adoption. We fell in love with her story and applied to Sunshine State Westie Rescue, and after a few weeks of the process, Budgie found her new home consisting of myself, my husband, two 3-year old Westie boys, and our two cats. 

We went to get Budgie on Sept 19, 2020 and she’s been part of our family for about 5 1/2 months now. We’ve cleared up any lingering health issues, including having seven teeth extracted due to receding gums and exposed roots. This medical problem was unknown until my vet suggested a deep root cleaning. What a change in her personality after the pain in her mouth was relieved! She is happy, spunky, and full of Westitude! Her remaining issue is her eyesight from progressive cataracts. Budgie has a hard time following her toys that she wants us to toss around; she can’t keep up or follow her younger brothers when playing in the yard, and she is starting to show signs of not recognizing her surroundings. She is the sweetest girl, loving, and does her best to get around. We know that with restored eyesight, her life would be so much more fulfilling for her and her brothers as she’d be able to play more interactively and keep up!

Her surgery is scheduled for April 27th, and she will still need her pre-op bloodwork completed, and we couldn’t be happier for her. We’ve had the retina testing completed, and the prognosis for full eyesight recovery is excellent. She deserves to see her world around her and enjoy her life. We are looking forward to giving this extraordinary gift to her and will share more after surgery.

We thank WestieMed for the caring and support for Westies in need of medical care and all others who helped make this possible.

Felicia D.

Update May 11, 2021:


Budgie is doing great getting a thumbs up at her 2-week checkup today. We expect to remove the cone next week. So fun to to see her interacting with everything around her!


Update May 18, 2021:


Budgie is now cone free with a new eye drop regimen. She will have another check up next week. She had a bath, finally, but sooo needs a spa day! Pic with the brothers…


Update June 16, 2021:

Budgie is doing great! We are down to one set of drops daily, next check-up is in a month, then 3 months, then 6 months, and that annual thereafter.

Once the prescribed after-surgery drops are gone, we can go back to once daily with her forever drops. YAY!

Again, we cannot thank everyone enough for making this possible! Watching her interact, play, chase lizards, etc., is amazing for all of us…the other two crazy ones included.


Update October 28, 2021:

Budgie is doing fantastic since her eye surgery! What a treat to watch her enjoying all that is around her. Budgies’ new favorite thing to do..sit in the window, watch for squirrels, lizards, and the people walking by! We could’ve never had this procedure done for Budgie without your organization, we can’t thank you enough!

Felicia & Steve Demon

Update April 26, 2022:

Hope all is well for everyone! Budgie passed her annual check up for her eyes with flying colors.

She’s released until next year. Still can’t tell you how thankful we are for your help with her!

Look at that face…she is a dolly, with Westitude, and happiness all in one.


Beaumont WestieMed Grant Recipient May 2018


When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast late last August, we had no idea what the floodwaters would bring. People and animals lost their homes, and many lost their lives. Some “lucky” ones who did not suffer total loss were either evacuated from their homes or stranded and, as the waters receded and damage assessed, emergency shelters were overcrowded. One of the problems that soon surfaced was the inability of some people to continue to provide for their animals as they pulled their lives back together and Beaumont came from one such situation.

On Sunday, September 3rd, Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston was contacted by a local shelter to ask if we had room for a family of nine Westies surrendered by a local breeder. The breeder’s son had convinced them to give up the dogs because they were unable to take care of them and had been for some time. All nine dogs were filthy, covered in fleas and mange, full of worms, and none had been spayed or neutered. The son told shelter workers that they had been unable to sell the last few litters of puppies so kept them and some had bred together. At least five of the dogs we took in that day were products of inbreeding, including Beaumont.

Beaumont had skin issues that needed to be addressed before we could do surgery for his neuter and hernia repair. Our primary vet had determined Beaumont had cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, a genetic disease, rendering him completely blind. While we worked to clear his skin infection, we took Beaumont to the eye specialist to determine if there was any way to help him and she ran various tests which showed he had bilateral retinal detachments and no recordable retinal function. There was no surgery that could restore his vision but the eye doctor prescribed eye drops to reduce the inflammation and pressure in his eyes.

