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Woof Woof!

Hello everyone, my name is Teddy! I am a five-month-old German shepherd and my good friends at Lort Smith have asked me to write to you. They tell me I’m a special boy and that people would be interested in learning about my journey. Although I’m not really convinced that I’m anything special, one thing I am certain of is that the wonderful staff and volunteers at Lort Smith are a truly special group of people. They saved me in every way that a little puppy like me can be saved, and if telling my story to you lovely humans helps them to save the lives of more animals just like me, well, it’s not even a question, I just had to say yes!

Although it might sound strange to say that I felt lucky when I was having such a tough start at life, that’s exactly how I felt. I felt so fortunate to have found myself at Lort Smith and to be cared for by such amazing staff and volunteers. Not every animal gets a chance like this. Your donation today will help Lort Smith to save even more animals in need, just like me.

Truth be told, I don’t remember very much of my life before Lort Smith. I was eight weeks old when I first arrived there and I was feeling tired a lot of the time. I had only been in the world for a couple of months and I was told that I was supposed to have a lot more energy than I had. And I did feel that something wasn’t quite right. I wanted to run around and play and do all of those fun things that other, healthy puppies do, but it would feel really uncomfortable whenever I would try to move.

The vets at Lort Smith said that I would need some tests and treatment to get better and be able to do all of the wonderful things I was dreaming of doing. I was admitted to the intensive care unit, which I think was quite serious and means that they were worried about me. I wasn’t really feeling very hungry and my tummy hurt a lot. I was given fluids and pain relief too. I knew that food was good for me, but it’s hard to eat and drink when your tummy hurts so much. The pain relief did help me to be able to eat more than I had been so I was very grateful for that.    

I really wasn’t feeling right at all. I was vomiting and I had something called ‘haemorrhagic diarrhoea’. The vet who looked at me when I was first admitted was worried because they thought they could feel something called an ‘intussusception’ in my tummy. I didn’t know what this meant at the time, but I was told that it is means my intestines were inflamed, that some of my intestine had slipped out of its normal place and had folded. I told you it was quite confusing. I think it meant that some of my stuff on the inside was a bit broken and needed mending.

I think that the vets were very worried about this. They said that an intussusception is very serious and if it is not fixed it will result in death. I had only been in this world for a very short amount of time and there was so much that I wanted to do. I didn’t want to have to say goodbye so soon. I have the same hopes and dreams that all puppies have. I didn’t understand why this had happened to me. It didn’t seem fair. Even though I was sad that this was happening to me, I knew that I was in the best possible place to get better. Everyone at Lort Smith was just so lovely to me and I felt very safe and cared for in their hands.

Something inside of me wasn’t working properly and needed to be fixed, and even though I wasn’t having the best time, I knew that I was in the best place possible to get healthy. Without the care that Lort Smith gave me when I was just weeks old I wouldn’t have made it. With no ongoing government funding and without the support of generous donors like you, Lort Smith simply won’t be able to help other animals like me. Your gift today will ensure that the wonderful staff and volunteers at Lort Smith will be able to help so, so many more animals just like me.

Although you couldn’t really tell anything was wrong with me just by looking at me, the staff at Lort Smith were able to tell that something wasn’t right on the inside. This is what was making me feel tired all the time and why I didn’t want to eat anything. It’s also why I had lots of ouches in my tummy. The vets told me that I would need to have surgery to fix it. I was less than three months old at the time, and I hadn’t been to puppy school yet, so I wasn’t really sure what any of these big human words meant, but I did understand that the surgery would help to make me better and I trusted Lort Smith to do the best they could for me.

The vets put me to sleep for the surgery and when they had a look inside my tummy they found a large intussusception, about fifteen centimetres in length, at somewhere called the ‘ileocecal junction’ (apparently this is a muscle valve that separates the small and large intestines). After they found it they did something called an ‘end to end anastomosis’. This means that they removed a bad, or ‘necrotic’, part of the intussusception, and they made a new connection between different parts of my intestine. I don’t know about you, but that all sounds very complicated to me and I would probably have to go to puppy school for a very long time to learn how to do it myself!

I have to admit that the surgery did hurt a lot, and because it was in my tummy, I still didn’t really feel like eating afterwards. The humans at Lort Smith very much wanted me to eat, to help me grow healthy and big and strong, but it was tough to. It still hurt a lot in my tummy. After my surgery I was given medication to help make me better and the humans continued to give me fluids to make me stronger. I even got to try chicken for the first time too! Whilst I liked the taste of this new food I couldn’t eat as much as I’d have liked to because my tummy still needed to get better first.

