Hettie - WestieMed Grant Recipient Nov. 2019


On June 30, 2019, our little girl to be was found in a rural part of Tennessee where dogs are often dumped. She was found by a friend of Westie Rescue Tennessee and handed over to them. She was in bad shape; matted, filthy, and full of ticks. They just knew she was more than likely heartworm positive and pregnant.  Whisked off to the vet for evaluation, she was heartworm negative and already spayed!

The DVM for the rescue group and staff cleaned her up and kept her for the next several days for evaluation while rescue reached out to find a family with Westie experience to foster. We stepped up to “foster to adopt.” We met her for the first time on July 7th and fell in love with her and took her to her forever home to adjust to us and our Westie pack.

Bringing her home, we knew she’d need her own time and space to bond with our three other Westies. On her first full day with us, I noticed she was deaf. She was also having very small seizures and both were a real concern. Off to our vet, we went and they agreed she was deaf and were unsure about the tremors.

Over the next few days, her seizures increased dramatically and our vet thought she had White Shaker Syndrome. Medicine controlled it for about another week or so, then they came back with a vengeance! She was now having over thirty seizures a day. Over the next several weeks we visited specialists in Atlanta where the diagnosis was changed to Sick Sinus Syndrome and we were referred to the University of Georgia Vet School’s Cardiology Dept.

Hettie - WestieMed recipient
Hettie – WestieMed Recipient

At UGA, Hettie saw an incredible team of cardiologists. She was fitted with a vest to capture her heart rhythms. She was to wear the vest for one week UNLESS she had a seizure and then we were to send the vest back immediately. Within the first day at home wearing the vest, she had multiple seizures and the vest was sent back pronto.

The cardiologists at UGA read the results and contacted us that she was on emergency status. Her heart was stopping between nine-twelve seconds at a time and she was in danger! Emergency pacemaker surgery was needed and the cardiologists cleared their busy schedules just for her!

Now Hettie is home and on twelve weeks of bed rest and she is going on week three of doctor’s orders. (That’s a challenge to keep a Westie on bedrest!)

Our sweet little girl now has a new lease on life because of the pacemaker. Once her twelve weeks of healing are behind her, we know she’ll have many hours of playing with her new Westie and human family.

Thank you WestieMed for your help. We love our little Hettie. Her new life has begun.

Peggy McCall

Update January 24, 2020

Hettie had a three-month checkup at UGA after her pacemaker surgery. Without this surgery, Hettie would not have survived. The doctors at UGA reported how well her pacemaker is working and now she can finally have a life after three months of bed rest. (We called it house arrest.)

She came home yesterday from Athens after her checkup as a different and happy dog. Thankful for Westie Rescue Tennessee and WestieMed. You all saved her life and we hope she will finally enjoy the life she deserves. You answered our prayers. When I watch her play with her Westie brother and sister, my eyes leak happy tears.

Bless You all,
Peggy and Darrell

Update December 3, 2020

We are dedicated to Hettie and thanks to WestieMed, she did get her pacemaker and gave us hope. She has had a hard knock life and we will love her until the end.

Peggy and Darrell McCall

Update December 19, 2020

Hettie lost her battle and went to the Rainbow Bridge on Dec 16, 2020. WestieMed had provided assistance for Hettie this summer. She received a pacemaker and was recovering when she recently was diagnosed with Lymphoma. My husband and I are heartbroken. Yet grateful for the help and encouragement received from WestieMed.


Addie - WestieMed Recipient January 2018


Addie’s rescue story began in April 2016 near Memphis, TN.  Her former owner finally did the right thing and surrendered Addie to Westie Rescue, Tennessee. 

Addie was a very malnourished 11 lbs and almost hairless with lesions all over her skin. She had been living in horrible conditions for the entirety of her first six years of life. Having been fed table scraps with little to no outside access and no clean indoor space. Her foster mom tells us that Addie had almost no muscle mass and could not even jump onto the couch. She was afraid of not getting another meal. It took endless love and patience from her foster family for eighteen months before they even considered that she might be ready for adoption.

That’s when we discovered her on Petfinder.com  fell right in love! We have a fourteen and half year old Scottie who was missing his former Westie friend, Fiona (a prior WestieMed grantee) who passed in July 2017.  Addie’s foster mom Sandy brought her over to our house. Our Scottie and Addie got along right away and Addie stole our hearts.

On our first visit to the doctor with Addie in November, we were advised that she had skin and ear infections. We are still treating those. We’ve sent out for cultures on both to be able to treat those in a more targeted fashion. We tested for low Thyroid, and Addison’s which came back negative, but with very high chances of Cushing’s. We’re still waiting for those results.

Addie - WestieMed Recipient January 2018
Addie – WestieMed Recipient

We know she may not grow back much, if any, of her hair.  We just want to make sure she gets into a good place where her skin and ears are no longer infected and causing her pain.

She’s such a Westie girl! She loves to chase and dig after anything in her yard. She has a blast jumping onto the boulders in our backyard to get a better view of said varmints and she loves to torture her brother Jack every chance she can! 

Thanks to all involved in her rescue and for those whose support today allow us to get her the care she deserves.

The first picture of Addie was taken the day she was surrendered. The photo of her with muddy paws was taken last Sunday.

Wendy Eubank

Update March 1, 2018

Addie is doing well. She does have Cushings, we are beginning treatment for that as well as getting her started on allergy drops.

We look forward to being able to give back to WestieMed.

Best Wishes,
Wendy and Lonnie Eubank

Update July 9, 2018

Addie - WestieMed Recipient January 2018
Addie – WestieMed Recipient

Firstly, we want to thank you all again for giving us a big help in Addie’s continued medical treatment.

Months ago, Addie’s skin was dry, blotchy, flaky, crusty, etc. and it caused her to do a lot of scratching and chewing.  With the combination of medicines, medicated baths, and diet, within the last month, her exposed skin has finally become soft and smooth, and she only has a couple of hot spots on her front legs.  It’s a huge improvement!  We know that she will most likely never grow hair back, but that’s okay with us.  We think she’s adorable, and as long as she’s comfortable and happy, we’re happy.  Plus, it’s an excuse to keep her covered in plaid in cooler weather! For the summer she has on a UPF t-shirt so she won’t get burned.

Addie was diagnosed with Cushing’s, for this, she is on Vetoryl once daily.  She has been ricocheting from skin infections to ear infections, but they seem to be subsiding.  She takes two Apoquel a day, and one Atopica once daily.   She went through blood allergy testing (her skin could not handle the skin testing) at Blue Pearl Veterinary Specialists and is on a customized a serum twice a day.  She’s on a wheat gluten-free diet and we add salmon oil to her food.  She gets weekly double-medicated-shampoo baths.  And recently, it was determined that she has dry eye, so she receives two eye drops twice daily.

She lets none of the above slow her down! She is a 200% Westie girl – chasing squirrels and rabbits daily. This weekend she discovered frogs! As she starts to feel better the more open she becomes to playing with her new brother, four yr old Scottie Logan. We hope to keep her conditions under control and hopefully, more improvements will come with that.

Wendy & Lonnie Eubank

Millie - WestieMed Grant Recipient September 2013


The Saturday evening before Labor Day, we received a call on the WRT phone from a very nice lady in Murfreesboro, TN explaining that an injured Westie had wandered up to their front door, and it was obvious she had been hit by a car. A neighbor said they’d seen the dog lying in a ditch and thought it was dead (but they didn’t bother to go check??!!). The lady and her husband took the dog to their personal vet and paid for the office visit and x-rays. The vet there told them they felt like she could be saved, but that the surgery to repair the damage would cost a minimum of $3000. The vet scanned for and found a microchip, and the office called the number only to learn the microchip had never been registered by the current owner, and the chip was registered to a former out-of-state breeder that had since gone out of business because the number on the chip was no longer a working number. The vet advised the couple that it was their responsibility to at least try to find the owner(s), and he felt like the best way was for the dog to be sent over to P.A.W.S.; the local shelter in Murfreesboro. The plan was for the vet’s office to keep and medicate the dog for pain through the holiday weekend, which the couple agreed to do. In the meantime, Brenda (the woman) found and contacted us. When I talked at length with her about needing to get our hands on the x-rays so we could forward them to our vet and on to the orthopedic surgeon we use to see what both of them thought for recovery prognosis, she told me she would call her vet and OK that being done. (Apparently, this is a 24-hour vet, and she was able to reach them on Sunday.) Sadly, the vet’s office had gone ahead and sent the dog over to P.A.W.S. the night before instead of doing what they’d said they would do, and I knew we would have a hard time getting her out of that shelter because they have proven to be extremely hard to pull from unless you have an inside contact. BUT, I was hopeful that because she was injured and thus, probably deemed unadoptable, it wouldn’t be so difficult this time. Well, I was wrong.

On Tuesday morning after Labor Day, I called the Murfreesboro vet the first thing, and the office immediately emailed the x-rays to me and to the orthopedic surgeon (because they, too, use him on a regular basis and know him well). I then reached out to the shelter, and they told me that because she had a microchip, she had to stay at the shelter five full business days, and we couldn’t include her past weekend time and holiday time in that, NOR could we include the following weekend. I was so frustrated!

