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Dr. Alson Sears
Ed Bond



Meet Dot.  We think she is either an Australian Shephard/Corgi Mix, a Mini-Aussie, or perhaps an Aussie/Queensland Heeler mix.  She has the markings of a purebred blue merle aussie, with ears that are just a little too big for her, that stand straight up when she's interested in something. She is a little rabbit of a dog, about the size of a small cocker spaniel, with a bob tail and soft rabbit fur, furry, poofy little rump, big floppy ears, soft aussie coat, all spotty and dotty, with one blue eye and one brown eye. They estimated her age at the shelter where we rescued her from to be between 1 and 2 years of age.

Her full name is 'Thumper Dot Com,' because I saw her as a Thumper when I first played with her and she seemed so rabbit-like, but my boyfriend thought it was a little too cutsie so we settled on Dot Com (since we'd found her on the internet) ergo, Dot, or Dottie....Dotsie, Dotsical, Dotsticker, Dotorama, etc.

She was  rescued from the West Valley Shelter two weeks after another West Valley rescue of ours, an American Eskimo Dog, had died a sad, tragic death from Distemper.  We had tried the usual route of antibiotics and fluids to save the little Eskimo boy - we even took him to a fancy, expensive vet in Sherman Oaks, but all she could offer was putting him on phenobarbitol to ease his seizures as we watched him slowly die.  It was awful and horrible and I didn't think I'd ever be able to rescue another dog again. I settled on just "scouting" shelter dogs for other rescue groups and alerting them via email.

Then along came Dot.  While browsing along through a rescue listgroup, I noticed a listing for an Aussie/Corgi mix.  I thought that was interesting, so I went to (a website for shelter animals), to check it out.  One look at her picture and I was hooked.  I have always had a fond attachment to Aussies, especially blue merles with one blue eye, as the two dogs I remember most fondly from childhood were our black lab/weimeriener mix and our blue merle aussie/husky mix who had one blue eye.

I alerted a friend who I knew would fall in love with her once he saw her picture, and he agreed to take her in.  We met at the shelter and adopted her.  Being that this was the same shelter where the little Eskie boy (Eskimoty) came from who had the distemper, and being that had only been 2 weeks prior, I was careful to check the little Aussie girl for obvious symptoms - nasal discharge, bloodshot eyes, etc.  She seemed the picture of health and exhuberance.

In fact, we were so taken with her, that we ended up staying with her for 4 hours until they literally had to kick us out of the shelter!  As they were putting her back in the cage though, I noticed a sad, very sick little dog in that same kennel.  She was shivering so violently her entire, emaciated little body was heaving.  Yellow pus oozed from her eyes and nose.  She was sneezing and wheezing.  It was awful.  I pleaded with the overworked shelter personnel to please move our new adoptee to a different kennel, but they took the sick one to a different kennel instead.  I was concerned for our little Aussie, as well as the myriad of roly poly pups that were also in that same kennel, so I asked them to please move them, again.  Instead, they threw some bleach solution on the floor and told me they would change the water later.  I realize they are overcrowded, overworked and underpaid, so I didn't press it further...

Needless to say, I was on pins and needles all night long, worried sick.  The thought that those pups and our new little Aussie were going to have to spend another night in that contaminated kennel was really frustrating, but I knew it was the way it had to be as she was not fixed and shelter rules prohibit you from taking an unaltered dog home.  She was booked for her spaying the next day.

We picked her up the next afternoon.  She was groggy, listless and would not eat.  This is normal after surgery, so I did not think much of it.  Then the next day, same thing, still listless, no appetite.  There was a little cut on her lip, so the doctor had given us some antibiotics.  She threw them up.  I tried to coax a little food into her.  She wouldn't eat.  She threw up again.  I finally coaxed her to eat a little ground beef sauteed in butter.  She ate that.  Then she started sneezing.  Her eyes were watery.  That is when I panicked.

Having tried the "conventional" route of antibiotics and fluids - to no avail - with Eskimoty, I called another rescue person who had experienced distemper before and had tried some alternatives with some success.  She said the only thing that saved her dogs from going neurological was a 24 hour, 4 grams a day, Vitamin C IV drip, for SIX days, and the only place I could get that done in So. Cal. was AllCare in Fountain Valley.  I called them and they told me it would be $500 to $700 for the first night in intensive care, and $300 to $500 a night for the additional nights!

I called my rescue friend back, and asked her about a Dr. Sears (I had been referred to him by someone else on the rescue listgroup, but they had said they did not know much about him except that they had heard of an "experimental" treatment for distemper, and that it was free.  I had called then for little Eskimoty, but Dr. Sears - who was kind enough to return my phone call after hours - said it was too late for his serum since Eskimoty had already gone neurological and was having seizures.)

My rescue friend HAD tried him.  She said his serum did not work on her dogs.  (She had 8 collie puppies die, 3 of which were given the serum and died.  The three that survived were given the Vit C treatment)  However, she said, she had heard that his serum worked better on previously vaccinated dogs and also that she had a different strain in her dogs (transmitted through tainted goat's milk), so perhaps I should give it a try. I wondered if he would do the Vit C treatment if I asked...she said it was worth asking...

I then called Dr. Sears office again, hoping it was not too late this time, and although they were just closing, Dr. Sears was nice enough to agree to wait for me to make the drive to Lancaster.  I gathered up Dot and my boyfriend, and we set off for Dr. Sears, heartbroken that it was happening all over again and scared that we were not going to be able to save her either.  It took us much longer than we thought it would take to get there from Sherman Oaks (an hour and a half), and Dr. Sears had had to leave, but they paged him when we got there and he came right over.

He is a kindly man, sort of a cross between Marcus Welby MD and Santa Klaus.  A conventional vet who scoffed at my Naturopathy ideas and request for the Vit C treatment, saying that he'd actually tried Vit C back in the sixties, with no greater result than the conventional methods...

He took a look at her, took her temperature, and based on her 102 temp, bloodshot, watery eyes and sneezing, decided to not wait for the tests and start her on the serum right away.  He said he would need to keep her through the weekend until Monday (this was Saturday afternoon).  We plied him with distraught pet owner questions and finally left her sad little eyes there with the kindly vet techs who promised to look after her with care...

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