I had hoped that after my surgery I would be all better. I thought I would be able to eat and run and play just like I had always wanted. After living my first few months feeling tired and in pain, I thought I would finally get to do all those things other puppies do, but it didn’t happen quite that way. I still had more healing to do and I knew that Lort Smith would be there to help me to do it.

I was told that German shepherds are special dogs that do all sorts of great things in the world, like guide and assistance work, herding and even search and rescue. These all sounded very exciting and I felt proud to be one of these dogs. I also learnt that we German Shepherds are devoted, courageous and faithful companions who are closely bonded to their families. And honestly, that’s all I wanted; a simple life with a family to call my very own, to love and be loved by. I would let other dogs do all of those exciting things. The most exciting possibility to me was a warm, secure and loving home.

Even though the surgery had helped a lot, I still wasn’t better. The vets found that I had something called ‘coccidiosis’, which is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract, which caused me to have diarrhoea, to vomit, to feel tired and for my tummy to hurt. It would especially hurt when I needed to go to the toilet. Because it hurt when I would eat and I wasn’t keen on it, the humans said that I was smaller than I should be. A few weeks after my surgery, some results came back that tested positive for ‘canine parvovirus’, ‘cryptosporidium’ and ‘campylobacter’ infections. I did start to wonder if I would ever be better. It felt like no matter how brave I was, I would keep getting bad news. I knew that I would have to be braver for a bit longer and that Lort Smith would help me do this.

Although I felt sad that I was still having such a tough time, I was so grateful to the amazing people at Lort Smith for looking after me so well. Without the wonderful care and support that I received there I wouldn’t be writing to you now. I got to stay at the home of a lovely human and slowly but surely, I started to feel better. I still had medication to take, and not only did I get to eat chicken, I had some rice too. I was told that the wound from my surgery was healing well and I had something called ‘sutures’ removed and I even started to gain weight. It really felt like I had turned a corner and everything was starting to get better. For the first time in a long time, I felt that everything was going to be ok.

But my tough time wasn’t quite over yet. One day I was trying to go to the toilet and it really, really hurt. I started yelping really loudly and running around because I just wanted the pain to stop. I still wasn’t completely mended, and the human I was staying with took me back to Lort Smith so the vets could help me again. They did something called ‘x-rays’ and said that there were no obvious blockages. They suggested that I eat small meals and have extra fibre in my food. I was given some stuff called ‘probiotics’ and I even started to be weaned onto puppy food. I needed to take things slowly. There were so many things in the world that I wanted to see and do, but I trusted Lort Smith to take things slowly and, over time, I started to get better.

Earlier on in this letter, I said that I had been staying with some humans whilst I was being treated. I also said that Lort Smith saved me in every way that a puppy like me could be saved. I really liked the people who were looking after me at their house, but I could never have dreamed of what would come next. I was told that these humans had decided that I could continue to stay with them. Not just for a little bit of time, but for always! I don’t have the words (or barks!) to tell you what this meant to me. I felt like the luckiest puppy in the world.

When I said that Lort Smith saved me in every possible way, not only did they fix all of the things that were broken with me on the inside and find me a new family, but my new human mummy actually works at Lort Smith! They told me that she is something called the ‘chief executive officer’,- which basically means “the big boss” - and is the person who helps all of the other amazing humans at Lort Smith to save so many animals every single day. I couldn’t believe that she chose to adopt me, happiness is an understatement to describe what I was feeling. I was told that her name is Fiona and that she decided she wanted me to stay with her and her family because they just couldn’t let me go. Because they all loved me and wanted me to stay with them. Well, you can imagine, I was just ecstatic!

I feel like I have been on such a long journey to get here. In just a few short months I have gone from being a puppy who was broken on the inside, and who didn’t have much hope for a happy and healthy future, to a very different dog now; at five months old I feel so much happier and stronger. I love to be outside, to run and play and I’m curious about so many things. There is just so much to see and do in the world, and thanks to Lort Smith I will get to see so much more of it than I ever imagined possible.

It cost Lort Smith $5,600 for all of my surgery and treatment and to fix my broken insides. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars just to keep Lort Smith running every single day. With no ongoing funds provided by the government, donors like you are absolutely essential to ensure they can continue to save lives.

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