born with congenital cricopharyngeal asynchrony, an incurable genetic disorder
in which muscles in the digestive system don’t work properly.
three-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever from Southampton, Hampshire,
couldn't swallow due to this.
advised that Lily be put down but she defied the odds, survived and has helped
more than 100 people as a therapy pet.
lived a healthy life after her owner, Laura Hamilton (72), decided not to
follow the advice of vets who said she should either be euthanized or spend the
rest of her life connected to a feeding tube.
the retired English teacher found a way to keep her beloved pooch alive.
was no way I was losing her and I wasn’t going to hook her up to a feeding tube
either. I would’ve compromised her fun and she most likely would’ve got
found she could keep Lily healthy and happy by keeping her hydrated at all
started mixing the dog’s meals with excess water three times a day, while also
feeding her small pieces of frozen dog food.
started feeding her, sometimes the food would go down all the way, sometimes
she would swallow it and it would sit in the oesophagus and sometimes it didn’t
go down at all.
trial and error until I found something that worked.
prepare three bowls of food every night and put them in the fridge so that
they’re moist enough for her the next day.”
only managed to stay healthy but became a therapy dog and has visited 125 kids
and adults in hospitals.
really thriving. I was advised to put her to sleep at 10 weeks old and I’m glad
I didn’t. Now she’s paying for her miracle by enhancing the lives of all these
kids and adults,” Laura said.
does experience some side effects, but luckily they’re not life-threatening. She
still has swallowing difficulties from time to time and winds up coughing up
also has to be careful about what her pooch finds to eat because anything other
than moist food can kill her.
always have to listen to the noises she’s making because she’ll usually cough
something up once a week.
scary when she tries eating something on the street. If I don’t get it out of
her right away, she can die.”
fully grown and turns four in May but she only weighs 23,5kg, which is 4,5kg
less than her mother, Pilot. Lily’s
impressive track record indicated to her owner that she’d make a good therapy
did the test at nine months to become a therapy pet, she fared much better than
Pilot, which Laura didn’t expect
past three years Lily has worked with children and adults with disabilities.
works incredibly well with the patients. When they see her, they’re delighted.”
miracle story has inspired Laura to write a book entitled Lily: One In A
Million, A Miracle Of Survival.
hopes it will encourage pet owners not to put their animals to sleep, even if
they suffer from an awful condition like Lily’s.
“I think this story will give hope to those
who are thinking of euthanizing their ill pet.”