Hoppy: The “Feral” Foster – Remember to Brush Twice a Day

This blog was posted before our name change to For All Animals.

We got the results from the dermatologist on Hoppy’s tests. Both ringworm tests came back negative. With the other medications, his overall skin improved, but his chin stayed mostly the same. We went in for our follow up appointment. In true Hoppy form, he peed and pooped in his carrier on the way in to the vet’s office. The vet techs scooped him up upon arrival and graciously gave him a bath.

The vet took another look at Hoppy’s chin. The edges of his mouth were still irritated and his chin was raw. This time the vet looked a little closer and noticed Hoppy’s chompers (and lack there of). She recommended we take him to see a dentist – that his teeth may need to be removed. She also noted it wasn’t normal practice for a dermatologist to give a referral to a dentist – but Hoppy has proved to be anything but “normal.”

We found ourselves back in a familiar building. The dentist’s office is in the same building as the Pet ER and Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine of GB. They did a cursory exam, gave us an estimate ($1,119-$1,794) and we scheduled surgery. It was a hefty price tag, but we were all hopeful that this would be a cure for Hoppy’s final active ailment. It was a theory that the infections apparent in his gums were causing the irritation, and the drooling was making it hard to heal.

The next available surgery appointment was July 1st.

About a week before the appointment we got some terrible news. In January 2010, Jason and I adopted a rescued 8 year old English black lab. We made the conscious effort to adopt a dog who had a lower chance of being adopted – being on the older side and a black dog, Stackhouse (as we came to call him) fit that bill. On June 29th we noticed Stacks had labored breathing. We took him to the Pet ER. After a lot of waiting and a few chest x-rays we got the news. Stackhouse had a large mass in his lung – they couldn’t definitively say whether it was lung cancer or end stage lung disease without further tests – but it was clear we were close to the end.

We dropped everything to spend the next few days with Stackhouse. We monitored him closely day and night until he let us know it was time to go. On July 1st we dropped Hoppy off for surgery and took Stacks to Pennsylvania where my parents have a lot of land, and a home that will stay in the family for generations to come. He was euthanized at a local vet and we buried Stackhouse next to Raider, the black lab – sheltie mix I had adopted in college. Though they never met, I like to believe that they are together now, watching us from the clouds.

We explained our situation to the dentist’s office and they agreed to hold Hoppy overnight, so we could more easily make the trip with Stackhouse. We would pick Hoppy up July 2nd upon our return.

Dermatologist recheck appointment = $40.00. Dental Surgery Deposit = $1,000.
Total Vet Bills to Date: $3477.09

I have been putting off writing this blog post for a long while – it’s still hard to write about Stackhouse. He was one of the kindest souls I have ever met and I miss him every day.

Ella Putsché is the executive director of Photographers for Animals.
Recognizing the impact and influence imagery can have on an audience to
take action, she founded Photographers for Animals to promote animal
issues and to help organizations utilize opportunities for photography and film.