Saving a dog has had MANY ups and downs. We were determined to rescue a dog. We tried several times unsuccessfully. It has honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. That shit is for the birds. Now, I absolutely believe in it. I would recommend anyone attempting to rescue before going to a breeder but if they came across any of the trouble my family had to incur, I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they went out to get their desired designer breed. Fuck it. It is what it is.
Well we did it. We went dog shopping. We wound up with the cutest little French Bulldog you ever laid your eyes on. He absolutely is the the coolest dog ever. He is cooler then most humans I know. This little boy had stolen my heart. Someone this cool needed a name equally as cool. Cristina suggested giving him a name with a New Orleans tie to it which was an easily accepted idea as much pride and love I have for my city but what?? Many really good ones came up but my favorite was the first one Cristina suggested. She said we should name him “chop” but spelled T-c-h-o-u-p like the New Orleans street Tchoupitoulas. I was sold.
Well as apart of the breeder’s contract you have 48 hours to have your dog evaluated by your vet in order for the 1 year health guarantee to be in effect. Tchoup’s appointment was made and for whatever reason that day I had a bad feeling waiting in the lobby. Well my feeling was confirmed when I was told Tchoup had a rather moderate heart murmur. I was told to make an appointment with the cardiologist the next day and let the breeder know his findings. He also told me that if I wasn’t too attached to this dog I may want to consider getting another one because if this isn’t fixed he will die very soon of heart failure. The procedure to fix him would cost somewhere around $2500-3000. Tchoup’s heart murmur was graded as a level IV-V range. In case you don’t know much about murmurs, they only go up to VI.
The breeder came back with “well vet’s say that to make more money and some heart murmurs are innocent and dogs can live healthy long lives with them, blah blah.” I said yes that is true I had a dog that was diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur from this very same vet and she lived to be 12. My vet let me know with her that no further action needed to be taken but with Tchoup it was different. The breeder asked I get a second opinion. Fair enough.
Well on we go to vet #2 which happens to be my brother’s vet. I went into the visit not mentioning the murmur at all. Just stated I purchased a puppy and would like to have him checked out for the health guarantee to be in effect. I wasn’t in the room for 3 minutes before that stethoscope went on Tchoup’s chest and the vet’s (who was delighted to be examining a Frenchie) smile dropped to explain Tchoup’s condition was serious and needed to see an internist to have an echo-cardiogram done to evaluate how severe Tchoup’s heart murmur was.
A $500 internist visit later and well my initial vet was correct. Tchoup had Pulmonic Stenosis and needed surgery. I was sent to see the cardiologist at LSU where Tchoup would spent a couple days having tests done and being prepared for surgery. LSU was forwarded the internist’s echo-cardiogram but he wanted to have his own. *cha-ching* The silver lining though was that his eco-cardiogram showed the best of two possible scenarios. The leaflets in Tchoup’s pulmonary valve (feeding blood to his lungs) were fused resulting in the blood having to pass through a very narrow passage way causing the right side of his heart to be enlarged because it was working so hard to get the blood through the narrowed valve. To fix this the cardiologist would go in by Tchoup’s groin, insert a catheter, and inflate a little balloon in Tchoup’s pulmonary artery that would tear the leaflets and allow for better blood flow. Ugh. I was a nervous wreck.
Well the surgery was a completed. I was called as Tchoup was going under, once during the 3 hour procedure, and when Tchoup went into ICU. I made sure that the technician verified that Tchoup was breathing on his own off the machines as I have a couple acquaintances that have had a few bull dog horror stories about them and anesthesia, however that is another story for another time, but I could finally breathe easier. Now I can’t wait for my boy to be back with us.
The next day after surgery they conducted another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* to determine if the surgery was a success. They compare the pictures before and after as well as the pressure he had in his pulmonary valve. Normal pressure for a dog in that valve is 0-4. Tchoup was a severe case and prior to surgery was 120. Post surgery his pressure is at 60. The cardiologist thinks in a month the pressure could go down more once the swelling in the valve goes down from having the balloon in there a few times stretching his valve. This will be determined with yet another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* scheduled June 9th. Of course I’m hoping to hear even better news on that day which is that the pressure has indeed gone down but if it doesn’t a dog with the pressure of 60 in that valve is considered a mild case and expected to live a long, normal, healthy life. In fact a dog with that pressure wouldn’t even require surgery. Yes!