After MUCH discussion and promises from the shelter director that they would ensure she was suffering no pain, one of our Board Members was allowed to pull her when they opened at noon on Tuesday, September 10th. We all feared that while the injuries seemed repairable in the early stages of her diagnosis, perhaps bones, tendons or muscles had begun to fuse together in an incorrect manner. AND, we feared the poor dog would suffer from some sort of shock. MUCH TO OUR AMAZEMENT, she was happy from the get-go; the tail never ceasing to wag! Also, we immediately got her to our vet, who again did x-rays and got Dr. Newman, the surgeon, over for a special call to evaluate the situation. While he was not concerned about the rear hip injury (and knew he could easily perform an FHO to repair the injury), he was concerned about the front leg and whether or not the alignment would be such that the leg could be saved. He felt like it could be, but wouldn’t know for sure until he got into the surgery. Thankfully, on the day of the surgery (scheduled a few days out from her arrival so she could be on antibiotics for a few days prior), we got the best news that the leg could be saved!

Millie is now in a foster home with a new foster mom who is friends with Brenda, the gal who originally contacted us. Thankfully she has experience with foster dogs with that sort of injuries, which is great because Millie doesn’t seem to think she has anything wrong with her! Alyce (the foster) has to take her back to the vet weekly to work with the dressing on the injury sites. The staples in her hip came out last weekend, and the front leg is healing nicely too. Still, Millie has to be somewhat sedated to keep from wanting to run and jump. Dr. Newman said it would be about a six-week recovery period. Once recovered, we will then get Millie spayed and get her ready for adoption. She is UTD on all of her vaccinations, heartworm testing, etc.

We will continue to send updates, and thank WestieMed once again SO MUCH!

Westie Rescue of Tennessee, Inc.
a 501-c-3 Rescue Organization

Update April 10, 2014

Unfortunately, we still have not yet placed Millie in her forever home, though we do have a Meet & Greet set for her this Saturday, so paws are definitely crossed! The surgeon says she will have no issues down the road! She is very sweet and loves everybody and every doggie!

Carol Whitmer

Update July 27, 2015

Millie continues to do well. She was adopted over a year ago and the last we heard from her owners, she is doing great. Her surgery will have been two years ago in September. Thanks to WestieMed for all they did to help us help her!

Carol Whitmer

Dudley WestieMed Grant Recipient January 2012


Dudley came into Westie Rescue of Tennessee’s (WRT) system in late August; pulled from a shelter in southern TN sadly known as a “dropping pen” for a backyard Westie breeder who dumps her breeder dogs when they no longer perform to her liking.  In fact, Dudley is the fifth Westie pulled from that shelter in the last year and a half.

A volunteer picked up and took Dudley straight to our vet partner in the Franklin, TN area and got all of his vetting, neutering, and a major dental done (he had to have nine teeth pulled – poor guy).  He also had a severe ear infection and issues with his skin that needed treatment.  He boarded at our vet for a week.  I then picked him up, took him to get groomed and then to meet his new foster mom half-way between Nashville and Chattanooga.  Kim and her husband are AWESOME foster parents, as they have three rescued Westie boys of their own, and Kim is a nurse in Chattanooga.  Kim and Jeff have cared for Dudley since Labor Day weekend.

We thought we had a great home lined up for Dudley with a semi-retired couple who live in Minnesota in the summer, and snowbird to Gulf Shores, AL for the winter.  However, either Dudley did not care for the woman when she picked him up or he was in pain from his hip that we were unaware of.  He bit her when she was trying to leash him up.  She gave it a valiant try, but she realized the two of them didn’t jive and ended up bringing him back to Kim in Chattanooga a few days later.

At this point, the WRT officers and Kim decided the next step needed to be an in-depth exam and x-rays to see if he had something physically making him “nippy”.  That’s when we found the hip issues.  One hip is fine, though a little bit arthritic, but the other had major issues and required surgery if he was to get back to normal.  Dr. Shulman, at Riverview Animal Hospital in Chattanooga, did a wonderful job on him Monday, and she said the surgery was a great success.  She believes his recovery rate to be close to 100%!  She is recommended he be kept on joint supplements, such as glucosamine and conjointine, as he goes through life.  The recovery rate is also fairly quick, so hopefully, he’ll be feeling great and ready for a new home in the next couple of months!

Carol Whitmer
Officer/Communications Director Westie Rescue of Tennessee, Inc.

