In September I was web surfing and found the Rescue Westies of Missouri site. I filled out an application of interest, since a month before we had lost our previous Westie “Cutty” to cancer, and were missing our little boy. My wife and I had decided we would never have another dog because it was so painful to lose them. Then I received an immediate response that our application was received, but there were not dogs available. I had mentioned in the application we had spent thousands on our precious little boy, because of a congenital heart condition, and we were not ready to handle another Westie with significant issues. I received a Facebook post of an abused dog that found a forever home, with the caption, “you can’t change the world, but you can change the world for someone”.
Approximately ten minutes after being told there were no dogs available, we received the first picture of JuJu in the cage, sadly we were to find out that she was significantly better in that picture, then when she was found. My wife and I looked at her, and after we quit crying at the sad shape she was in, we called and talked to Sue Hon about this rescue. The hope was she would get better, may grow hair, but was deaf, and there was no one interested in her.
We told her it would be a week before we could drive across Missouri to see her. We set up a time and one week later got to meet JuJu. The rest is history, she was ours, and we promised to change her world, she cuddled up to us and seemed to say, OK let’s go home.
We have had our little girl for two months, the second picture shows her love to watch her iPad, and relax on the porch.
She has had multiple vet visits, medications, and special food. She was referred to a Dermatologist after there was minimal improvement, on a closer exam, and, skin, tissue, and hair analysis, a new care plan was developed.
It will be a long road for her, at least a year of medications, three times a week shots, special shampoo baths, and a strict special food diet. BUT the good news is she is showing some improvement, all open areas of skin are closed and healed, she seems happy with us, and is completely comfortable taking over the entire king-sized bed we sleep in.
Our lives are better because she is in it, our first Christmas will be special. Life is what happens after we make our plans, next year will she have hair, be beautiful, and forget what had happened to her, I don’t know the future but she knows we are hers and we love her.
Update June 2018
It is good to hear from you, and that you remember our little girl JuJu. It has been a long struggle with some successes, since October when we adopted her. I think the best way to say it is, two steps forward and one step backward. She continues to get significant swelling in her feet, she has one spot on each foot and the base of her tail that she will attack and still chew and lick raw. She continues to get recurring ear infections.
Now the good news, she is down to just weekly allergy shots, they had hoped it would be only every other week, or be done with shots by now. They are thinking she will never be able to stop them. We are transitioning her into nonprescription food, god love her she is so spoiled with daily deli-sliced meat and scrambled eggs, we joke that when it is time to start, the hair/coat diet she will turn her nose up at it. The positive side is that digestive wise she tolerates the change. All her skin cultures are returning negative, that means all the yeast, staph, MRSA infections are gone, and all her skin is intact with no open areas. Her ear infections are less frequent and she actually had periods when both ears are clear and healthy.
The Dermatologist and the two vets that care for her, feel that her allergies are what continues to be the underlying problem, and it may a full year of the continued treatment and shots before it is completely under control.
Her hair has filled out well on top and neck, and portions of each leg and feet have filled out some, but her belly remains pretty bald, with little fuzz developing, they are not sure due to the skin damage if she will ever get hair in those areas. We have the most incredible dog groomer that hand trims her, to make her look as much like a Westie as possible.
Being deaf, she can’t hear when we tell her how much we love her, but she does allow us on our king-sized bed at night and she has learned to share our pillows with us. She loves to go on walks, has developed a friendship with a neighbor Westie (Phoebe) and a Corgi (Wally). She finally has started to smile from time to time and not have such a sad look as she did for so long. She will let you hug and hold her for hours on end if she has finished her napping. When we take care of the grandkids when they are ill she always sits by them and watches over them the whole time they are here.
The Dermatologist thanks us for being so diligent with her. She claims to be putting her daughter through college on our fees, always happy to support higher education. We are blessed that all the people working with her are as caring and concerned for her as we are. Truly we had hoped she would be this beautiful healthy white Westie by now, but that dream is still some time in the future.
We have been a Westie owner for over twelve years and have talked often about adding to our family. We thought helping a Westie in need would be rewarding for both ourselves and whoever we rescued. So I became a member of the Westie Rescue of Missouri Facebook page and followed many beautiful stories of rescues finding their fur-ever homes. I hoped someday we would be as lucky.
About 2 weeks ago WRM posted that an eight-year-old Westie (Barkley) was in a shelter in Kansas and needed immediate help. Since the shelter would not release Barkley to WRM they asked if anyone could rescue Barkley from the shelter. I didn’t even have to think about it, I immediately said I would go.
The shelter is three hours from my home so I made a call to the shelter to see if he was still there. They called me back at closing and said he was and that I should call back in the morning when they opened. If there was no one there at their doors first thing when they opened wanting to adopt Barkley, I would get to adopt him. So I held my breath and called first thing. He was still available! They took all my information and my daughter and I jumped in the car to pick him up.
The family that surrendered him said that since they had four other dogs, they couldn’t give Barkley the proper care and attention he deserved. He was neglected physically. He was in need of a serious bath and grooming. He had several hot spots from a previous flea issue and allergies.
We noticed immediately that he had a really good disposition despite the situation he was in. We did not have to coax him in the car. He jumped right in as if to say “Please get me out of here!” He settled right in for the 3-hour ride home. He was a perfect angel.
Once we got home later that day we noticed he was drinking excessive amounts of water. My other Westie never drinks that much so I wasn’t sure. I had already scheduled a vet exam for the following day so I made a note to discuss the water drinking. The next morning we took Barkley in for a bath and groom then on to the vet.
Our vet was concerned as well about the excessive water drinking and ordered blood work to test for diabetes and Cushing’s disease as well as other parasites. The blood work results would take 24 to 48 hours. She gave him a couple of extra immunizations that he was missing and prescribed an itching medication for his skin issues. He also has bad dental issues that will be addressed very soon.
