Yoda's Story

Yoda, The Girl Pug
Here is a the full story on our little Yoda, the girl pug.  It's a long one.

My mother recently lost her pit bull (this dog was her little baby and he's a whole other story), and she told us that she was going to wait a while before she got an other dog.  Then February 2009 I got a phone call asking if I would be interested in adopting a pug puppy in the future.  My mom then informed me that her neighbor, who breeds pugs, lost his house, etc, etc, and had a pregnant dog that he couldn't take care of. So, of course, my mom decided to take this little, very young, mother to be in.  My mom had never had a pregnant dog (we're big believers in spaying and neutering), so she did a lot of research and made sure mom dog, Willow, was a happy, healthy momma.

7 days old
In June 2009, 7 little fawn puppies were born (my mom was told she would only have about 3).  Unfortunately, two of the puppies didn't make it, even with my mom bottle feeding them.  But the other 5 puppies grew to be strong, healthy puppies.  They were adorable.  My mom did a wonderful job making sure the developed into good doggies.  She started house breaking them as soon as they could walk around, she socialized them (she has a cat and my husky, Dakota), she got them use to being handled, and and just made sure they would be well behaved dogs when then grew up.

Each little puppy developed their own personality; some were much more laid back then others, one little male was the barker of the group, and the smallest female was the trouble maker.  That little female would later be named Yoda.

Yoda as a puppy.
Yoda came to us in July 2009.  She was an adorable, tiny pug, but she never let her size get in the way of anything.  She is very independent and doesn't like when you hold her for too long.  She loved to run around outside and chase the cats around (even though she was a quarter their size).

Then we started to notice that she was slowing down, she was sleeping a lot, and stopped barking.  I work at the Vet school, so when it was time for her next set of shots I brought her in and asked about it.  She seemed playful at the time and was checked over and was cleared as just a growing puppy that needed her sleep.

Then a month later when she was due for her next set of shots, she was dramatically different.  She was sluggish and just out of it.  They looked her over, had the neurologist look at her, and just couldn't quite figure it out.  They watched her for the day and she seemed to be feeling okay, so they sent her home with me.

Well that night was the night from Hell.

About two or three in the morning I heard her knock over her water bowl in the bathroom.  I got up to check on her, and she was running into walls, non responsive to her name, and drooling.  I held her for a while to see if this would pass, but she just kept getting worse.  So I wrapped her in a blanket and drove to the emergency clinic at work.  It was the hardest drive ever, because she kept screaming out in what I assumed was pain.

Once we got to the clinic (I was so panic stricken, I forgot to call and let them know I was coming), they immediately put her on oxygen and started checking her records.  I sat in the ER watching her drool non stop while she could barely keep herself upright.  I was crying and I was convinced I would have to put her down.  And I know the vets thought that too, even if they wouldn't admit it at the time.

Yoda after her CT scan
I eventually went up to the lab because I was in the way and there was nothing I could do down in the ER.  I met with the neurologist later in the day to discuss my options, they were pretty bleak.  But we were waiting for one last blood test from the previous day before we made any decisions.  Everyone at work saw me at my worst, but they were all so supportive and fantastic.

I was already coming to the conclusion that I would have to put a 2 month old puppy down and I had to face reality when the best news I ever heard came.  Yoda's bile acids were through the roof.  Her liver wasn't working properly and she had developed hepatic encephalopathy and aspiration pneumonia.  Now this sounds like it would be awful, but it's a whole lot better then distemper or a brain deformity.

One CT scan later and it was discovered that she had a liver shunt that was bypassing her liver and filtering "dirty" blood right back into her system and too her brain.  She was put on multiple, multiple medications and zero protein prescription food.  And almost instantly we saw a difference.  People thought she was a different dog.         

Yoda after her surgery
In October 2009 Yoda had her surgery to correct her liver shunt, she was also spayed at the time.  We had a little scare when she started bleeding internally, but after a few transfusions, she was all better.  She had to stay in the ICU for about a week just to make sure she was going to be ok.  We picked her up on Halloween.  She looked like a little frankin-dog.  She had sutures all the way up her abdomen.

After a few days of rest, she started showing signs of her old self.  She was more alert and back to letting us know verbally how she felt about things.  And after about 3 weeks of [forced] rest, she had her sutures removed and was allowed to play again.  Though she was required to remain on her medication and prescription food for a few more months.

At the beginning of 2010 we started to wean her off of her meds and food.  She transitioned nicely to a normal puppy diet without any seizures or negative reactions.

Yoda Today
Over next few months she started to gain wait and fill out.  She's now up to about 12 pounds and is healthy again.  She will need to have her puppy teeth pulled, since they do not want to fall out, and she will probably still need rhinoplasty, because her nose is so small, but over all she is doing well.  She's now 10 months old and a little shit.  We still have to watch her pretty close, because she is more susceptible to pneumonia now, but her liver and neurological problems should be a thing of the past.  

Unfortunately they do not make health insurance for dogs and I don't get a discount even if I work at the vet school, so I still have a large quantity of veterinary bills that need to be paid.

We're very happy to have such a wonderful little presence in our lives.  She truly has a one of a kind personality and we wouldn't want it any other way.  We would also like to thank everyone for their support.  Thank you everyone who has purchased things from my store, sent in donations, and all the kind words.  It has meant a lot to us.  Thank you all :)

*1 YEAR UPDATE!  It has now been about a year since Yoda has had her surgery.  The surgery took and she has healed up nice.  She is now just as playful as ever and a very dedicated chewer (only on her toys, she's a good girl.)  She still has a few more things that need to be done; nose job, a few baby teeth pulled, etc., but she seems to be a healthy little pug.  I am still offering $1 shipping on most items (Christmas ornaments excluded) in my etsy store.  We're hoping to save up enough money to have most of the other work Yoda needs done this summer.  Thank you all again for your unbelievably kind help.  It has made it all a little bit easier on us.  You are all wonderful!*

*1.5 YEAR UPDATE!  So it still looks like Yoda's liver surgery took.  They want to make sure to do a full liver panel every year, just to make sure.  Unfortunately when Yoda went in for her last round of shots they found a few other things that were disturbing.  She has two puppy teeth still, so they need to get an x-ray and make sure there is nothing serious there and then get those teeth pulled.  But most disturbing was the discoloration on her eyes.  Yoda's eyelids are rubbing on her little bulgy puggy eyes and causing discomfort.  They scariest part is that it will eventually lead to blindness if we don't get it fixed soon.  She is on an eye drop regimen right now, which will hopefully hold off any further damage before we can have her eyes worked on.  We were not expecting these kinds of surgery right now.  We just bought our first house at the beginning of December, and these surgeries are overwhelming, not just financially, but also emotionally. 

*2 YEAR UPDATE! Our little Yoda is doing very well since her surgery.  She's back to being a rowdy little thing with a mind of her own.  She is incredibly smart and knows all of her toys by name.  She's loving the new house as well as her large new yard to run in.  She still needs to have surgery on her eyes, but we're waiting to hear what the vet says this year.  She definitely isn't having problems with sight, she can see a carrot from miles away.  But we'll still see what the vet says.  She also has awful skin problems during the winter (who doesn't).  But we keep her healthy with weekly baths and a lotion regimen.  Who knew a dog could be so time consuming? :-)  I want to thank everyone that sent us well wishes over the last couple years.  It has meant so much to us and little miss Yoda thanks you.         

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