Update July 17, 2012

Dudley had such a rough time of things, even after coming to WRT.  We are forever indebted to WestieMed for financially assisting with his hip surgery!  Thankfully, he didn’t have to have a full hip replacement surgery, and after the surgery, the vet explained that it was fairly routine surgery.  After a couple of weeks of pretty severe pain, he began to pull out of it and starting moving his hip/leg quite well.  As you can see from the attached picture, he must be feeling pretty good since he’s lying “froggie style!”

It took us a couple of tries to get Dudley placed because he can be a pretty nasty (and quick!) nipper.  He is now living near Atlanta with Tom and Nancy Ross, a very Westie-savvy couple who are retired and have lots of time for Dudley.  They do continue to have some behavior problems with him, and thus, they have opted to get him into a program through the University of Georgia vet school to work on it.  Tom reported that the questionnaire alone was twenty-seven pages long, and they fully expect UGA to come back and say Dudley is fine, but that he and Nancy need therapy!

Thanks again so very much for once again providing help for one of our WRT doggies!

Carol Whitmer
Founder/Officer Westie Rescue of Tennessee, Inc.

Dudley WestieMed Grant Recipient January 2012
Dudley WestieMed Grant Recipient

Dudley (aka “Dude”) is living forever with his foster family because he had two failed adoptions with a high amount of aggression at both.

This problem has been minimal for the Barnes’, so he will stay with them indefinitely and WRT will continue to help with is vet bills.

Carol Whitmer
Officer/Director of Communications
Westie Rescue of Tennessee, Inc.

Ellie - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011


Seven years ago, I brought two little Westie puppies into my life: Max and Piper.  They have been such a joy for me and my family (grandpops loves his grand-dogs!), and I’ve always known I’d expand our family one day.  Because of my love for Westies, I check the Westie Rescue of Tennessee quite often to see the Westies they have for adoption, but the timing was just never right – and to be honest, WRT’s babies get adopted out very quickly.

However, back in early June, I came across a note on WRT’s Facebook page about a little blind Westie girl.  When I read the note, my heart just broke for this poor little girl that had obviously been left to fend for herself.  A farmer found her hiding under a shed on his farm.  Her hair was extremely long and matted, and she had severe scabbing around her eyes, as well as ear mites.  She was underweight and was in desperate need of some TLC – as well as medical help for her eyes.

She was brought to Nancy, a Westie breeder in Arkansas, who shared her story with WRT.  Nancy provided her shelter, food, and medical care, but the goal was to find her a furever home where she would feel loved and protected.

After I read the story, I knew Ellie had to come home to Alabama and become part of my Westie family.  I looked up from my laptop and asked Max & Piper (yes, I asked the kids!) if they wanted a new sister…?  Max’s ears perked up and he ran over to the toy basket and picked up one of his favorite toys – a little pink elephant that I call Ellie.  Well, that was enough of a sign for me.  I had always said my next girl dog would be named Zoe or Ellie, and Max bringing me that toy just sealed the deal!  Thanks to some wonderful volunteers (Nancy, Patti Holden, and Carol Utley), we were able to get Ellie to her new home on 6/25.  Little did I know what I was in for!

Ellie came in and instantly peed on the floor! I thought, “Oh no! I’ve been living with two dogs for seven years that are housebroken – what am I going to do?!” I just went back to what worked with my two little ones, and before I knew it – just two weeks later – Ellie was housebroken and I no longer had kept her in her pen (it was a nice large area), if I left for an extended period of time.  She was using the doggie door like Max and Piper and using the outdoor potty pad if I had to be gone longer than normal. 

She has very quickly learned how comfy the sofa is, and after only a couple of days, she learned to use the doggie steps to get up on the sofa and the bed.  She still sleeps in her crate at night because I’m worried she might fall off of the bed, but she loves her little “house” at night – especially the down pillow she sleeps on!  She has her favorite treats and, after prying them away from Max, has found 2 favorite toys – a pink piggy and a pink “diva dog” purse.

My biggest concern with Ellie was her eyes, of course.  Although I had been given an antibiotic eye ointment to use on her eyes (the vet had given Nancy a sample before she was brought to Alabama), her eyes would still get mucky and crusty.  Another wonderful Wesite supporter, Diane Vann, pointed me in the direction of Veterinary Eye Specialist in Birmingham (and also WestieMed). 

Ellie - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011
Ellie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

I assumed they would tell me the worst – that Ellie had cataracts or had no sight and would never see.  But instead, they told me wonderful news!  While Ellie’s sight would never be 100% and her extreme dry eye condition was permanent and ulcers had formed on one of her eyes, she should get some sight back in both eyes!