So we didn’t rescue. We tried several times and it wasn’t in the cards for us but we did save a life. The breeder asked a couple of times if I wanted to swap for a healthy dog but we refused because Cristina and I had already made up our minds that Tchoup was ours. We loved him and we couldn’t just give him back. I did ask the breeder out of curiosity what would become of Tchoup if we did give him back. The answer wasn’t a good one. We were praised by all the doctors we visited through Tchoup’s treatment (there were 4) because many people would have just opted for the puppy swap. Each told us breeders would just destroy the dog as it would be just another mouth to feed. Well we feel good about our decision and would do it again. Sure it was definitely the costlier route but Tchoup was apparently meant to end up with us and us with him.
Rescue is what I wanted to do. There are certain television shows in our family’s weekly DVR list that are based on rescuing animals and giving them a chance at forever homes. There is one show in particular I have been a fan of for several years that really opened my eyes to all the great dogs that don’t have homes. Although I thought rescuing wouldn’t be for me, I found myself slowly turning the tide and mentioned the idea to Cristina. No surprise here that she was all for it and so the hunt began to find the perfect dog to mesh with our family.
There is a local rescue we are drawn to that gets lots of national attention and they really need as much as they can get. With 300+ large dogs to take care of, being kept in a spot light helps tremendously. This particular rescue always talks about the importance of getting their dogs homes. After talking about it as a family, Cristina and I decided this would be where we would put in our application due to the amount of dogs this rescue had. With that conversation we put in our application choice for this precious baby:
I probably shouldn’t have done this but I KNEW this girl would be ours. Nothing could have been further from the truth. After waiting about 2 weeks we received a call back only to be told that they didn’t think she would make a good fit with our current dog who is 12 years old. They felt she would “aggravate the hell out of him.” I tried to explain that our dog Hanzel is well acclimated to dogs of all ages, sizes, shapes, and personalities. He has several dog friends and does well with everyone. I was still denied. They felt a puppy would not be good in our household.
Well instantly this left a bad taste in my mouth for rescuing. I knew any dog would be happy in our home. Not to mention we would never acquire another dog in our home if Hanzel, our Min Pin, would be unhappy. Needless to say this hadn’t deterred us and we applied to yet another rescue in the attempt to give another dog a forever home.
The following Saturday we met someone at a smaller local rescue and he asked that we bring our dog to meet the puppy we were interested in. We waited all day to go back at our designated time with Hanzel. The dogs met and everything was fine. Seemed like a done deal until they noticed Hanzel wasn’t neutered. Although their dog was altered they would only give her to us if Hanzel was as well. When I asked what is the purpose since their dog was fixed, the answer was that he may get out of our yard one day and impregnate other dogs. I replied had I gotten Hanzel as a baby I would have gotten him altered but I rescued him at 4 years old. I figured he had lived that way for 4 years I wasn’t going to put him through it. She stated again that without verification from our vet that the surgery had taken place, we couldn’t have their dog. And here is the kicker: Even if I do get him fixed they will not hold her and its possible I spend the money and put my aging dog in surgery for NOTHING.
And so I’m pissed. I’m pissed because the first rescue has many “lifers” there that could have possibly been adopted but are too choosy. I’m pissed because that first baby we wanted had already been there for 8 months and will continue to be there because you insist my dog will react a certain way when you don’t know him. I’m also pissed because the second rescue insisted that my dog could get out and whore around as if I am some unresponsible pet owner because I hadn’t gotten him fixed. I’m pissed because we dedicated a lot of time searching for the perfect dog and filling out these lengthy applications short of giving our blood type to end up empty handed.
Seriously all selfishness aside I REALLY wanted a Dogo Argentino or a French Bulldog. I, however, had put those feelings away and thought it would be best to rescue because all dogs at breeders will find a home. I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to adopt. As I appreciate all the work these rescues do because it is a hard job, it leads me to believe that the reason so many dogs are at these places is because the interviewers are passing up good homes. Based on this experience, dog shopping we go.