At New Leash we don’t shy away from the pups that need extra attention and care. When we met Helen, an older shihtzu we knew she would require a little more medical vetting than a younger, healthier pup but we couldn’t leave her behind. Little did we know what an impressive and surprising journey on which she would lead us on.
Helen, a little mop of a pup, was the definition of hot mess when we first met her at Chicago Animal Care and Control in June of 2015. Matted, stinky, but full of life we couldn’t resist her enthusiasm for life.
Helen’s enthusiasm was particularly remarkable considering the pain and discomfort she was experiencing. Helen’s physical examination and lab work uncovered a laundry list of items to be addressed including the removal of an infected eye, a baseball sized inguinal hernia, two very large bladder stones, and teeth that made you cringe.
In a few short months, Helen experienced more medical procedures and diagnosis than most in two lifetimes. Through it all though Helen wiggled her bum, zoomed around the room, and rolled on her back for belly rubs with such glee and enthusiasm you couldn’t help but smile.
As joyful as Helen was through the pain and discomfort of a hernia, bladder stones, and an infected eye, we were understandably concerned when she suddenly became lethargic. Helen’s foster’s rushed her to the vet and repeat labs and an ultrasound of her abdomen revealed renal failure.
We were all disheartened and feeling defeated but we wanted this little survivor to have the best life we could offer. New Leash switched gears and Helen became a hospice pup. Her foster’s took her weekly for her fluid therapy, made sure she received her daily kidney medications and her special diet. Most importantly Helen was spoiled rotten:
“We set out to make it the best year of her life. Lots of treats, belly rubs, ice cream, pup-cakes, snuggles. We spoiled her. And she never let her gratitude go unnoticed.”
Helen’s story doesn’t end here though, anaccident brought forth the proverbial silver lining. On a Saturday morning Helen was busy playing with her canine foster sister when her eye was injured (dangers of being a shih tzu). The animal hospital had to perform emergency surgery to remove the eye. But, what started out as a very difficult day slowly became a blessing in disguise. Through the blood work pre-eye-removal-surgery, we saw that her kidneys were functioning at a normal level. Everyone was shocked and delighted.
Since surgery, Helen has adjusted extremely well to the blind life. She gets around very well in our apartment and every day she gets a little more used to being outside. And while she was originally was diagnosed with kidney failure, Helen miraculously recovered, overcoming all of the odds against her, time and time again. So now Helen, is looking for a forever home to call her own!
Helen’s ideal home will likely be somewhere that’s possible for her to learn to navigate without sight (and a little patience while she adjusts). This housetrained, dog-friendly gal is looking for a calm, loving home, where she can live out her days receiving the love she’s always deserved. Chaos isn’t the best fit for Helen, so she’d fit well in a household without rambunctious puppies and/or young children. If you’re looking for a laid-back, easy-going gal who will show you the true resilience of a dog’s spirit, Helen may be the perfect girl for you!
And, while her story brings out the feels, hold your tears. Helen wouldn’t want you – or anyone else – to feel sorry for her just because she looks a little different. She’s overcome it all and seems to appreciate life even more because of it, so look at her wounds as healed badges of honor. Her story ends in happiness because, at the end of the day, Helen’s the true comeback kid, whose spirit is nothing short of amazing.
**Check out Helen’s profile to learn more about her personality as described by her foster’s.**