Update: Jan, 2004. Here's another update from Bentley's foster mom. "Bentley still has his good days and bad. He is still having leg spasms which cause him to collapse. The last tests that were taken were very expensive and inconclusive, so we are going to try him on anti-seizure medication to see if that clears up the spasms. If not, I will bring him back to the vets to see what other kinds of tests can be done to determine the cause, but I recognize that we might never know."
"In spite of his problems, he is a very happy little boy - he just loves to play with his stuffed animals and challenge me to a game of tug-of-war with his rope. He has become "toy possessive" and doesn't like any of the other dogs going near his toys, especially his favorite hedgehog. His playfullness may actually be part of his problem. It's sometimes difficult to balance his desire to play like other young terriers with his need for rest due to his back injuries. Occasionally, he plays too hard and pays the price, which is obvious to us when he begins to hunch his back and then hides under the bed. During those times, I must confine him to his crate for a couple of days for rest, which he no longer appreciates after enjoying so much freedom in our home. A day or two of rest, however, usually is all he needs to begin feeling frisky again."
Here are a couple of new pictures of Bentley. In the second picture, Bentley is sharing a blanket with his new friend, Shelby - a 9 lb. blind and deaf poodle.
Bentley had a very tough start in life, but he was so lucky to end up with a rescue group that was willing to invest the time, money, and love that he needed. We're thrilled that his foster family will be adopting him, so he will be able to stay in the home where he has thrived, and learned to trust humans once more.
We are also very greatful to the many wonderful people who have read Bentley's story and contributed money to help pay his very substantial vet bills. At this point, we've raised enough money (with a couple more checks that are anticipated to come in) to pay almost the entire bill. Consequently, we are closing the Bentley fund, with heartfelt thanks to Bentley's friends all over the world.
Update: Dec. 9. Here's an update from Bentley's foster mom. "Bentley is having a good week. He has not had a collapse for about 8 days straight, but, at times, still shows signs of pain. He had to have pain medications two weeks ago, when he reinjured his lower spine. We did not see what brought on the sudden relapse, however, I'm just thankful that he was able to recover so quickly after a few days of complete rest."
Bentley's coat is growing back!
"Bentley is learning to enjoy stuffed animals, and, especially loves a little furry hedgehog (must be the terrier in him). It's possible that he might even have injured his back while attacking the little hedgehog. Bentley's excitement increases as he hears his prey squeak and tosses it into the air. We have also discovered that Bentley has become somewhat of a packrat, dragging my husband's socks into his favorite hiding places. He has obviously become very attached to my husband and is comforted by sneaking his socks into his bed, where he actually tucks them under his little mattress." "Bentley is just a real joy to have around."
Thanks to those of you who made contributions to the Bentley fund!
Bentley spent six painful and lonely years with his previous owners. Because they traveled frequently, he was boarded at their vet's every month for at least one week and received little socialization, let alone the love and pampering that all dogs deserves.
The lack of attention made potty training next to impossible for Bentley, for which he was severely punished. His owners decided a year ago that his life wasn't worth anything and they brought him to their vet with instructions to put him to sleep. He was only 5 years old at the time.
The owners claimed that Bentley was a biter and had bitten a neighbor and threatened their grandchildren. The vet was somewhat suspicious, as Bentley did not show signs of aggression during his many stays at their boarding facilities, however, recommended putting Bentley on Prozac. Bentley had a negative reaction to the Prozac and the dose was reduced, however, after six months, the owners returned to their vet and stated that Bentley had "pooped" in their kitchen without telling them that he needed to go out and they felt that he was just more "trouble than he is worth". Once again, they requested that Bentley be euthanized.
The vet asked the owner if he had attempted to contact any rescue groups to see if they might be willing to take Bentley, however, the owner replied that he contacted "all of them" and "no one wanted Bentley". It was obvious to the vet that this owner did not care for Bentley and he needed to find another home for him.
A caring vet technician offered to take Bentley home with her and help to find a rescue group that would save him. She contacted Small Dog Rescue and Humane Society and explained Bentley's situation and also mentioned that he had difficulty using his back legs, but when the owners were first questioned about this condition, they claimed that they had found Bentley and he "always had this 'problem'".
Small Dog Rescue and Humane Society took Bentley in and placed him in a caring foster home with one of their volunteers. His foster mom was very concerned about his difficulty in walking and brought him to the group's local vet for x-rays, which appeared to indicate that he had a ruptured disk. The vet suggested that he should have further tests with an Orthopedic Surgeon to determine if he could have surgery which would help him to regain full use of his legs.
After reviewing his case with a specialist, the tests showed that Bentley did not have a simple ruptured disk, but two fractures to his spine caused by a severe blow to his back. Considering the situation under which he lived, it was suspected that he may have been likely kicked for having an "accident" in the house - kicked hard enough to fracture his spine which caused compression on his spinal cord. The fracture was not new, but because Bentley did not receive any treatment for this and was forced to suffer alone with this painful fracture, it healed improperly and scar tissue was pressing on his spinal cord.
The surgery would be complicated but, without it, Bentley would almost certainly become completely paralyzed. His foster mom was fortunate enough to have Georgia Veterinary Specialists agree to do the surgery and arranged for financing allowing a monthly payment towards his outstanding bill. This allowed Small Dog Rescue time to try to raise "Bucks for Bentley's back".
The surgery has been done and now Bentley must be confined in to a crate for the next several months. He can only come out three times a day for limited exercise. His progress is slow and there have been some setbacks, but Bentley is a courageous little dog who continues to fight on.
It will be another two months before we will know for sure if Bentley will require more surgery and/or physical therapy in order to fully regain the use of his legs; however seeing how strong this little guy is, his foster mom feels the future is nothing but bright for Bentley.
Bentley is in the care of a wonderful small rescue group, and a foster home where his family is experienced in the care of disabled dogs. He was so fortunate to be taken in by this group even though he needed a lot of expensive care and help. We would like to help them with his surgery vet bills. They spent over $2000 on his vet care already. For any rescue groups, this is a huge amount of money - but for a small local group, it is almost impossible, but with the many caring silky terrier folks out there, we know we were able to help.
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