Theo's Journey, Love of a Golden
Hi, my name is Theo. I was born on June 11th, 2017. My mom had 13 of us Golden pups and seemed to be doing well. When I was not quite 1 day old, my breeder noticed I wasn't really able to nurse. She quickly got me onto a warm heating pad and tube fed me some puppy formula. After a few feedings, it seemed that I was getting stronger and able to hold my own. At that point my breeder, Dawn, decided to put me back with my mom.
Everything seemed fine for the first hour or so and then I started to get cold again. Dawn quickly got me back onto the heating pad and my temperature began to rise again. Once I was all cozy again, I was tube fed another meal, it was delicious!!
I was warm and cozy on the heating pad and was sleeping on my back with my mouth slightly open, it was then that Dawn noticed something was wrong..... Dawn discovered I had a cleft palate.
She continued to feed me with a tube and got me in to see a vet the very same day. Our regular vet wasn't available, so we had to see someone else. He told Dawn that I probably wouldn't make it, as I could not nurse on my own. She said she would continue to tube feed me. He then said I would likely get pneumonia and die from that, she politely told him that she wouldn't give up on me before she even tried.
The very next day she got on the phone and started making calls to other breeders, many of them told her the same thing. Dawn was determined, and not ready to give up on me. She eventually found a veterinarian that was willing to take a look and see what I would need to repair my cleft palate. See, I have a tough case, as both my hard and soft palate needs repair. Again, that didn't discourage Dawn one bit. The estimate for my surgery was way over 6000.00 dollars. I'm the tiny guy in the middle!! Unsure of how she would be able to do this, she told her husband that giving up on me was not an option. That is when she thought about all the wonderful families that have adopted my siblings and cousins..........what if they were willing to help me too??
This is were things got a little tricky, you see, Dawn is not good at asking for help. She rarely takes help from people even when they offer. She has worked hard her entire life and that is what makes her so amazing. Dawn felt like the only way to get the word out would be to start a gofundme page..... but she didn't want to do it too early.
You see, when I was only 11 days old, I aspirated on my milk and ended up at the emergency vet on oxygen for more than 14 hours. That Dr said he thought I wouldn't make it and convinced Dawn to put me down. She told him she didn't want me to suffer but felt more comfortable taking me to my regular vet to say goodbye. So now she has called Dr Duvall who has agreed to skip her lunch break so Dawn could say goodbye to me.
Devastated by the decision she has just made, she drove to the e.r. vet to pick me up. When the nurse brought me out to Dawn, I could tell she was very sad. I understood why but knew I wasn't ready to give up. I gave her two big kisses so she knew I wasn't ready to give up. We had a 30 minute drive back to our vet, and Dawn let me ride on her lap so I was warm and cozy.
While in the car, I started to feel better. Dawn spoke to another breeder and she agreed that I was worth fighting for. By the time we got to see Dr. Duvall, my breathing was much better. Dawn asked them to put me back on oxygen till the end of the day. By 5:15, I was feeling really good and wanted to go home. They sent me home with medicine to help me with the pneumonia I had gotten.
Dawn went straight back to work taking care of me. She continued to sleep on the coach and tube feeding me every 2 hours around the clock. I was getting stronger and stronger and gaining weight every day. She was working so hard to save me and I was working so hard too.
Then one night, Dawn decided to give me one last feeding before midnight and try to get a couple hours of sleep. Just about 20 minutes later I woke up with a terrible tummy ache. I cried and cried and she just could not make me feel better. Dawn decided that she and her husband would take me to another emergency vet. It took almost an hour to get there and I cried the whole way. The Dr said he thought I had a neurological condition and would probably not make it. Dawn asked them to get me some pain medication and then she took me back home. I felt a bit better but still cried off and on the next 6 hours. Dawn was exhausted but continued to take good care of me, even though she had 11 families coming to get their puppies from a different mama dog the next day.
Dawn shared my story with each of these families and invited them in to meet me. It was so nice to see how many families were rooting for me. I think that it helped me to try harder. Week after week I continued to grow. We visited the surgeon again and she agreed that I could get the surgery but I had to wait till I was almost 4 months old. As I got bigger and stronger, I was able to start sleeping on my big boy crate. I was fully crate trained by 6 weeks of age, that is me sleeping under my mat. I also got to start eating crunchy food, although, I usually just swallowed it whole and made Dawn get scared!! Then she realized my mouth might be getting dry. Whenever I tried to drink, water would go up into my sinuses and make me cough and sneeze. How could she get me water?? Ice cubes.... she would give me one ice cube at a time and watch to make sure I didn't try to eat it. Yummy, ice cubes are awesome.
