Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prince Charming

Prince was adopted from Puppy Mill Rescue in May of 2005. His mother had been rescued from an auction and was pregnant with 4 puppies. Like many poorly bred dogs, Prince has a host of medical problems. He has hydrocephalus - also known as water on the brain, so far his only symptom is a head shake and then a few seconds where he is disoriented. He has never known any other way to live so he takes all of this in stride. We've been told he may live out his life with no other symptoms or he may start to have seizures in the future. At age 4, he is still seizure free. At the vet's recommendation, we put him on lasix for a month or so to see if it would help with the fluids but we did not see much of an improvement so he is no longer on lasix. If his condition appears to worsen in the future, we will revisit a lifetime of lasix.

He also has a condition called Microvascular Dysplasia (MVD) where the proteins are not properly cleansed through his liver. He has been on a prescription diet for three years and his bile acid tests indicate that his MVD is under control.

His last two medical problems have to do with his teeth, he's had 32 teeth pulled in his short life. We suspect because his mother was in poor health and not receiving proper nutrition, his teeth as well as those of his brothers and sisters are poor. Every time this little guy has a dental, he loses more teeth. Luxating Patellas also plague him, although because we watch his weight, don't allow him to jump down from sofas, ottomans, etc. they have stayed at a grade 2. Hopefully they will not get worse as he ages and require surgery. One of my pet peeves is when a vet says "Small breeds are prone to bad teeth an luxating patellas." No, they aren't. Poorly bred dogs are prone to bad teeth and luxating patellas. Those breeders who care about their dogs (and there are a lot of them) do their best to breed out both of these conditions.

Prince does not seem to understand he is just a tiny little dog, on a good day, soaking wet he tops out at 4 1/2 lbs. We refer to him alternately as "Prince Charming" and "The Devil Dog." He understands that he is the cutest little thing and can charm anyone into giving him his way. We often cave to his demands and agree to belly rubs, ear scratches and hand outs of his favorite treat Pup Corn quite readily. The Devil Dog designation comes from the fact that if there is a fight brewing or trouble occurring, we know without a doubt that Prince will be in the middle of it. He loves to tease and harass Mason, chase Sweetie and Callie and basically rabble rouse at the drop of a hat. His middle name is Ornery.

Prince was born with his medical issues and has lived with them all his life, to him this is all normal. He does have higher vet bills and he needs to see a neurologist periodically to make sure he is stable. We have to take extra care when he has anesthetic but other than that, he is a happy go lucky little dog who most definitely has his Daddy wrapped around his adorable little paw. Of all the people in his life, he loves his Dad best.

Sweetie - The little Princess

Sweetie came to us a few years ago. She was clearly the much loved dog of an elderly owner. Sadly, her owner became ill, first going to the hospital, then to a nursing home. Sweetie had no idea what happened to her "Mom." One day she was a treasured family member with full run of her home, the next day she was banished to the basement. She went from daily walks and lots of attention to being held prisoner in a basement, with visits from relatives every few days.

Sweetie's Mom always had time for her, fed her the best food she could afford, brushed her daily and loved her unconditionally. When her owner became ill, the family members did not want to bring Sweetie to their home so they kept her locked in the basement, stopped by every few days to replenish the dog food they had left for her and to hose down the basement where she pottied. She went from being a much loved and socialized dog, cared for by a loving owner to a burden, a chore that had to be done by a family who honestly believed they were doing the best they could to care for her.

After five months of isolation she was slowly going stir crazy. No more walks, no sunlight, no hugs, no human contact just endless days of being locked in a basement. Then, when it became clear that her owner would not be able to come home, Sweetie's luck changed. A very nice man learned of her situation and came to us and asked if we could help find her a home. We said, sure, have her caretakers give us a call.

Two days later the very kind man pulled into our drive way exclaiming "I've got your dog!" My husband & I looked at each other and said "Our dog?" We walked over to meet Sweetie, an extremely hyper Yorkshire Terrior. She barked, yipped, squirmed and spun in fast circles. Oh my, what are we getting into? We carried her into our back yard and put her down. She ran around like a crazy dog - jumping, barking, coming back to us and jumping on us. She was like the Energizer Bunny, she kept going and going and going.

At that time, we had two other dogs. Both older, quiet, easy going and very sedate. We were in shock, what on earth were we going to do with this bundle of energy? We called the relatives to let them know we had Sweetie & would find her a home. During the conversation, we learned that she had been locked in the basement for 5 months. As infuriating as that was to us, we understood that the family thought they were doing "right" by her by not taking her to a shelter. They also had a large dog that was kept outside much of the time. To their way of thinking, she was inside, fed and watered and cared for. They really had no idea that Sweetie was a social creature and needed to be around people. We told them not to worry, we would see that she went to a good home. After we hung up the phone, we decided Sweetie was home to stay.

We did not care for the name "Sweetie" and tried out several different names. But as she became familiar with our routine and was once again around people, had unlimited access to fresh water, good food, could run outside, go for walks again, and understood she was allowed anywhere in the house she settled down. It became clear that she truly was a "Sweetie" and that she had found her home. We contacted the nursing home where her "Mom" was living and made sure she knew that Sweetie was safe and in a home where she would be cared for the rest of her life. Two days later her first Mom passed away. We think she held on until she knew her beloved best friend was safe and somewhere that she was once again the treasured little Princess she deserved to be. We will keep her safe and love her until someday, I hope years away, Sweetie can reunite with her original Mom and give her our thanks for lending this wonderful "Sweetie" to us.