After their dog Henry passed away unexpectedly in February, Linda and Jim Hobgood thought they were doing their best to manage their grief, but Linda says their children, especially daughter Jenny, thought otherwise. Jenny visited the Richmond SPCA on a tour the day before Good Friday. It was a dog she saw in the care of our veterinary services team that led her to call her mother.
"You don't have to keep her," Jenny assured Linda, knowing their memories of Henry were still fresh and painful. "She just needs a temporary foster home until her eye surgery."
She was a little white dog who was named Sassy by our staff. Some might call her a designer dog or a cocktail breed. Sassy had come a long way to catch Jenny's eye and trigger that call to Linda. Found on the streets of Los Angeles County, she had a bruised shoulder, dislocated kneecap, ear infection, flea infestation and green discharge from her right eye when she arrived at an already overcrowded California municipal shelter. Her fortunes changed when she was placed on a van traveling across the country to the Richmond SPCA.
Linda and Jim met Sassy the Saturday before Easter, and our adoption center manager Carly Sgueo described the little dog's condition and the efforts of our veterinary services staff to return her to health. Typical treatments for Sassy's eye infection had been unsuccessful because the dog had no ability to produce tears in her right eye, leading to painful dryness and chronic infections. Linda says, "I began weeping and this trembling, white and caramel-colored little thing began licking the tears on my cheeks."
The Hobgoods agreed to two weeks of foster care until the date set for surgery on Sassy's right eye. It was on Easter that Jim began calling the little dog Lily. On Easter Monday, Linda felt it would be cruel to leave her home all alone and took Lily with her to class at the University of Richmond where she is the director of the Speech Center.
"No group of human beings can be more compassionate than college undergrads," Linda declared. "All through class they just stroked her trembling back and legs… until she drifted off to sleep on the lap of a kindly freshman."
Lily also worked wonders on visits with Linda's parents. "She took Dad's mind off his cancer and what lies ahead," she said.
The appointed day came for Lily to return to the Richmond SPCA for surgery. The procedure, called parotid duct transposition, was performed by Dr. Michael Blair at Animal Eye Care of Richmond thanks to the Cinderella Fund resources raised at the 2011 Fur Ball. The surgeon carefully dissected and moved the parotid duct so that Lily's salivary gland can replace her inadequate tear production with saliva to keep her eyes moist.
The Saturday after her successful surgery Lily became a permanent member of the Hobgood family. Linda emailed family and friends with the announcement of their new addition, which she closed with the observation, "They call her a rescue dog, but I'm not sure who rescued whom."
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of communications for the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our commenting guidelines.