As time went by, each of the other pack members met prospective families but Beaumont did not have any interest due to his blindness. Beaumont’s foster mom worked to improve his adoptability by taking him through training classes and he achieved his Canine Good Citizenship certification. When it came time for his six-month visit at the eye doctor, we found that the pressure in his left eye had increased so the decision was made to surgically remove the eye to eliminate his pain and the need for ongoing medication.

Beaumont is a healthy, happy dog who does not seem to know he cannot see. The surgery and care obtained with WestieMed’s assistance will definitely improve the quality of his life.

Maggie Escriva
Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston

Update November 7, 2018

Beaumont - WestieMed Recipient May 2018
Beaumont – WestieMed Recipient

Shortly after relocating to Houston in Aug of 2017 I began volunteering with WSRH, a wonderful organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming Westie, Scottie, Cairn and special blend terriers.  Hurricane Harvey had devastated the area, countless pets had been lost or left behind in a desperate and tragic situation.  A group of nine young Westies came into WSRH, thereafter known as The Harvey 9.  In sad shape, with open skin wounds, patchy balding and one little guy blind, the result of backyard breeders.  All were named for cities in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Eight of the pups were brought to good health and adopted. 

Sadly, Beaumont remained.  He’d been seen by eye specialists, but, there was nothing to be done for his blindness.  I took him home to foster and mentor with my fifteen-year-old semi-retired Cairn terrier, Miss Ellie, a therapy dog. Though Ellie passed shortly after his arrival he maintained his enthusiasm for learning and completed obedience school.

In March of this year during a routine eye exam, it was found that the pressure in one of his eyes was at fifty with the normal pressure being fifteen.  He had had a bleed in that eye and was undoubtedly having pain though he maintained his stoicism. Insult to injury his eye would need to be removed.  The dedication of WestieMed to the welfare and health of Westies cannot be lauded loudly enough!   Beaumont is a different little dog after recovery, free of pain and eager to plow into every day with abandon and blind joy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Karen Kautz

Angus - WestieMed Grant Recipient May 2018


Angus came to Westie Rescue of Northern California (WRAP) from a northern California shelter on 12/2/2017 after several people contacted us on Facebook about him. Angus was a stray, that the shelter said was about ten years old. Angus was fairly blind only seeing some shadows with cataracts in both eyes. His dental condition was poor. He had early renal disease and was mildly anemic. In addition, he was hard of hearing and had ulcers in his eyes which were discovered later. As the WRAP volunteer was sitting in her car to leave the shelter, Angus began to throw up. That set the tone for the weeks to come. He didn’t want to eat and when he did he was sick.

Angus was very dirty and matted on arrival so he was groomed within days. He looked beautiful when done. Angus was a very good boy for the groomer.

His loving foster mother took him to the Veterinarian almost immediately (and often) to start to deal with his medical issues which were many but most importantly his nausea. Multiple labs and testing over the next months were done along with teeth cleaning. He saw three different Veterinarians (including an Ophthalmologist) over four and a half months for various issues.

Angus was a loving boy who had clearly been loved at one time. He got along well with the others dogs in the foster home and became very bonded with them and his foster mom. Angus blossomed with some love and medical care. After over four and a half months Angus was finally cleared for adoption.

Angus was adopted by his foster mother on April 20, 2018.

Thank you WestieMed for helping us provide for Angus.

Update July 2019

Angus, my little man of the house went to Rainbow Bridge on Thursday, November 1st, 2018. We knew he was going to be a tough case because he was very ill when he first came to rescue and us. In spite, of his poor beginnings, Angus was a very sweet boy, enjoying his time snuffling around in the yard, lending affection whenever and wherever he could, and enjoying his food.

We think he was about twelve but he had had a very hard life and ultimately his kidneys failed him. Though he was blind and deaf, he really did manage to get around just fine and would meet me at the door with the rest of his pup siblings.

He was a beautiful little Westie and had the most expressive tail. A great lover of cuddling, he just loved to be around others and made friends easily with the rest of my crew. I love my girl Westie dearly, but oh how those little boys break my heart every time. Angus will be greatly missed.

