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Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category

Why Charlie?

I first read about Charlie on the Internet in November 2006. I thought the rescue that had Charlie was giving him the decompression surgery that he so desperately needed, and I assumed he would be adopted soon after in his home state of California.

In August 2007, I was surprised to read that Charlie was still in rescue, still having pain episodes, and decompression surgery was no longer on his horizon.

I lost sleep, worrying about Charlie. After a bit of research I discovered that we have a veterinary neurologist familiar with Syringomyelia in Ohio, just a 45 minute drive from our house. We decided to submit an application to adopt Charlie.

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Vows

Before I brought Charlie home, I made a few private vows to him. He was wetting his bed at night and laying in it, presumably from taking Lasix, a diuretic. He wasn’t getting rinsed or bathed each morning. He smelled, and his tummy was inflamed and covered with small sores. His ears were red and sore, causing him to growl and snap at anyone trying to handle them. Syringomyelia is painful enough; these added problems were making it worse.

My vows were to always give him his medications on schedule and to manage him so that he would not soil his bed or the house. I promised to keep him clean and comfortable, and find a way to heal his skin and ears. I realized we’d be on a strict schedule and would have to struggle with ear drops, etc.

Additionally, Charlie was pudgy around the middle and was a very bossy and frustrated little Napolean! He had a number of behavior issues such as poor impulse control and uncontrolled barking during his family’s mealtimes and while in the car. I watched as his family gave him treats and attention to curb his misbehavior, knowing that it was really being reinforced. I had my work cut out for me. We would at least understand why Charlie is so difficult to train. I vowed to slowly and gently help him learn manners and lose the extra weight.

Last but far from least, Colin and I promised each other to get help for Charlie’s pain episodes. Charlie’s Syringomyelia was very early onset, he was exhibiting neurological problems and extreme pain at a very young age. Decompression surgery for Charlie was recommended by a neurologist one year ago. We prayed it would not be too late for Charlie to have the surgery now.

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Meeting Charlie

I flew to California from Ohio to meet Charlie. He was just returning from the groomer, and I waited in the back yard for him to approach me. He took his time. He had to sniff the lawn and greet his two brother cavaliers first. His posture and gait are the first things you notice about Charlie. His rear end seems to curve down below his back. His legs are long, skinny and weak. He is unsteady, and his gait is uneven, in both speed and length of steps; he stumbles and falls sometimes.

His tail is carried low when he moves, nearly between his hind legs. His shoulders and elbows are not held back and close to his body like most cavaliers. Instead, they are positioned outward. Facing him from the front, they look similar to Queen Ann table legs. His ear hair is short and thin for a cavalier, giving him an awkward puppy look. Charlie’s body was a bit chubby, probably from having his many pills tucked into peanut butter and cheese.

He finally made his way to the humans, and I saw his head perk up when he noticed me. He came over quickly to check me out. Charlie is neither shy nor overly friendly; he’s met many people as a rescue dog. He seems to be a dog not easily impressed by anyone – check their hands for treats and move along to the next.

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Charlie will be two years old on December 11, 2007. We adopted him six days ago.

We were given a file folder containing his medical records since he was a sixteen week old puppy. His first vet visit was for vaccinations, and he had a slight case of gastroenteritis. His vet noted that Charlie was a “picky eater”. One month later, Charlie was dropped off at the vet to be neutered, and it was noted that he was having a harder time walking. “Ataxic, seems to have a hypermetric gait” was the description. “A: Syringomyelia.” “P: Per discussion with neurologist, MRI is needed to confirm diagnosis. Treatment options are limited and it is difficult to determine if the disease will progress.”

At nine months of age, Charlie was brought in for an exam. “Client feels that Charlie is having a harder time getting around. Charlie also urinates and defacated all over the house and cries out in pain every night.” “S: Ataxic but otherwise very active.” “A: Syringomyelia.” Charlie was given Gabapentin, Omeprazole and Prednisone.

One month later, the vet’s comments state, “Client is unable to give Charlie the medical attention that he requires. They relinquished him to _-_ Hospital to board him until a suitable home is found.”

When Charlie was ten and one half months old, he was taken to a foster home. He remained in foster care for one year.

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