by Lee Juslin
About a year ago, Josie of Westie Rescue of NY received a disturbing call from an area veterinarian. Rory, a senior Westie, had been dropped off by owners who could no longer care for his many health issues. The vet told Josie, “If you can’t help, we’ll have to euthanize him.” Like all dedicated rescue volunteers, Josie couldn’t say no.
Rory was adopted from a shelter by a well meaning, special needs couple with limited means and, although they received some financial assistance, they were simply not able to deal with his on-going medical issues.
When Josie picked up Rory, it was clear he was in bad shape with very advanced ear infections, skin issues, and digestive problems. The vet found a cancerous growth in one ear which he was able to completely remove. Rory was then put on antibiotics, daily ear rinses, regular medicated baths, and a new poultry free diet plus Kefir, a probiotic. After all of that, Josie discovered that Rory seemed to be having anal gland issues. The vet found a mass blocking his anal glands that was not cancerous, but he had to remove the glands.
Rory lives with Josie and her family. “I’m known as the foster for seniors and hospice dogs, many of which are often unadoptable. I think this is the case with Rory,” said Josie. “He has become very attached to us and given his age and medical issues, I think he’ll be staying with me.”
Rory is a sweet boy with no aggression issues, but if you reach to pat him, he cringes and, when he first came into rescue, he was a bit shy and stand-offish. Josie believes this may be because he was hit when disciplined. Josie says in the year he has been with her, he’s become a cuddly love bug. He gets along with other dogs and one of his favorite things is to be wrapped in a blanket and cuddled.
Rory has a continuing battle with health issues. Josie has a supply of meds to use when his ear problems flare up, and she has him on a diet of rabbit for his skin issues. In addition, he is blind in one eye, has limited sight in the other, and is nearly deaf from his long untreated ear infections.
Although Rory is not adoptable and will happily stay with Josie, his situation has some lessons about rescue dogs. Josie says, “Never give up or be afraid to help a dog like Rory. There is help available for dogs with multiple health issues like Rory, and the reward for helping a senior dog or a dog with multiple health issues is worth all the effort. Rescued dogs often seem to know you are helping them and usually become very loving, cuddly companions.”
If you would like to learn more about New York Westie Rescue, volunteer, or make a much needed donation, check them out on FB or visit their website.
Check out more animal rescue & therapy animal stories in our Pets section.