That night Barkley started throwing up and diarrhea. I thought maybe it was the stress of being in the shelter and now another new environment. As well as the immunizations. So back to the vet the next day. He had no temperature so she agreed it was probably stress. So she gave him a shot for nausea and medication for diarrhea. She put him on prescription bland food for a few days. She said the blood work results came back negative for diabetes and Cushing’s yet his SDMA levels were elevated which might indicate a kidney issue. She will retest him in thirty days.
Within twenty-four hours his vomiting/diarrhea stopped and he backed off the excessive water consumption. We are slowly transitioning him to healthy permanent food. We hope the new food and better grooming will help with his skin issues.
He is what I would call the typical Westie. Major Westitude and stubborn for sure! LOL. This is new to us because our Chloe is the most obedient Westie ever. I was able to train her from two months of age. He has no manners so we are working on this. We figured his surrender family did not train him properly so even though he is eight years old we are teaching him some basic manners.
He and Chloe are getting along very well. They are about the same size. She’s a small fourteen pounds and he id twenty pounds. He’s not as spry as Chloe even though he is four years younger and the first couple of days walked around like an old man. He was very scared and could not go down our stairs at first. It took him a week but he has now learned to go down them.
It has now been eleven days since we adopted Barkley. We are happy to say we are seeing more energy and interaction. He’s more playful and likes to talk LOL. Our Chloe rarely barks and Barkley definitely lives up to his name! He talks to us in this low voice when he wants something and if we don’t answer him, he will bark. The talking is really cute but we will be working on inside voices LOL.
We are so very thankful to WRM and WestieMed. The vet bills in the first three days were more than expected and the future major dental work was going to be a strain. WestieMed has agreed to help with the expenses and we are so very grateful for them. Barkley is so sweet and is fitting in so well with our little family. He has found his fur-ever home.
I can’t wait to give you more updates. We’re hoping for good news on the SDMA levels.
Thank you again WestieMed for all your help!!
Update January 9, 2018
Barkley has now been with us two months and he has settled in very nicely. He has flourished and his appearance has improved 100%.
Last time, I mentioned that Barkley’s SDMA levels were out of range which could mean early kidney disease. Dr. Nelson wanted to redo the test after Barkley had settled in because stress could also cause his levels to be off.
We had new bloodwork done last week and though his SDMA levels improved greatly, now his B.U.N levels were not in the normal range.
That too could mean early kidney disease so she had me collect a urine sample to check his urine concentration. I must say, that was a site. Me chasing Barkley at 6 am in the back yard trying to catch his pee.
Unfortunately, his urine concentration numbers were not where they needed to be so Dr. Nelson spoke with specialist and I am sad to say that Barkley has been diagnosed with early kidney disease.
The good news is, we caught it very early so no major damage to his kidneys has occurred.
We are starting him on a prescription kidney-friendly food ASAP (Hills K/D.) to help prevent any future damage. We have to stay away from a high protein diet because it’s hard on kidneys according to the vet. Dr. Nelson says since we caught it very early, diet changes and monitoring will add years to his life.
We have all fallen in love with Barkley in these 2 short months and want to make sure he’s around a long time.
We hope to keep him healthy for a long time.
Just look at that face!! He looks so happy.
Update June 2018
Barkley is doing fantastic!
Because of his early kidney disease diagnosis, I now cook him a low phosphorus food and he loves it. He’s lost 3 lbs. which makes his vet happy.
He recently had his urine concentration checked and our vet was very happy with his numbers. He said what I’m doing is working great and no medication is needed at this time.
He’s a funny little guy. He wants outside constantly. He goes in and out just like a kid. He loves to explore the rock wall in our backyard looking for any varmints. Our thirteen-year-old female Westie Chloe finally accepted him fully into the family. No more cold shoulder.
He’s a very early riser!! He wants to be fed at 5 am sharp. He’s very loving but if you move him over in the middle of the night while he’s sleeping he’s a grumpy old man and grunts at you. He usually has his own bed but since my husband is working out of town for a few weeks he wants to sleep in my bed with my other Westie Chloe and me. If my granddaughter spends the night he likes to snuggle up to her.
He loves to play with his toys. After breakfast, b he runs back in the bedroom and throws his toys around and chases them. We are so happy he’s doing so well.
We recently had the opportunity to adopt a Westie puppy from another owner who used the same vet. She was gifted two puppies but it was too much for her. Our vet asked if we wanted another Westie. I said that I was looking for one for my granddaughter, so my oldest daughter adopted the male. His name is Waffles. I put the owner in touch with Missouri Westie Rescue to help rehome the female. Waffles comes over to visit and Barkley and Chloe are tolerating him. He’s got a lot of energy so they let him know when they’ve had enough.
Barkley has been such a joy and we love having him. I’m his 4th owner but definitely his last!!!
Maisy was surrendered to the Westie Rescue of Missouri on Sunday, July 17th. She was just seven months and eleven days old. She lived in a second-floor apartment and spent most of her life in a kennel. The apartment complex was surrounded by concrete drives with little to no grassy areas. She was surrendered because she was having more frequent accidents in her kennel and the couple was expecting their first child with the mother experiencing a difficult pregnancy.
Maisy rode on my lap on the way to our home. She seemed very curious, happy, and filled with lots of kisses. We stopped at a park on the way to let her out and when we sat her in the grass, she did not know what to do. She slowly started exploring with her head buried in the grass, sniffing and sniffing as if it were her first experience. When we got home we showed her the backyard and her new home. She ran through the house over and over and over again at full speed.
First up were a bath and an appointment at the vets and groomers. She had never been groomed, afterward; she looked so tiny and even more adorable. After the initial visit to the vet, she received a healthy report and we started her on heartworm and flea and tick medicine. At her spay appointment, the veterinarian found a problem with her heartbeat. We were devastated at first because we had two Westies that had died from heart problems. Alex lived to be thirteen years old and Gracie (also a rescue puppy that we adopted at the age of two years old) lived to be fifteen years old.
