Past: On February 22, 2013, two of the sweetest souls I've ever known were born. Though nothing about their birth or the rest of their litter is known, their parents are thought to be labrador/hound mixes. These two sweet puppies somehow found their way to a facility in Arkansas shortly after birth. There, they spent their years fighting aggressive infections and chronic allergies that were never properly treated. Four and a half years later, they were found by a kind woman who worked for a wonderful shelter in Missouri. The dogs were brought to Missouri in late August of 2017. The rescue team cleaned them up and noticed that they needed medical attention. They were taken to the vet and given antibiotics to treat what was thought to be an ear infection. In early September, 2017 I had the pleasure of meeting Lira. She slowly walked toward me with a severe head tilt, and cried out when I gently attempted to pet her head. She was clearly in pain. Her eyes looked like what I can only describe as tired, sad, and defeated. My heart broke into a million pieces, and I burst into tears. Without a second thought, I stood up and said "I'll take her". Within minutes, I was signing adoption paperwork for a dog that I knew nothing about. Shortly after bringing Lira home I received a call stating that Laker, Lira's brother, was severely depressed in her absence. It was suggested that I bring Lira to visit him, to see if them being apart was indeed the reason for Laker's distress. The next morning, Lira and I went to visit Laker. Immediately, I was in tears for the second time in less than 48 hours. Their bond was undeniable. It was then that I knew I was going home with not one but two neglected dogs that, little did I know, were on the brink of giving up. On September 3, 2017 Lira and Laker found their forever home, while beginning their journey of mental and physical healing... together.
Present: It's been about 3 months since I brought the dogs home. The first month was an uphill battle. They were terrified of people, sudden movements, and anything unfamiliar. Signs of physical abuse were strong, although no one truly knows what their past has held. They would lay down, belly up, if anyone attempted to pet them from above too quickly. Laker has long, deep linear scars on his hind leg, and rarely uses it to bear his weight. They had no sense of living in a home, as they'd always been in a crate or pin. They would have accidents in the house constantly, wake up multiple times a night (this, I later learned, was due to pain), and experience terrible separation anxiety when I had to leave. Nothing worked. Nothing seemed to help. They were exhausted, and so was I. Fast forward 2 months and countless vet visits later, we've now learned that both of Lira and Laker's ear drums are ruptured and likely have been for some time. At some point in their history, their many infections turned into what our vet calls a "super bug" that is resistant to treatment. In addition, we have learned that due to his extensive health problems, Laker is deaf. Almost $1000 later, we have exhausted every treatment option available. That brings us to where we are now: surgery. Both Lira and Laker require a total ear canal ablation as well as a bulla osteotomy in both ears. Unfortunately, this surgery will leave Lira deaf like her brother. To combat this side effect, I have been teaching them sign language. Currently, they know the signs for sit, eat, potty, walk, cookie, and car. They are working on medicine, bed, and water. These invasive surgeries are the last thing I wanted for my babies. However, my choice seems clear when I have to choose between surgery and a life filled with immense pain and discomfort. These surgeries will require hospitalization and a significant recovery, but in the long run I am confident that this will give them what they have always deserved: peace, comfort, and a life that is finally worth living.
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