Esther's Second Surgery
Added to web site on May 6, 2007

Esther had her second surgery Wednesday, May 2 2007.  Here are some pictures and a progress report. 

Trudy went to Veterinarian Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove to pick Esther up on Thursday, the day after her surgery.  Lisa of Veterinarian Speciality Center brings Esther to Trudy.  Check out the newly-straightened right leg!

Lisa and Trudy discussing Esther's condition and care.  Esther listens in to make sure everyone gets the story straight!

Esther showing off her newly-straightened right front leg.

Esther gives Trudy a big Doggy kiss.

Esther shows off her newly-straightened leg (again).

Esther with Dr. Gendreau and Trudy.

Two weeks after the second surgery, the stitches from this surgery can be removed.  Five weeks after the 2nd surgery, Esther will return to the clinic for evaluation.  Depending on her progress, either the hardware will be removed from both legs (a screw and wires are used to help maintain things in their proper position), or her hardware will be adjusted, then removed a few weeks later.  Physical therapy will likely follow.

In the meantime, Trudy will monitor Estther's condition and she will manually help keep Esther's joints loose.

Dr. Gendreau is pleased with Esther's progress.  After a couple of days to recover from the surgery, Esther is her perky self again!

Esther's surgeries have been successfully completed. Thank you for your help!

Periodically staff members from Heartland go to high kill shelters to save animals that would otherwise be euthanized.  While we normally rescue animals in excellent health and with high adoptability potential, every once in a while there is a cat or dog who just tugs at the heartstrings and, though we know we have an uphill battle ahead of us, we feel we must take in so they have a second chance at life. On Tuesday, March 27, 2007 that special animal was a three month old Spaniel/Dachshund mix puppy rescued from Chicago Animal Care and Control that we have named Esther.

Our staff couldn't resist rescuing three month old little Esther. With the saddest look on her face and her backward twisted front legs, it was hard to just walk away and leave her sitting alone in her cage.  We knew we were getting into something way over our heads, but in rescuing pets that is the risk we often take.   We were working on faith that friends of animals like yourself would have wanted us to rescue her. We jump in the lake not knowing sometimes if we can swim and now we need your help in staying afloat.

Claude Gendreau, DVM, a veterinary orthopedic surgeon at the Veterinarian Speciality Center in Buffalo Grove has agreed to perform surgery to save darling Esther's legs.  Dr. Gendreau rarely sees cases that are as bad as this poor little puppy's but he feels confident in being able to restore Esther's legs so that she may walk.  He is well-known and highly regarded as one of the best vets specializing in orthopedic and neurosurgery and has graciously agreed to perform this procedure at a significantly reduced rate.  (Thanks, Dr. Gendreau!)  However, even after a hefty discount the price for this extensive surgery is very high and doesn't take into account any physical therapy or follow-up care that Esther will most definitely need.  We face an even greater obstacle because surgery needs to be performed by the end of April before Esther has another growth spurt and her bones become locked in their current positions and are beyond repair.  This surgery is now or never.

Being a not-for-profit animal shelter means that money is always tight and we rely very heavily on monetary donations from the public.  There is absolutely no way the shelter can scrape together enough money for Esther's surgery in such a short amount of time so we once again turn to the public and ask for your help in making our dream of a happy, running and jumping Esther come true.  We have set up a savings fund for Esther's surgery and sincerely hope our Heartland Heros will generously donate whatever they can to help save this adorable puppy's legs.

You can make your tax-deductible contribution to Esther's care via PayPal or mail a check or money order to:

"Esther's Surgery Fund" has been closed - Thanks everybody!

In either case, Heartland will mail your receipt to you.  You may purchase multiples to achieve different dollar amounts.  Please donate if you are able to, even if it's just a few dollars.  Esther depends on YOU!  Thanks!!!