While Maisy healed from her spay surgery, we all truly became a family. It feels like she has always been with us. She is so ornery and sweet at the same time. She ran off with a bar of soap, she pulled the towels down off the towel rod and dragged them out of the bathroom, and she constantly needs a toy instead of your hand to chew on. However, she looks directly into your eyes. She climbs up and sits on your shoulder like a Cockatoo. She loves to play hide and seek she creeps around the furniture to sneak upon us. She loves being outside and going on walks. She sleeps between us at night and loves to be covered up with her little quilt. She loves car rides. But mostly she loves to run up and down the fence and chasing the neighbor’s dog back and forth. She will run over to us for approval and then go back to running the fence line.
Maisy is currently being seen by a veterinary cardiologist. She is currently being evaluated with test doses of medication to control her heart problem.
Maisy does not have any more accidents – she is a rock star!
Update April 8, 2016
Thank you so much for your support for our Maisy.
She is doing great under the supervision of her veterinarian and cardiologist. Her condition is being managed with medication and monitoring.
She is our little love. She is adorably curious, she loves attention, and is a thief of all socks.
Thank you so much for helping her!
Update November 22, 2017
Maisy is doing great.
She is still taking her Atenolol twice daily.
I am scheduling her for her annual cardiologist appointment soon.
Annie (aka Annabelle) was originally a breeding female in a Missouri puppy mill. It is unclear how many years Annie was breeding in the puppy mill before she was sold to an individual in Springfield, MO. Although it appeared Annie’s life would take a positive turn and she would soon be in a loving home with her new owner, Annie’s happy ending did not occur. Annie’s new owner simply chained Annie to a tree in their backyard. She did not have shelter in the backyard for protection from the elements nor did the family provide her with any love or attention. Annie remained outside chained to a tree where she sat in mud and dirt the entire day. She was filthy and flea-infested when she was saved by the Westie Rescue of Missouri, Inc. program in the fall of 2015. It is unclear how long Annie endured these horrible conditions.
Westie Rescue of Missouri’s mission is to prevent cruelty, abuse or neglect of Westies. They have amazing volunteers who want to see that all Westies have a warm, safe and healthy environment where they can develop to their full potential while we search for their new “forever” home. Westie Rescue provided Annie with veterinarian treatment where she was shaved and treated for fleas to relieve her infestation issues. She was also diagnosed with arthritis in her legs and hips at that time. Annie was then transported to her assigned foster parent, Ben M., where she was nursed back to health in preparation for adoption.
We were looking to adopt a rescued Westie, and we contacted the Westie Rescue of Missouri in the fall of 2015. Annie’s foster parent contacted us at that time to tell us that Annie was a five-year-old female, and she was almost ready for adoption. Ben advised Annie had difficulty jumping up on furniture or climbing stairs due to her arthritis; however, she was taking Rimadyl for pain twice a day, and she seemed to be improving. Ben also advised he just received a five-year-old male Westie in excellent health who was ready for adoption as well. He advised Watson was very energetic and active in comparison to Annie. I couldn’t resist rescuing two Westies at the same time! We were very happy to adopt both Annie and Watson!!
On November 15, 2015, we welcomed Annie and Watson into their “forever” home! When we took Annie to our local vet for a checkup, he advised Annie had significant arthritis and he suspected she was older than five and suggested she may be seven or eight years old. He recommended we continue to treat her arthritis with Rimadyl twice a day. Annie and Watson have become best buddies and they love chasing each other in the house and in the backyard. After chasing Watson in the backyard, I noticed Annie was not placing any weight on her right rear leg. This continued for a few days, so we took Annie to the vet. He has diagnosed her with a torn ACL. She will need to have her ACL repaired to allow the sweet girl to walk on her right rear leg.
We are very grateful to WestieMed for being available to help our sweet Annie and so many other Westies. Thank you so much! Kim and Don Knoche Bloomington, IL
Update March 8, 2016
Annie had her ACL surgery yesterday and everything went well! She’s at home now resting comfortably.
The vet advised all of Annie’s joints are full of arthritis and her left rear leg has a minor tear in her ACL as well, so, unfortunately, I’m sure more surgeries are in her future.
Thank you WestieMed for the financial assistance your organization has provided to help Annie!
Update October 25, 2016
Annie is doing great! Her surgery went very well.
She has a little stiffness in her joints in the morning, but once she gets moving, she’s fine! Annie can now go for a long walk now, and she just started jumping up on the couch to sit next to me a few weeks ago, so she’s almost back to being herself!!
I actually adopted two Westies at the same time. Watson is a male, and the vet thinks Watson is approximately three years old. The vet thinks Annie is approximately seven or eight years old…she definitely is an older Westie because this little girl has arthritis in all of her joints!
I’ve attached a photo of Annie walking with Watson!! As you can see, she is doing very well!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping our family with the expenses to pay for Annie’s ACL surgery! It was an unexpected cost we weren’t prepared for!
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.
Update January 15, 2016
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.
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.
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.
We rescued our Maddie after suddenly losing our Sophie July 17, 2011. Sophie was also a rescue, a little angel we were blessed with for eight years and adopted through Westie Rescue of Missouri. Sophie spent her first four years in a horrible puppy mill. This past winter she developed some lung issues and suddenly in July they became much worse and she also had a gall stone. We tried desperately to save her but finally had to let her go. Maddie was with a “breeder” for her first seven years. Westie Rescue of Missouri rescued her in February 2011 and was placed in foster care in St. Louis then until we adopted her in July. A few weeks before Sophie passed away I happened to come across a poem I had printed off a few years back. It spoke as if written by a “little rescued soul” instructing it’s owner to save someone else’s life after they were gone. It thanked them for the loving care it received and wanted it to continue with another one in need. It was like Sophie was preparing me for what was to come.
