Blind Shih Tzu Stevie has eye treated for infections

2/2/2013
BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dr. Jeanne Schmidlin, left, and veterinary tech Sarah Wright of Toledo Pet Farm comfort Stevie, a Shih Tzu who came into the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office with severely infected eyes.
Dr. Jeanne Schmidlin, left, and veterinary tech Sarah Wright of Toledo Pet Farm comfort Stevie, a Shih Tzu who came into the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office with severely infected eyes.

A neglected, blind Shih Tzu that Toledo police found wandering on Magnolia Street on Sunday has a new lease on life, courtesy of Cutie’s Fund.

The small dog, which Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle has named Stevie, had eyes so severely infected that both had to be removed; one eyeball was partially hanging from its socket when the dog was found.

No owner has come in to the Lucas County dog warden to claim the dog, who had not received proper grooming or veterinary care.

“He was likely in a lot of pain and hadn’t been able to see for quite some time,” said Dr. Jeanne Schmidlin, who performed the surgery Thursday at the Toledo Pet Farm.

Besides his eye problems, Stevie had a heart murmur that should be treatable with medication, the veterinarian said. The dog will need to be on antibiotics for several weeks, she said, noting that the stitches around his eyes will eventually be removed.

“Dogs who can’t see can get along just fine. He just needs a loving home where they don’t move the furniture around,” Dr. Schmidlin said.

She added that blind dogs learn where things are in their homes and become disoriented by changes.

Dr. Schmidlin performed the surgery, which would normally cost about $1,500, at a major discount, said Ms. Lyle.

“She is donating her time and half of the supplies,” Ms. Lyle said.

The dog, whose claws were so long that they nearly curled into his paw pads, is estimated to be about 8 years old. He will be transferred to one of several rescue groups with which the county pound works, and he will be fostered until he recovers and is able to go up for adoption. The pound is still looking for an approved transfer partner to take the dog, Ms. Lyle said.

Cutie’s Fund, a donation fund the pound set up to aid dogs that need emergency care, allowed Dr. Schmidlin to give Stevie the help he needed. The dog warden’s office has taken in more than $34,500 since starting fund-raising Nov. 28 for Cutie’s Fund, an effort to help dogs that come into the pound with high-cost medical needs.

The fund has been helping dogs like its namesake, a Chihuahua brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in her birth canal. The emergency-care bill for Cutie was more than $1,400.

Veterinary tech Sarah Wright comforts Stevie, a Shih Tzu who came into the Lucas County Dog Warden with two severely infected eyes, after they were removed Thursday at Toledo Pet Farm.
Veterinary tech Sarah Wright comforts Stevie, a Shih Tzu who came into the Lucas County Dog Warden with two severely infected eyes, after they were removed Thursday at Toledo Pet Farm.

“We have spent $2,556 to repair three broken legs and a broken jaw, and have not yet been billed for another two broken legs, a parvo treatment, and the bilateral eye removal,” Ms. Lyle said.

The first $5,000 in public donations was matched by Block Communications Inc. parent company of The Blade. The fund was seeded with a $5,000 donation from John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, and Allan Block, chairman of BCI.

Donations have trailed off since the first of the year, Ms. Lyle said.

“I think a lot of people were donating in December for tax purposes,” Ms. Lyle said. “But dogs need help year-round.”

By contributing to Cutie’s Fund, animal lovers can make tax-deductible gifts to help with emergency and life-saving care and for the hospitalization of sick, injured, or mistreated dogs assisted by the dog warden’s office.

Donations may be made in person or mailed to the Lucas County Dog Warden, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, 43604, or online at tinyurl.com/CutiesFund. Checks should be made payable to the Lucas County Dog Warden with “for Cutie’s Fund” specified on the memo line.

Blade animal welfare reporter Tanya Irwin adopted Cutie from the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office via the department’s regular adoption process.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.