Paddlepop (“Popsie”)

On the 6th of August 2013, a scruffy, blind little dog found herself at Blacktown Pound.  Because of her blindness, the Pound staff knew it would be best for this little dog to be released to a Rescue Group. So began another Paws For Thought journey for another dog in need.

The scruffy, skinny, flea-infested blind dog, who was estimated to be around 12 years old, was given a new name – “Paddlepop”, a haircut and very quickly, a new home.  On the 18th of August 2013, Paddlepop moved to Canberra to start her new life with Marshmallow and her other canine and feline siblings.  The following day, Popsie (as she quickly became known), had her first visit with her new veterinary team at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital.  Popsie had a number of issues that needed to be dealt with, however,the most important one was her teeth.  She was reluctant to let anyone near her face, but the smell coming from her mouth was a strong indication of severe dental disease.

What should have been routine dental surgery uncovered something horrific.  Popsie’s lower jaw was split right down the middle.  Whilst it may have been the result of an injury, the more likely cause was her teeth.  Every tooth in her mouth was rotten and infected and it’s likely the severity of the infection compromised her jawbone, causing it to break.  We will never know just how long Popsie had been living with a broken jaw, but we do know that the pain was excruciating.

So, instead of just a routine dental, Popsie had her jaw wired that day.  All her teeth were removed, except the 3 used to anchor the wiring.  For the next 6 weeks, Popsie lived with a wired lower jaw and I lived with my fingers crossed.  Our Vets were unsure if Popsie’s jaw would ever heal. If it didn’t heal, she would be in constant pain and there would only be one option.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my newest little girl, so I remained hopeful for a positive outcome.

After 6 weeks, it was time for Popsie to undergo yet more surgery.  This time the plan was to desex her, remove the wiring from her jaw and to start dealing with her eyes.  Or, more accurately, her eye and eye socket.  Popsie’s right eye was just a mess of eye tissue in a socket that was constantly getting infected.  However, as often happens, things didn’t go to plan.  Happily, it was found that Popsie’s jaw was healing wonderfully and so the wiring was removed.  She also underwent her desexing surgery, having a very large cyst-covered ovary removed.  Unfortunately, nothing could be done about Popsie’s right eye socket.  Any surgery, if it was even possible, would need to be undertaken by specialists.

When Popsie was sedated for her surgery, Dr Matt and Dr Mel were able to get a proper look at her eye socket for the very first time. What we all thought was a sunken and damaged eye turned out not to be. Popsie’s eye was already gone and what we had been able to see was scar tissue from the back of her eye socket and her third eyelid.

The removal of an eye is usually a sterile surgery, meaning that the eye can come out and the eyelids can be stitched together under a process that means infection is unlikely. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to remove the scar tissue from Popsie’s eye socket and then close it up without significant risk of an abscess forming. An abscess in her eye socket would likely cause an infection to spread to Popsie’s brain. So, it was decided to leave things as they were and to see if some different drops and ointments would help the infections.

Popsie sailed through the recovery from her desexing, but her eye socket continued to get infected.  After further consultations at Small Friends to try and determine another course of action, Popsie was referred to the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) in Sydney.  At SASH, the Ophthalmologists determined that they could clean out Popsie’s right eye socket and close it up.  They also recommended that Popsie’s left eye be removed as well.  It turns out that the damage to Popsie’s eyes was caused by untreated infections.  As the infections progressed, they had destroyed her sight and eventually destroyed the tissue of her right eye.  Her left eye was showing signs of deterioration and was likely to end up the same way as the right eye.  So, the surgery proceeded, the right eye socket was cleaned out and the left eye was removed.  The sockets were then closed up and a huge healing process began. After nearly a week at SASH, Popsie was able to come home and 10 days later her stitches were removed.

Since her final surgery, Popsie has gone from strength to strength.  Each procedure was significant, but each procedure also had a massive impact on her quality of life.  No longer was she suffering from pain and infections.  She was able to finally relax and learn to enjoy her new life.

And enjoy she has.  Popsie is an incredibly happy, amazingly sweet and beautifully relaxed little dog.  She happily potters around the house, navigating by smell and touch.  She adores being cuddled, has a number of favourite toys that she curls up to sleep with every night and is learning to expand her culinary horizons.  There was a time when she would only eat roast chicken.  Now she happily eats anything at all – as long as it’s fed to her in bed.  Popsie is a lady of luxury who enjoys all her meals from the comfort of her favourite bed. After the suffering she experienced in her previous life, whatever precious Popsie wants, my sweet girl gets.

Popsie has also been learning to walk on leash and is becoming more confident with each walk.   She thoroughly enjoys adventures in her pram and has discovered that there’s no reason to walk when you can be pushed around and still enjoy all the same sounds and smells!

Popsie is the perfect example of just how significantly the life of one dog has been changed by one small rescue group.  My precious girl has a lot of life left in her yet and I’m determined to make sure that she enjoys every single moment of every single day.

Precious Popsie – every day with you is a blessing and you truly make my world complete. xxxx

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