I was so excited, but since I am currently out of work, I was worried about paying for her eye drops and vet visits each month.  Thank you WestieMed for alleviating this financial burden for the next year!  Believe it or not, after only a week of using the special eye drops, Ellie’s eyes are already improving.  They look normal, not quite as bright and shiny as I want, but there is no muckiness or crusting.

She may have to have these drops for the rest of her life, but I don’t care!  I would do anything for this little Westie/St Bernard (she gives some very sloppy St Bernard type kisses!).  So here we are now, one big happy Westie family!  I am amazed every day at how well Ellie does with such little sight.  And while I know Ellie is thankful to have a home and forever furr-friends, I am even more thankful for the love and joy she brings me every day!

Update September 26, 2011

I just wanted to give you an update on our little Ellie!  She is doing great! 

Ellie - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011
Ellie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

She has been on special eye drops for the dryness and Terramycin for infection.  Her tear ducts are producing tears, but she’ll probably be on the meds for life.  As far as any sight regained, I know that she seems more sensitive to light, but time will tell with that.  Her little eyelids are funny, b/c the lashes grow in too think so I trim them weekly so I can see her great big beautiful brown eyes – which are shiny and rarely have any crusting or “gooping”.  I don’t know how she does it, but she loves all of the pink toys we have – she has her own little set and has to have at least one to go to bed with at night – piggy, Ele the elephant, the pink princess purse, and, our newest, monk-monk – our pink monkey.  I bought one in blue and one in pink and she totally ignores the blue one.

She loves her little crate at night.  I just say, Ellie, it’s time to go nite-nite, and I’ll have one her toy waiting for her and she’ll grab it out of my hand and head straight into her down-filled little house.  The next day, she always goes back and gets whichever ever animal she took to bed.  While I’d love to have the crate out of my room, I don’t think I will ever let Ellie in the bed like Max and Piper.  I’m too scared she’ll fall off.  Plus, three dogs in the bed?? I don’t know.  They may take over completely if I do that!

She is in treat Heaven, and she knows when I’m cooking their dinner –she runs around and around the kitchen until it finally hits the bowl.

She’s even learning the art of playtime with Max & Piper.  I think it scared her at first, but now she just plays along.

All-in-all, we are one big happy Westie family! Thank you WestieMed for your support!!


Update July 7, 2012

Ellie - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011
Ellie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Ellie is doing great!  She still has to continue to get eye drops every day, but her sight has actually improved. 

Being out of work (Still!), WestieMed’s help was invaluable! 

Thank you again so much!

Christi Gamble

Paddy - WestieMed Recipient April 2011


In mid-April, WRT received a call from our friends at Young-Williams Animal Shelter in Knoxville, TN that they had a sweet little male Westie that had been picked up as a stray and no one ever came looking for him.  Paddy was estimated to be about two years old. 

Thankfully, they work with us and know to call us before putting one up for adoption to the general public.  We arranged to have one of our East TN volunteers pick him up and transport him to us in Middle TN.  We got a full vet report from the shelter vet (which is rare), along with two well-defined x-rays (which is even MORE rare that they would send those to us!), that identified a bad break in this little fella’s left rear leg.

We got him checked out again by our vet here in Franklin, and it was determined by her and by the orthopedic vet she uses that the break would cause little Paddy to lose his leg, if not corrected surgically quickly.  The break had not healed correctly and needed to be re-broken, the femur shaved down and reset correctly.  It was also identified by our vet that he suffered from a strain of Mange (thankfully not the contagious kind!), and he would need medicated dips every two weeks along, with two to three rounds of antibiotic (Baytril).  We are happy to report that his skin condition is improving, and thanks to WestieMed, he will soon resume his life has a rambunctious, happy little Westie boy that can “zoom” around a room or outside with his other terrier friends!

We look forward to giving you many wonderful updates and pictures of this exceptionally sweet boy!  Thank you again from the bottom of our Westie Rescue of Tennessee hearts!

Carol Whitmer Founder/Officer

Lillie - WestieMed Recipient May 2010


Lillie came to me from Westie Rescue Tennessee where I was to foster her and another dog that came from a puppy mill.  Lillie led a miserable life until she was rescued.

When I saw her, I immediately fell in love with those big black liquid eyes.  Even as scared as she was, she was able to wag her little tail to say that she trusted me.

