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Speak St. Louis: Emergency Medical Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant money was used to help pay for a lifesaving surgery on a foster pup, Greta.

The grant contributed toward a successful craniotomy for Greta.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant helped save one precious life.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

We were asked to help Greta because she was deaf and because no one else would help. Dogs with special needs are not easily adoptable.

On the day of transport, we learned that Greta sometimes falls over because she was dropped as a puppy. As soon as we met her, we learned there has to be much more to Greta’s story than we will ever know.

She had suffered horrible physical trauma, enough so that two different veterinarians who examined her felt she had brain damage. She had multiple deep-tissue scars on her head and nose, a suspected broken rib, and her jaw had been displaced. These were the things we could physically see. Her foster parents helped her heal the inner, emotional scars. Thankfully, Greta is a forgiving sweet soul despite the awful trauma she endured at the hands of a monster.

Because of the pandemic, it took a while to get an appointment to see a neurologist, but we finally did. In the meantime, Greta developed a large mass at the base of her skull. At our appointment, the doctor felt her daily falling-over and rolling episodes appeared to be vestibular rather than brain damage; perhaps the bones in her inner ear could have been broken during her abuse. That would also explain why she is deaf.

This could not be determined without an MRI. Before an MRI and spinal tap could be performed, the mass needed to be aspirated. The results came back this week and while there is a little bacteria present that we are treating, the experts felt the mass is a seroma, which developed from severe head trauma. They were not even aware of Greta’s detailed history.

Thankfully, we had so much support for Greta and a village to be grateful for, starting with Dr. Shomper, a talented and trusted neurologist at VSS who performed a craniotomy; devoted and caring foster parents who had no idea whether Greta would ever live to see this day; and people who believed, as we did, that Greta deserved a chance at a happy and healthy life.

Greta’s surgery was in September and it is still surreal that we were able to make brain surgery for her chance at a better life a reality. Her foster parents struggled with having to keep Greta calm during several weeks of recovery. Finally, she was taken off crate restriction and Greta’s foster parents needed a respite during an out-of-town trip. Greta went to stay with a temporary foster home, one who knows and adores the Rottweiler breed, a home with two dogs, Parker and Petey, who happen to also adore Greta.

Then today, Greta saw Dr. Shomper again. While she still has some ataxia (weakness in her legs) and her gait can be a little wobbly, he thinks she looks fabulous and will keep improving. At this time, he sees no reason for any further follow-up appointments and that Greta can finally enjoy her puppyhood. She is doing exactly that in her temporary home, which is now her forever home! Her new mom has been teaching her sign language and Greta has learned that, besides life itself, playing ball is one of life’s other greatest gifts.

We are eternally grateful to everyone who made this day possible for Greta!

Further Reading