When you grow up with the perfect dog, it’s tough to replace her. For Sidney and her siblings, Princess was more like a sister.
“Princess was a lot like a human,” Sidney said. “She just wanted to chill.” When Princess passed away last year, the family was heartbroken. Even though Sidney and her sister were no longer living at home, the pain of losing a childhood friend was just as fresh.
With both girls on their own, and his canine companion gone, it was now Sidney’s dad that was left alone in the house, and he felt that aloneness acutely. There had always been a dog in the family. Now there were just echoes and memories of Princess.
When a neighbor sent Mr. Jasper a picture of Charlie, an adorable 14-month-old female black lab mix, it was a no-brainer for him. Available for adoption through the Humane Society, he got in his car and drove to the event.
There he adopted a dog that couldn’t be more different from Princess if she tried. Lively and energetic, Charlie turned out to be the perfect dog to brighten a sad and grieving home. Or so Mr. Jasper thought.
Sidney and her sister were slower to warm to Charlie. “We couldn’t believe he adopted another dog so soon,” Sidney said. But, if you know labs, they don’t take no for an answer. Heck, Charlie had no clue she didn’t measure up.
She was just herself, and that’s what won her over to the two grieving sisters. “Charlie is more like a dog,” Sidney laughed. “She’s so much fun to play with.” The girls had found a place in their hearts for Charlie, and their dad couldn’t have been happier.
After about a year, they noticed that Charlie began squinting a lot. She also had excessive mucus in her eyes. Thinking it was probably seasonal allergies, they tried treating Charlie’s eyes with eye drops, but it didn’t work.
Charlie’s condition worsened so much that Sidney’s vet recommended an eye specialist. It was there the family learned that Charlie had keratoconjunctivitis sicca, (KCS), or dry eye disease.
The tear film over Charlie’s eyes was deficient, as well as the tear film in the lining of her lids. As a result, the cornea, or transparent front part of her eyes, was severely dry, which caused inflammation. The conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye, also became chronically inflamed.
Despite the ulcers that formed and the constant irritation, Charlie stayed sweet, rambunctious, and lovable.
The problem was if a particle of dirt or dust got in her eye, her body had no way to remove it.
Charlie would blink furiously, pawing at her eyes, trying to remove the tiny speck. But the only thing it did was cause more irritation and more inflammation.
Can you imagine what it’s like to constantly feel that kind of pain? Charlie could never get away from it, but she didn’t let it stop her either.
The sisters kept up with the three eye ointments the vet specialist prescribed for Charlie, applying them three times each day, but they weren’t helping. In desperation, the vet added a fourth to the mix, but there was no change in her eye condition.
Finally, the veterinarian told Sidney that the only option left was surgery. He would re-route Charlie’s salivary glands to her eyes, or actually move the salivary glands to her eyes to provide the moisture she needs.
Although it won’t be Charlie’s own tears, the moisture will help relieve this painful condition, while still allowing her to have plenty of saliva for swallowing. The one drawback is that saliva causes a buildup of minerals. So, she will need some form of eye drops daily to prevent the mineral buildup.
Sidney is leaving for the Peace Corps in a few months, and she knew her dad could not afford the surgery. That’s when she got on the internet and began searching for help and found The Mosby Foundation.
Immediately, Sidney applied for assistance. When we read about this young dog’s plight, we wanted to help. At only three years old, Sidney certainly didn’t deserve to have a lifetime of pain that would eventually lead to blindness.
We began a fundraiser for Charlie, and our donors agreed with us. Charlie is now scheduled for surgery. “I’m so thankful for The Mosby Foundation and all they’ve done for my dad and Charlie,” Sidney told us. “I wanted to get this taken care of before I left for the Peace Corps. The Mosby Foundation has made that possible.”
As for Charlie, she doesn’t know that the torment she has suffered for half of her young life is about to end. Nor does she know that very soon, she won’t even think about her eyes. She won’t rub them endlessly because of the ulcers and inflammation.
The only day Charlie has is today with her family. That’s all she’s ever had. It’s her family that wants her to have a pain-free life. With the help of The Mosby Foundation, Charlie will get to roll in the dirt and never think twice about it.
And if dog’s could cry, Charlie would be shedding tears of joy!