1. How did you find Walter?
I found Walter at the Carson animal shelter while I was there rescuing a dog in quarantine. My friend, who was a Sargent there at the time, called me over to come look at the dog that was just surrendered. She knows I like special needs dogs but what I saw in my arms was like something I had never seen before! It was Walter.
2. Was he already diagnosed with MPS-VI when you met him?
No he wasn’t. Every vet just said that he was deformed but never gave it a name until Dr. Chapman at Eyecare for animals mentioned that he might have this one condition due to the mineral deposits in his eyes. He was tested after that .
3. What kind of MPS did he have and what were the symptoms?
Walter had MPS-VI and he had skeletal abnormalities, a shortened snout, trouble wanting and breathing and had a very diseased heart.
4. Do you know if any of his siblings have MPS as well?
5. Did you have any knowledge of MPS or its several types before Walter?
I had some knowledge but I didn’t know the name but I only knew of a human person who kind of looked liked him and that was the character Simon Birch. He too had MPS and I noticed Walter looked a lot like him.
6. How did your life change with Walter?
Walter taught me how to appreciate the little things in life. It hit me one day after we got the terrible news that he had this terminal condition. He taught me to live each day and find happiness in the warmth of the sun, in the chirping morning birds and with his love of cakes. All little things but as a whole make a pretty amazing life.
7. What kind of care goes into having an MPS Dog? Is there specific food and certain medications he absolutely needs?
Oh boy Walter was a 24/7 job. Even in the beginning he was hospitalized many times for pneumonia and upper respiratory infection. But as his disease progressed, he needed me more and more. He needed help eating and getting water. He needed help taking his meds and when he could no longer walk, I had to help him go potty and get around.
8. What was Walter's favorite activity?
Walter loved to go outside at the crack of dawn to sit outside in the sun and listen to the high school band play music. We often slept in my moms living room together on the floor and he would always wake me up barking to go outside.
9. What advice would you give to those who are just starting out with an MPS pet?
To be ready to be 100% committed. I gave up a lot of my life when I had Walter. I didn’t date. I never went on vacation I always put him and his needs first. I always made sure to be home with him when ever I could be. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
10. If there was anything to be done differently, what would it be and why?
The one thing I am lucky I don’t have is regret. Walter lived well passed his life expectancy especially with how severe his heart disease was. He almost died several times and did go in to cardiac and respiratory arrest 5 days before he died and 30 min after Vader the minpin passed away. They were able to revive him and I had 5 more days with him until he eventually passed.
Is there anything else you would like to add about Walter or the disease itself?
Walter loved cake and barking at every dog that would cross his path at the vets office. He liked to tell everyone that this was his home away from home on days when I would go to work and he would be watched by the wonderful people at Bay Cities animal hospital .