1. How did you find Liam? Was he already diagnosed with MPS-VI when you met him?
My sixteen year old daughter and I came across a picture of Liam on the Rescue Dogs Rock New York Instagram Account one day, and even though it seemed like a dream, I decided to inquire about him. There was just something about him that I couldn't stop thinking about and though it would be a challenge, we were definitely ready for it. Once I received a response, I began the adoption process and was provided with contact information for Cody Sanders, President of the MPS Army. During this process Cody was amazing, answering any and all questions that I had in regards to MPS and how to care for an animal with it.
During the adoption process, my children and I were interviewed, I was put into contact with Liam's Foster Mother, and a home visit was conducted. Once completed and cleared, Liam was driven to my home from upstate New York on May 1, 2018. Upon his arrival, I discovered that Liam was born in South Carolina, ended up in a shelter, and was in the care of a police officer and his family for a very short time, during which time he was diagnosed with MPS. I am very thankful for Cody's help in diagnosing Liam because, prior to his diagnosis, his veterinary care notes suggest a double amputation of his front legs. Believe it or not, Liam's was actually called Elmer during this time! Following this, Liam was brought to New York by Rescue Dogs Rock New York, and his adoption process began.
2. Which type of MPS does Liam have and what are some of his symptoms?
Liam tested as a strong positive for MPS-VI and though he doesn't have any symptoms, his skeletal structure, i.e. his front legs, has been affected. Liam's left front leg is completely straight, over than his inability to bend it at his elbow. Liam's right front leg is also unable to bend at the elbow, and his paw is twisted outward at the wrist. He has developed a large "pad" on this wrist that prevents his bone from constantly hitting the ground when walking-the body is quite an amazing thing! Other than this, I am happy to report that Liam's lungs are currently clear and his overall health is good.
3. Do you know if any of his siblings have MPS as well?
Unfortunately, I do not have any familial information about Liam.
4. Did you have any knowledge of MPS or its several types before Liam?
Prior to seeing Liam's photograph, I must be honest in saying that I had never even heard of MPS before.
5. How did you find MPS Army Foundation?
I am very thankful to have been put into contact with the MPS Army Foundation during Liam's adoption process and they have truly treated us like family every since!
6. How did your life change with Liam?
Since adopting Liam, my life has undoubtedly become brighter, and I feel as though adding Liam to our family was like adding another child. Liam is involved in each and every thing we do and believe me, he doesn't miss a trick!
7. What kind of care goes into having an MPS Dog? Is there specific food, certain tools or medications Liam absolutely needs?
There is definitely a higher level of care that goes into caring for an MPS Dog. It is essential to be in tune with their bodies, movements, behaviors, etc. Even a small change in their routine/behavior, may indicate the beginning of something larger. Liam also doesn't understand his physical limitations, so it is very important to always be aware of his movements so that he doesn't harm himself. Currently, Liam is eating a food called Fromm Family Puppy Gold and has been eating this since I adopted him. There aren't any medications that are essential, but he does take monthly flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. As Liam continues to grow, he is now 45 pounds, I would like to look into purchasing a front wheelchair for him because I believe that it may be able to alleviate some of the pressure that his front joints experience on a daily basis.
8. What is Liam's favorite activity?
Liam's favorite activity is to be outside, literally doing anything! He bathes in any sunlight that he can find, plays with his favorite friend Patrick and chases my son's toys throughout the backyard. Liam also loves eating! You can't even sneak in a cracker without Liam knowing about it! Liam has an automatic feeder and the sound of it is like music to his ears each day as he immediately stops what he is doing and makes a run for it.
9. What advice would you give to those who are just starting out with an MPS pet? (especially since you are so new to this!)
Starting out with an MPS pet is a complete learning experience and it is essential to have patience. These animals are doing their best to navigate through life and they are learning as much about you, as you are about them, during this time.
10. If there was anything to be done differently with Liam, what would it be and why?
I do not believe that there is anything that should have been done differently in regards to Liam. I am extremely thankful to everyone who contributed to his life because their actions led to me having in my family today.
Is there anything else you would like to add about Liam or the disease itself? Liam's funny quirks, what went into testing Liam for MPS, interesting vet visits - anything!
We often call Liam, Lamb (as in Mary had a Little Lamb), because he follows me everywhere and is by my side no matter what it is that I am doing!