Dawn takes me a lot of places. She said we are trying to become a therapy team and will hopefully get to visit with kids that are in the hospital. I know how scary Dr's visits can be but everyone was so nice and really wanted to help me get better.
I went back in to see the surgeon on September 6th and she said I am ready for the surgery. Dawn is really scared but I know the Drs are going to help me be completely normal, like all of my puppy friends are. I can hardly wait till I get to play outside without Dawn telling me to be careful and not chew on stuff. Doesn't she know puppies are supposed to chew on stuff??
My surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 19th. All of our friends are praying for me to do well. Dawn is scared for me, so everyone should pray for her too. I am such a lucky boy that she never have up on me!! Can't wait to tell you about what happens next!! Your pal, Theo
Good news everyone!!! My surgery was successful! I had my surgery at Animal Dental in Lake Oswego on September 19th, 2017. I was operated on by Dr. Bonner and her staff. Dawn opted to have the anesthesiologist there to keep an eye on me during the surgery as well.
Dawn brought me to the Dr. for my surgery at 7:30 am, wow that was early. The girl in the office weighed me and said I was 30 lbs. now, that is because Dawn takes good care of me. Everyone was excited to see me but Dawn was sad. I didn't know why she was so sad, I was very cute, so I know it wasn't because of me. She talked to the Dr. for a bit and then she left me there to go in the back and play. Dr. Shaffer was there and gave me something that made me very sleepy. Next thing I knew, I was getting food from a tube in my neck?? This was weird but very tasty.
It seemed like I was only there for a little while and then it was time to go home with Dawn. I am not sure what happened but I guess I went to sleep for a while. I don't think I had much fun because when I woke up, my mouth was kinda sore. Dawn was very happy to see me but she was crying when she hugged me, it was a very tight hug. She talked to the Dr. for a few minutes and then we went home.
For the next couple of days, Dawn fed only a very tiny bit of food in the neck tube. It tasted good, but was still kinda weird. She cleaned the tube every time she fed me and put a funny thing on my face, I think she called it a muzzle. I didn't really like the muzzle but Dawn said I had to wear it, so I did. About a week went by and I was getting a lot more food in my neck tube, still weird but oh so yummy! I went back to see Dr. Bonner and she said I was only 29 lbs. now?? Dawn feeds me every 2 hours, I don't know why I was littler than I was before?
I really wanted to play with my puppy friends and toys after a while, but Dawn wouldn't let me. She was always saying no and that it was for my own good, boring!!! Since I couldn't have much fun, I decided I would just chew on Dawn a little bit, that was fun but she didn't like it too much. Dawn gave me some sleepy pills to help me rest. Dr. said it would help me. I didn't mind too much because she snuggled me a lot more when I was sleepy, it was soooo nice.
Still no toys or friends to play with and that stinky old muzzle was getting in the way of fun too. One morning I woke up early and the muzzle was little bit loose. Hmmm, this could be fun to play with. I wiggled around a bit and got the top of it into my mouth. Yep, I have skill for sure! I chewed on it for a bit and a big chunk went down my throat, not as good as food but it was okay. I guess I was making too much noise having fun and Dawn woke up. She came in to take me potty and freaked out????? What the heck, I never heard her say those things before, she seemed upset but I didn't know why.
Well, back to Dr. again. This time we stayed close to home and saw Dr. Duval. They took me to the back and took a funny picture of the inside of my tummy. They said it was an x-ray, whatever that is. Dr. said I would be fine, checked the inside of my mouth, nothing interesting there but she said it looked fantastic, then we went back home. I thought I was done with that stinky old muzzle, but no..... Colton and Rachel brought home one that was really hard to get off. No fun again!
I think Dawn realized I really needed something to do so she went shopping. She got me a bunch of baby toys that made a lot of noise and had flashing lights. They were okay, but not what I was hoping for. Then she gave me a big, green plastic ball. It was called a wobbly ball and made lots of fun noises. Woohoo!!! fun at last. Dawn wouldn't let me chew on it but I could roll it around with my muzzle on and bark at it like crazy. I think Dawn liked it too because she always laughed at me when I had fun with it.
One day I was in my crate sleeping and heard a noise. I hoped up to see what it was and felt a terrible pain in my neck. Dawn came running to me and got very scared. She called the Dr. right away and said that I pulled out my feeding tube?? I don't know what that means but I didn't do anything on purpose! We went to see the Dr. and she said I could have meatballs now. Wow, that sounded like a great idea! Dawn began making meatballs for me out of canned food, yummy!! Way better than food from that silly tube. I got meatballs for about a week, every three hours.....awesome!! This was probably the most amazing stuff ever.
