Thursday, April 10, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 73- Thinking Back to the Day I was Adopted

Last night I was at my spot on the couch resting and watching some Animal Planet.  I had a full belly of raw turkey necks and I started thinking back to summer 2007 when my humans adopted me.  I had just been arrested by the dog catcher for peeing on private property.  At first I was kicking myself for letting "the man" catch me, but once I was taken to the shelter I was happy to get some kibble.  At the time, I'd been staying alive by licking Mexican take-out containers I found in the garbage.  Soon the Cocker Spaniel Rescue Group came and got me from the shelter.  Good thing because I heard that dogs don't get to stay in the shelter too long, if you know what I mean.  So, I went to the rescue and they gave me some more kibble and a shave.  Once all my fur came off, I soon realized that I was one dangerously skinny, starving boy.   

A few days of feasting later, I went to the local pet store with a bunch of the other rescue dogs.  It was adoption day.  I immediately went on the lookout for some humans that might take me home.  I saw these two humans (kind of skinny like me) with a black and white cocker that they already owned.  They were there to meet this other black dog from the rescue and he was really excited and playing with them.  This was my big chance.  I went right over to those humans with all the energy I had (keep in mind I was a weak boy) and had an accident on the floor right in front of them.  After this display, I met the black and white dog and we immediately hit it off.  This really worked to my advantage as I soon learned that this dog was in the market for a brother.

Needless to say, my ridiculously handsome looks won over the boy human, who remarked that I would be "one good-looking boy" once I ate a little more.  He really sold me on the eating thing, so I decided that this was my new dad.  I got a toy and some wet puppy food and then went for a long drive listening to Polka.  That's when I knew I had made the right choice.

Home is where the feasting is,

brother has a serious chat:
Let me tell you a little story about a puppy named Wile E.  My humans came home with him one day when he was only 7 weeks old, and boy was he annoying!  Always stealing my toys!  Anyway, my puppy brother was the result of backyard breeding, where a woman had 2 boy and 2 girl cocker spaniels and she let them have puppies that she would sell.  As circumstance would have it, this lady could no longer care for her dogs, so all four of them wound up at the same rescue group that I came from.  The 2 females were just about ready to have puppies, and when the second litter came long, so did Wile E.  

Wile E. was a super-smart, super-naughty little guy that my humans called the "rug-gator."  He was also super-cute and he would get us so much attention from other humans whenever we were out and about... I liked that about him.  I'm really into getting attention.  He played rough like a wrecking ball and jumped and dove and gained weight like a monster.  I miss him.

At 14 weeks we were wrestling when he got a cherry eye.   This is a prolapsed gland of the third eyelid, and most of the time this problem must be corrected with surgery.  His cherry eye became very swollen and he figured out how to rub it on chair corners despite his e-collar, and so his surgery was moved up to try and save the gland from being too damaged.  My baby brother went into surgery just a few days before he turned 4 months old, and he never came home.  He would have been 1 in February.

We're not entirely sure what happened to Wile E. while in surgery.  It could have been the anesthesia.  There was some talk about a possible clotting disorder.  His 6 sisters were tested for a laundry list of ailments and all came out clean.  All survived their spaying (and cherry eye surgeries) just fine.  And thank goodness for that. 

It wasn't so much as a week after we adopted Stanislaw that the same happened to him.  He had originally arrived at the rescue group with one cherry eye that was so damaged the gland had to be removed, and now the second came out.  My humans panicked, rushed him to the vet, and made an appointment with an opthamologist.  Stanislaw's eye become very swollen just like Wile E.'s, and as the gland sat outside of his eye it began to get dry and damaged.  The very kind opthamologist decided to perform surgery on Stanley right away, and fortunately all went well and Stan came home that night very tired but healing.  

Generally, if at all possible it is a good idea to save the gland.  Some doctors will try to remove it, but this particular gland is responsible for over 30% of tear production in the eye, and if it is gone the likelihood of a dog developing dry eye increases dramatically.  The wonderful doctor decided that because Stanislaw was young and liked to roughhouse, he would not do a basic tacking procedure (where the gland is tucked back into place and held with a stitch), but he would actually stitch the gland to the orbital rim.  Boy oh boy has Stanislaw thrashed, jumped and played since then, and that gland hasn't budged.  Stan has a happy ending.

This morning, while napping on my favorite chair, my mom noticed that my gland was visible in my left eye.  Her heart stopped.  Unlike my brothers, my gland was very small and almost disappeared when I held my head different ways.  While I was napping she saw it start to recede back into my eyelid, and with a very gentle push on the top of my outer lid, she moved it back into place.  I am lucky.  This does not mean that it will not come out again, but in the mean time, I'm saved from surgery.

There are many morals to these stories.  The first and perhaps more important is -- don't breed your dog unless you really truly know what you're doing and have the means to do so properly.  Everyone thinks that they have the best dog out there, and there should be more of him or her.  My humans would take 10 of me if they could.  But most of these dogs, like us, wind up in shelters or rescues.  Most of these dogs wind up with chronic and congenital health problems (cherry eye is genetic).  There is a ton of work, money and responsibility that must go into breeding an animal, and it is unfair to the babies if you do not ensure their health with the proper genetic testing of the parents, and the necessary expanse of breeding know-how in your human's head.  My brother didn't deserve the cards he was dealt.

The second message: if you do need eye surgery for a cherry eye, try your best to keep the gland.  Tacking surgeries are not 100% fail-proof and there is a risk that the gland might emerge again.  But there is a far greater chance of you developing dry eye down the road if the gland is removed, and this can lead to blindness and necessitates the daily administration of eye drops that can be quite expensive.  Surgery is never cheap, but the extras you put out to get the best procedure done will come back to your human ten-fold in future years.  And you're worth it, right?

Please keep your paws crossed for me that my eye stays as healthy as its ever been.  I'll be taking it easy for a while just to make sure the gland is staying in its place (and my paw still needs to heal!).  So, until next time...

Take care, feast hard.

1 comment:

Walking By Faith said...

Henry here, I want you to know, I have my pawsies crossed for your cherry eye to never come back Stanislaw!