Something to be thankful for…

With a Little Help from Angell,
Sadie’s Still Going Strong at 17 ½-years-old

By Wendy Cultice, Angell client

In the beginning
Sadie, a Portuguese water dog, came into our lives when she was only 8-weeks-old.  My husband and I were not really sure that we wanted a dog, but my son, Ben, who was 9, was all about getting one.  Who knew that 17 1/2 years later my son would turn 26 and Sadie would be here to celebrate with us?  Sadie has been and is still today very strong willed (hard headed actually).  The doctor says that is why she is still alive. 

 Sadie and Wendy

Sadie spent her first few nights with us in a crate standing with her front paws firmly planted on the roof, crying the whole time.  However, as soon as we let her out, she stopped crying and walked out happily (I am pretty sure she was smirking at us).  That is when we knew who would be the boss of our family.  Training did not really go so well either.  My son and I took Sadie to two different classes.  She flunked both (or should I say we flunked both).  Sadie pretty much does what she wants, whenever she wants, and the three of us adjust accordingly.  Sadie has never liked the water or the rain or other dogs.  She mostly just wants to be with us and go where we go.

Sadie meets Dr. Sisson
Sadie is loving and loyal.  In her 17 1/2 years she has not won a prize or had any special accomplishments, but she has been a really good friend and demonstrated amazing endurance. 

 Sadie loves going for car rides.
So what is Sadie’s secret to her longevity and continued active lifestyle (still walking a mile everyday)?  Since December 2006 Sadie has had a special team caring for her, and that team is called Angell Animal Medical Center.  There have been many doctors on the team who have cared for Sadie, but there are two very special doctors who have treated Sadie during her “senior” years – Dr. Allen Sisson and Dr. Shawn Kearns. 

Of course, at her age Sadie has had a variety of medical problems.  When she was 14-years-old she had a small stroke which turned out to be no big deal.  However, that put me back in touch with Dr. Sisson, one of Angell’s neurologists who in 1982 had treated my only other dog, Poco, for 5 years.  Dr. Sisson then became for me, Sadie’s “go-to” doctor for everything that ailed her from old age dementia, to gastrointestinal (GI) issues (most of which have nothing to do with neurology).  No matter a weekend or night, he responded to my emails within minutes.  (Believe me I tested this both on nights and weekends).

Introducing...Dr. Casale
Two years ago Sadie had a medical crisis.  Her larynx were paralyzed from old age and she needed laryngeal tie-back surgery.  However, the risk of her dying at 15 1/2 from the surgery was high.  Upon Dr. Sisson’s recommendation I was going to consult with Dr. Casale who might do the surgery.  Sadie, however, had other ideas and decided that she was sick of not being able to breathe easily.  It was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend 2010, we were 2 hours away from Angell and Sadie began to really have trouble breathing.  By the time we arrived at Angell, turned into the parking lot and Sadie saw where she was, she stopped breathing totally.  Sadie was rushed into the Critical Care Unit and put on a ventilator at which point I asked if Dr. Casale could be reached.  Not only was she reached, but Dr. Casale interrupted her Labor Day weekend to perform the emergency surgery.  Three days later Sadie was home. 

Sadie and Dr. Kearns
When Sadie turned 16-years-old, on the recommendation of Dr. Sisson, I met Dr. Shawn Kearns who as an internist would be better to follow Sadie.  I can only say “WOW”!  Sadie has had several medical issues over the past 1 1/2 years   GI problems, high temperatures, eating/not eating, etc.  Of course anything at 17 years 7 months needs immediate attention and Dr. Kearns is there.  Even when she is not working I receive an email back almost immediately directing me as to what to do.  Dr. Kearns has even apologized to me for not responding quicker because she was enjoying a day off and in an area where email service is weak!  The best is, however, since Sadie now “freaks” when she has to go into the hospital, Dr. Kearns examines Sadie and takes blood from her in my CAR! 

I cannot say enough about Angell.  From the doctors, to the technicians, to the front desk staff, each person who has touched Sadie’s life has been kind and caring.  It is an amazing place and Sadie is lucky to have such a terrific resource so near by.

Please visit, or for more information about Dr. Kearns, Dr. Sisson, Dr. Casale or Angell’s Internal Medicine, Neurology, and Surgery services.