I went back to see Dr. Bonner the following week. Everyone was really happy to see me again. I think the meatballs Dawn was feeding me were for big boys, because I gained 2 whole lbs. This time they took me to the back and pulled something called stitches out of my neck. Then they took a bunch of pictures inside my mouth, people are so weird sometimes. Dr. said I could start having real food again but it had to be squishy. I don't know what squishy is, but I was willing to give it a shot. Still no fun with puppy friends and toys but I didn't have to go to the Dr. for 2 weeks this time.
When we got home I had some squishy food, it was delicious!! I got as much as I wanted and got to drink water again too. Life was good again, but still no puppy friends. Dr. told Dawn that I could have some soft toys to play with but all my teeth were getting big and strong, I wanted to chew on some good sticks and bones. Still not much fun but some toys were better than nothing.
Two weeks went by pretty fast this time and back to the Dr. we went. This time was awesome!! Dr. said that I could have real puppy toys and play with my friends now, whoohoo! I couldn't wait. Then Dr. said there was something else to talk about, she said that I had an under bite. I guess my upper jaw is shorter than the lower, something about stunted growth from my surgery. Whatever, I get to have fun and bite stuff now. I guess Dr. wants to see me again in a month to check stuff out.
Life is going good now. I had my surgery about 6 weeks ago, my best friend Breeze came to play and we had a great time for 4 days. Dawn let's me chew on a ton of stuff now and I have started loosing my puppy teeth, that is because I am a big boy now. We go lots of places all the time. I have been to Home Depot, Bi-Mart, Safeway, Ace, Ross, Lowes, Hot Shots Coffee, all sorts of places. My favorite place is the coffee shop, we go almost every day and they give me bunches of yummy, crunchy treats. Last week I tricked Dawn, she kept giving me treats and I was secretly stashing them in the back seat for later, haha.
Well, it is November now, I am going back to see Dr. Bonner about the under bite. It doesn't bother me but she wants to take a look. Good thing is we go to Home Depot for shopping on our way home usually. Dr. says I am doing good, she thought she might have to pull my 4 front, upper teeth. Glad she isn't doing that to me. For now I get to do all the fun stuff I have been doing. I love Dawn for everything she has done for me and I let her sleep until 7:30 am almost every day, except for when I really, really have to go potty.
I never really got to know my real dog mom Autumn, but I am super happy that I have Dawn. Dawn is my mom now, mom's are the ones that take care of you every day, even when you are sick, hurting or sad even when they are super tired or busy. Mom's are the ones that sacrifice for you, just because you need it. I will never forget what Dawn has done for me and I hope I will make her proud of me by working hard to become a certified therapy dog. She said it will be hard work but she is going to do it with me. She also said we are making a coloring book about me, super cool huh? I know this sounds silly but I think I am truly a Heaven Scent Golden Retriever. It is good to be Golden!! That's it for now, can't wait to tell you more, Theo
It is December now and I am having a great time with all my family and friends. I am 6 1/2 months old have have has several of my puppy siblings come visit me while their families have been away on vacation. It is so much fun to play with them now, when I was little I didn't get to spend much time with them because I was born different.
I have been learning so many new things. Dawn gives me a lot of baths because she says I get stinky when I play outside with my friends in the rain. A few weeks ago, I had so much fun out in the rain that I caught a cold! I don't really know what that means but Dawn made me take medicine and I had boogers coming out of my nose, yuk!! Anyway, I got better fast, so that is a good thing.
I am working hard to become the Therapy dog Dawn want's me to be. We go lots of places and she puts me in funny outfits sometimes. I really like kids and they seem to like me too. The week before Christmas we went to Clackamas Town Center to do some shopping. I don't really understand Christmas but there is this guy called Santa Claus and Dawn said I was dressed as his little helper! I wore a sparkly hat and striped sweater, I didn't mind because it was nice and warm. We were out shopping for about 7 hours!! We went to the mall, the coffee shop, the bank, Home Depot and Bi-Mart, I was soooo tired by the time we got home.
My brother, Hendrix has been visiting for the past week or so and we have had lots of fun. On Christmas day we each got a stuffed animal and new bone to chew on. We also had people she called family come over to eat. There were kids here and I got one to get in the crate with me to cuddle, that was super fun but I think Hendrix was jealous... Anyway, that is it for now. I am told we are getting ready for 2018, I hope it is fun. Theo