So two weeks after Sophie left us we traveled to Kansas City to receive our next little angel, Maddie. Her foster mom, Kelly, traveled on a Sunday, to hand Maddie off to another Westie Rescue of Missouri volunteer who then transported her to their home in Kansas City. We then were able to pick her up there and fell in love with that sweet face immediately.
I felt so badly for Maddie to have lived in a loving home with Kelly and then be handed off to another stranger and then to more strangers who traveled with her to Iowa. How confused she must have felt. Just when she must have felt safe and secure to have everything turn upside down for her. We were lucky to have two weeks of vacation to bond with her and help her become at ease. So a couple of days after returning home I took her for a check-up at the vet. She found a tumor in her mammary gland and did a needle biopsy immediately. The results came back the following day and it was suggested strongly that she have surgery to have it removed immediatley. So the following day Maddie had her surgery. I felt so awful for her to have to go through such trauma with her new family so soon after joining us! She must have wondered what in the world am I in for with these people!! Maddie was able to come home that evening and then we endured many nights of worry about what the results would be from the tumor that was removed… cancer or the all-clear. Each day seemed to drag on and on, but Maddie always seemed to have her sweet spirit! She is a real trouper and she was teaching us to be that way and no matter what the outcome we were there for each other!
Finally, the call came and our vet told us just what Maddie deserved to hear, “all clear, WE GOT IT ALL! NO CANCER!!” Maddie does not have to have any treatment but we do continue to monitor her to make sure nothing else “pops up”. She has become so attached to us and we to her. Our two Westie boys, Kody, and Kutter, have taken her in like she has been here with them for years. She is simply a sweet little angel, so trusting and so playful and of course, a little bit of Westie mischief is in her too! I wouldn’t want her any other way!
Thank you so much for the help we received for Maddie’s surgery! We are so grateful for your help with our little Maddie!!! Julie and Chris Boyles
Update July 6, 2012
Maddie is doing awesome!!! She is such a sweet, sweet, loving, little Westie!
She is very frightened of thunderstorms so she and I spend time in the lower level of the house with the TV up loud and pacing the floor. She does have a thunder shirt that she wears at those times and she also takes “puppy Prozac” which has helped calm her anxiety. I was concerned about how she would do with the fireworks this week, but we stayed inside in the basement with the TV going and she didn’t hear a “pop” or a “bang” at all!!
Her last checkup at the vet was in March and she got a “gold star”. We have been working at taking off some weight and when the weather wasn’t so stinking hot, I got her to go on walks with her brothers, Kody and Kutter. She isn’t quite comfortable going out on her own without them, but with them, that little tail just about wags her backside off! She really loves it! Last night I gave the kids baths thinking that would cool them off even more in the heat. Once they were all done with the baths, they chased each other all around the house and out in the back yard and had such fun! My husband, Chris, and I just watched and enjoyed the “show”!!
I’m not the best at doing “computer stuff” but I will try to send you a picture of her from my phone. Above is one of her in her thunder shirt that I took when she came to work with me one day. She is a real sweetheart.
Thank you so very much for your assistance last summer!!! Maddie is such a wonderful, loving, little girl! She makes me smile just thinking of her face and that “floppy” ear of hers!
One evening late last August, I was on the computer and saw a message come in from Westie Rescue of Missouri’s (WRM) Facebook discussion board. Four months earlier I wrote a post about a recurrence of furunculosis in my eight-year-old former mill dog, PeachPie – the issue had long since resolved. A reply was posted, and I was tempted to ignore it but opened it anyway. It simply read that the writer was encouraged that my dog’s ailment had healed at least once…her dog’s hadn’t and it had been a very long time. I wrote her back and said I’d try to help with some info, but it would take a while because I was swamped. An email came back saying she (Lisa) understood and she would wait. She included a photo of her dog, Dodger, taken that evening. It stopped me in my tracks.
From the photo, Dodger, a two year, eight-month-old Westie, had a horrible growth under his chin and huge, awful looking paws. I was pretty dumbfounded but learned Dodger lived in central Louisiana and had been seen by numerous vets and even LSU Veterinary Clinic. No one really seemed to know what was wrong, what to do, or how to do it. One vet diagnosed Dodger with “the canine equivalent of Scleroderma” and recommended Dodger be put down.
I sent the photo along with the medical reports Lisa had emailed to everyone I knew and heard back from Karen Simondet. She offered to send the reports/photos to specialists she knew in California, but it was Labor Day weekend, and it took a little more than two weeks for the information to come back. Both the specialist and Westie Specialist, Dr. Kay believed Dodger’s problems were allergy-based bacterial and yeast infections.
WRM recommended I contact BJ – a woman with a lot of experience in holistic alternatives for info as well. For two months Karen, BJ, and I tried to support Lisa and Dodger from a distance but he got worse. By mid-October I received a heartbreaking email from Lisa. Dodger’s “chin mass” got worse and ruptured and his feet were no better. Lisa said for the first time in two and a half years, she no longer believed she could get Dodger well.
Lisa, Karen, BJ and I came up with a plan for Dodger to come up to me – just outside of St Louis – close to BJ. We thought if nothing else a new environment and a new vet might help. And WRM gave Dodger WRM Honoree Rescue status, allowing my vet to “officially” treat Dodger as a dog in rescue – waiving many fees and substantially discounting care and supplies.
On November 1, 2010, Lisa arrived from a two-day drive from Louisiana with Dodger in tow. Dodger exceeded all of our worst expectations. The first night alone, the smell of yeast was simply awful-within an hour the house reeked. Dodger went to the yard, but unfamiliar with its terrain, he tripped several times, breaking open some of the growths on his feet. They just oozed more. I called to get a vet appointment the next day and Lisa headed out to start her long trip back to Louisiana. Through all of this, Dodger was the sweetest dog and acted like everything was ok. He seemed to smile when he looked at me.