Mom Janet

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

Renni - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2016


As I was messing around on Facebook one night, I got a message and photo from my sister-in-law, Casey.  The picture was of a little white dog at the Metro Nashville Animal Shelter for adoption.  The little dog was pretty bedraggled and looked very small and afraid.  She was female, spayed and not much other information was known about her.

Casey and I conversed a few minutes, and I told her I’d contact Westie Rescue AL/TN to see if they could get her released from the shelter and into a foster home.

I sent a Facebook message to one of the officers of Westie Rescue AL/TN and inquired about this little girl.  She said she knew about this dog and a couple was going to the shelter to try to adopt her within the next few days, but it was not a definite situation.  She said the Rescue did not have any foster homes available at that time and there wasn’t anything they could do unless a forever foster home could be found.

I talked to my husband about the little dog and showed him her picture.  We were currently in the process of trying to help another Westie, and it didn’t look like that situation was going to work out.  We both felt that this little dog at the shelter needed us more than the other dog, and maybe she was the reason the other situation wasn’t working out.  I wrote the officer back and told her if she could get her out of the shelter, we would adopt her.  She was overjoyed and said she would start working on it the next day.

Unfortunately, the shelter was closed until the following Tuesday.  The officer was able to contact the shelter and go see this little Westie.  When she got there, she discovered the dog was both deaf and blind.  She called us to see if we could handle this situation since it was going to be more than we had anticipated.  We decided we would still adopt her.  I arranged to meet the officer to meet the little girl and met them early in the week before the adoption.

The little girl had been checked out by the vet at the shelter, and was found to be heartworm negative, blood work was all good, needed a dental cleaning, and had some skin issues.  She was soon on the way to the Rescue’s veterinarian, with a quick stop to see me on the way.

This baby looked SO bad.  She had a very thick, black crust underneath her left eye.  She was very scraggly and dirty, and she smelled so bad there were flies around her.  She was walking in circles at the end of the leash and confused.  I picked her up and held her, and I could tell she was very sweet and needed a lot of love.  She needed someone to trust to take care of her.

She had been found in a neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, by a woman who had called Metro Nashville Animal Control to come and pick her up.  Her next-door neighbors had a Westie, so she knew she was the same breed.  Apparently, they gave the shelter their contact information, because the Rescue officer was able to contact them.  She had been at the shelter for almost a week when I saw her picture.  After we adopted her, the officer told us the neighbors put a story about her in their neighborhood newsletter and collected a donation for Westie Rescue to help offset her vetting.  The officer let them know that she had been adopted, that her name was now “Renni”, that her Irish name means “small, but mighty”, and she was going to a good home.

Renni was at the vet by this time.  They did a thorough exam, found a slight heart murmur, gave her a dental cleaning and removed 5 teeth, bathed her and treated her skin issues, prescribed three types of eye drops for her eyes to be given twice/day.  She had a follow-up visit for two weeks.  After the follow-up visit, we could give her a bath.

We were able to pick Renni up and bring her home on Friday, June 17, 2016, four weeks ago today.

She does not like riding in the car.  She fought like a little tiger until she wore herself out and went to sleep in my arms.  We decided no more car trips until the follow-up vet visit.  We got her home, introduced her to our other Westies:  Duncan, age four; Connor, age three; and Brody, age one.

They are leery of her, and can tell she is ‘different’.  They mostly avoid her whenever she gets near them, but they are slowly accepting her into the fold.  They are ‘concerned’ when she gets upset, and come to check on her to satisfy themselves that she’s ok.

We suspect that Renni belonged to a gentleman, who possibly passed away.  She became attached to my husband very quickly, and he became attached to her as well.  We have no way of knowing how she ended up on the street, or how long she was on her own.  It breaks our hearts to think of her alone, in the dark, in her own darkness and silence, not knowing where danger was lurking, trying to fend for herself to find a safe place to sleep and something to eat.

She is very thin, all the bones in her spine can be felt, as well as her hip bones.  Her rib bones can also be felt.  She is having a difficult time gaining weight because she walks so much.

The vet initially thought she had dementia, but we determined after her first night at our house, that she was ‘mapping’ her surroundings. 

She walked the perimeter of our great room 30-50 times without stopping.  The first several trips around, she bumped into everything.  After several times, she was able to dodge more and more pieces of furniture, table legs, corners, etc.  When she finally had navigated the room with no collisions, she rested.  She learned where the food and water bowls were located and could find them easily.  She learned where my husband was sitting and would pass by him for a quick rub, just to get her bearings. 

