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In Memoriam

September 6, 2022

In Memoriam? A Success Story? How about BOTH!

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Written by: Bob Guere

Received this from Zach today - as an addition to the website.  It’s a letter from Ollie’s adopted family.  I didn’t know Ollie’s story, but I do now, and like so many Mutt’s stories, this one is both triumph and sympathy.  Success and Memoriam.

~Your Humble Webmaster

Hi Zach,
I hope this email finds you and your Mutts doing well. Per your request, I have attached an article I wrote about Ollie, whom I adopted from you last April, who had hydrocephalus…I hope this is what you were looking for. I have also attached a few photos of her (two when we first brought her home and one right before we had to put her to sleep).
Be well,
Barb Kuhl
Hydrocephalus? In Dogs? By Barb Kuhl, 9-6-2013

Did you know that dogs can have hydrocephalus just like humans? I only know this because last year I adopted the cutest puppy named Olive Oyle from Marley’s Mutts and she had a condition called Hydrocephalus. It didn’t matter to me that she didn’t look “normal” because she was the darndest, cutest puppy I had ever seen. And I adopted her! On the spot!
I didn’t do much research on what hydrocephalus meant (swelling of the brain – see medical definition below), or how it was, or wasn’t treated (not easy or inexpensive to treat), or the life expectancy (often not good) of a dog with hydrocephalus because, you see, none of that mattered to me…I just knew I had to bring little “Ollie” (that’s what I called her) home to my family. They had NO IDEA that I was out on the town looking for a puppy. In fact, nor did I! But somehow Ollie and I found each other and I brought her home to everyone’s surprise and thus began an epic, passionate, hot, complicated and beautiful love affair – for a mere 4 months! And although this love affair never fizzled (like so many can when they start out with such a bang) it did end abruptly just like it started. And although she did break our hearts (she didn’t mean to) she gave us something none of us ever expected – the experience of caring for a special needs animal, who required treatment with kid gloves, constant cleanup (she never fully grasped the potty training thing, like most animals with hydrocephalus don’t) and unconditional love!!! I guess you could say we were all blindsided by Ollie.
My children DESPERATELY wanted to play with Ollie and rough house with her (like all young boys want to do with puppies) but we just couldn’t allow that, so they learned to be patient and calm with her. She was so goofy at times – she jumped like a bunny which we found EXTREMELY funny because she was adopted around Easter. And her eyesight wasn’t so good either. We would call her name and tell her to come and then stand very still like a tree and she would run right by us. Also, her head resembled a goat’s skull…very round on top with her eyes set far apart on the side of her head. And although she made us laugh, we never laughed at her nor at her “differences”. Instead, we embraced them.
I used to ask myself why people try and keep these kinds of sick animals alive, when their life expectancy is so poor. I now know the answer: because each and every one of these special needs animals has something to teach us and to give us. And my family and I were lucky enough to find out what exactly that was: patience, laugh at yourself, and love unconditionally! RIP Ollie. We miss you. Love, The Kuhl family


Hydrocephalus noun \-?se-f?-l?s\:
an abnormal increase in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranial cavity that is accompanied by expansion of the cerebral ventricles and often increased intracranial pressure, skull enlargement, and cognitive decline.
What causes hydrocephalus? Hydrocephalus can be congenital (i.e., the animal is born with the condition) or acquired, in which case the condition is acquired later in life due to some disease process that blocks normal drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The congenital form is seen most often in dogs with a shortened head and toy breeds.



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