When I took Dodger to the vet the next day, the technician came in to get Dodger’s history and to look at him. You could just tell by the look on her face. She left the room and returned with my vet a few minutes later. By that time the exam room reeked. When Dr. Chris came in, he was friendly and professional as always, but the look on his face spoke volumes.
Dr. Chris didn’t know what to think about it all. He’d seen some pretty bad things before, but nothing like Dodger. He took some samples for cultures and dressed Dodger’s front feet in an antibiotic ointment. He changed the oral antibiotic from Baytril to Cephalexin and reduced Dodger’s two-month-long 10mg/day Prednisone dose down to 5mg/day. He increased Dodger’s Ketoconazole to 1/4 tab twice a day and later to 1/2 tab 2x/day. He also wanted daily cleaning of Dodger’s “chin mass” by scrubbing with Malaseb equivalent shampoo. He immediately took Dodger off the Metacam he’d been taking occasionally for pain and put him on Tramadol. Dodger also went on Doxycycline for a month when E-coli was present per the sensitivity cultures. Dodger also went on a limited ingredient diet to help his immune system to return to normal.
I asked Dr. Chris if he’d mind me bringing Dodger in every week or so, just to make sure everything was okay. After he looked at me like I was from Mars, he told me Dodger would be coming in every two to three days “for a while”. “Awhile” was a month.
Dodger’s first month was difficult. He ran into numerous problems – terribly constipated from a raw-only diet I’d put him on within his first week, sick from Ketoconazole, frustrated at having his feet and chin squeezed and prodded by the vet three times a week, and frustrated with rough scrubbings of his chin every day. For a while, the infections got worse too. But he never had a bad day and never growled through any of it. He always seemed to smile as if he knew I was there to help him, not hurt him.
In early December Dr. Chris biopsied three of the feet after Dodger had more problems with his feet. At this time, Pat Baker, an avid Westie lover, and groomer that I know through Facebook suggested I ask my vet to look into a compounded antifungal to help with Dodger’s nausea and anorexia, as her own dog experienced the same problems with the drugs.
My vet ordered a compounded Itraconazole and WRM helped with Dodger’s two-month supply. Within two days of that change, Dodger’s appetite bounced back and within a week the yeast began to retreat. The biopsies came back with the paw problems being follicular in origin. By mid-December Dodger was also off Doxycycline and down to 5 mg Prednisone on alternating days. His dressings came off and he was changed to 2x/day soaks/scrubs of his feet and chin and the vet gave us the okay to use immune-boosting supplements, so BJ developed Dodger’s nutritional support/supplementation plan. Dodger also remained on his very limited ingredient diet which the owner of a specialty grooming and specialty dog food store a few towns over chose for him.
By mid-December, Dodger was doing very well and the vet wanted to cut away the granulomas to his feet and to cut away Dodger’s “chin mass” that never did stop producing sterile pus. The vet believed surgery would reduce the opportunity for yeast and infection to grow/hide and would give Dodger a better quality of life. Dodger had to wait three weeks for my schedule to allow for his surgery – it was scheduled for 1/3/11. In the interim, he went to once a day soaks/scrubs.
Lisa relinquished Dodger to me on New Year’s Day because she loved him dearly and wanted this sweet boy to live knowing that returning him to Louisiana could be very detrimental to his health.
Dodger’s surgery was done on 1/3/11 and inside each granuloma, on each paw, the vet found a hardened mass of infected hair follicle. The chin mass had little blood supply but was still laden with pus. Dodger will return to the vet tomorrow to remove the bandages to his three paws. Later this month he will have allergy testing. And after that, he will have teeth cleaning due to the hyperplasia of his gums. They aren’t expected to improve. Dodger also needs specially formulated heartworm prevention that costs more than regular preventative, and because he had a bad skin reaction to Revolution, he has to take Comfortis for flea/tick prevention.
As you can imagine, Dodger’s vet bills, food bills, and supplements have been quite high these past two months, even with my vet’s generosity. The grant Dodger’s received from WestieMed will do so much – paying for this week’s surgery, upcoming allergy testing and serum, the dental cleaning and medications, special heartworm prevention, and Comfortis. By the end of this month, we expect Dodger to primarily require preventative maintenance medications and baths as well as a limited ingredient diet. We’re thankful to everyone who’s been involved with Dodger’s journey, the support we’ve received from Facebook connections, most of whom we’ve never met and from WestieMed for supporting Dodger and helping us cover his medical bills. Sometimes it was that support that got us from a bad day to the next day! It really DID take a village to give Dodger his life back.
Thank you WestieMed! We will keep you updated on Dodger’s progress.
Daine and John Brundage and Dodger Westie Dog (DWD)
Update January 8, 2011
DWD pulled out of his back right leg bandage yesterday and again this morning while I was running errands. When I came home I could see it had bled a little. His front right foot is hurting him a lot again today. And after the vet visit, DWD insisted on running in the field for a while with Sandy Neighbor Dog – so he’s probably going to be pretty sore for the rest of the day and into tomorrow. The vet visit went well. We should have the bandages off Monday. He continues on California Natural Lamb/Rice and Bravo lamb grind and California Natural Lamb/Rice (with oatmeal) bars (treats). He will stay on 250 mg Ceph 3x/day through January and then down to 2x/day. He will stay on the Itraconazole compound through January and then probably to ketoconazole every other day. He’s changed from every other day Pred to 5 mg on MWF. He still takes zinc. He gets coconut oil, Prozyme, and Wobenzyme as supplements. He gets Animax applied to his chin 3x/day and will get it on his feet 2x/day when the bandages come off for a while. He will get allergy testing in about three weeks.