The next morning, she was able to remember everything she had learned the previous night. Renni did not have dementia!  Way too smart for that!  She started learning the next room and moved on to the next and the next.  She still has trouble with the dining room table and chairs…too many legs, too close together.  That’s understandable.

She LOVES to be outside for potty breaks.  She’s getting more comfortable being in her yard.  Her first time in the backyard, she took off like a trooper and explored the whole fenced area.

She had a ball and didn’t want to come back to where we were.  The other dogs were playing in the pool, but she couldn’t go in because she couldn’t get wet yet.  We have tried her at swimming since the follow-up vet visit, but she doesn’t care much for it.

We are hoping after Renni’s cataract surgery, with her vision restored to 95%, she can enjoy being in the pool, will want to play with toys, will be able to get along with the other dogs, and navigate better in the yard.  Balance is an issue for her without her sight on uneven ground.

We are anxious for her to see our faces as well, so she knows who is loving her, kissing her face, stroking her back, feeding her, etc. 

With your generous help, all this will be possible for her after the cataract surgery.  From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU so much for all you have done to help this precious little girl.

She has been a huge blessing to us as we have learned how to communicate with her and help her adjust to her new life and surroundings.

Jeanne and Chris Blankenship

Update April 3, 2017

Sadly, WestieMed has received word that Renni passed away last year. Rest in peace sweet girl.

Scottie Joe - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2015

Scottie Joe

Scottie Joe is a seven-year-old intact former breeding male Westie. Scottie has always been an outside dog who has never been vetted in his life and after he became unwanted by his original owner she advertised him for free in her local newspaper to anyone who would have him as a “good rat dog”. A kind man named Mike answered the ad and upon seeming Scottie Joe, took pity on him. Mike told me that it was clear as soon as he seen him that Scottie Joe was blind and no rat dog which was what he needed, and his skin appeared to be “moving” from the severe flea infestation and he felt “if I just take him home and put him down at least he will be out of his misery.” Mike took Scottie Joe home with that intention in mind but on the ride, Scottie Joe rested his head gratefully on Mikes’s lap. Mike decided to try and help him all he could. Mike is a poor backwoodsman from a tiny town of about 400. He did the best he knew to do for Scottie Joe. He dipped him several times to kill off the flea infestation and bought him the best food he knew Purina Lamb and Rice and kept Scottie Joe inside and in two weeks Mike said Scottie Joe was housebroken. After having Scottie Joe for about six weeks, Mike knew that Scottie Joe had more health needs then he could help him with and searched the internet for help not wanting to put him down since he had become very fond of him. He found Westie Rescue of Missouri. Mike drove a long way to get Scottie Joe to me before our weather turned bad that day in early March and then handed him off to me with tears in his eyes. I promised Mike we would not only take very good care of Scottie Joe but we would keep him updated on his progress and adoption. Scottie Joe has heavy thick cataracts on both eyes and is totally blind. His tongue hangs out because most of his teeth including his front ones are either missing or broken off with just pieces hanging and his lower jaw bone is deteriorating due to the missing teeth. He battles severe reoccurring mouth infections. He tested positive for heartworms and Ehrlichiosis (a tick-borne disease common to this area carried by deer ticks. Can be fatal if not treated causes arthritis and stiffness in the joints left untreated) He was also full of hookworms.  A plan of care was laded out to treat him for the Ehrlichiosis first, then heartworms, then the teeth (which would then resolve the recurring mouth infections) and neutered and then his eyes.  His health recover has been a long journey thus far lasting five months and has been costly, but now we are ready to move onto a very exciting point, restoring Scottie Joe’s sight by the removal of cataracts in both eyes. Scottie Joe will be traveling to Columbia University of Missouri, a three-hour drive always to have his surgery. He has had his initial examination by an Ophthalmologist at the University of Missouri and they feel he is a good candidate for the surgery, but first, he must have a cardiologist consult due to his previous heartworms. If he is cleared by the cardiologist for surgery then Scottie Joe will have his chance to see once again. Scottie Joe is super mellow, very sweet-natured with male and female dogs and every human he meets young or old. After all the neglect and abuse Scottie Joe has endured in his life from humans, he still finds his way to me to rest at my feet and is my constant shadow.