I did not know much about her history, but when she came to me, she had medicine for her ears as they were pretty messed up.  I religiously put in the drops until she started vomiting and would not stop.  I rushed her to my vet on Friday and Lillie was still vomiting in the vet’s office.  She was diagnosed with a severe case of Cauliflower ears and my vet said it was so bad that she could do nothing for her and recommended I take her to a specialist in Decatur, Alabama.

I carried Lillie to Decatur which was a two-hour drive from my house and dreaded every minute of it as it was going to cost me around $1,200 per ear and I did not have this type of money.  My vet stated that if Lillie did not get the surgery, she would go deaf.  This was not what I wanted to hear and because she is such a precious little girl with a very positive attitude, I vowed to help her in any way I could.  Before calling Westie Rescue Tennessee, I tried to come up with the money for her surgery, but the vet bills had amounted to over $880.00 and I had nothing left in my savings.

Westie Rescue directed me to WestieMed to see if they would help me pay for Lillie’s surgery and they have been very kind as I had no other avenue to turn to and I did not want this precious little girl to suffer any more than she had already suffered.  She was in pain and was constantly shaking her head to the point of blood.

She does not, at this point need the surgery, but the bills and future bills for Lillie could become staggering.

Millicent - WestieMed Recipient


Millie is a precious little five-year-old former breeding female who came to WRT as part of a commercial breeder surrender transport.  Even with all of the afflictions she came to us with (i.e., a severe ear infection, paw infection, skin infection, hook and whipworms, dental disease and severe yeast in her ears and paws), she still managed to wag her little tail and seemed instantly so grateful for being out of the hell she’d been subjected to for the first five years of her life.  Of the four who came us to on this transport, she has socialized at her foster home the quickest and easiest.

She, along with the others, spent many days at the vet’s office, just getting enough daily meds into her system so she would be healthy enough to move on to a foster home.

Millicent - WestieMed Recipient March 2008
Millicent – WestieMed Recipient

Her foster mom reports she is doing so very well, and they are happy to keep her as long as it takes for us to match her up with the best possible furever home.  She interacts very well with the family’s other Westie (one of our adoptees) and the other Spaniel mix.  She also gets along with the family cat, which is a plus!  She loves to play in the yard with the other dogs and kids but is just as content to be held in one’s lap for hours-on-end.

The bottom line is that Westie Rescue of Tennessee, with the generous help of WestieMed, gave this precious little girl a second chance.  We are so very grateful for WestieMed’s generosity.

Update March 4, 2010

Our sweet Millie is doing fine and we love her very much.
George and Linda Driese

Isabella - WestieMed Recipient March 2008


Izzy came to Westie Rescue of TN on a volunteer rescue transport in late January.   It was freezing cold and the wind was howling the night she was taken out of the cargo van and put into my car.  She was in a cage stacked ceiling-high in the cramped van.  It was so full because the rescue angel was trying to get as many dogs as she could out of their horrible living conditions.  She still had an all-night drive ahead of her to deliver the various breeds of little dogs that did not yet realize that their lives were about to change.  They were off to different rescues in several cities.

Izzy was in my car with six other dogs, including three other Westies.  They got as far back in the crates as they could.  They backed into the corners and trembled when we would reach in to touch them.  They didn’t understand what the warm blankets and soft towels in the crates were.  None of them cried none of them fussed, none of them dared to complain about the bitter cold during the time it took us to locate them in the cargo rescue van and transfer to my car.  It took a while because Izzy and the other Westies were almost unrecognizable as Westies.  There are no words to describe the filthy, disgusting shape they were in.  Even though the wind chill factor was in the teens, we drove the 225 miles back home with the back window vents on my SUV open.  The urine that permeated the inside of the car burned our eyes so strongly that we had no choice.  Windows down, heat blasting.  The little dogs had lived in their own urine for so long, it had become a part of them.  Each one of them had a blank look in their eyes that I will never forget.  I had to look hard to find Izzy’s little eyes.  They were covered by so much dirty, matted hair. 

Isabella - WestieMed Recipient March 2008
Isabella – WestieMed Recipient

I would later learn that she suffered from severe dry eyes that had never been treated.  The worst-case the vet had ever seen.  Imagine your eyes hurting and burning and scratching for four or five long years and not being able to tell anyone.  Not that anyone, where she came from, would have cared.  Because of not being treated, she suffered eye damage and will now have a vision impairment that can never be healed.  She will need eye drops every day for the rest of her life to ease her discomfort.  She also had infections in both eyes.  Both of her dewclaws were so long that they had embedded into her skin.  I can only imagine how it must have hurt to walk.  She had infections and yeast on all of her feet and between her pads.  She had an infection in both ears.  Places on her skin were infected from pure filth more than likely.  She had hook and whipworms.  She had a urinary tract infection.  Her little mouth was in horrible shape.  She had severe dental disease and had to have teeth pulled.  A week after arriving at the vet, Izzy had to have surgery for bladder stones.  Izzy was so traumatized that I began to wonder if there was even a little Westie left in that tired and mistreated body.  If only there were some way to show the people that go to the pet shops what is left behind when the puppy truck pulls out to make deliveries.  All they see are the cute little clean puppies.  They never see the broken, tired and dirty little bodies that make those puppies possible because they are forced to.  They never look into the breeding dog’s face and see the pain and long-suffering.

