Cody's family watched very closely for anything that might indicate a problem with her health. Fortunately, neither the family, nor their veterinarian saw any signs of problems. To relieve their anguish, they x-rayed her hips as a precautionary measure, and her hips were wonderful. The family breathed a sigh of relief.
One day, Cody's Mom came home and the answering machine was blinking. She listened to the message, and was unsure of what to make of it. She played it again and again.
"Hi. This is Jewell Animal Hospital. We have a dog here whose microchip is registered to you. Her name is Addie. Please give us a call at ...."
After several times listening to the message in disbelief, she scrambled for a pen to write down the phone number. As she grabbed a piece of paper, she gazed over at Cody who was sleeping soundly by the fireplace.
Cody the puppy is now eight years old.
Eight years have passed! The children that Addie knew and loved were now young adults. Questions ran through her mind. "Is this possible? Could someone be playing some sort of cruel joke? Addie is gone. Isn't she?"
She scribbled the phone number on a piece of paper, but it was too late in the day to return the call. She waited anxiously for her husband to come home. The two sat down, shocked at the news and discussed the possibilities.
The next day, neither party at opposite ends of the phone line could believe what they were hearing. Addie's parents were stunned. The dog they thought was dead, the dog that their veterinarian told them would not be able to walk into adulthood, was now six hours away, homeless, 9 years old... and walking.
The staff at my clinic was also stunned. Missy ran over to me and declared, "You have another blog to write." When she filled me in, I was also in disbelief.
We still had to wait for the seven day voluntary hold time that my clinic allows for owner's to reclaim their lost pets. If a family locally was looking for Addie, I wanted them to have every opportunity to do so. She seemed as though she had been well cared for prior to coming to us. So we waited.
Addie's former parents had made it clear that they wanted her back, but only if there was no family out there looking for her. They did not want another family to suffer the loss of Addie they way they had.
They had so many questions. How is she walking? Can she go up and down stairs? We took an x-ray of Addie's hips.
When comparing the above x-rays, it is evident that Addie's hip joint is not normal. The "ball" of the "ball & socket" type joint is not even close to ball shaped, but flattened and mushroomed out. If you cup one hand over your other hand while making a fist, you will note that you cannot move the fisted hand, it is held firmly in place. Now place your open hand over the fist without cupping it, and you can see how you can slide the fist up and down the palm of your hand. This is an example of what causes the laxity in the joint. This movement/laxity is what happens as the joint bears the weight of the dog during its stride. It is this laxity that causes the pain, arthritis build-up, and joint degeneration with hip dysplasia. Addie's veterinarian was right to be so concerned about Addie's abilities, but perhaps we in the veterinary world do not give enough credit to the resilience of animals. I have had two hip cases in which I NEVER would have thought the animals would do as well as they have (perhaps a topic in a future blog). Sometimes, we, as veterinarians (myself included), have to sit back, watch, and learn from our patients rather than diagnose and deliver a sentence.
I made a video for Addie's former parents. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xML0pExR1U0 If Addie did get reclaimed, at least they would have a chance to see how beautifully she turned out.
Their only concern was the number of stairs in their split level house. Each level is separated by seven steps. Could Addie be comfortable in a house with so many stairs?
I took Addie to my house, and Missy and I made another video. Addie bounded up and down the stairs like a puppy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCC6g0M1gNo I had no concerns about her abilities.
Addie's seventh day of hold time came, and it went. The eighth day came, and it went. The ninth day came, and it went. No one called or came into the clinic looking for their lost Yellow Lab. Whoever has had Addie for the past 8 years, is now without her. She seems to have been cared for well. She is not underweight. Her coat is healthy. She is potty trained. Whoever had her never registered her microchip in their own name.
These economic times put people in positions that require drastic change. Some people in dire circumstances make poor choices out of desperation. Animals seem to pop up in the strangest places. So here Addie sits. A large senior dog without a home is not an easy dog to find a new home, but we would have sat by her. Fortunately, we do not have to wait. Her "new old" family is waiting.
The past eight years of Addie's life are unknown. Did the pet store sell her again? Did the breeder sell her? Did the breeder give her away to a family or to a rescue group? Why was she so ill towards the end? No one knows. We could hypothesize, but why bother. I am just thankful that when Addie was young she was both spayed and microchipped.
What we do know is that it was time to make arrangements to bring Addie home. And yes, I will take you along for the ride...
Become a fan of our Veterinary Rescuer Blog page on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Veterinary-Rescuer-Blog/133173784037 .
You are invited to share a link of the blog http://www.vetrescue.blogspot.com/ on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.
If you would like to receive this blog into your email inbox each time it is published, go to http://www.vetrescue.blogspot.com/ , and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. The blog will send you a confirmation email. Reply as instructed in the email to confirm your subscription. This is a required step. You will then receive the blog as it is published. You will not get junk mail as a result of subscribing!