Everyone’s Little Buddy
Please note: The dogs in ODH's Final Refuge care are not adoptable due to medical reasons and all are in permanent homes. Your sponsorship supports the veterinary expenses for these dogs - and we thank you!
Neville and his little friend, Ginny, were dumped at the shelter after losing their elderly owner. At about 11 years old, badly matted Neville was very overweight at 19 lbs., and suffered from muscle wasting and limited movement in his back legs due to a luxating patella, urinary stones in both in bladder and urethra, bad teeth and a heart murmur. Just watching little Neville trying to struggle to his feet was heartbreaking and walking to another room would have him huffing and puffing. Even the one step up to our porch was too much for him – we had to build mini-steps with paver stones so he could manage to get onto the porch without help. His urine came out at a slow drip, sometimes without him even knowing it, and usually landed on his back feet. In fact, the only part of little Neville’s body that he seemed able to control was his little pom-pom tail, and it wagged furiously at the least display of attention by humans. Within 15 minutes from arrival at our house, it was clear he was as devoted to us as any dog could be.
Then work began to address Neville’s problems. Pain medications and arthritis supplements were given to help with his mobility issues. X-rays were taken and Neville was put on a special prescription diet for his bladder stones. With his age, unhealthy weight and heart murmur, anesthesia could be very risky for Neville. Since there was no bladder infection or complete blockage from the stones, it was decided surgery would be delayed in the hopes that weight loss and exercise would improve his chances of survival. An echocardiogram was done to determine the extent of Neville’s heart issues and he was placed on medication to increase the ability of his heart to pump blood. All of this was provided by Old Dog Haven.
Through it all, Neville gamely proved that he was no slacker. As difficult as it was, he would valiantly struggle to his feet to accompany me from room to room at home, never leaving my side. We started taking walks, beginning with just a few blocks, and he would trudge very slowly but determinedly behind little Ginny. And gradually, things began to change for Neville. The prescription diet began to help and it became much easier for him to urinate. Monthly x-rays showed that, although he still had stones in his bladder, the ones in his urethra had dissolved. The weight start to come off and Neville delightedly demonstrated on his walk one day that he could jump up on the curb all by himself – previously he had to wait for a driveway to exit the sidewalk on walks as stepping up or even down off the curb was just too much for him. Then after several months, came the exciting moment when Neville actually ran after little sister Ginny on his walk! No longer so lethargic, Neville’s favorite thing, other than people, is interactive food toys (with tiny one calorie treats in accordance with his diet, of course), as he loves a good puzzle and he has even learned to chase a ball.
He still has a couple pounds to go to reach his target weight of 12-13 pounds, and then hopefully he will be able to safely undergo surgery for dental work and to remove any remaining bladder stones. Sadly, Neville missed his true calling as a therapy dog. The ultimate people lover, he would have delighted at going from person to person at a nursing home, greeting everyone, gently giving kisses and furiously waving his little pom-pom tail or sitting patiently while a child read to him. Just the sight of him can bring a smile to even the saddest of faces. But who knows, with the help of Old Dog Haven and their sponsors, maybe it might still be in his future. After all, who says you have to give up on your dreams just because you are old.
UPDATE: Neville came into the shelter at almost nineteen pounds, with wasted back legs, and barely able to struggle to his feet. A little less than two years since he was rescued by ODH, though, finds lovable little Neville almost half the dog he used to be! Yes, literally. With a careful prescription diet and gentle exercise, Neville now weighs 10.5 lbs, which his doctor says is the perfect weight for him.
Not only does he look like a totally different dog, with the prescription pain meds provided by ODH for his chronic problems, Neville is able to finally live the adventurous life every dog dreams of. Once not able to jump up on a curb, he can now walk for miles, chase his flirt stick, or gleefully bounce around the back yard, looking like a dandelion puff blowing on the wind. This summer found plucky Neville hiking near Mr. Rainier, where he happily scampered over rocks and hills for miles during the day and avidly scanned the forest for wildlife from his bed on the deck, beside his family, in the evening.
Who knows where Neville would be if ODH hadn’t come to his rescue. Most likely, his life would have been short, painful, and profoundly sad. Old Dog Haven, with the help of their sponsors, is well known for providing veterinary and medical care, along with comfortable and loving homes for old dogs in need for the rest of their days. But once in a while, they are able provide them with even more than that – a second chance at the life they were always meant to live. Thank you all from Neville!
Neville is sponsored by:
- Bobbi Moody of Bothell, WA - Lifetime Sponsor
- Mary Wagner of Seattle, WA - Lifetime Sponsor
- Audrey Watson of Washington, DC (06/30/2023)