After Lynn taught us to leave her out of her crate to keep her calm, we all settled into a routine. She became a member of the household, following along with us as we transitioned through our days. She loved joining us in the kitchen while we prepared meals and ate. She loved exploring the neighborhood on (longer than prescribed!) walks.
We had to find the right balance of giving Lynn the exercise and enrichment she needed in order to calm her mind and body while not overdoing it. Finding that calm was crucial to the success of her heartworm treatment.
Lynn was in foster to recover from heartworm. But the poor girl had a double whammy medical condition that wasn’t emphasized when we were bringing her home but that we certainly had to keep an eye on. Lynn had a prolapsed vagina, a condition in which the structures in and around the vagina fall out of position. In Lynn’s case, much of her vagina had been out of her body and had been surgically reinserted. While Lynn’s backside was startling and painful looking by the time she came home with us, reddish pulp the size of a cherry tomato hanging down, a shelter staff member told me that the red and exposed flesh of Lynn’s vagina had been the size of a cantaloupe at intake. Yikes!
In humans, a common cause of vaginal prolapse is a difficult child birth (as opposed to all those easy ones!). I wondered if Lynn had delivered puppies at some point. She didn’t have the tell tale droopy nipples of a recent mom though they were longer than Livie’s. At 2 years of age she may have had puppies even more than a year ago.
I also wondered if she had been someone’s beloved pet and they just couldn’t afford to take care of her surgical and heartworm treatment costs and had therefore surrendered her. She was so friendly and good natured that I imagined she had been loved and loved on quite a bit. Maybe the previous owners saw her vaginal prolapse and knew they had to get her the medical care she needed, even if it meant letting her go forever.
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, like many shelters, offers a refuge to animals, including those with vast medical needs. They have cared for animals needing amputations, tumor resection, heartworm treatment, treatment for infections of all kinds…the list is really endless. They also offer a Safe Harbor program for those needing temporary housing for their pets through life’s most trying moments. Additionally, they sponsor the Bountiful Bowls program, in which they provide pet food for owners with limited income.
Regardless of her back story, Lynn had certainly ended up at the right place at HSHV. She was getting treatment for her heartworm and her prolapsed vagina and was getting top notch loving and care at our foster home.
Lynn was a huge fan of belly rubs so it was easy to keep an eye on her surgical site. Daily, I checked it for signs of increased swelling or redness. While it didn’t get worse, it certainly didn’t get better as quickly as I, or I am sure Lynn, hoped.
Lynn’s long, beautiful fur had been shaved around her surgical site and she was always wagging her tail on walks. As a consequence, we got lots of interested questions about her from the neighborhood children.
“Why is her poop red?”
“Is she having a puppy right now?”
“Are her heartworms trying to come out?”
We have always been extremely honest with our children about life and death, body parts and puberty, and had explained to them exactly what Lynn’s backside affliction was. But I wasn’t sure how the explanation that Lynn had heartworms and a vaginal prolapse was going to translate at the respective dinner tables. I gave the parents I knew fair warning that their children were receiving a crash course education in dog anatomy!