Izzy stayed with the vet for two weeks.  She received all kinds of medicine for her many infections throughout her little body.  Imagine how wonderful it must have felt for her eyes not to itch and hurt.  Even though it was uncomfortable for a little bit, it soon felt better to walk without the sharp nails grown into her skin.  Her mouth began to heal and her appetite picked up.  She had her spay surgery and was on her way to better health.   Soon Izzy was off to her foster home.  When we arrived there, Izzy stood perfectly still in the driveway.  She didn’t dare move.  She did not understand the open space, the feeling of not being confined.  She was afraid of the unknown–freedom.   Her little foster host Westie ran around her to welcome her to their home.  Izzy just stared straight ahead and shook.  Her sweet foster Mom walked over and took her into her arms and welcomed Izzy into a safe world for the first time in her life.

Isabella - WestieMed Recipient March 2008
Isabella – WestieMed Recipient

Izzy continues to blossom and heal, both physically and mentally.  She patiently waits at her wonderful foster home for the family that will take her into their home and makes her theirs forever.

Thanks to WestieMed, our rescue did not go into the red after taking in these four sweet Westies.  We did not have to temporarily shut down our rescue while we paid off our over $3,000.00 debt and then try to start over.  Thanks to WestieMed, we are able to continue to move forward with our determination stronger than ever.  Bette Heidorn, WestieMed and all the wonderful people there are inspirations to us.  It is their heart’s desire to help heal every little Westie that they possibly can.  WestieMed makes a difference in countless little Westie lives every single day.  The dogs they affect move on through life bringing joy and companionship for many, many people.   If Westies could talk, I am sure they would sing the praises of this wonderful organization.   I know a little girl named Izzy that would be in the front row of that choir!

Ian - WestieMed Recipient March 2008

Ian (Now Duffy)

Ian spent the first five years of his life in a small pen or cage except when he was needed for breeding purposes.  He was used up and thrown away basically.  When we got him he was so terrified of humans that he got in the back of the large crate and shook in the corner.  The next morning at the vet, we literally had to turn the hard shell crate up on its end and shake him out of it.  Ian stayed at the vet for days.  He was immediately shaved and cleaned up with several baths that day.  They were able to leave a little hair around his face.  Ian had ear infections, skin infections, paw infections, worms and a urinary tract infection so severe that he was urinating blood.  He also had severe dental problems.  Ian was given several kinds of meds for his infections and other ailments.  He was given a complete dental and had some teeth extracted.  He was neutered.  Ian now has a clean bill of health.  His first real experience with freedom was when I picked him up.  I brought him home in the large hard shell crate.  We picked up the crate and took it in with him inside.  When Ian saw a human, he saw mistreatment.  He was terrified of me.  It broke my heart.  In order to gain his trust, I never reached in and snatched or forced him out, because that is what was probably done to him by his breeders.  I would open the crate door and sit down in front of it and lean up against the wall about two feet away.  I would speak softly to him and plead with him to come out.  He stood in the center of the crate and shook so violently that the wire metal door on the front of the crate jingled from his shaking.  His little eyes had a blankness to them that made me determined to find the little Westie that was in there somewhere.  Every couple of minutes, I would slowly reach my hand in and touch the top of his head.  He would cower and flinch each time.  It took me about thirty minutes to get him to come to the edge of the crate door.  He was afraid to step out because a lot of breeding dogs are punished severely forever trying to get out of their cages.  It takes some of them a long time to be able to walk through a doorway in their new homes.  I continued to touch his head and whisper to him.  I could tell in his little eyes that he wanted so desperately to try out this new thing, but his fear would not allow him to.  Finally, after petting his head and then retreating away from him over and over again, he saw that it wasn’t a trick to be able to get my hands on him and inflict some sort of pain.  He began to trust me just a tiny bit and I knew that I had won the first battle.  Each time it would take me about thirty minutes to get him to come to the edge and then I would pet him and praise him and offer him treats.  He didn’t know what a treat was.  I would put it up to his mouth and he didn’t know how to take food from my hand.  If I laid it down in front of the crate, he would gingerly step out with one front paw, eat the treat off the floor and then wait to see what I did next.  After about three days, I brought him up and introduced him to the three female Westies here.  They got along beautifully.  Ian began to watch them and do what they did.  He would see them go to the always full food bowl and eat.  After they finished, he would saunter over and look around as if to say “are you sure this is ok to do?”.  He began to eat with them, he learned how to interact with them very quickly.  It took about ten days for him to walk through the door to go out onto the deck.  Before that, I would pick him up and take him out.  He doesn’t like to be picked up just yet.  He is still afraid.  He doesn’t fuss or struggle, but his little body tenses up.  I can tell he is afraid he is going to fall.  He didn’t know what a toy was.  The first time he walked up to a tennis ball on the deck and poked it with his nose, it rolled and scared him to death.  I began to pick it up and gently roll it toward him and he would watch it and jump around so funny.  Now he rips and tears up and down the deck chasing it.  He gets it in his mouth and prances with it.   He loves to be petted. He stays right at my feet.  He now loves to wrestle and play with the other dogs and is a very loving little guy.  He is like a stocky little linebacker and solid muscle.  He has grown into a happy little Westie boy.

