Bobbie’s story by Judy Stapleton

I am lucky enough to own a Tibetan Terrier called Bobbie.  She was 4 on 22nd October 2012 and I have owner her since she was 8 weeks old.  The lucky side of owning Bobbie is that she is a reasonably good natured dog – adores people (she is a PAT dog and visits the elderly who she wraps around their fingers, but she is not so sure about stranger dogs who are too bouncy and get in to her face.  Then she is inclined to bark and barge them out of the way.  
Bobbie and I have been going to Tip Top Dog School since Bobbie was 10 months old and with the help of Sue and Barbara we have been trying really hard to get Bobbie over her ‘stranger dog aversion’  and with a lot of practice, the use of a Thundershirt and doing what Sue and Barbara have advised, I really felt I was getting on top of the problem. 
Unfortunately one Saturday morning Bobbie met a small dog who persisted in coming towards her.  Once she had locked eyes with the other dog she ignored my calls and just stood her ground giving off signals to the other dog not to approach.  I asked the owner of the other dog to call his dog but he didn’t.  I tried to get hold of Bobbie’s collar but as she saw the other dog approaching she decided it was time to get noisy.  The owner didn’t like her bark and when his dog squeaked he kicked Bobbie in the stomach and got very abusive towards me. 
Apart from a bit of a runny tummy during the afternoon Bobbie didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects.  Unfortunately a month later she brought up her dinner during the night and then she was very lethargic and off her food for the next 3 days.  Sue from Tip Top Dog School advised me to take her to the vet which I duly did.  It was then that I found out how sick my dog was. 
The kick had caused a small area of her pancreas to become bruised, swollen and die.  The swelling had caused a blockage of the bile duct.  Bobbie had become jaundiced and developed a form of hepatitis.  This was only discovered by blood tests, scans and a series of biopsies from the liver, pancreas and stomach.  During the operation the vets unblocked the bile duct.  Unfortunately the swelling did not reduce and the bile duct became blocked again.  So they had to perform a much more radical operation to bypass the bile duct and join the gall bladder directly to the stomach. 
Before this stay in hospital Bobbie was always very worried about me being away.  She always cried the first night of being in a strange house without me.  So, naturally, I thought it would be the same in the hospital and more stressful for her to see me and then see me going.  But Bobbie was too sick to worry when she first went in.  Then the vet suggested to me that visiting my dog would be better both for her and me.  I was allowed to go down in to the area where the sick dogs and cats are in their cages.  How grateful I was that I had always had crates in the house for Bobbie – not to shut her in but just as little caves where she could go hid.  Bobbie’s home in the hospital for two weeks was in a crate and if she hadn’t enjoyed being in such a snug area she may not have settled so well.   But settle she did. 
Bobbie had to have a feeding tube in her neck, drips attached to each of her four legs in rotation, blood tests daily, and two huge openings in her stomach.  During the whole time she was in intensive care she did not need a collar or a muzzle.  This has made her stay in hospital so much less stressful for both her and me. 
What do I put this down to.  Well I have to say that it is thanks to the good grounding I got from Sue and Barbara.  Teaching your dog to accept the relaxation position and allowing you and others to examine every part of your dog’s body, getting your dog to accept food from your hand a little bit at a time, makes a huge difference.  Also taking your dog in to the vets as often as possible – not just when it needs a jab or medical attention certainly pays off.  Bobbie and I visit our surgery monthly where I weigh her and buy her a box of treats.  She loves being petted by all the reception staff.  They call it their Bobbie time. 
At the vet hospital all the staff told me I had the best dog they have ever had in the hospital.  Bobbie allowed them to change her dressing, replace her drip in each leg in turn, take blood daily, feed her by hand when she was refusing food from a bowl, get her up every two hours for a walk – all without any form of anaesthetic or restraint. 
Once Bobbie started to take some interest in her surroundings I took different friends who knew her to visit.  The senior vet also encouraged me to have a gentle doggy friend of hers to visit.  For those of you who are regular Tip Toppers you will know Freddie Scher – Bobbie’s great friend.  He was assigned to be Bobbie’s Florence Nightingale!! 
 
 Both these things, I believe, helped Bobbie to realise that she was not abandoned and that she needed to get better so that she could really enjoy life on the outside of her hospital crate.  What a joy it was on Christmas Day when Bobbie spent the afternoon with Freddie, Ripley, Darcy, Honey and Daisy and apart from a bit of sniffing they all left Bobbie alone – obviously realising that she was delicate!
So my advice to anyone who brings their dog or puppy to Tip Top Dog School is to follow the advice from Sue and Barbara.  You may think it unnecessary today but tomorrow it could stand you in very good stead.  What is better a dog who enjoys going back in to the vets surgery where she has undergone two major ops, numerous blood tests and scans galore and actually wants to run down to the hospital area to find her crate or a dog who has to be dragged in to the surgery.  
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