Community News

Amelia’s Journey to Health and Happiness

Oh My, she was cute! In spite of all her mats, the filth, and the smell, Amelia’s sweet personality was apparent from our first interaction with this little terrier mix. It didn’t take much detective work to figure out that the awful smell was emanating from her badly infected ear, which looked more like a piece of cauliflower than a body part . Her head tilt and constant scratching communicated her painful state. Amelia was a stray but we had previous history on her and knew she was about 14 yrs. After the required 5 day hold for strays was up and her owner had not come forward, Amelia became ours and her LONG journey of healing began!  . 

Since her ear was so badly infected and had been this way for a long time, the first step in the process was to combat the painful infection and abscess.  Her ear was completely filled with polyps and pus, so we could not medicate it externally. Our only option was to treat her systemically with antibiotics and antifungal medications. We did this for months. While some improvement could be seen, due to the extent of the damage from long term infection,  it was ultimately decided that surgery was the only way to provide her with permanent healing and future comfort.  She needed a procedure called a TECA-BO, a very extensive and specialized surgery which entails removing the entire ear canal and middle ear. For a 14 yr. old dog with a heart condition, this was risky but it had to be done! 

During those first four months of initial treatment, Amelia made a LOT of friends in the shelter.  As her treatment began to provide some relief, we began to notice a bounce in her step. She started playing with toys, and looked forward to walks and attention from staff and volunteers. Few dogs could match her growing positive attitude towards life! 

Mary, a longtime Key West resident who had adopted from us many years before, learned about Amelia and wanted to help her.  She was no longer living in the Keys but still had strong family ties and good friends here. She was a very kind and generous person who was willing to do whatever Amelia needed. She sounded like the perfect medical foster home. She also was very open to the idea of eventually making Amelia hers if all went well. Given Amelia’s age and heart condition, Mary knew she could be risking heartbreak if the surgery wasn’t successful but her emotional courage and kindness won out. She drove down and picked up Amelia before her surgery, giving them time to get to know each other before the stress of the surgery. During the following weeks, she made multiple trips (4.5 hrs. each way!) to ensure that Amelia got every bit of  care she needed.  

To everyone’s great relief, Amelia came through her surgery with flying colors. She has recovered fully and her ear has healed. She can’t hear a thing but that hasn’t stopped her from having the best life ever. She has multiple soft beds, her favorite over-sized  toys she loves to play with, and a wonderful human who loves her very much! We got a call from Mary recently who described her life at that moment:  the sun was shining, the breeze was perfect, and she was enjoying her morning coffee on the back porch with Amelia close by her side. We hold that image like gold in our minds!  

We are so grateful to Mary and to everyone else who helped make this very happy Rescue Tale. This includes FKSPCA staff and volunteers, the dedicated medical professionals, and of course,  the generous people who support us and enable us to go the distance for animals in need like Amelia. None of this would have happened without you!