|Cassie's Club Members
We're all part of a special plan.
After four weeks of sleepless nights and trying
not to break down in front of the people I work with
the emergency animal hospital finally had a diagnosis
for our beloved Maxwell... Cancer.
He was so weak, and had fought so valiantly, we just
couldn't allow him to endure any more. He was so exhausted
that after just a few minutes each visit he would lie down
at our feet, or in our laps and fall deep asleep. One last time
he gave us that big puppy face look and lay down. We nodded to the
vet and in a minute it was over.
He was only six years old. It didn't seem possible that his time
with us was over. It still doesn't. Day after day during our visits
to the Sonora Veterinary Hospital to see Maxwell, we would see
handlers walking dogs in the landscape around the clinic.
When we inquired we found out that the back half of the clinic
was an animal rescue. Our path to our "new" best friend had begun.
While searching the internet and trying to decide on a breed
for our next dog, we happened upon the Desert Labrador Retriever
Rescue site. There she was, the cutest little white/tan lab.
My wife immediately recognized the parking lot where we had spent
so many unhappy evenings. Reading the profile we were surprised
to learn that Guera (pronounced wher-a, meaning Blondie in Spanish)
only had three legs. Her left rear leg had been removed after
being hit by a car and left for dead on the side of the road.
Not much is known about her sad beginnings. Obviously she had
been running loose and was struck by a car. But her behavior
tells us that she had also been abused by a man in her life.
She warms up to women immediately, but she cowers around men.
Every day she seems to be getting more relaxed and I hope that
soon she will trust that not everyone is planning to do her harm.
In just a little short of one week she has gone from wobbling
and falling down, to tearing around the yard like a little she-devil.
Sharp turns still present a problem but I am confident she will
soon master them as well. This morning Gloria put her outside
and stacked two of the three sheet metal panels into the dog door
(wooden shutters prevent the single piece panel from being inserted).
Not one minute later she appeared in the bathroom as we were getting
ready for work? Yep... she had removed the panels and let herself in!
This is one very smart dog. Only time will tell if she will move
our hearts in the way that Max was able to do.
Every dog is different, and we are not expecting "Eileen" to compete
with Max's memory. She will have to make her own mark in our life
and we are pleased to give her the chance.
Rick and Gloria Snider
Enzo is a 4 year old, 5 pound Chihuahua.
At 11 months old he broke both of the bones in his
lower right front leg and despite the grumblings of
many people who said we should just "put him down"
my family decided cost was no consequence for Enzo
and took him in for surgery that involved placing a
very small titanium plate onto one of his bones.
The vet was fantastic and after months of recuperating
we were getting ready to go in for the removal of the
plate they had inserted to keep the bone together
when the unthinkable happened; his leg refractured.
Another surgery was performed and we got all the way
through the removal of the plate this time.
We thought we were in the home stretch when Enzo
stepped just the wrong way one evening doing normal
doggie things and we were back in the Animal Hospital again
trying to figure out what to do now. It turns out that
the leg refractured through one of the not completely
healed screw holes that had attached the plate to his
tiny bone while the site of fracture was healing.
After family discussions with Enzo's vet and scraping
together funds, a different surgical approach was taken
using an external fixation with a "Kirschner Apparatus."
Things were looking up! Despite twice daily cleaning
to make sure the pins sticking through his skin didn't
become infected, the fracture appeared to have healed
enough for the apparatus to come off. A soft cast was
placed on his leg because of the history he had refracturing
through the screw holes of the second titanium plate
and we were going to the vet office every week (an hour drive)
to check them. One week had been really rough for him he had
seemed a little depressed from not being able to play
and just be a puppy, or thought maybe he had caught a
little bug. He had been holding up his casted leg when
you'd go to kiss him on his head and I thought he was
telling me "Mommie, please take this thing off of me,
I just want to run and run and play." I called the vet
and we decided we would come in a few days ahead of schedule
for a little check over. I was sitting in the waiting room
when I heard the most horrifying SCREAM from my little guy
coming from the back and I knew it had happened again
and we were back to square one. The first things that
go through your head are "how can this be happening to him
again, he doesn't deserve this!"
You feel like a failure because even though you are fighting
for him and following all your post op instructions from the vet,
and your little guy is still in pain!
By this time we had become a regular fixture at the office.
All the nurses and techs knew Enzo and in fact whenever
he was there for his check ups or surgeries he would make
his rounds of the staff as they all had to hold him
(and he never had to stay in a kennel, he was always being
carried around by someone in the office). So needless to say,
when everyone heard he was in line for another surgery
I wasn't the only one in tears (even Enzo's doctor was).
Together with the doctor we decided despite the poor outlook
that we would try a final time to save the little leg with
another plating procedure. Enzo remained in a cast and had to
go in for X-rays to check the status. We didn't even get through
one X-ray before it was apparent that the leg was not going
to make it. He had so much vascular damage to it the bone
just couldn't repair itself anymore.
So through tears of sadness we decided that was nothing more
to do but amputate.
I thought what an awful mom I must be to be doing this to him
at such a young age. I thought for sure it would make him mean
and I felt so guilty leaving him another time with the surgeon.
When I picked him up the next day instead of sadness in those
beautiful brown eyes, I saw relief. Relief from the pain
and burden of a constantly casted leg
(this was now about two plus years of being in and out of the vet).
Within two days that little puppy personality that I saw slowly
wilt away started to peek through the little storm clouds he'd
been under. I never in a million years would have thought he would
be a puppy again and he was, and still is!! The doctor even joked
that Enzo had long decided he didn't want four legs, and you know
sometimes it crosses my mind when I see the way he "milks" newcomers
for sympathy, which for him means MORE CHEESE! He runs and plays
like a kid again (but never ever allowed to jump up or down!).
It is the worst feeling to know you are doing the right thing
for your little guy by doing all you can, following doctors orders
but instead things keep getting worse.
The overwhelming feelings of frustration you get at people tell you,
"You are nuts to spend so much money on a DOG, why don't you euthanize
him and get yourself a new one?" It's just heartbreaking how people
don't understand!!! Granted there are many things I could have bought
with the thousands of dollars we paid for Enzo's medical care,
but they never could have bought the love in those big brown eyes.
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