I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was really relaxing and I accomplished a lot too. I did a little camera lens shopping and also did an interview and photo shoot for an upcoming dog magazine. The magazine shot me and my darling Penelope, who is a tiny and adorable miniature dachshund. They chose us for their article because they wanted my insight on puppy mills as well as what it is like to work with a dog with major physical and emotional issues.
Penelope has been through a lot in her four years of life. She was surrendered to the shelter where I adopted her by a breeder who ran a puppy mill. Thankfully he was closing down his operation, and gave up her and 11 other dachshunds. All had been severely neglected and had major issues with fear and anxiety. They had been kept in cages for their entire lives and had never had much, if any, positive interaction with humans. Brian and I fell in love with Penelope as soon as we saw her, and we knew that we would have a long road ahead of us with her, though we did not know quite how long. We worked tirelessly to rehabilitate her. She needed to learn the concept of holding in her pee, how to socialize with dogs and people, how to have control her anxiety. She will always be a work in progress, but we have made huge strides with her. She has become a happy, silly, and confident little dog.
At the beginning of September Penelope began acting a little strange. She would sleep with her mouth open and stare at walls. We chocked it off to being one of her many oddities, but over the next few days the neurological symptoms became more and more persistent. Soon she was obtunded, drooling heavily, had her mouth agape, and was walking into walls. We rushed her to the hospital. She was admitted for 2 days as they ran a plethora of tests. By the time they confirmed that she had a portosystemic liver shunt, our vet bills had reached around $3,500. A liver shunt is when one or a few blood vessels go past the liver. The blood carried by those vessels does not get filtered by the liver, and can essentially poison the brain, which was what led to Penelope’s neurological symptoms. Her condition is now well-managed by a special low-protein diet and several medications administered every 8 hours. Unfortunately she probably will not live quite as long as a normal dog, but she is happy and loving life, and that’s what matters!
I hope that through sharing her story, I can spread awareness about the horrors of puppy mills. If you purchase a puppy at a pet store, you are virtually guaranteed to be receiving the product of a puppy mill. Not only are these dogs kept in horrendous circumstances, but dogs with bad genes like Penelope are forced to reproduce anyway. I am just endlessly thankful that I was the one to adopt her and am fortunate enough to be able to give her all the care that she needs!
If you have any thoughts or questions on puppy mills or rescuing dogs, please feel free to comment!
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