Saturday, July 30, 2016

Naida—A Rescue Success Story

Who can use an upbeat story these days? Well here's one, and it illustrates the many people and circumstances that must come together to change one dog's life.

Naida came to us from the Asheville Humane Society. She arrived there almost completely blind from a painful, progressive disease called pannus that damages the corneas of the eyes. Recognizing that the chaos of a shelter was no place for a blind dog, the staff and volunteers at the Asheville Humane Society took special care with Naida, keeping her in the quietest area they had available and working hard to place her into a rescue. They contacted GSRA about Naida in early May. We definitely wanted to help, but needed to first make sure we knew what we were getting into as far as her future care. Equally important, we needed to have a foster home willing to take on a blind dog and oversee whatever medical care she was going to need. 

We consulted with one of the vets we commonly work with to find out what the treatment of pannus might look like, and learned it can run the gamut from eye drops to laser surgery to removal of the eyeballs. A wide range, I'm sure you'll agree! And all of it is done by a specialist, a veterinary ophthalmologist. We certainly hoped Naida's treatment would fall into the simpler end of that spectrum, but GSRA's generous donor base gave us the confidence to commit to taking her, even if her treatment led to the costlier options. Next up was finding a foster home willing to make the leap of faith required to take in a mostly blind dog. One of our most dedicated volunteers offered her home for that, allowing us to move Naida from the shelter in early June. Our next step was to get her to a specialist and get her treatment started. I'll gloss over the details here because the story is getting long, but here are the key points:
  • Naida was started on two different types of eye drops, both of which needed to be given multiple times per day. Have you ever tried to give eye drops to a dog? How about to a dog who's blind, doesn't know you, and has no reason to trust you? HUGE shout-out to the foster for working through this and earning Naida's trust!!
  • Naida's eyes were noticeably clearer after only a few DAYS!
  • At her 2-week recheck the specialist gave us the OK to reduce the frequency of one of the drops. Over the coming weeks, this medication will be discontinued entirely. She'll continue to need the other eye drops twice a day for life. 
  • Most importantly, Naida can SEE! Perhaps not quite as sharply as before the pannus developed, but well enough to navigate through life as an essentially normal dog. 

You can see the remarkable change in Naida's eyes in the "before" and "after" photos above. The first was taken at the shelter in May, and the second was taken at our July adoption event. This delightful dog is now living without the pain of terribly inflamed eyes, and is looking forward to finding her new forever home. We're fortunate that treatment turned out to be so straightforward in her case, and well aware that things could easily have gone the other way. 

Now that is Naida's story, and it's why we do what we do. No one of us could have done it alone, but with strong partnerships with area shelters and veterinarians, plus the ongoing support of our committed volunteers and generous donors, we can to it TOGETHER. If you have ever supported GSRA, either with your time or with your dollars, then this is your story too.