When I first started working at Haven Animal Hospital I was a kennel technician. First thing in the morning, and late in the evening, I would come in and take care of all the pets that stayed with us while their owners were away. I knew I loved it the minute I started training. After a few weeks, I came in one morning and saw this adorable sad looking French bulldog puppy in one of the kennels.
She was just lying in the cage with a prolapsed rectum. It looked so horrible that I had no idea how she could even survive. She was so tiny and alone my heart just broke for her. Once the doctor came in, I found out that she had been surrendered to Haven Animal Hospital by her owners because they could not care for her. Turns out the puppy had coccidia. Coccida is an intestinal tract infection which is easily treatable if the animal is brought in right away. If untreated, it can cause damage to the lining of the dog’s intestinal tract. It was left untreated for so long that her rectum prolapsed. With the prognoses not looking so good for the puppy, the doctor had to choose to either euthanize or try and repair the rectum. She was so innocent and little, but she had the whole staff rooting for her.
The doctor decided that she would try the surgery. I came back the morning after her surgery to see that she had made it through the night. I learned that she was named Stella and the doctor was going to take her home and see if she could make it through the weekend, which she did. For the next two weeks or so I would rush to work just to see this little puppy. She had so much strength in her and I knew she was very special. The time came where no one could care for her with their busy schedules and she would just be in the cage all day. I was only working part time and had most of the day to be at home, so I spoke to my Fiancé at the time and begged for us to foster this sweet girl. Once he saw her he agreed. We brought her home and instantly knew that this was going to be an adventure.
Because of her condition, Stella could no longer control her bowels. We had her set up in the kitchen with blankets and beds that had to be changed multiple times a day. We were in and out at least 20 times going potty. Eventually we found some adorable diapers that she could wear and be able to live as normal a life as she could.
We went golfing, to the beach, on long walks and played with our other dogs (who fell in love with her). We made many trips to and from the Hospital to try and get some of the incontinence under control. Months had gone by and this little puppy was officially part of our family. A few days before Christmas, my Fiancé took Stella out to go potty. He came running back in and I knew something was wrong; Stella had prolapsed again. We both looked at each other and knew. We knew that if she had prolapsed again there wasn’t much more we could do. This would be an ongoing thing. Every few months she would prolapse and need to have surgery again. Even though she looked happy and healthy from the outside we knew that her quality of life was suffering. We couldn’t keep her and knew that she would always be uncomfortable and be in pain. We rushed her into the clinic. I sat there and just held her and gave her cuddles, let her know she was so loved and that I was not going to leave her. The doctor and I discussed the options for a while. We both came to the conclusion that she was suffering and her quality of life just wasn’t what she deserved.
That day we said goodbye to our sweet girl. It was the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to make. It took us months to even have a day without crying over Stella. We got through it knowing that we gave her the absolute best 6 months of her life. Instead of not getting a chance at all, she experienced all the fun and happiness of life and she was oh so loved. That little puppy has the most special place our hearts. Even after going through an experience, as tough as this one, I knew this is where I was meant to be. Helping animals has always been my passion and working at Haven Animal Hospital has made that something I am able to do every day.