While we were at the vet today, there was a tiny Rottie mix puppy that Dodger was very interested in so he got to check the pup out and he was very gentle with the pup, it was very cute. Everyone at the vet’s office agrees that he’s never had a bad day through this all. Thanks again for caring about this LWD and have a great weekend. Daine
Update January 10, 2011
DWD had his bandages removed today and then ran alongside me while I went to get Sandy Neighbor Dog out. It was a little too much for him. The smaller of the granuloma on the right front foot was the deepest of all, it went all the way through to the bottom of his paw – but that was the ONLY one that did that. His feet are obviously swollen and hurt him a lot right now. He has Animax ointment on his feet/chin – 3x a day now and he’s wearing children’s athletic socks over his feet secured above the paw with self-sticking velcro. For they’ll get changed 2-3 x a day. His chin looks great. He goes back on Saturday to have the sutures removed. Dr. Chris put some sutures in where the big granuloma was cut away. DWD will have his allergy testing on 2/3/11. We want to sincerely thank you all again for the support you’ve given DWD and us. It’s made things so much easier.
Update January 15, 2011
DWD had the stitches from a couple of his toes removed this am. He’s doing very well and he’s healing nicely. He stopped taking tram on Tues or Wed night. He’s not having any pain and has definitely found his wag. He sat as quiet as he could while the stitches came out this morning, but became very brave and bossy and barked up a storm while sitting in John’s lap. There’s very little swelling of his paws – especially compared to Monday’s pics. But today we can tell that both of the huge granulomas – the big nasty pink/red one on his right front paw and the BIG, nasty black one on his left front paw actually did grow through the paw – top to the pad. Dodger will get a soak and light scrub of feet and chin for at least the next week. We are leaving his feet uncovered through most of the day now – covered and with Animax at night. I expect we’ll start using the malaseb spray again at night too before long. His medications and his supplements and food are still the same. In February he will go down to 2 Ceph/day and the vet will decide about the Pred and Ketoconazole or alternative then. Dodger Westie Dog will have his allergy testing blood drawn on 2/3/11. This will be the last update until 2/3/11 unless there’s something worth sharing. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support over the past two and a half months and for caring about this LWD. Lisa wrote to me yesterday and said she misses him terribly. She’s thrilled with his surgery and it’s the outcome so far though, and she starts college classes again on Monday and said she made the right decision to let DWD go.
Update February 2, 2011
DWD went back to the vet today. Dodger’s front feet are doing very well. So is his chin.
His rear left paw has some swelling and bloody draining. This is the foot that was lanced and biopsied in early December. No granuloma has grown, but this was a change for the worse compared to last month. His right ear has become much softer/thin, but the left ear is about as leathery as it was at last visit last month. His meds were changed to: Ceph 250 2x/day, ketoconazole 1/2 tab/day x 30 days, zinc daily, Pred on M/W/F. He’s still on prozyme but the vet wants him off wobenzyme for now. He still gets some coconut oil in his food each day. He gets Antimax on his paws at night and they are covered. He’ gotten the wraps off his left front paw quite a bit recently, and his feet aren’t covered during the day as it’s been very wet here. He had blood drawn for allergy testing today.
Oh – vet wants me to spray with Genesis spray once a week. DWD will probably go back to the vet when the allergy testing results are in – about ten days. Otherwise, DWD is doing well. He’s gotten bored with his treats and food, so that’s become a bit of a battle and he’s managed to grab others’ treats sometimes. He also has a very bad habit of eating things in the yard – birdseed, leaves, twigs, etc. He’s also grabbed and eaten some other dog’s hair (from clippers). Found a no-fail way to get him to take his meds. He gets them in a small amount of Bravo as I SHOW him another wad of Bravo. He’s greedy so he gobbles down the first wad with the meds, without his usual inspection, and goes for the second wad. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or thoughts. Thanks for caring about this LWD. Daine
Update April 6, 2011
It’s been just over three months since Dodger had surgery to remove the masses to his three paws (fourth was done four months earlier as a test), so it seems like a good time to send an update. Dodge’s chin has healed nicely. And his paws are doing very well too, but they continue to be a challenge. Dodger’s had a couple more growths – one that the vet had to remove from the first paw that was done back in November. Dodger is holding his own but the paws still blister at times and always seem to drain – but not much. He gets a 15-20 minute foot soak and scrub with a boar bristle brush on most days, followed by Genesis spray to all paws. And every night he gets Antimax ointment rubbed in between his toes and his feet are covered with socks ’til morning. He’s been on allergy shots for almost two months now and is at ten-day intervals now. Dodger’s going to stay on a limited diet of California Natural Lamb & Rice, he also gets some peanut butter and raw food – but not much, and the occasional cat food he steals. One problem we have is that he has the equivalent of Pica for dogs. He eats a lot of what he finds outdoors – plants, grass, seed pods, you name it – he’s not fussy. Our vet decided its better for Dodger to remain on Ceph (2x/day), Ketoconazole (1/2 tab/day), and Pred (3x/wk) along with supplements and probiotics until Fall’s first hard frost than to risk it. But instead of going to the vet three to four times a week – now he goes about once a month. WestieMed, we can’t thank you enough for the assistance you provided with Dodger’s medical bills! Dodger, Daine, & John Brundage
Update December 20, 2011
Well, our first full year as Dodger’s permanent guardians is quickly coming to a close and what better time to send an update to WestieMed about him.
It’s been a year full of ups and downs for Dodger. Unfortunately, the growths on his feet returned and were removed several times, much more so on his front paws. We don’t know what stimulates their growth, but we’re pretty sure it’s environmental and he’s much worse in the humid, hot summer months.
In June Dodger got a very bad infection in one of his back legs that turned out to be pseudomonas, an opportunistic bacteria. He spent a month on Baytril and beat the infection but it was a scary time.
We’ve had lots of ups this year too! After Dodger’s pseudomonas episode, Dr. Chris decided to take him off the prednisone he’d been taking to suppress his immune system for well over a year and Dodger did great! Since then we’ve also cut his ketoconazole to 1/4 tab 3x/wk from 1/2 tab every day! Oh, and that “thing” that was cut off his chin in January – it never came back and all the hair grew back!
