What’s up doc?

What do you do when your Labrador puppy of eight months gets diagnosed a severe form of dysplasia concerning all four legs? You don’t have much of a choice but to help your pup get better, live without pain and be a happy dog… Even if that means going through various operations. Little Semola from Lecce, Puglia, just finished his first Intervention of many, his front legs still in bandages. His human family, Lea and Marino, both photographers, cannot conceive how it could get this far. But they’re ready to save their labrador’s life. Whatever it costs.

How did you find each other?
We picked Semola out of a Labrador litter in Gallipoli because he was sitting all alone in a corner, distant from his little brothers and sisters. He seemed to have a frown on his face, too cute to be true. We we showed up, he turned around, looked at us and came running into our arms. No wonder we fell in love instantly.

What makes Semola so special?
He has two big green eyes that are much sweeter than his character actually is! And he looks like a cartoon in everything he does. That makes me smile and feel like a little girl again. In fact, if Semola were a person he would be my funny little brother. A naughty boy… but adorable!

You love him for…?
I love him because his gaze disarms me. I know that we are his family and his well-being depends on our love. And because when he rests his muzzle on my legs to fall asleep in the evening, he repays me for all the little disasters! What can get annoying is his habit of barking and jumping on me while I’m trying to have breakfast at the bar and he sees other dogs. I know he’s still a puppy and wants/ needs to play, but he embarrasses me a big deal with all the people around. We try to work with a dog trainer hoping that his exuberant character will eventually balance itself out with the environment. I guess it’s just a matter of time and he’ll calm down. That said, the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones by far!

Just recently you discovered something about Semola that changed everything from one day to another …
Sadly, right. We noticed some anomalies on the hind legs when Semola got up to walk after beeing seated for a while. His first steps were slightly limpy, especially noticeable on his left hind leg. Also, after every run, even short ones, he had to lie down, tired, exhausted. Listening into it we found out that his problem also and above all concerned his front legs. Semola, for what it seems now, has fairly significant dysplasia affecting all four limbs.
I had asked the vet who followed him several times to do routine x-rays to check if everything was fine but he reassured me that there were no symptoms.
What shall I say, I trusted him. Which is a shame: Hey we discovered his problem earlier, we could have helped him better, could have done more for his wellbeing than we can do now. 

Anything you would like to suggest to people in a similar situation?
What I can recommend to anyone who decides to adopt a puppy, Labrador or any other breed, is to immediately check that he is well, as you would with a child, without trusting the doctor’s reassurances a hundred percent. Symptoms of a malaise aren’t always evident and, above all, not everyone is able to recognize them with certainty. I also suggest asking any kind of information on the puppy’s parents. I myself only learned a few days ago that Semola’s mother, as a puppy, had had dysplasia problems – which had been identified and resolved in time.