This story seems like a metaphor, or a parable, about how something so small can become the most important thing in the world.
It’s also an extremely persuasive argument for giving your dog a tip-to-tail tick check — as well as a huge kiss — once an hour or so.
Ollie is a 10-year-old Sheltie who had been healthy, until recently. But after a mid-April camping trip with his humans, Ollie became lethargic and weak, and was having trouble walking.
The family’s usual veterinarian ran diagnostic tests, and tried out some medication. Ollie kept getting worse, and no one could figure out why or how to help him.
Ollie’s human sister Falline Fate-Meteney told a local Fox affiliate:
When his mobility was shot and he was paralyzed, it was just weird seeing him just laying there on the floor, knowing he had so much more life in him.
When Ollie couldn’t walk, and couldn’t use the bathroom on his own, his family brought him to an emergency veterinary clinic in their home town of Portland, Oregon. It was May 4; it had all happened very fast.
DoveLewis Animal Hospital veterinarian Adam Stone said to KPTV:
They finally decided they had reached their limit and it was time to help him pass.
Stone and veterinary extern Neena Golden rubbed Ollie’s head, and scratched behind his ears, as they comforted him before giving him the shot that would end his life.
And that’s when Golden discovered a lump, behind Ollie’s ear. It was a tick, that “had obviously been there for a while,” Stone said in a blog post published last week.
The first two images here are of the tick that was taken off Ollie:
Stone recalled learning about “tick paralysis” in veterinary school — it’s caused by a neurotoxin found in tick saliva. (These are horrible creatures, ticks.)
Stone told Ollie’s family that if the tick was causing Ollie’s paralysis, the symptoms should get better within a few days of the tick’s removal. Ollie was shaved down and checked thoroughly for more ticks, too.
Instead of losing their dog that night, the family brought Ollie home, with “a huge amount of hope.” Falline told us in an email. “It was like prayers were being answered before our eyes.”
Ollie was walking around again, just 10 hours later.
“His owners said they heard his nails clicking on the floor,” said DoveLewis spokesperson Alaina Buller.
And, thank dog, this lucky boy is still well.
It’s been three weeks and according to Falline:
[Ollie] is doing amazing. My family and I are so so grateful and happy that all of the stress is past.
If there’s one big lingering effect, it’s that Ollie’s haircut hasn’t quite grown out.
And to keep the worst in the past, the family told Fox they will be giving their beloved Ollie a more powerful tick prevention treatment, from now on.
Stay well, Mr. Olliedog.
And all you guys reading this and weeping a little at this scarily-close call — go give your dogs a big hug (if they like hugs) and then please talk to your vet to make sure your pups are getting the right tick prevention measures.
Featured image via DoveLewis