A tornado victim from the horrific storms in the south in the spring of this year, Janie was taken in by a family hoping to find her family. When they could no longer keep her, they turned her in to a local animal shelter. When Lori Marchek, the Director of Fluffy Dog Rescue saw her, she gave the nod to have her sent up.
The day that Janie arrived in Wisconsin it became clear that something was amiss and there was information that was not revealed. Janie was blind.
She had bi-lateral cataracts. More than likely it was a genetic malformation. The family who had her probably loved her in spite of, or despite, her vision issues. When their life got turned upside-down with the tornadoes, so did Janie's.
She was not completely blind. The vet compared it to popping the lenses out of your sunglasses and replacing them with a thickness of ice. She could still see shadows but everything was fuzzy.
What Janie didn't know was that she had a guardian angel and that guardian angel had sent her to Wisconsin and whispered in the ear of a mysterious benefactor who wanted to pay to have the cataracts removed. A veterinary ophthalmologist in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Dr. Dennis Olivero, agreed to do the surgery at a reduced fee as the dog was a rescue dog.
Now, to find a driver. Lori Marchek asked if I would like to take a little trip to "The Cities" to take Janie. It had been a while since I'd been up there and asked if I could take the kids along to see the sights.
We left early Monday morning for a two o'clock appointment. I wasn't sure how much traffic or road construction or whatever I'd run into, so I figured I'd rather be early than late. We got there really early.
Not able to get into the appointment early as the doctor was in surgery, we checked into our hotel, had a little lunch and took a little breather. When we went back at 1:45p, we walked right into the exam room and waited just a few moments.
Dr. Olivero came in with his assistant, Amber and together they examined Janie's eyes. Janie had no idea what was going on and why they holding her still and lifting her eyelids and shining lights into her eyes. She promptly jumped off the low table and face-planted on the floor. Amber scooped her back up and asked Connor to lend a hand and hold onto Janie's backside so she couldn't jump off again.
They dilated her eyes to the point where there was no brown left. All that could be seen was her eerie moonstone, cataract inflicted lenses. They took her eye pressures to be sure there was no glaucoma, on top of the cataracts. They ran another diagnostic test using a specially designed contact lens that was fitted with a gold rim and l.e.d. lights to determine how much light was actually getting to the retina.
Janie passed all of her test with flying colors! Surgery was scheduled for the next morning.
Neither Janie or I slept that night, little did I know this was to be the norm for this trip. We decided to take a little walk outside to burn off some energy. On our way back in, we stopped to talk with the front desk clerk who said she'd never seen a blind dog before.
I laughed and said, "Well, she's never seen you before either so I guess you're even."
We had a little chuckle, a Minnehaha, as it were. (A little Minnesota humor. It's a creek near the clinic.)
Kiera and I dropped Janie off the next morning while Connor enjoyed the seventeen story hotel. Seems we were out of ice, again, in our room and the only available, working ice machine was on the seventeenth floor. We were on the third floor for your reference.
If Connor enjoyed the elevator, Janie enjoyed it more. I'm pretty sure she too got a thrill out of the "gut-drop" feeling as the elevator cruised down to the lobby.
The kids and I took advantage of our "dog free" time and did the tourist thing. When in Rome, as they say, we hit Mall of America. I had been there before, about twenty-ish years earlier so I kind of knew what to expect. Three levels, or was it four, of shopping, shopping and more shopping, and oh, yeah, an amusement park and an aquarium.
I had bought tickets for the aquarium online and we toured that before we did any shopping. I highly recommend it if you're up that way. It was especially nice as the weather outside was a scorching 96 degrees Fahrenheit and it was significantly cooler and less humid inside.
We toured the mall, had a little lunch, spent a little money and had a good time being tourists. During our trip to the mall the vets office called a couple of times to give us updates on Janie's condition. The gist of the calls, "She's doing great! You can come pick her up anytime before 4:30p."
Somewhere around 2:30p, the early morning and the previous days long ride caught up with us and we decided it was time to back to the hotel. It was probably a good thing because, just between you and me, the kids were getting just a bit surly. I, of course, was the model of patience and good spirits. Riiiight.
