For the past 7 years I have had the privilege of being able to assist countless shelter animals with eye disease. I have always had a passion for animal welfare and a high respect and appreciation for the work performed by the RSPCA and similar shelters. For this reason it brings me great joy to see beautiful animals given a second chance at happiness with a forever home. Sometimes before animals are placed in adoption, they may require an eye disease to be treated. This may involve surgery or simply medical management.
I visit the RSPCA on a weekly basis to medically manage or perform surgery on shelter animals in need. Sadly many of the eye diseases I diagnose could have been prevented if veterinary advice had been sought by the previous owner. It always amazes me that these animals end up unloved and unwanted in the first place. To me, every animal is special in their own way, a pet is for life and whilst we may be called their owners we’re more their caretakers and friends. We’re part of their pack and they love us unconditionally without judgement or hidden agendas. All they want in return is security and loyalty. Is that really too much to ask? I honestly believe that most people who surrender their pet at a shelter would not do so if they knew the way their animal grieved them when the door closed and they walked away, forever. I have seen this first hand. I have seen dogs in particular pull at their lead and cry out for their owners. The same people who have just signed them over to an unknown fate.
Over my time at shelters I have found myself adopting countless animals, the ones that no one else wants because they’re too old, too blind, too nervous or too high maintenance. I am not alone in this habit, most shelter staff have at least 1 rescue animal!
The RSPCA not only provides a refuge for these unwanted little beings but they also provide much needed medical treatment to return them to optimal healthy before they’re placed in adoption. Last week one of the surgeries I performed was on a very handsome Staffordshire bull terrier to remove eyelashes that were growing towards his eye. These are called distichia and they are highly irritating. Microsurgery is performed to cut out each distichia’s tiny hair follicle. The results are instantaneous – he went from having squinting, watery, red eyes to healthy, wide open clear eyes and a big grin. This week I will be helping a young cat who was born with part of his upper eyelids missing. This is called eyelid agenesis and I tend to see it quite commonly in shelter animals. Surgery involves taking a skin flap from the lower eyelid or lip and using this to create a new upper eyelid.
A day at the RSPCA is never boring and the satisfaction I get from working with many like minded wonderful staff to help these animals is immeasurable. I only wish that shelter animals didn’t exist but while surrenders continue, I will be there to help them.