If you would like to download an 8 1/2 x 11" poster describing Esther's situation, for your own use or to post so others can know about Esther's situation, click here:  Esther's Poster

Heartland Animal Shelter is grateful for all of the contributions that have been made for Esther's special needs.  The response from the community for our special girl has touched everyone at Heartland. 
It is not possible to predict exactly how much her special care will ultimately cost.  Dr. Gendreau advises us that a third surgery may be necessary and physical therapy will also be needed.  We will close the fund if & when we are reasonably confident her extraordinary costs will be covered.  If there are any "left over" funds, Heartland Animal Shelter will put them aside for future "special needs" animals.  Thank you.
This page is dedicated to Esther, the Cocker Spaniel/Dachshund puppy born with deformed front legs, along with all the people who are stepping forward to help her, physically, emotionally and financially.  Heartland Animal Shelter is grateful to everyone who is making it possible for this brave little puppy to receive the care and love she needs to overcome her hurdles.

We will follow Esther's progress on this web page with words and pictures.  Please stop by from time to time to "check up" on Esther.

May 6, 2007:
Esther had her 2nd surgery on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 and went back to her foster home on Thursday, 5/3.  Look below for a report on her second surgery..

September, 2007
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!  Thanks to the generosity of so many people, Esther has had her final surgery.  She is now doing her "physical therapy", strengthening her legs and learning to walk in a more normal fashion.  "Esther's Surgery Fund" is now closed and her bills are paid!  But there are always other animals that need special care, so the Dr Do More fund was established.
Esther's First Surgery
Added to web site on April 15, 2007

Esther had her first surgery last Friday (April 13, 2007) and these are some pictures taken on that day.

Her 1st leg is 75% turned around.  She will have her other leg operated on in about 2-3 weeks and then her first leg may need a 2nd surgery in about 6 weeks. 

Trudy is Esther's "Foster Mom" and is seen bringing her in for her first surgery.

Dr. Gendreau with Esther on the day of the first surgery.  (By the way, Dr. Gendreau, "Labrador Dali" says Hi!  and thanks for the fine job on the double hip operation (FHO) almost 6 years ago.  Dali is swimming, running, playing flyball, canoeing and doing animal assisted therapy work as if she were born with perfect hips!)

Esther after the operation.  Sure looks like a big doggy smile on her face!  Do you think she somehow knows how many people are cheering for her?

Stay tuned for news as it happens!

May 4, 2007:
Esther had her 2nd surgery on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 and went back to her foster home on Thursday, 5/3.  Esther's page will be updated this weekend with pictures and a report on her progress (don't worry - she's doing well!).

May 20, 2007
To date, Esther has had two surgeries and will likely have one or two more.  She is doing very well and, with her foster mom Trudy, is working on rehab with the guidance of Dr. Gendreau (Dr. Gendreau has performed the surgeries on Esther).  During a recent TTouch seminar at Heartland, Kathy Kawalec of Dancing Hearts offered additional suggestions for Esther's rehab and DoxieDelight has contributed a custom-made "Hug-a-Dog" harness for Esther.
Esther at TTouch Seminar
On May 6, 2007, Kathy Kawlec of Dancing Hearts presented two TTouch seminars.  During the course of the day, Trudy brought Esther over for a little TTouch.  Kathy gave Trudy some hints on the use of TTouch for Esther's rehab.
Esther at Golf Mill Shopping Center
On May 2 , Trudy brought Esther to Heartland's Outreach Center to meet the public.  Esther had a great time, meeting people and dogs, practicing her new walking skills, using her "Hug-a Dog" harness from DoxieDelight and generally having an enjoyable afternoon out.  Here are a few pictures. 

Esther is learning how to use both her front and rear legs.  Before her front legs were corrected, she adopted to her "configuration" by walking on the lower portion of her rear legs.  She is now learning how to straighten her rear legs, while developing muscles in all four legs. 

Esther Swims and Goes For a Walk
On June 10th, Esther showed off her swimming and walking for the camera.  It was a beautiful Sunday morning and Esther apparently was enjoying her physical therapy!

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