Happy Thanksgiving! There's no turkey or pies in the oven, no family coming, I have new pups and can't travel but I have so much to be thankful for, it's the best holiday I can remember. Yesterday morning, I thought I'd be burying my Starla. 

Starla came to me by pure chance. I was acquiring a couple champion females from another breeder, but she brought along little Starla, as an afterthought. If I wanted her, OK, if not, maybe I knew someone who would. I opened the crate and out ran the most adorable corgi I've ever seen... all 14 lb of her! It was love at first sight! I love all my corgis but there was something special about her, so I quickly loaded up and left, before someone changed their mind!

During those first few weeks Starla had a few problems... an abscessed tooth, a bad tapeworm infestation, underweight, poor coat, but aggressive treatment cleared up the infection and worms. Wellness got her weight back up (to a whopping 18 lb), Maxi-Derm made her dull coat shed and her new coat was thick and luxurious. Every night she slept with me or in her little bed next to mine. She went everywhere I went and was always the center of attention.

2 nights ago, I got up to use the restroom at 4 a.m. and discovered Starla cold and stiff. It was a cold night so I tucked her in with me, but she couldn't seem to get comfortable. Up and down, quarter turns or pushing the covers with her nose. Something was not right! A few hours later when I got up, I gently sat her on the floor and she collapsed. I carried her out into the sunshine and got her walking, but she "pranced", took off running and collided into the horse trailer. I called to her but she seemed not to hear me. Unbelievably, she seemed blind and deaf! I offered her water, which she tried to drink but couldn't swallow. She also seemed dehydrated. I tried to open her mouth to squirt some Pedialite in, but her jaw was locked tight! Could this be....Tetanus? I threw her in the truck and literally flew down the mountain to the vet. As I lifted her out of the truck, she "swam". I was terrified! 

Blood tests showed a high white count but x-rays revealed nothing. Her heart rate was low and her blood pressure high, plus her loss of vision indicated she had pressure inside her skull. We also discovered she'd lost her automatic reflexes. The vet was stumped and called a neurologist who said to bring her in immediately. I prayed every minute of that hour drive to San Diego.

The neurologist hooked up an IV, gave her medicine to reduce the pressure in her skull and questioned me thoroughly... no access to medicines, horse wormers or rat poison, nothing new in her diet, etc. They wanted to do an MRI, spinal tap and put her in ICU overnight, but said her prognosis was very poor. She was one sick dog. She either had a brain tumor or lesion, or a brain infection. The $3,600 estimate covered the consult, diagnosis, and a few medicines only. The cost of surgery or treatment would be added to that. As much as I love my corgis, I am a widow on disability, so the course of action they advised was impossible. I asked what the treatment would be, assuming it was the lessor of the evils...an infection... and was told steroids and antibiotics were called for. I could do that at home. I was advised she would probably die, but if she survived, her recovery would be long and expensive and she'd probably never regain her sight or be like she was before. The option of putting her down was offered and several friends urged me to, but I'm not one to give up without a fight. She's so young, not even 2, so otherwise healthy with a long life ahead of her! I decided to gamble that it was an infection, asked for those meds, paid the (large) bill and took my little girl home. I just couldn't imagine her not living, but felt if she didn't make it, at least she'd die on the ranch she loved, warm and loved and surrounded by her corgi family.

Starla was so sick, the sickest dog I'd ever seen! She was stiff, couldn't stand, couldn't see, but at least she could swallow a little now. I gave her the meds and tucked her under the heated blanket with me and a couple of her corgi friends. She laid so still all night I couldn't tell if she was sleeping soundly or getting worse. I just stoked her soft fur and prayed. At 5 a.m. I gave her another dose of steroids and antibiotics and we went back to sleep.

At 7:30 I opened my eyes to discover Starla sitting up, LOOKING at me! I waved my hand, which she followed with her eyes... she could see! I gently sat her on the floor and she didn't collapse. She walked, very unsteady at first, but got stronger throughout the morning. She stopped "prancing". By noon she was eating, drinking, then going up and down the steps. In the afternoon we went to town and she jumped in and out of the truck! I was stunned! She was alert and animated, as usual. How could a corgi be on death's door one day, with a swollen brain, blindness, and given almost no chance of meaningful recovery, and completely normal the next day? It was obviously an infection since it responded to the treatment, but where would she contract a brain infection? The vets have no clue either, but I think we received a Thanksgiving miracle! The one question I keep asking myself is this...what if I'd taken the advice to put her to sleep? This has taught me two important lessons in dealing with my corgis. I know them better than anyone so, despite advice to the contrary, I should trust my gut feeling. Second... despite their training, education and well intentions, Vets don't know everything! Love and prayer can be powerful medicine!

So, from me and Starla, and my corgi family.... Happy Thanksgiving! 



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After getting home from a Thanksgiving gathering I stumbled upon your story- I'm very happy for you. Trying to imagine a similar scenario involving one of our three Corgis made me sad, but you reminded me that one must never give up on someone they love. I wish you many happy years with Starla.

Tony Herrman

Aww happy thanksgiving!  Love the story!  I believe in trusting gut instinct and prayers!  I've had two dogs who escaped surgery and the jaws of death this way!

Yeah for Starla and her amazing "mom"!!!! What a great outcome and a true reason to give Thanks!

Oh, good. I'm so happy everything worked out for you and Starla! She's so cute <3

I'm gald you got a Thanksgiving miracle! Happy belated Turkey Day:P

That is the best Thanksgiving ever!

Your story had me sitting on the edge of my seat. How terrifying! I'm so glad she's better now. She's so lucky to have you in her life. Which vet did you go to? Sidney had his surgery at the veterinary hospital off Clairmont Mesa Blvd and I-163.

Hi Geri & Sydney-

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, that was terrifying! The vet neurologist was off Mira Mesa. They said it could be a brain tumor or infection, wanted over $3K for tests and overnight care, even then, if it was a tumor, no way could I have afforded surgery. They didn't think she'd live anyway and everyone was telling me to put her to sleep. I gambled it was infection, got steroids and antibiotics, collected my dog and took her home. Good thing I'm a rebel! Makes me shudder at the alternative! She is so normal now it's amazing! Can't understand why I keep kissing that foxy nose of her's! What a miracle! Thanks again, Diana & Starla (and the Indian Oaks "pack") PS: cute boy! 

What a story!  I am so thankful that your instincts took over and you took your girl home to care for on your own.  You both are very brave and blessed!

Happy late thanksgiving glad things are getting better:))) 

Thank you! We just adore Sid. His veterinary surgeon was Dr. Tarvin at VCA Animal Specialty Group. MY husband and I drove through Anza once, it is a lovely little place. I'm up in north county. Do you know about the San Diego Corgi meetup group? We have several meetups all over San Diego.



Give Starla a hug from me :)

I am tearfully joyed for Starla and you. Thank god for our intuition and gut feelings. So happy she is better. Wish they could figure out what it was. Very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Get better and stronger Starla.

PrAise God!!! what a marvelous story!! I believe you did get a miracle...


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