Westi Update!

September 15, 2014 • Author: Ruff Haus

Well, as many of you know last September (Friday the 13th to be exact), two senior west’s were found abandoned in the parking lot at Ruff Haus. After trying to locate the owners with no success, we made the decision along with the help and support of our good friends at Precious Paws Rescue to foster and care for them. They were filthy, in poor health, were visibly neglected and in need of emergency veterinary care. Thanks to the amazing staff at Simcoe Veterinary Hospital in Barrie and the expertise of Dr.Holly Spring, these two west’s (named Sophia and Blanche after the TV show The Golden Girls) were vaccinated, and immediately started on medical treatment for internal and external parasites, mange, and serious bacterial skin infections. The entire team of people involved in helping these two dogs had years of experience dealing with animals and situations involving neglect and none of us (not even the vet) had seen infection as bad as what Sophia had in her poor feet. We had no idea how this poor dog was even walking.

Here are some pictures from that very first day…







You can see from these pictures just how filthy they were that first day. Westi’s are suppose to be pure white, and you can see here that they were not only dirty and matted, but their fur was stained from excessive chewing and licking due to itching and discomfort and their skin was bright red. The bottom picture is of Sophia’s feet-black and full of infection with nails so long they were curling into her pads.

The girls moved into Ruff Haus and made themselves comfortable in our break room, which was quickly transformed into what we still to this day refer to as “The Westi Condo”. They spent a lot of time up there, resting, cuddling and recovering during the first few weeks we had them. They were put on a high quality food, given weekly medicated baths to soothe their tender skin and we had what seemed like an entire pharmacy organized for them, complete with charts and schedules to keep all of their medications in order. Since they were in such bad shape the girls spent the majority of their time during their recovery in the condo away from other dogs. They went for many short walks (we could only go as far as Sophia could handle) during the days and on the weekends, our staff would take turns caring for them and making sure they were fed, exercised, medicated and cuddled. These girls really loved to cuddle.

When they finally got the all clear form the vet to start interacting with the other dogs in the daycare they were SO HAPPY! We learned a lot about these girls once this happened! They were senior dogs, but man did they have a lot of energy now that they were feeling better! They enjoyed climbing up on the play equipment, and meeting the other dogs. BUT once they got really comfortable in the daycare we started noticing some behavioural issues with them. The girls got jealous really easily and when they felt threatened in any way they would take it out on each other by fighting. Badly. We were starting to get concerned for their well being and thought that a change of scenery may improve things, so the girls were moved to a loving foster home where they could have some more one-on-one attention and learn how to be well balanced dogs in a low stress environment.


The girls were spoiled rotten by their new foster mom Kerrie and were doing fantastic and having a great time learning new tricks and becoming familiar with crate training. They were loved and spoiled and had never been happier.

Blanche’s illness surprised us all, especially Kerrie who had taken such good care of them. It came on fast and was very unexpected considering she had been doing so much better than her sister Sophia. After a really scary weekend at the emergency vet clinic and confirmation from an ultrasound, Blanche was diagnosed with a fatal tumour on her Pancreas. With her age and weakened immune system, and extremely poor vitals taken into consideration, we knew we had a difficult decision to make. To make matters worse, Sophia also found herself at the hospital with similar symptoms, however hers were later deemed “sympathy symptoms” for her sister who was dying. Blanche was transferred back to Simcoe Vet and was kept comfortable until all of us could be there with her to say good bye. It was the hardest decision to make, but we all agreed that she didn’t deserve to suffer and we knew that she had enjoyed the best three months of her life with us. That day was the hardest for all of us, and the only thing that helped us get through it was knowing that Sophia was still counting on us.

Soph was release form the clinic a few days later and returned to her foster home with Kerrie. She adapted well to being an only child and actually thrived being back at home with Kerrie. She continued down the road of healing and was adopted to an amazing family with two other small dogs, who took to spoiling her just like she always wanted. Unfortunatley, Sophia had an issue not being an only child and for everyones safety (including her own) she had to be returned to foster care. She wound up with Laurie, another amazing foster mom with Precious Paws and only stayed a short time with her before being adopted permanently to a family from the US.

This past weekend, on the one year anniversary of the day The Golden Girls were rescued, they sent us this email with an amazing update on Sophia.

“One year ago today, someone abandoned two badly neglected, senior Westies in a parking lot.  Turns out it was the dogs’ lucky day. After months of vet visits and lots of love from her foster moms we were lucky enough to adopt Sophia and have her join our family, although I should say she runs our family.   She has brought so much love to everyone who meets her.  And she has come out of retirement to manage the entire neighborhood of squirrels, chipmunks, deer, etc.  Going for walks is her favorite activity.  She is so feisty it’s as if she is in her second puppyhood! Many thanks to the folks at Ruff Haus and Precious Paws Rescue in Barrie and Laurie for loving Sophia and bringing her back from the brink.  We’re so happy to have her and darn, she is just too cute! “





We could not be happier to share this amazing news with all of you! Sophia would not be where she is today if it wasn’t for all the caring donations and support from all of you. Thank you so much for helping make a difference in this dog’s life, no one deserved it more than she did!

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