Wendy and Phil Sandstrom love their Labs. Beautiful black Labs, to be specific. Wendy says their 11-year-old Mesa “is a big . . . beautiful . . . she has me wrapped. We’re so proud. We love her so much.”
Mesa joined the family at just six weeks old, not long after the family had lost two beloved Labs at age 13. “We put a new section on Parkway Vet with the bills from them,” says Wendy bubbling with characteristic humor.
“She was an ADORABLE puppy,” Wendy continues, “and she didn’t go through what the others did, with all those typical Lab maladies.”
Mesa has grown up spending every other week in Cannon Beach, “chasing the ball . . . running . . . swimming,” says Wendy. “She’s my dog. I spoil her. And now she’s getting all white!” Her voice going thick, Wendy adds, “I know we’re going to lose her before too long . . . . We don’t want her to have any pain. We’ve spent tons keeping her teeth in shape. She’s been through a lot — we’ll see something and we take her in. She’s been a joy for the last 11 years.”
Six to eight months ago Wendy noticed “Mesa was panting constantly. She hadn’t been running; it wasn’t hot. During the night there she was: panting.”
“We knew about CVRC through Dr. Steve at Parkway. He said we needed to take her there as he thought her trouble had to do with her larynx. They said yes, it did, that she had laryngeal paralysis. Then they said, ‘Here’s what we can do: we can make an incision and open up her throat, then take a piece [of the larynx] and tie it to the side.’ They said that without the procedure, Mesa wouldn’t live through the summer UNLESS she did no swimming, was in an air-conditioned house at all times . . . just all these limitations,” explains Wendy.
“We put everything into the doctor,” Wendy continues. “He’s quirky, and not always in [the hospital], but he’s honest and we trust him completely.”
The Sandstroms have a home in Bend, and Wendy says Mesa loves to hike, swim, play ball (“We have to say just ‘B’ or she gets all wound up,” Wendy laughs, adding that, yes, treats are also referred to on the down-low, as “T’s.”)
“So, we said, ‘Let’s do this.’ I don’t think we even knew the cost. It was just a matter of getting the doctor in there. He comforted me — I was a weepy mess. All the thoughts that I might lose her . . . under the knife . . . with anesthesia . . . maybe they find something else while they’re in there. I was a wreck.”
But Mesa came through with flying colors, and soon after returning home, “She perked right up!” Wendy says happily. “Her larynx has been paralyzed — frozen. The opening was so small, she couldn’t breathe! And while she still can’t swim — there’s a huge risk of pneumonia in the event water is ingested into the lungs — she’s so comfortable now. ‘I can breathe! I can eat!’ Wendy interprets Mesa’s much improved and happier state these days, underscoring that the beneficial changes surely outweigh the loss of swim time.
“We owe it to Cascade,” says Wendy. “I was overjoyed to have our dog back. Without this procedures we would’ve lost her — it worked!”
“She’s 11 and old and getting around and enjoying life,” Wendy muses happily. “It’s such a blessing she pulled through.’
“Portland has some of the best human and veterinary doctors,” she adds. “If one can’t handle something, there’s a group of really highly qualified vets and doctors — they know their stuff!”
In closing, Wendy says, “Mesa’s surgery was a lifesaver. It was worth every penny . . . every worry . . . everything we could put into this dog . . . “
“She’s a good girl.”
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