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Last Christmas my very old Yorkie, Bug, passed away suddenly from kidney failure. He was my first Yorkie, and came to me much later in his life so we only had four years together. Not sure what to do with the void in my life, I decided to volunteer with Yorkie Rescue. The original plan was to bake for fundraisers and help place dogs in new homes. This was my first experience volunteering with a rescue organization.

Missy was surrendered in Bakersfield in February 2012. From what I have pieced together, Missy was surrendered by the daughter of her owner. The man was going into a nursing home and could no longer take care of himself, let alone his dogs. Missy was in serious need of medical care. She was approximately 11 years old, 8 pounds, and had an inguinal hernia larger than a softball attached to her belly. According to vet records, she had been diagnosed with the hernia over five years earlier, but no one had done anything about it. In that time, her hernia continued to grow larger and larger as her intestines filled that space. The large mass she carried on her abdomen caused her a great deal of discomfort. It was a daily struggle for Missy, but she learned to accommodate the obstruction in order to do things as simple as walking or eating.

Despite all of Missy's discomforts, she continued to display all the sweetness of a little angel. Even a simple belly rub had to be carefully done to avoid causing her pain. Such a condition was preventable and treatable, and the fact that it developed into this stage is a tragedy. Missy was in desperate need of having her hernia surgically repaired and restored back to health. An emergency vet in Monterey, California agreed to give surgery a try knowing it was possible she wouldn't survive since some of her organs were in the hernia, and she may not have enough skin to cover the opening. Amazingly, the three hour surgery was a success. She was also spayed at this time.

I was called and asked to foster Missy while she recovered from her surgery. I had just taken in a spaniel mix puppy in need of a home, and had a large 16 year old dog laying around the house, but I thought I would take her in for a few weeks until she was healthy enough to go to a new home. In the days following the surgery she began to get her voice, and her personality started coming out. She was suppose to stay in a crate for a few weeks while she recovered but each day she was more and more ready to play. Finally the stitches were out and she was off to play with dogs three times her size.

It has been interesting to see the progression and increase in her mobility. I can imagine the struggle to even walk with such a large hernia in the way. Everyday I could see her ability and confidence increase as she tackled steps and leash walking. The house is now outfitted for her to help her jump on the couch and bed. Imagine my surprise the day I came home and she had figured out how to get on the back of the couch, like her younger fur sibling!

The more time she spent with us, the more she became a part of our family so this foster became a permanent member. We dropped the "M" and call her Issy, as it seems to fit her new personality. I had her fully checked out and she was very healthy except her teeth and right eye. She was already missing most of her teeth (probably fell out since I doubt they were pulled) but needed more removed. In July she had ten teeth removed and now has seven. Even with less teeth she still loves to eat and chew Greenies. We are going to brush the remaining seven teeth and she drinks special healthy mouth water so she can keep the remaining few teeth. She loves giving kisses and now no one minds with her clean breath!

Now that we have her hernia healed and her mouth fixed up, we are tackling her eye issue. She was originally diagnosed with an ulcer but I had a feeling that wasn't all. We saw another vet who checked the pressure and also believed it was something more than an ulcer so we were sent to an ophthalmologist. She was diagnosed with intraocular melanoma in her right eye. Although the tumor is benign, it will eventually destroy the eye and vision by causing secondary glaucoma, cataract, pupillary block, retinal detachment and perforation. Removing her eye is the recommendation. If it had been caught years ago, more could've been done to save her eye but this was not the case. She is scheduled to have her eye removed next week. The good news is that the tumor won't spread and she will be fine with just one eye. We are already on the look-out for a pirate costume she can wear at Halloween but hopefully this is the last of her medical issues.

Fortunately her medical issues do not slow her down. Including the canine cousins, we can get a pack of six dogs together for family events, Issy loves it. She is the smallest and only girl but loves to boss the boys around. She chases after them and barks at them as they try to retrieve tennis balls. She is still getting used to going to a groomer regularly, and hates having her nails clipped, but her little pink bows help distinguish her from all the boys! She wears a pink bow over each ear, her signature style. It is wonderful to see such a happy dog. I can't imagine the pain she had been in but now she is enjoying her life.

Issy had her eye removed on August 23rd and is recovering very well. Hopefully this is the last of her surgeries.

Leigh Cambra