Meet Dorothy, aka Dot Dot Tater Tot. Dorothy adopted one of our very own VMC staff members this past year. Here is her story as we know it…
Animal control officers picked up Dorothy in June 2015 when they noticed what they believed to be her lifeless body on the side of the street. Reaching her, they realized that she was emaciated and in very poor condition, but still alive. They searched the surrounding neighborhood and were successful in finding her owners. The owners stated that, not only did they no longer want her, they had, in fact, brought her somewhere to be euthanized. When they found euthanasia too expensive, they returned home with her and simply locked her out of their home in hopes she would wander off. Eventually, she did.
Animal control brought Dorothy to the CNY SPCA where a volunteer posted her information on Facebook. That’s where her life takes a turn for the better. A staff member here at VMC saw the post, asked for more details, and learned that Dorothy was a senior dog who was struggling with both the shelter environment and with an obvious ear problem.
Our staff member asked that Dorothy be brought to the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY to have her health assessed and took financial responsibility for the assessment. Both of Dorothy’s ears were deformed and scarred, most likely due to untreated past infections and hematomas. Both the outer tissues and the ear canals were scarred and thickened in both ears. This thickening had caused both of the ear canals to close. Dorothy was suffering from extreme pain caused by years of untreated ear infections and had lost much of her ability to hear.
Our staff member fell the rest of the way in love with Dorothy during her visit, and began the adoption process with the CNY SPCA. While the application was being processed, she quickly convinced the rest of the family (read: her husband) that a senior, mostly deaf dog with severely infected ears that would almost certainly require surgery, would, in fact, be a perfect pet (!).
While pain medications gave Dorothy some relief, she was quickly scheduled for a Bilateral TECA (total ear canal ablation) in hopes that this would permanently relieve her pain and infection. At this stage, this procedure was the only option to improve Dorothy’s quality of life. Preoperative bloodwork showed that Dorothy’s kidneys were failing (a relatively common finding in senior pets). Additional diagnostics tests were performed, adjustments were made to her medications and anesthetic protocol, and she was carefully managed during anesthesia and surgery. The surgery was very successful and Dorothy recovered very well. Dorothy was monitored day and night and kept comfortable with pain medications. She was (mostly) good about keeping her head wrap on, and she seemed less painful and anxious right away.
Dorothy’s ears are now fully healed and her quality of life has significantly improved. Her kidneys are being closely monitored, and she is being treated with medications and a special diet. She has not lost her love for people, even after everything she has been through. She has a feline sister and “smiles” at her every so often, especially when the cat’s path is close to Dorothy’s food or toys.
Like many pets with compromised hearing, Dorothy barks VERY LOUDLY because she lacks a bit of perspective about her volume. At least that's what we think...she is, in short, a character! Dorothy is enjoying frequent walks around the neighborhood, playing with her rubber ducky, learning new tricks, the love from her family, and—most importantly—her pain free life.