Ian - WestieMed Recipient March 2008
Ian – WestieMed Recipient

Ian has come a long way on his road towards understanding freedom and is a pleasure to have here.  I will miss him very much when he is adopted.  Ian is still very fragile as far as his ability to just take everyone at face value and relax and enjoy his life.  He is getting there, but not there yet.  He needs a loving owner to help him complete that journey.  Ian is a one-person dog right now and I’m sure will grow into being around groups of people, but he needs his special person to cling to in this transitional stage of his life.

One reason Ian has progressed so well is his health.  Thanks in part to WestieMed, his poor health issues were taken care of.  Ian feels great for the first time in a long time is my guess.  He is healthy and has a newfound desire to focus on learning how to be a pet and part of a family.  It is such a day to day blessing to watch his little face as he discovers life outside of a cage.  Ian is a work in progress and WestieMed is a large part of his progress.  Thank you WestieMed for helping little Ian feel well enough to march into his new life!

Ian - WestieMed Recipient March 2008
Ian – WestieMed Recipient

Update March 29, 2008

I wanted to let you know that Ian went to his new home today.

I think Ian and his new owner are a great match.

But I am sure going to miss him.  When I wasn’t looking, he stole my heart!


Update January 1, 2009:  Ian now called Duffy

I thought you might be interested in an update on Duffy.  It’s now been seven months since Duffy moved in with me.  You would not believe the difference in this little guy.  Completely gone is the hesitant, shaking terrified little furball.  Duffy looks at each new adventure in his life with great interest and curiosity.  He is completely over his fear of men and will greet and like the hand of a strange man with relish.  He loves to ride in the car and often travels with me.  He has been to the Big Apple twice and really enjoys hotel living.  Suits him just fine.

It took several months for him to return the affection I lavished on him.  Everything changed when I had to go to Colorado and Wyoming in late August for a two-week business trip.  He stayed at home with someone taking care of him.  Upon my return, he was visibly shocked to see me and hurled himself straight at me.  Since then, he has decided he cannot stand being on the floor if I am on the couch; he wants to be on my lap or against my side or even on my chest.  Each return home after a trip has knocked down more of his reserve until now he gets so excited he cannot contain himself.  Of course, I can see in his expression that he wonders why he didn’t get to go along.

When I work on the weekends, Duffy comes with me.  He has a special place in my office that he alone owns.  For me, I have found the dog who loves squeak toys.  Actually, he is beyond obsessive about them.  I think this may be his one vice and I plan to consult with a behaviorist in the new year.

He has slimmed down and muscled up from long walks around the neighborhood and I let him choose the path each day.  We began obedience training in the fall and he did remarkably well.  I plan to continue with advanced training sometime in the spring.

He loves to chase squirrels and rabbits.  Squirrels baffle him because he hasn’t figured out he should look UP in the tree to see where they’ve gone.  He keeps racing around the base of the tree trying to find the little escape artist.

Honestly, this little pooch was the absolute best choice for me.  It was worth the 1200 miles I drove that weekend to get him.

BTW, we did march in the Scottish Walk parade in Alexandria, VA.  There were over 100 other Westies and all were rescues.  He wasn’t the least bit bothered by the bagpipes, drums or black powder muskets being fired.  I put a plaid scarf on him and he had a blast.

Happy New Year.  Keep up the great work with Westies.