by Lee Juslin
Nicole, a little Westie girl, was brought to a local shelter to be euthanized. She was suffering from severe skin issues that had gone untreated, and although the owner’s vet recommended a number of meds, the owner refused them. Consequently, the skin problems had gotten way out of hand.
The shelter was told that Nicole was twelve. Fortunately, the shelter staff contacted Lone Star Westie Rescue (LSWR) who pulled Nicole from the shelter and took her to their vet. After a full exam, the vet determined that Nicole was younger than twelve, perhaps eight or nine, because her teeth were healthy and did not show any of the usual aging signs. The vet thought the severe skin issues began with allergies and recommended a course of treatment including Apoquel, a relatively new drug for itching and allergies. In addition, Nicole was given regular medicated baths, put on a limited ingredient diet and prescribed antibiotics.
Elizabeth of LSWR says that Nicole is a wonder dog. “You’d think with all the discomfort she was in that she’d be hiding, even unfriendly. But, she is a happy little Westie girl with a lot of spunk. She didn’t get the memo that she’s sick, and within just a couple of weeks, the improvement in her skin was quite noticeable.”
Nicole is in a foster home with a retired lady who is experienced with Westie skin issues and, after just three weeks, the little Westie girl is making remarkable progress. Her hair is growing back and her itchiness is disappearing. Shortly, she will go back for her three week checkup with the vet.
Soon, Nicole will be ready to find a human of her own. In the three weeks Nicole has been with LSWR, the meds have cost about $70.00 per month for the Apoquel plus $489.00 for the antibiotics and vet visits and then $70.00 for the special medicated shampoo. While it may be necessary for Nicole to be on Apoquel occasionally during allergy season and she will need the limited ingredient diet, she will be off all medications before she is put up for adoption and they will not be a factor for the adopting family.
Nicole is a bright girl who will make a great companion for a ‘stay at home’ adult or someone who works only part-time. She loves to snuggle on her person’s lap, but she also enjoys walks and play time. Nicole gets along fine with other dogs.
Nicole is a happy, active dog and acts more like a puppy than a senior dog, so she would need a person prepared to spend time walking and playing with her in addition to cuddling. She needs a fenced in yard because she is inquisitive and could take off to investigate something interesting in a neighbor’s yard or across the street. Except for her skin issues, Nicole is healthy and not on any long term medications.
Rescues like Lone Star Westie Rescue invest a lot of money and effort to rescue dogs and get them ready for adoption. Often rescue is the last hope for some of these dogs. Monetary donations, even in small amounts, are always welcome.
Check out more animal rescue & therapy animal stories in our Pets section.