For Twiggy the dog, constant suffering won’t be an option

Twiggy, feeling better.Twiggy finally made it south after I spent almost two months working out logistics. 

Twiggy is a young, female yellow lab cross who was found wandering the streets, emaciated.  I was contacted about her in January by a teacher who had found her and after not being able to find the owner, decided to take Twiggy in until she could be sent out of the community to find her forever home. 

Over the time Twiggy remained up north, she managed to double her weight even though she suffered from chronic diarrhea the entire time. 

Twiggy was finally able to hitch a ride with two other dogs coming south last week. 

I had her booked in to see the vet today, assuming that her diarrhea was just Giardia (an intestinal parasite common to the lake water they drink) and that we could nip that in the bud at the same time as she was spayed. 

When I arrived home yesterday afternoon and took Twiggy out for a walk, I realized that something else was not quite right with her.

She walked ten steps and then would squat to do her business, then walk another ten steps and then squat again.  This went on the entire walk and you could tell that she was uncomfortable with all the squatting. 

At one point, she just tipped over as though it was too much to stay in that position any longer.  By the end of our short walk, she was spent.

At the vet’s this morning, I asked for X-rays as well as an exam, spay, microchip, vaccines, and said goodbye to sweet natured Twiggy then continued on to work. 

I was half way to the office when my vet called sounding more concerned than just a normal test or X-ray result would warrant. 

It turns out that Twiggy has been suffering way more than I could have expected… she has a badly broken pelvis that has healed on its own but in such a way as to be pushing into her colon.  Due to this ‘indentation’, her colon is impacted and the constant diarrhea is just what could squeeze past the blockage. 

This is not surgery that can be done by a vet; this is the kind of surgery that requires a Board Certified vet surgeon. 

Twiggy is still at the vet’s office as I write this and the orthopedic surgeon will be in touch with my vet directly to talk about options for Twiggy. 

Without the surgery, Twiggy will continually run into the same trouble she has been suffering through for the past couple of months – constant diarrhea. 

And that is not an option. 

What has amazed those of us who have just met her is the absolute joy and sweetness that she exudes.  

She happily greets everyone she meets and wags her whole body as best as she can. 

She follows you around and just gazes up at you with her big, warm brown eyes. 

For now, it is a priority to figure out what we can do to ease Twiggy’s discomfort and get her what she needs. 

She waited all this time to get here, now it’s up to us to make sure she’s happy she did!


For more information about our Northern Dogs project in Canada visit our project page.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters