Ellia ~ 4 Years Later ~

Little Miss Ellia was found running the streets in the nearby town of Columbia Falls, Montana, and taken to their local shelter.   She spent 2 months at that shelter before being transported to our local shelter due to the fact that there were too many black dogs where she currently was.  Now that sounds really weird to me, being a black dog lover from hello. But apparently this is a real thing.  Shelters are worried for their black guests in the fall, around Halloween, as sometimes bad things happen to them, just because they are black.

As horrible as that is, it was a stroke of luck for me.  She is more cat like than dog.  She is fast and smart, and comes when she's darn ready to, no matter what is waiting for her.  

Our first days were not ordinary by any means.  The first full day she was with me she started to barf up kibble that I didn't recognize.  Uh Oh!  Off to the vet we went, as I was worried that she had some sort of blockage.  Maybe she ate a toy or a bed or something.  I had no idea what was in store for us.  Well... we started to do xrays.... starting at the back, nothing, moving up, over and over until we got to her esophagus.  Oh dear, it was at least 10 times larger than it should have been, chock full of food.  The diagnosis was a Ventricle Ring Anomaly.  What the heck is that?  Well, evidently when a puppy is in the embryo stage, there are 5 rings that form to hold the major organs in place so the rest of the body can grow around them.  These rings dissolve during the early stages in .  Sometimes these rings fail to dissolve completely, as in Ellia's case.  The ring that holds the esophagus in place at above the stomach did not completely dissolve.  She had a partial stricture and was not able to get her food into her tummy, hense the over sized esophagus full of food.  Apparently Ellia had been dealing with this her whole life and nobody noticed that she was vomiting her food because she would quickly eat it back up again.  The poor little thing was actually starving.  So, what to do now?

The local vet said I would need to take her to eastern Washington, to the Pullman University as they were the only one's who could do such a surgery.  Cost - about $5000 plus driving 4 hours one way and staying in a hotel for who knew how long.  Rats!  What a horrible decision I was being forced to make!  

~So now for the good part~

One of my employees at the time told me about a surgeon in the nearby town of Whitefish.  His name is Dr. Jim Thompson, and what a lifesaver (literally) he turned out to be.  He was very honest in telling me that he had never done this procedure, but had seen it done and was confident that he could perform it.  He also told me that because it was his first, he would cap the cost at much less than what I would have had to come up with for the University trip, and he was only 60 miles away!  His comment was,  Ellia wins, as she gets to live, I win, as I don't have to sell the farm, and he wins with gaining the experience.  He has now performed many of these procedures and saved so many dogs lives.  Wow!  After 4 years with this little girl, I wouldn't hesitate for 1 minute on any care she might need, even it did involve selling the farm.  But at the time, I had known her less than 48 hours.  I'm so happy I made the choice that I did.  Ellia has tried my  patience on many occasions, but I cannot imagine my home without her! 

With the first week of October being special in so many ways for me, it also happens to include National Black Dog Day on October 1st, which is the day I picked for Ellia's birthday, she was 1 (or there about) when I found her.  Also the whole first week of October is National Adopt a Shelter Pet week.  

So, black, check.  Shelter, check.  Birthday week, check and check!

 Happy 5th Birthday, Ms. Ellia!

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