Meet Herman…

Herman sitting, miserable, in the shelter

This was my first introduction to Herman. I received a request for a “depressed, elderly” Chihuahua rescue from a shelter in another town. I could tell from the picture that he had inflamed, itchy skin and yucky teeth. My heart was indeed touched as I am a lover of Chihuahua’s independent natures, preference for a deep attachment to one person, and their tiny little lap-perfect bodies. I am not a fan of their horrible teeth issues and overall health issues that require lots of vet visits, and, at that moment,  I was elbow deep into Blue’s rescue and simply could not be involved in taking in another rescue. I was seriously considering a “No” on this one because I simply did not have another ounce of myself to give toward while I was caught up in the whirlwind of getting ourselves ready for Blue and getting him transported from Florida.

But that face….I couldn’t stop thinking about that little cell he was in and how miserable he looked. Fortunately for Herman, he had an angel facilitating his release, Ms. Carla, who initially contacted me and was ready to get him out of the shelter pending my yes. I agreed to accept him if someone could hold onto him for a week and preferably get him his first vet visit. Once I got Blue home, I could then focus on welcoming Herman and getting him settled in.

Herman after tick and flea removal

Ms. Carla got him to the vet to be boarded for a week and got the masses of fleas and ticks removed. You can tell from the photo above that his skin already looked less angry and he looks less sad. I am so appreciative that there are folks willing to help in any way possible to rescue these little souls even if he or she cannot take them in. Giving of one’s time and resources and transporting are all extremely necessary in rescue work. Not everyone can provide the home.  If she would not have arranged to have him boarded and vetted for that week while I got Blue settled in, Herman would have probably been another sad statistic. Instead, he is now at LWH and has firmly laid claim to a chunk of my heart….

Herman's happy ending

He is so sweet! I already love him so dearly. I simply cannot believe that I almost said no to this baby. He has several little idiosyncrasies that are so endearing. He gets very excited so see me, hates doggy doors, loves feeding time, and, most recently, has begun to enjoy toys, especially the beaver toy in the picture above. When I first got him, he wouldn’t lie on beds. It was almost as if he didn’t know what to do with something soft or that they weren’t for him. Now, he loves his soft, fluffy bed. He had the same indifference to toys. He simply didn’t seem to know what to do with them. Now he attacks his beaver and throws it around. It is so rewarding to look at his before picture and then see him sleeping soundly in his comfy bed snoring away.

In speaking of his snoring, Herman has a real medical issue that causes it. He has a large hole, or fistula, in the roof of his mouth affecting his nasal passage. Here is some info from PetMD describing a fistual, it’s causes and treatment:

Symptoms of an oronasal fistula include a chronically runny nose, with or without bleeding, and persistent sneezing.

These types of fistulas are caused by the diseased condition of any tooth in the upper jaw. The most common location for an oronasal fistula is where the root of the fourth premolar on the upper jaw enters the palate.

This condition will need to be surgically corrected to prevent food and water from passing from the mouth into the nasal cavity. If this should occur, it will cause irritation of the nose, runny nose, inflammation of the sinuses, infection, and possibly pneumonia.

Anatomy of a health nose

Oronasal fistula

He does have trouble with the fistula when he eats or drinks, and I can tell it bothers him. He had a dental last week and that was when we discovered it. They attempted to repair it, and he will be on antibiotics long-term in an attempt to heal it.  Ideally, he would have it surgically repaired. In the meantime, we will watch him closely. The long-term concerns are food and water getting into his respiratory tract and causing inflammation, infection, or pneumonia. He also is a difficult anesthesia patient. He refuses restraint to the point of turning blue in his attempt to avoid it, and he must be anesthetized in a different manner than our veterinarian would prefer. Because of the drug combination that we had to use for him, he had a harder time post-surgery, so we don’t want to put him under unless it is absolutely necessary.

I would love to take him to a specialist, but that option is not in his immediate future. What I can promise him is that he is loved, no more parasites will be overtaking his little body, and food, warmth, and companionship will be plenty as long as we have the pleasure of his company at LWH. Welcome Herman–We love you!


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