A brief history of a dog we so dearly love, after a long and hard history of medical issues she now lives the greatest life she could have ever imagined.
Leila was born.. well the truth is, we don’t really know when.. Let me give you some background, in the year 2000 we bought a black Labrador, who we named Milo, for my sister’s 4th birthday. Milo was a bit of a nightmare dog throughout his life, from humping all our guests to tracking down any human feces within a mile to roll in, or going on his solo road trips to go play in the traffic.
We still adored him, “as you do”, but he drove us so crazy we vowed never to get another dog! Sadly on 25th April 2013 Milo passed away. After mourning his death for a few weeks the house felt so empty without a dog that we began searching the web for a dog we liked the sound of, and settled on a Shih-Tzu!
As luck would have it, there was a Shih-Tzu breeder just down the road from us, so as soon as we could we went over to meet the mother who was due in two months time. This meant we would still have to wait 4 months to get our new dog! While the rest of the family patiently waited for this time to come, my mom decided to continue browsing the web, hoping to find another Shih-Tzu.
This is when she spotted Leila, being sold on the popular online shopping website “Gumtree” and ready to collect the following day! She immediately got in contact with the seller who requested that they meet at a petrol station to do the exchange. What could go wrong? My dad was concerned so he Googled “Gumtree and Century City petrol station”, only to find someone had gone to the same petrol station to meet a buyer for their car which was advertised on Gumtree. The buyer wanted to take the car for a test drive and drove the owner to a township where they murdered them! So we all climbed into the car and nervously drove to the station which was a good 30 minutes away.
After arriving we waited a few minutes before this small beaten up car pulled in next to us. A man stepped out of the car followed by a cloud of cigarette smoke, but there she was! Held in his right hand this minuscule animal. We all jumped out dying to hold her, and without batting and eyelid we handed the man the money and parted ways.
That night she slept next to Natasha suckling on her thumb, we quickly realized she was far younger than the “10 weeks” we had been told. A few days later we took her to the vet to have a checkup, the vet told us she was only about 5 weeks old but appeared healthy. A few weeks passed and we paid a visit to our local breeder who we were originally going to purchase the Shih-Tzu from. We brought Leila along so she could meet her! It was an exciting moment for all of us, as the new litter had only just been born.
Upon arrival, we walked up to Karen’s front door and were greeted. Karen glanced down at Leila walking beside us and immediately said.
“That’s not a Shih-Tzu, thats a Pekingese!”
We were in shock, having owned the dog for almost a month believing, and telling everyone that she was a Shih-Tzu to then find out she was a different breed. That night we rang my dad up to break the news, as he was in England at the time. He was lost for words, not only had we been lied to about her age but also her breed..
Leila’s medical issues
When Leila was nearing three months old we woke up one night at about 2am to find her gasping for air. She looked terrible and appeared to be clinging on for life. Terrified, we immediately raced her to the 24hr emergency vet! They placed her inside an oxygen box for the rest of the night until her breathing returned to normal and when we returned the next day she was full of life and running around the surgery. This was just the beginning of a journey that lasted almost six months!
Once home, Leila would slowly go downhill. We tried everything to help her breathe – my Dad even rubbed Vic on her chest, but after a week or so we would wake up in the middle of the night and have to rush her to the emergency vet to be put on oxygen.
We took her to a specialist to be examined, hoping there was nothing serious wrong with her. He told us that because she had been bred with such a short snout, she was suffering from Brachycephalic Syndrome where her airway was too small for her to breathe properly – a common condition in dogs with short snouts such as bulldogs. He said there was very little they could do to help as they could not operate until she was at least six months old, and even then the chances of her surviving the operation were incredibly slim.
Week after week this continued to happen, always in the middle of the night. We’d be woken by our little baby dog gasping for air. We’d race to the vet, she’d go in the oxygen tent and by morning she would be full of life again. The vets adored her (well, she was making them a lot of money) but they told us the best thing might be to put her down.
By this stage my Dad had fallen in love with Leila, despite maintaining that he couldn’t stand Pekingese. One night he was cradling her in his arms at four O’clock in the morning, tears running down his face as she gasped for air, praying that by some miracle she would survive. Would his prayers be answered?
We began to realize that the 4 am vet routine wasn’t sustainable, so the next day when we collected Leila from the vet my Dad hired a medical oxygen bottle and proceeded to build Leila her own oxygen tent made out of a large plastic box. He even made an oxygen humidifier so the air wasn’t too dry.
Every night Leila would sleep in her oxygen box next to my Dad, and within a month, his prayer was answered and she had completely grown out of the condition, and can now breath without any problem. She still occasionally snores like a trouper, but that just makes her even more endearing!
Two years past without any problems, until one evening when Natasha and Anita took both Leila and Chloe for a walk, as they do every evening. On this occasion, however, after leaving the house and making their way down the road they noticed a German Shepard off in the distance. They walked for another few seconds before taking another look up, when doing so the German Shepard was hurdling its way straight for Leila.
Anita leaped to pick up Chloe, and did so successfully. While Natasha ran for Leila. She managed to get to her just in time, and swooped her off the road. At that moment the German Shepard had arrived jumping into Natasha’s arms grabbing Leila in the torso.
By no means was Natasha going to let Leila go, so she clinged onto her for dear life while the Shepard thrashed its head back and forth trying to finish her off, smacking into Natasha’s face in the process!
Not knowing what to do to get the dogs jaws off Leila, Natasha, with all her might tried prying the dogs jaw open. Eventually the dog let go, after the owner walked over assuring them that everything was fine and whistling for her dog to return.
Anita ran back home with Chloe jumped in the car and raced back to Natasha, who at this stage was returning home with Leila lying subdued on her back in her arms. There was blood dripping, from a wound the dog had caused on Leila’s stomach.
They both climbed into the car and raced over to the vet practice were Leila was put on a drip, and went in for an x-ray to see if there was any further damage. Two of her ribs had been fractured in the attack but fortunately the veterinarian told us that she would be OK and would recover over time. Her only treatment was to take some medication.
Later that evening back at home Leila wasn’t acting herself in the slightest, she began yelping every so often and her back legs were quickly loosing movement to the point that she walking around the room dragging her legs behind her. As we’ve done in the past we rushed her into the emergency veterinarian clinic were she underwent some tests.
They figured out it was the medication she had taken, and was having an allergic reaction to it, this meant we had one of two options – keep giving her the same medication at risk of her dying of an allergic reaction, or give her a different medication that very well may not heal her.
Of course, after seeing what pain she was in on the current medication we picked the latter option.
Thankfully a few weeks past and she made a speedy recovery! I think due to the fact that we so nearly lost her on two occasions, our love for her has amplified tremendously!
She means the world to us, and the thought of anything happening to her is terrifying.
Pictures of Leila
An incredibly intelligent dog, with a heart of an angel. I’ll share with you her short and sweet history, before telling you more about her incredible personality.