Dodger gets his allergy shots every month now and he eats a limited ingredient diet.
He doesn’t have to have to have his feet soaked and scrubbed anymore because we learned it didn’t really help him, we put Antimax antibiotic ointment on Dodger’s feet and cover them in socks each night. He’s been free of yeast infections this past year and that’s been wonderful! Also, there’ve been no lampshade collars for Dodger to endure since he joined our family in late 2010 and we’re really happy about that, too.
But Dodger’s skin is very thick which makes it quite difficult to give his allergy shots and it’s become all but impossible to intubate him; thankfully so far and he’s been able to have what medical procedures he’s needed with local sedation. Over the past months, Dodger’s had a harder and harder time evacuating his bowels so we’re watching that closely and hoping the problem won’t cause any problems or worsen.
Dodger’s got a wonderful disposition, he’s a bossy, chatty, opinionated little white dog who always seems to make the best out of whatever life dishes out to him. He loves people and attention and gives our vet’s staff and our visitors gentle “love bites” whenever he can. Oh, and Dodger eventually wore us down at bedtime and staked claim to a good portion of our bed a few months back. He’s very pleased with himself about that accomplishment and I swear he smiles when I put him on the bed each night.
In closing, we want to thank WestiMed once again for being there for Dodger and for us! It’s made all the difference in the world to know there are so many in WestieMed-land who’ve cared about and rallied for our little, bossy guy.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and a prosperous new year.
Update June 22, 2012
I am sad to tell those of you who knew Dodger that we had him put to sleep this morning. Dodger came to us on 11/1/10 – initially to stay with us a few months, but it took a NY second for all of us to realize he’d come home. He brought John and me so much joy and laughter and happiness at the same time our hearts broke at the fate he was destined to on this earth. I will be forever grateful to all the wonderful people who shared our joy and sadness and who rallied for him and loved him from afar. Your support and encouragement were very much appreciated by Dodger Westie Dog and by John and me.
Summers were never easy for Dodger and this one was worse than the last two. He struggled for the past six weeks with boils that came back with a vengeance. Until yesterday we were able to cover the pain that came and went as the sores came and left. But by last night even high doses of tram and rimadyl barely helped. There were other problems too – related to the treatment and to the disease, whatever it was. After we got him comfortable today, he spent the morning in the yard, lying on his island and in the grass – barking and watching all the things that go on in the yard. Today he was as he always was – happy, opinionated, bossy, and stoic.
Thank you again for all your support and love – to Dodger and to me. It made all the difference in the world.
If there is a place that transcends the pain and suffering of live as we know it, and I believe there is, Dodger is now able to run and eat and drink free of the pain, suffering, encumbrances, limitations, and challenges that he experienced in his life up til now.
He thinks he can fly! It’s true with most Westies, but especially true with Jack. He’s adventurous, curious and loveable.
In June of 2007, we lost Maggie, our fourteen-year-old Scottish terrier to liver cancer. She had been with us since we adopted her from a shelter at one year old. She was truly a member of the family. After a few months, we agreed it was time to begin to look for another dog – one that could help fill the hole Maggie left in our hearts and our home. Since Maggie had come through adoption, our first thought was not a breeder, but a rescue agency to find our new pet.
Jack is one year old today and has been with our family for only two weeks. He came to us through the Illinois chapter Westie Rescue Mission of Missouri. While his original family loved him deeply, they ultimately surrendered him to WRM because Jack’s high energy made caring for him and their two special-needs kids very difficult.
We were so excited from the moment we met Jack. He is curious, high energy and loveable. From the moment he arrived, he began exploring and investigating our home – one room at a time. He didn’t slow down for two solid hours! Shortly after midnight, we thought it was time to try to get our boy to sleep.
We took Jack to our room with his familiar blanket and bed. Still curious, still exploring, undeterred, Jack tried to jump up on our bed and missed. We watched in what seemed like slow motion as he fell. He never winced, never yelped, but when he got up, he refused to use his leg. We were heart-broken that our boy hurt himself and we hardly slept all night.
A visit to the vet the next day gave the bad news – he had broken his leg. A second opinion confirmed the diagnosis and course of treatment. So less than two days after arriving in our home, Jack had orthopedic surgery to repair his leg.
He is healing well, bonding with our family and is an amazing dog. We are so glad to have him in our home. He’s had quite an adventure in the last month – he’d have an amazing story to tell!
We are thankful to WestieMed for assisting with part of Jack’s surgery bill. We are grateful that resources are out there to help families that rescue loving, wonderful Westies like Jack.
Update February 2008
Just a quick update. Jack had his six-week checkup with the surgeon yesterday. He is healing but not healed.
So it’s six more weeks of restricted activity.
Jack is doing great – walking without a limp, fully using the leg. I would highly recommend the group we used as caring and cost-efficient. Great Practice – Animal Emergency in Skokie. Well worth the hour drive to get there.
The biggest challenge is keeping him down. He continues to believe he is invincible! He’s getting more attached to us and we to him. He’s a loving, wonderful dog – we are glad we have him in spite of all the chaos and challenges. We are learning some of his quirks – he is very skittish around loud noises, fire, and anything around his head. Makes us wish we could talk to him to hear his story in his original family…over time I am sure he will forget and change. Our last dog was nervous around shoes for the first year – my son reminded us of that this morning.
Update July 1, 2008
Jack is doing well. He is adjusting emotionally. When we received him he had huge issues – every noise scared him, he would not take food or treats from human hands, would not obey even simple commands, and was a bit reclusive.
Today, he knows some basic obedience commands – sit, stay, shake, no (a big one for high-energy Westies!). He loves to play fetch with his favorite toys. He trusts us enough to take food from our hands. He is a much calmer dog and a great pet. We really love having him.