Sue Alley

Update January 15, 2016

Scottie Joe - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2015
Scottie Joe – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Unfortunately, when more advance testing was done on SJ it was found that his retina was permanently damaged and did not reflect light so his eyesight was not able to be restored.

His heart was so heavily infested with the Heartworms that it has left his right heart chamber permanently damaged but he is now HW negative.

He only has four teeth and those are back molars. He is now also incontinent of the bladder.

SJ is so full of Westietude however. This bouncy happy fellow does not know he is handicapped. He has a big personality and enjoys being the cock of the walk-in our home. He loves his fursisters and he loves me.

How blessed I am! I adopted SJ last August and he is now my Furever puppy. I would be hard-pressed to put into words the love I have for him and count SJ as one of my greatest blessings in life.

Forever thankful to WestieMed for their generous donation for his vetting to get him as healthy as possible so he can have the life that should have been his from the start.

Sue Alley

Albert - WestieMed Grant Recipient May 2014


Albert is a 12-year old Westie boy who was surrendered to our Westie Rescue of Northern California by his lifelong owners who are divorcing. Both moved to apartments where they cannot have a dog and want him to be in a home with a yard and the opportunity to have proper care and attention. He is a diabetic Westie who is totally blind from cataracts and his hearing is also impaired.

He is being fostered by a retired RN who practiced as an Emergency Room nurse her entire career in Napa, California. I had trouble finding a Foster who was comfortable giving Albert insulin shots and managing his loss of sight. Albert is quite content to be a laid back boy and it is my hope that she requests to adopt him once we have taken care of his cataracts.

I picked him up in Milpitas, CA and made a stop at Veterinary Vision in San Francisco en route to Napa. Dr. Cynthia Cook has performed cataract surgery on one of my own Westies and also for one of my rescues, Darby, who received a grant from WestieMed. She gives us a 20% discount and strives to come in at the low end of her estimate for surgery. Our Rescue will pay the remaining costs of his surgery after the WestieMed grant is sent to her. Dr. Cook has confirmed that he is a good candidate for surgery. He is having his pre-op blood work and vet exam on May 11 and I am going to try to schedule his surgery for May 20th.

Albert is a very sweet little guy. He has another dog to play with in his Foster home and has become fast friends with a Golden Retriever named Connor. He learned his way around the house fairly quickly and is favorite spot is on the sofa with the Foster. He also naps in the sun on her deck and is able to ask to go outside after only a few days. He is affectionate and tries to play when he is on the floor. Here is a quote from the last update from the Foster: “If Albee had his vision again he would be a playful lil guy, likes to lay on his side next to you and have his tummy rubbed.” It will be wonderful to observe what he thinks when he is able to see after three years being blind.

Our thanks and Albert’s gratitude to all of the people at WestieMed for giving him the gift of sight with your funding of his surgery.

Mary Young
Westie Rescue of Northern California

Update July 28, 2015

We lost our little Albert to congestive heart failure last weekend. We are so sad. He was the best boy and at least had his eyesight for his last two years. It hurts to lose these rescues as much as if they were my own dogs.

Thanks WestieMed for your support of Albert and our other rescues.

Mary Young
Rescue Chair

Duchess - WestieMed Grant Recipient November 2013


Duchess arrived at Westie and Scottie Rescue Houston in July 2013 after her two moms died; the first when she was 3 1/2 years old and the second, her original mom’s sister, four years later. Because she is diabetic and blind from cataracts caused by diabetes, no other family members were willing to care for her. Daily insulin injections and the cost of insulin, along with caring for a blind dog, were overwhelming for them. After seven weeks in a kennel at her veterinarian’s office, the family released Duchess to WSRH. Her first stop was the intake house, where she was introduced to the resident pack and other fosters waiting for new homes. Duchess also was put on a healthy diet of grain-free food and was taken to see WSRH’s vet, Dr. Keith French at Bear Branch Animal Hospital. When Dr. French finished his initial exam and blood work, he implanted a microchip and a video of the procedure was shared on Facebook. To watch the video click here.