We picked up Janie on our way back to the hotel. Nothing could have prepared us for how she would look but the most amazing part was that she could actually see us. The receptionist gave me a sheaf of papers and a brown bag of assorted medicines with the directions, "Read thru this, make sure everything is in order and you understand what to do."
So, I did and I did. And then they brought me my dog.
They had shaved around her eyes and they were very swollen from having been worked on. There were a bit watery and I'm sure excruciatingly light sensitive. The most humiliating thing of all was that she had THE CONE OF SHAME.
Amber, the technician, handed me the leash and asked if I had read all the instructions and did I have any questions. Nope, no questions, but my arm was slowly being torn off from the 30# doggie at the other end of the leash. She wanted to get outside and see EVERYTHING.
Back at the hotel, Janie fought the waves of drug induced exhaustion like trooper. She dozed sitting up with her little cone encircled head aiming at the ceiling. If she would slip and actually fall into a sleep and begin to sag, she would jerk up and sit right back up again. Eventually, she gave in to her weakness and dropped into a deep slumber.
Like a toddler who takes a late afternoon nap, like Janie did, she was up all night. She could see! She wanted to be in the hallway, in the elevator, in the lobby, outside, anywhere that she could see the world around her. This continued for several hours until I decided that enough was enough and I needed some sleep. She could sleep on the way home tomorrow. I was lone licensed driver preparing for a six hour drive south.
I slipped her a "mickey" and locked her in the bathroom. Ah, pharmacology.
The kids had some snacks in the room before we went down to breakfast while I was getting ready. She watched them as they inhaled granola bars and yogurt. It was amazing to see her "see" us. Before the surgery, she would look in your general direction or just past you. To have her look me in the face when I talked to her, was awe-inspiring. No longer would I have to say to her, (cringe), "Watch out for the (bonk) door frame, chair, wall."
She had it covered.
We had one more appointment with Dr. Olivero in the morning and then it was back to reality. Amber picked Janie up and set her on the exam table. She and Dr. Olivero performed their tests on Janie's eyes, took some more pressures and deemed her fit to travel. Her vision at this point was up to about 70% restored.
Now, they cautioned me, she must be kept calm for the next month in order for proper healing. If she gets a little crazy, there is medicine in the bag to help with that. I figured we'd be driving all day, she'd be fine in the car.
I couldn't have been more wrong. She attempted to jump from front to back and back to front. Over the children, around the cooler and on top of the bags, she went. Oh, no, we can't have this.
I had swiped a bagel and some peanut butter from the breakfast buffet for just such an occasion. I tore off a chunk, smeared some sticky goodness on there and stuck the pill inside. Here, puppy puppy.
Forty-five minutes later she was an immovable jello dog with fur and a cone-of-shame. When I dropped her off at Julie's two hours later, she looked at me through heavily sedated lids and promply went back to sleep.
She's resting comfortably and healing at Julie's this week. She'll have to wear the cone of shame for just a bit longer but I'm told, she already got it off once and Julie's had to give her some "anti-activity" medicine as well. It's a small price to pay for her sight.
To the wonderful human being who made it possible for Janie to have this surgery, I say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. What a truly kind and generous gift you have given this young dog. To Dr. Olivero, Amber and the staff at Veterinary Opthalmology Specialty Practice, thank you for your superior care and love of animals. Your kindness is beyond measure.
And now... do ya wanna see the pictures?? (double click to enjoy pictures larger)
|The magic happens here!!|
|Waiting for the elevator and off to the clinic.|
|Lookin' a little "ruff" after surgery|
|Finally, she gives in. Do you see the halo in the cone above her head?|
|Hey boy! Do you have a snack for a doggie in a cone??|
|Looking Better! Seeing Great!|
|Life is Good!|
|Dr. Olivero and Amber doing one last check|
|Homeward Bound! (pre-medicine :) )|
Thanks for reading! For more info on Janie's recovery, please click on Fluffy Dogs Available for Adoption in the upper right hand corner of this blog, find Janie's biography and click on her blog located inside her bio information!