Izzie's Story - Part 1
by Chui Shia Chan on Nov 07, 2017
This is a guest post written by our soapist / chemist Jade Wong of Made by Jade. We asked Jade to share her adoption experience as it is the most beautiful adoption story we have ever heard of.
Love at first sight – with Izzie
It was love at first sight when I first saw Izzie.
She was an abandoned, lost cocker spaniel that a friend of mine had found in a neighbourhood. Petrified, knocked down by a car, and following friendly strangers who would have pity on her – she was vulnerable and afraid.
I had asked Mr A if we could temporarily shelter her as my friend (despite her fear of dogs), had rescued her, and could not keep her. And so, we went to pick her up, and planned to house her temporarily while we searched for the owners.
When we finally traced her owners, we found out that she belonged to an older couple, who both passed away in December within days of each other. It was tragic to hear, and Izzie was left to fend for herself with the other older couples' dogs – where the daughter would come to feed them daily.
The owners daughter was happy to take Izzie back, but mentioned that she would not be able to care for her as well as her parents could, and the dogs would be left to their own devices.
Seeing the quality of life she would be getting, and by then – she had already “tugged many strings in my heart”, with the permission of Mr A, we then adopted Izzie.
We found out her name was Sophie, but we decided to change her name to Izzie, as it suited her better, and she was responding very well to it.
Not plain sailing
Adopt don’t shop, but do your homework first
While we were ready to take in a second dog, it never occurred to me to have a thorough think before adopting, as the level of care and dedication required – depends heavily on the breed that one adopts.
I can understand now why mongrels make the best-adopted dogs, because they are hardy, strong and require very little maintenance.
What I have learnt was through the hard way – and boy did I have to go through much adjustment with Izzie.
Izzie was a cocker spaniel, and when we went to the vet – we found out she was a pure bred cocker spaniel. While she was beautiful to look at, it was a major investment to maintain her at a “good condition”.
Grooming her, wiping her paws daily, cutting short her hair – and don’t get me started on toilet training!
At one point, Mr A was close to “giving her away” as he was at his wits end with her, as she would pee in front of our door, and poop everywhere. It seemed like she was an indoor dog, and when we introduced her to our house (where we would leave her with Lady (our Golden Retriever) outside in the porch area and in the garden, it was like a “MASSIVE TOILET” for her).
Poop was everywhere, and she would pee, when she was too excited or too scared. We tried the “put your dogs face into the pee” method, but that I found, was cruel and did not work. We tried leading her to the grass to pee. We tried putting her on a leash when we came back, so she would not pee when she was excited – and that seemed to work, as she would not pee when put on a leash.
It took months to house train her again, but thankfully it got better. I have found that “talking” and “reasoning” with Izzie works best. She probably doesn’t understand this crazy human person speaking to her, but I would think she understood body language when I say “Good job!”, when she hits the right spot!
Needless to say, do your homework before adopting. Whether it’s a puppy, a 2 year old or a five year old dog, ask questions such as:
1) Is the dog toilet trained?
2) Do I need to groom the dog frequently? Short haired? Long haired dog?
3) What is your lifestyle? Do you have time for an additional responsibility?
4) Do you have the finances to bring your dog for vet visits, treats, grooming, heartguard, spaying etc?
5) Do you have a big enough yard for your dog to play? Or are you planning to keep your dog inside?
6) Puppy or a matured dog?
7) What are some of diseases that your dog is genetically predisposed to getting?
8) Adopting a dog, means adopting also the “baggages” that the dog might have – meaning prior bad experiences, abuse? Are you ready to take on such responsibilities?
Pretty, Blind and Used
Cocker spaniels are beautiful dogs, but they are also prone to getting eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, cherry eyes amongst others.
This I did not know until I had adopted her, and through vet visits, found that she had almost fully developed cataracts at just five years old.
We suspected that she used to be a breeders dog (as when we found her, we discovered her nipples were distended and her privates was much larger than usual).
Meaning to say, she had multiple pregnancies and birth – and that would have affected her nutrition level, and caused early degeneration to her eyes and health.
She was healthy nonetheless, but she was used.
If I would compare it to human terms, it would be “prostitution”, “human/child trafficking” and “abuse”. Harsh words, but a reality.
I have mixed feelings about procuring a pet from the pet shop, and would think twice, but there are different breeders and puppy mills out there. Some are humane, but most are not. Then again, who am I to judge?
What we can sow is probably seeds of awareness that there is a massive population of dogs and cats out there who need a loving home.
Things that Go Bump at Night
Making Humane Decisions
Enthusiastic about my role to “rehabilitate” her, I then proceeded to get expert opinion on her eyes, and sought the advise of a veteran veterinary practitioner who specialized in ophthalmology.
We went through numerous test and Izzie was fit for surgery. Five years old, was way too young to go blind and I thought to myself “I would like the best for her”. Perhaps, akin to a “kiasu parent” who want to give the level best, that money could buy for their children.
The doctor was cautiously optimistic about the cataract surgery. Which I felt was good, as I then knew that while I wanted the best for her, there could also be complications as her breed was genetically disposed to having “glaucoma” amongst others. Worst case scenario, was that she would lose her eyeball in the process – as one of the complications.
That really stopped me midway, as I thought to myself. “Is izzie happy now? “Yes she is”. “Does blindness really affect her?” “No, it doesn’t as she may bump into things at night, but if I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t have known she is almost blind”.
Mr A remembered a statement that the doctor made which was “Dogs adapt well to blindness, gradual blindness – but not an overnight case of losing their eyesight completely.”
And so, we then decided not to proceed with the surgery. While it may have been the best option, we felt that giving her a good quality life, with no invasive surgery would be the best decision at this point of time.
It’s really hard to make decisions, especially since your furkids do not speak the same language as yourself, and we really have to contemplate long and hard to make humane decisions.
TO BE CONTINUED....
A Ballooning Tummy