Duchess had always been an only dog so understandably was a bit overwhelmed with all the action and new dogs around her. She was able to maneuver around the dog room after a few days there but demonstrated her love of “caves” by crawling onto an open shelf in a cabinet. This became her daytime safe area. Fortunately for Duchess, it was only a week before first-time foster parents Dewayne and Cathy took her to their home. Although blind, she quickly learned to navigate the furniture in their house and established cave areas under furniture where she could hide after meals to try to avoid her insulin injections. This has become a game for her; lead Mom and Dad on a hunt for Duchess in her caves.

One discovery in her new foster home is that Duchess is a barker; when she is unsure of her surroundings when she can’t find the toy she dropped when she wants a playmate, the barking begins. Duchess has a strong prey drive and spends hours daily “looking” for squirrels along the backyard fence. She and her foster brothers run along the fence line while the squirrel runs along the top. When the squirrel is gone, the boys go into the house but Duchess continues to run along the bottom of the fence, barking. She likes to play with squeaky toys or toys with bells in them, however, when she drops the toy, the barking begins while she tries to find it.

Duchess and her foster brothers, two Westies and a Schnauzer mix, frequent the local dog park where Duchess is happily playing with smaller dogs. She tries to follow her foster brothers but they always run too fast for her to keep up. While the dog park has lots of open spaces for her to play, Duchess runs into fences and has fallen into the shallow pond. Duchess is socialized with other dogs, but her vision loss makes meeting new dogs difficult for her. When new dogs approach her too quickly or bark near her, she becomes frightened and looks for Mom or Dad to pick her up.

After monitoring Duchess’s blood sugar levels, Dr. French suggested that Duchess might be a candidate for cataract surgery because her diabetes was under control so he referred her to Gulf Coast Animal Eye Clinic. Dewayne made an appointment and took Duchess to see Dr. Jim Swanson who started her on a regimen of twice-daily eye drops to control swelling behind her corneas. After a month of this treatment, Dr. Swanson approved Duchess for cataract surgery and agreed to waive half his fee of $3600. With the help of WestieMed paying the remainder of the surgical fee, Duchess will soon be able to see the squirrels she loves to chase.

Duchess will always be diabetic but cataract surgery will make her more adoptable and allow her to lead a fuller, safer life. We are very grateful for WestieMed and all of its supporters for the assistance provided to Duchess and the other Westies who need extra help in getting them ready for forever homes.

Cathy and Dewayne Norris, Grateful Foster Parents
Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston

Update December 5, 2014

Duchess - WestieMed Grant Recipient November 2013
Duchess – WestieMed Grant Recipient

It seems the holidays, more than any other time of year, remind us to be grateful for the blessings we receive. Duchess was one of those blessings and WestieMed multiplied the blessing tenfold. When we took Duchess in, she had outlived two owners and was blind due to cataracts caused by diabetes. Our wonderful vet helped us get and keep her blood sugar under control and, thanks to a grant from WestieMed, we were able to have the surgery done to remove her cataracts and restore her eyesight. Duchess was still healing from the surgery when a wonderful person whose Westie also was older and diabetic, saw her profile and knew that she had to have Duchess in her life. As as soon as the surgeon cleared her, Duchess moved to her forever home.

Duchess’s forever mom sent us the attached photo showing how happy this beautiful girl is now. We always will be grateful to Dr. Keith French at Bear Branch Animal Hospital, Dr. Jim Swanson at Gulf Coast Animal Eye Clinic, and WestieMed for making this beautiful creature’s life brighter.

Kind regards,

Maggie Escriva
Volunteer, Director
Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston

Update July 29, 2015

Duchess - WestieMed Grant Recipient November 2013
Duchess – WestieMed Grant Recipient

We are happy to provide additional updates as the gift WestieMed helped provide is a lifetime of vision for this dear girl.

Duchess was adopted by a wonderful woman who has another older Westie girl who also is diabetic so she is quite familiar with dietary and medical needs.

Her mom told us that Duchess and her sister, Leia, had good reports at their recent vet checkup.

Thank you to WestieMed for enabling happy tails like this.

Kind regards,

Westie & Scottie Rescue Houston