The Story Of Dexter
By Karen Robertson
Administrative Assistant II
On September 4, 2009, an 8-week-old Jack Russell Terrier Mix was owner-surrendered to the pound.
It was obvious, upon first glance, that this little fellow had some physical disabilities, in that his back legs were all wobbly. Even though he could jump around, he could not stand on his back legs for long and looked like a frog from the back when moving around. However, he did not appear to be in any pain and was hopping around, wagging his tail and when picked up, would just cuddle up to your neck.
The shelter vet did a cursory examination and determined that he did not have any knee caps in his back legs and may have a hip displacement and recommended euthanasia.
Chief Kilgore, seeing my anguish at the thought of this little guy being euthanized, gave me permission to take the dog to another vet for a second opinion and an x-ray.
Chief Kilgore also let me keep the dog in my office. Dexter had a huge crate to sleep in at night; during the day he was out in the office playing with a little kitten that was also housed in my office. The two became inseparable.
In the meantime, a young lady came into the pound with friends who were adopting a cat and immediately fell in love with Dexter and wanted to take him home. I told her what was wrong with him and that I was going to take him for a second opinion and would call her with the results and then let her decide.
On Sept. 8, I took Dexter to the vet. They did an x-ray and determined that he, indeed, did not have any kneecaps in the back legs and his muscles had not developed properly; however, his hips were in place. Upon researching his condition, the vet gave a diagnosis of possible hereditary ataxia; which, although not common, is seen in Jack Russells and smooth-haired Fox Terriers and is a degenerative disorder (similar to cerebral palsy in humans). This vet also recommended euthanasia because, in her opinion, Dexter’s quality of life would deteriorate as he grew older, in that he would not be able to support his body and could develop sores from not being able to move.
I called the young lady who wanted Dexter and advised her of the doctor’s opinion. She stated she wanted him anyway to give him as much love and as good a life as possible that he had left.
It turns out this young lady is a special education teacher and deals with children with special needs. Chief Kilgore authorized her adoption of Dexter, at no cost, and also advised that when the time came that Dexter’s quality of life had deteriorated significantly, that she could bring him back to us for euthanasia.
Dexter and his new mom went home together on September 8.