He was blind and was suffering with keratoconjunctivitis sicca and his eyes were irritated, very dry and covered in gunk. Navey was also almost completely deaf. He was not desexed, vaccinated or microchipped and his age was unknown. Navey’s mouth emitted a foul smell and it was obvious he had a mouthful of rotten teeth to add to his woes.
We guessed him to be around 8 years but as he had lived his life outdoors, on his own, in his own little world without being able to see or hear, he may have looked physically older than his years.
Navey was lost and stressed in his new environment. I settled him in the dog room, treated him for his fleas and wormed him, gave him some fresh bedding and tried to indicate to him where the water bowl was. He cried on and off for hours at a time and then slept in between. Every few hours I took him outside to toilet, but given that the heat was so unbearable if you were outside for more than a few minutes, we didn’t spend long out there.
On his arrival I had noticed one of his front paws was red and inflamed and as time went on, it was obviously causing pain as he began limping.
When he discovered the water bowl he would promptly stand in it and I guessed that this was his way of making his red inflamed paw feel better, and a left over of him having worked out how to deal with the extreme high temperatures living outdoors in his former environment.
His hearing was almost non-existent or he simply didn’t know ‘how to listen’. We experimented with different ways of calling his attention, shouting his name, whistling, clapping but he wasn’t very good at following the faint sounds he was hearing. He always turned in the wrong direction and it seemed that this form of communication would be futile.
His sense of touch and smell were his only means of real communication and he was visibly excited when he could smell one of the other Pugs beside him and when they came over to sniff him and say ‘hello’ to the newcomer.
When I sat with him and patted him he made ‘woo woo’ sounds of contentment and mouthed my fingers in play. With the knowledge that someone was beside him, he would begin to investigate his immediate surroundings and, being entire, he would mark every thing he sniffed much to my dismay. In time we would start toilet training him but now was not the time and so we patiently cleaned up after him and restricted him to the dog room until his training began.
To make life alittle less complicated, we decided to introduce scent training very slowly. From our knowledge, Navey had no training at all for his disabilities. The first scent we introduced him to was Vanilla. Vanilla signalled his water bowl and the location of his water bowl was important for obvious reasons.Within a few days I was beginning to doubt my ability to rehabilitate Navey and to turn him into a happy and content Pug dog. He was still crying all the time and seemed to be very, very unhappy and bewildered. I decided to push any thoughts of failure aside and make a decision on his future after his Veterinary assessment. His eyes greatly concerned me and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to find a home for a Pug with so many issues.
We booked him in for his desexing and Vet work within his first week. The initial assessment of Navey by our Vet was more positive than I had thought it was going to be and I was beginning to see a future for this little Pug. Navey was desexed, tested for heartworm (which showed he was heartworm clear), had several of his teeth removed and the others cleaned and his ears, eyes and foot were assessed.
He came back home a little sore and sorry and still very bewildered but now with a treatment plan and light at the end of the tunnel. His eyes would require regular maintenance after the initial antibiotic therapy and his paw was diagnosed as a type of contact allergy.
After his first week at the rescue, I thought I'd start crate training him. I thought he might feel 'safe' in a crate.....he almost SCREAMED the house down!! Needless to say I gave up on that idea very quickly.
Navey began his toilet training with the assistance of a belly bands. A belly band is a width of material, with velcro at either end, that is wrapped around the waist of male dog. The band holds a sanitary napkin and the idea is that it is covers the penis so when he attempts to lift his leg, he urinates into the band of material and pad, rather than on the wall or your furnishings. If you regularly have to house train male dogs, I highly recommend these!
Navey was introduced to the house and the routine. His first few days were spent investigating the layout of the living room, kitchen and laundry. He tangled himself up or got stuck in corners and between furnishings on more than one occasion and was quickly rescued when his cries of distress were heard.
We were beginning to understand his crying and the sounds he made. He was a vocal dog and the cries and sounds he made were one way he had figured out that he could communicate with the people and animals around him. His crying was also becoming far less frequent as he became more comfortable with his surroundings and the routine of the household and our family.
Navey began to play with toys we held for him. It was hard to play with him without him being able to see what you were holding, or even hear it, but once he got the bone or toy in his mouth he had the time of his life. A grey elephant became his favourite and if he accidently stumbled across it as he wandered about the room he would bend his head and immediately start to play with it.
Navey’s front paw once more became inflamed and he began limping again. We also discovered a lump on his side and with trepidation; we visited the Vet once more with him. Aside from his foot, his mouth and desexing wound had healed perfectly. Now that his rotten teeth were removed I could cuddle up close to him and not retch from the smell of rotten and decayed teeth. The lump was diagnosed as a gland that was up, most likely due to his foot, and after an injection for his foot and armed with medication we were off back home.
More to come - stay tuned!