Tuesday, April 25, 2006

V.I.P.

"This is a very important dog," the woman said. I was looking at her adorable 8 month old Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix puppy. He was a charmer, and so sweet! Unfortunately, he inherited a long bottom jaw and a short upper jaw from his jumbled heritage, and it was giving him quite a malocclusion. The lower jaw was "overshot" but also uneven. This was the reason I was looking at him.

"My daughter is so sick..." she started to say, then her eyes welled up with tears. "I'm sorry," she said, "But my daughter has anorexia, and this dog is part of her therapy. He's helped her so much already."

She told me that she and her family live overseas, but when her daughter went in for her 15 year check up, she weighed less than the year before, something like 82 lbs on a 5'5" girl! They immediately decided to come home for a year, and have her seeing a army of therapists. One suggested getting a dog, and it has helped her to learn to take care of her pet, to have someone to accept her unconditionally, and to have a little life to live for. Like most anorexics, her mom said she is a perfectionist overachiever. Caring for the dog helps her shift her focus from herself.

This dog was special. He stayed very still while I examined his mouth for a long time. Pulling 2 of his small upper incisiors will allow more room for his lower canine tooth and make his bite more comfortable. It seemed like an honor to be allowed to help this important dog.

Amazing how much therapy you can pack into 8 lbs...

8 comments:

EdamameMommy said...

Coincidentally, I was shocked by a clearly severely anorexic young woman at the Farmers Market today. She was so so so so so so thin and pale it was like looking at a corpse. She was a young woman. She was analyzing the peaches. We were driving away when my eyes found her there, and it was a jarring vision. I looked back at my two chubby cheeked cherubs in the backseat, who had a combo of strawberry stains and peach juice running down their chins. Was she a happy oblivious toddler once? Did she have perfectly loving and accepting parents and still turn her obsession with perfection into a destructive life of self mutilation? I hope someone or some canine is/will help her before it's too late.

paula said...

Do you know, I find it all very disturbing, so very sad. I hope that both girls get better.

Emily said...

Oh, how sweet! I'm glad they came to you and that you can help this special dog.

COUSIN BEVIE said...

That is so well said edamamemommy.....

Nana & Steph you will both remember this: During my visit in December, we were shopping at a store and so was a mom with her anorexic teen. I couldn't get over her tiny arms, hollow cheeks, and sunken eyes. It was almost to painful to glance at her. I so wanted to reach out and say ,"Hey,don't reach to such limits to become in thinner...there are healthy alternatives..."

Why do girls stop eating to become skinny? Don't they realize they look SO emaciated and unhealthy? I don't understand this terrible disease, but it's disturbing to see it effecting the teen population these days.
I'm really happy one girl found her solution to this disorder...dogs are sweet, loving animals. I believe they can cure a multitude of health issues, if not at least uplifting the spirits of the patient.

XOXOXOXOXO!

Aunty Norma said...

You did it again,Jenn...:o) you are so caring and clever,and in my opinion you have chosen the right Profession...(I would have liked you to be a Doctor of Humans)but,heck, who can begrudge those gorgeous animals that you treat and make well..three cheers for our Jennifer..Hip,hip Hooray X 3 xxxx

Kris said...

What a touching story. Dogs are awesome, aren't they?

Dr. Jenn's cousin....Bevie said...

HIP, HIP HOORAH!

xoxoxoxo!

Tired Tunia said...

Lord, I'm all teary eyed now. I hate that! Nice story, hope the girl gets better.