Healthwise, the leg is fully healed. He is one of the fastest dogs I have ever seen – loves to run in the back yard. On humid or cold days he will still, on occasion, limp on the leg that was broken. The Vet says this is normal and may just be a life-long side effect.
I thought I would send some pictures of Jack. Sorry ~ he is a little scruffy in these pictures ~ we don’t ever seem to get them right after he is trimmed up ~ but he is cute anyway.
Jack is sitting up on my lap as I type. He has to be on my lap or near me when I’m sitting down. He is such good company.
He absolutely loves our granddaughter. We keep her on the weekends for our daughter and Jack is very protective of her. He goes into the room where she sleeps and stays by her bed until she wakes up. When we sit in the rocking chair with her ~ he has to be there too and she just laughs and reaches over and pets him. Our biggest problem is keeping their toys separate. They both want what the other one has…just like siblings. They are going to be very good friends growing up!
We just love Jack and are having so much fun with him being part of our family.
Blessings, Greg and Connie
Update September 27, 2008
Jack had surgery – again – two weeks ago.
His pins were coming loose from the previous surgery. The surgeon said that his broken bone healed perfectly and he should have no more problems. Pins and wires were all removed and should eliminate the periodic limping and swelling that had been happening over the summer.
He has become a very expensive dog – but make no mistake that we love him and would not give him up for anything. He is full of life and character. He makes us laugh on a daily basis. And he is back to being the fearless dog with lightning speed.
We had a wonderful Westie girl named Kelsey for fifteen years. When she died we explored the idea of a rescue dog. We applied for a couple of dogs through Westie Rescue Missouri but did not hear anything. We eventually got another girl (Dixie) from a breeder.
Just after Dixie had her first birthday, WRM contacted us with the news that there was a three-year-old male named Tucker ready for adoption. His original owner died and he was placed with a shelter. The shelter then adopted him to a family with two small children. Well, we know what happens with Westies and small children… yes he bit them and he was surrendered to Westie Rescue Missouri. WRM placed him in a foster home. On the 4th of July weekend, we arranged to meet the foster family halfway and brought Tucker home.
Tucker was very quiet and slept most of the way home. Upon arrival home, he took an immediate dislike to Dixie. He snapped at her and growled. He was very un-Westie-like. He did not run, jump, bark or play with toys. He had difficulty getting up from a prone position. Our first thought was that he was a very old dog. Not the three-year-old we heard about. We contacted Angie at WRM and she indicated that this was the information given to them and the foster family did not notice anything amiss.
We made an appointment with our vet for a follow-up. He did not think he was old and could find nothing wrong on the surface, so took some x-rays. The news was not good. Tucker had severe hip dysplasia in both hips. No wonder he was crabby, his poor little bones were so misshapen and arthritic, it hurt just to look at them. We were referred to a specialist for an appointment the next week. I asked the vet for alternatives and he stated that some people choose euthanasia.
We again contacted Angie at WRM and they offered to take Tucker back, but we did not think another placement would do him any good. She also told us about WestieMed and what a wonderful organization it is.
We took Tucker to Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, IL. Dr. Claude Gendreau examined Tucker and stated he thought surgery was the only option. He could perform it that very day. We decided to go ahead as we had become too attached to Tucker to put him down or put off the inevitable. That evening Tucker had a Femoral Head Ostectomy on his right hip. The surgery went well and the Dr. indicated his prognosis was good and maybe the left hip would not have to be operated on if he heals well enough to compensate with his right. The procedure has been very successful in small breeds.
We thought it was too late to apply for aid as we went ahead with the surgery. Angie from WRM put us in touch with Bette from WestieMed and she assured us it was not too late. She helped with the application procedure and we just got the terrific news that the board of directors had approved his expenses.
We cannot begin to thank the generosity of WestieMed and the donors that made it possible to defray the huge expense incurred.
Tucker looks a little sad in his picture but is improving daily. He and Dixie are pals now and roll around together. He is even starting to play with some toys. It will be a long recovery but we think he is going to be every bit the happy Westie.
Thank you so much for the overwhelming generosity,
Julie, Tim, Dixie & Tucker
Update: June 2006:
Tucker is doing very well. He is a happy dog. We found out that he is much older than we were told (at least ten) and has the beginning of kidney disease. In spite of all that (he is on prescription food and being monitored) he has dramatically changed from the sad little rescue we picked up last July.
It has been a long road for Tucker, who knows what happened before we adopted him, but he has healed well after the surgery. He loves to go for walks, he loves to eat, and even loves his veggies for treats as traditional biscuits are out because of kidney disease. He has several beds around the house where he settles in as he doesn’t leave our side. He and his sister Dixie play often and he now initiates play which never happened before.
Thank you Westie Med for helping to make Tucker the happy dog he is. The generosity is still overwhelming.
Update: October 2006:
To all the kind people at Westie Med:
It is with a heavy heart that I must give you a sad update on Tucker. Tucker suddenly stopped eating one day in September but we weren’t immediately alarmed as we had just changed his food to a different prescription kidney diet. He would accept food from my hand and would occasionally eat treats. He stopped playing with his sister and then began vomiting and diarrhea. We took him to the vet and they kept him for tests as he had a high fever and all his blood tests were way off. We took him home the next day pending the results of further tests. The news was not good. He had pancreatic cancer. He was hardly able to stand and was degenerating quickly. We decided that poor Tucker had enough and made the difficult decision to put him down. We stayed with him and stroked him and told him how much he was loved.
WestieMed helped make the last year of his life the best one. Before the illness he had recovered from the surgery so well he was acting like a typical silly Westie, playing, loving his walks, meals, and enjoying tummy rubs. We really fell hard for Tucker in the short time we knew him and miss him terribly.
Thank you for giving dogs like Tucker a chance at happiness.