On Christmas Day 2007, Angel, a seven to eight-year-old Westie, was found wandering in traffic near Louisa, Kentucky (close to the border of West Virginia), by a wonderful woman. Angel was “in very bad shape”. Angel had infections in both ears and one eye for which antibiotics were prescribed. The veterinarian believed Angel was very pregnant. Arrangements were made to place Angel into Westie/Cairn Terrier Rescue of SW Ohio in Williamsburg. Once in Williamsburg, Ohio, an ultrasound showed that Angel was not pregnant. Angel was spayed, further antibiotics were prescribed, and her teeth were cleaned with some removed. Further diagnostic testing showed Angel had an enlarged heart and cardiac medications were started. In addition, a mammary tumor was removed that fortunately was benign. Angel has given birth to multiple liters and is believed to have come from a puppy mill.
Angel remained unadopted for approximately three months. In browsing through the Westie Rescue, USA website, I found Carla Smith of Westie/Cairn Rescue of SW Ohio in Williamsburg and adopted Angel on 4/5/08. Angel was initially very timid and fearful. With minimal activity or after lying down, Angel would start coughing and had periods of labored breathing. Two days after adoption, Angel received medical treatment for what was believed to be congestive heart failure. However, Angel’s symptoms progressively became worse. Angel rarely barked and when she did, she would start coughing.
On 4/11/08, a cardiologist diagnosed Angel with Pulmonary Fibrosis, also known as Westie Lung Disease. It is chronic scarring of the lung tissue that is mostly seen in Westies. Angel receives three respiratory medications, including an inhaler, twice a day and her heart medications were discontinued. Within twelve hours, Angel’s activity level improved dramatically. Although seven to eight years old, Angel acted like a puppy, full of energy and getting into everything.
When Angel first arrived, she could only walk two to three house lengths without coughing and shortness of breath. Initially, the cardiologist said to restrict her activity; however, Angel was not going to comply with this prescription. Angel now briskly walks the entire block (twenty houses) several times a day and barks without coughing.
Angel has gained so much confidence, proudly walking down the street with that terrier prance and wagging her tail. The cardiologist is thrilled with her progress. In addition, she runs through the house with excitement, plays with toys, and is just as happy as she could be. Angel has also assumed a very important job, squirrel detective. Always on squirrel patrol, Angel is the fastest squirrel chaser around and if she could figure out how to climb a tree, she would. Her front paw goes up and her tail becomes straight when she senses a squirrel is on her turf. What a smart girl, if she can’t climb a tree, she will just chop the tree down with her teeth.
Angel loves other dogs and has several dog friends. Angel has become quite the neighborhood dog. Children on bicycles say, “Hi Angel” and people on porches always greet her. Angel looks in amazement, “Are they talking to me?” Although still a little people shy, Angel has just blossomed. Angel is the best little mommy helper around; she goes everywhere with Mommy including shopping, where she sits in the basket of the cart. Store clerks and shoppers always come up to her and two people have asked: “where they can get a dog just like her”. Such a sweet little Westie, Angel has provided much love, humor, and comfort to all of those who come across her path. Angel has been such a blessing!
Thank you so much to Westie Med, Inc. for providing the assistance for Angel to be able to live out the life that she deserves including the puppyhood that she missed. Angel and her mommy are so grateful for your kindness and generous support. Angel has truly been given another chance and she is taking every opportunity to live her new life to the fullest. Each day is a new adventure. Angel is truly an angel!
Update October 5, 2008
My life keeps getting better and better. Words cannot express my sincere gratitude to WESTIE MED for their concern over my well-being and their financial assistance.
I saw my cardiologist in September and got a very good report. I wasn’t surprised as I already knew because I feel so much better. My lung pressures are down, just borderline of the high end of normal. The doctor said, “that I still will always have pulmonary hypertension”, whatever that means. I still take my three medications, twice a day, no changes were made. I wish my doctor would stop that inhaler, I do not like that one, but Mommy waits until I am asleep to use it. The other two medicines I like because I get really good food with them. Mommy says, “Come on Angel, time for medicines” and I come running.
If I haven’t told you, I live in a palace! Boy, I am one lucky dog. I have my own couch and loveseat. Old carpet and furniture are a dog’s dream. I can do whatever I want. I sprawl out on my couch or loveseat, as big as I please. Mommy got me dog steps for the couch and I learned real quick how to climb them. I also have lots of toys. My toy squirrel is my favorite. In the palace, I can run all the way through the living room, dining room and kitchen in one swoop. I do this when I am really excited and happy. Also, at the palace, when you are hungry all you have to do is toss your food bowl and you get fed. On the weekends, it operates similar to a Bed and Breakfast. I get to sleep in and I get a little cream of wheat for breakfast, yum, yum.
Still busy chasing and barking at all those squirrels. I have my own backyard, I just love it. I run from one end to the other trying to get those squirrels. I do wish I had longer legs, so I could climb a tree or that fence. I can’t get away with much back there as Mommy is always watching; I tell her that she is too overprotective. I also watch the squirrels from my front door, I have a special mat there that has a beautiful picture of a Westie, just like me. In the mornings, sometimes I take a snooze on my mat as the sun shines on me.
I get to go on lots of walks, people around here say, “Hi Angel” as I walk by. My little legs just keep moving as quickly as they can and I wag my tail. Mommy says, “Good girl” as I prance down the street. I now potty all the time outside. After I “Potty Outside”, Mommy says, “Diggity, Dig, Diggity, Dog”, and I dig real fast. I also know what “Come, Come” means and “Stay”. Mommy says, “I am the smartest dog that she ever had”.
I have a Pet Nanny, my neighbor, Auntie DeAnna. She watches me all day when Mommy goes to work. Auntie DeAnna spoils me rotten. She bought a digital camera with video just to capture all of my best moments.
Good thing that the power went out for several days and I could not go to the groomer, as I discovered the palace also has a spa. I got a bath! I just loved it, lots of warm water, a massage with lather, I thought I was in heaven. Mommy said, “that I couldn’t go to the Cardiologist without a bath, as they might think I wasn’t well cared for”, boy, I would set the record straight if anyone ever said that.
I also have a sparkly new harness in pink and a matching leash with diamonds. Auntie DeAnna got me jewelry; doggy charms that go on my pink harness. I only wear this outfit on special occasions. And, I love to go “Bye, Bye”, that means a ride in the car.
Yep, I have a great life. Each day, I am so excited to get started that I help Mommy open the front door by scratching on it as she opens it, so I can be the first one to see outside. I am so, so happy!!! Thank you again for assisting with making my new life possible. I feel so much better now and in fact, I am able to hold a very important job and it’s in the career of my choice, squirrel detective.
Hugs and kisses,
I hope you enjoyed reading Angel’s progress in her own words. I cannot believe that still each day, she gets better and better. Angel is so happy, full of life and more confident with each day. Quite a contrast from when she first came, so timid and fearful and then unable to do much with the shortness of breath and coughing. Angel now only coughs occasionally and only becomes short of breath when she overdoes it with those squirrels, but with a close eye, I can intervene before it gets to that point. Angel wakes up full of energy and ready to go. I have learned a great deal through adopting Angel. A ton of patience and love makes such a difference. I never would have dreamed that Angel would get to the point that she is. She is too cute and just the sweetest dog around, never growls or gets upset. Her next cardiologist appointment is now in five months. Also, her heart has not enlarged any further.
Thank you again. May God bless WestieMed for that work that you do.