The personalities of animal lovers are as unique as the creatures populating our world. Kristin Regan is straight-talking and matter of fact. Smart and direct, at first impression she might seem a bit remote. But within moments of getting to know her it’s clear that Kristin’s heart is as huge and loving as the most demonstrative, effusive pet fan.
In 2001, Kristin was working at an eye care company at what was then Beaverton Mall. Every day at lunch she went a few doors away to a Scamps pet shop, pulling dogs out of cages, loving on them, and even helping keep the place clean. One day she walked to the back of the store for something and passed a dirty, greasy oil rag on the floor. Thinking nothing of it, she tended to her task. Returning to the front of the store however, she realized that filthy rag was in fact an 8-week old puppy who’d been left to die [it was common practice at (the now defunct) Scamps to let sick puppies die and then file for reimbursement].
Picking the puppy up, she found its eyes, overgrown with hair, may have never opened. She would later learn he had parasites in his eyes . . . and his lungs. His toenails were bent backward, and his tail — which being Pomeranian would normally curl over his back — was broken downwards. Battery acid had been poured on him and his pelvis was broken.
Holding the sick baby Kristin told an employee, “You have two choices; you can turn around and I’m stealing this dog, or I’m calling 9-1-1.”
When Kristin saw the girl’s stricken, “I need this job” expression, she said, “Okay. What will you sell him to me for?”
She paid it and headed straight for Banfield, who sent her to DoveLewis. Originally named Ozymandias after the Shelley poem, the pup spent 90 days at DoveLewis, and was in and out over the following year. “They did skin grafts, worked on his tail, eyes, ears, everything,” says Kristin. “I sold my motorcycle and cashed in gifts from my high school graduation.”
She also went after Scamps with a lawsuit. The company shut down shortly after, though Kristin says she can’t take credit for that, adding that if they were still in business, “I’d do it ten times over.”
Ozy survived. These days he goes by Chuvian — when asked why, Kristin replied blithely, “Oh, he goes by whatever he answers to at the time.” She went on to list her other pets who’d started out with one name and ended up with others: “Artemus Yehoshua is now Dilly, and Lucy In The Sky Of Diamonds is now Snoose.”
Chuvian’s early years involved care for many issues stemming from his traumatic puppyhood. He endured multiple skin allergies as his skin lacked the protection due to the acid burns. He required sedatives to regulate his heart. He had liver problems and a heart murmur from the steroids and antibiotics that had been necessary, but not without side effects.
He also had dysplasia, and in October 2011 he blew a hip out of the socket. “He’d just leg-lifted to pee and his hip fell out,” says Kristin.
After the regular vet attempted to set the hip back into place twice they were referred to a specialist. The specialist was closed when Kristin called, so she Googled “dysplasia, hip replacement” and found CVRC. They got in the next morning, and after a consult, Chuvian was in surgery with Dr. Flynn first thing the following morning.
“It was the smoothest progression of any traumatic experience I’ve ever dealt with,” says Kristin. “I walked in and everyone was smiling. I didn’t feel like smiling, but everyone was so warm and welcoming I couldn’t help but smile.”
“They didn’t talk about cost at all until after the consult,” Kristin continued, “which I really appreciated — I wanted to focus on the injuries.”
The surgery was estimated at $2200-$2900. Kristin dropped Chuvian off and called in to check on him every three to four hours. “He was having heart problems, so in addition to the surgeon and technicians, CVRC had to staff an aanesthesiologist the entire time.” Naturally she anticipated the final bill would far exceed the original estimate.
When she picked up Chuvian Dr. Flynn told her that, unlike most procedures, his surgery would only be successful if she got him on all fours as soon as he cleared the effects of anesthesia and pain meds. Oh, and lose 3 lbs.
Kristin told the doctor she’d have the weight off in two weeks. She says he replied, “Not possible.”
The doctor told her that little dogs didn’t generally heal well from this condition, and that there was an 80 percent chance his second hip would dislocate within a year, so she should start saving now. “When one hip goes it puts weight on the other, and eventually it will go too,” Kristin explains.
During his first follow-up, true to Kristin’s word, Chuvian had lost the prescribed 3 lbs. Consistent with his entire life story, he had once again proved himself a super dog. Unlike most dogs with this procedure, who typically show a limp or spine issues, Chuvian’s two-week post-op checkup showed no sign of what he’d been through . . . except where he’d been shaved and tattooed for surgery. He may be small in stature, but this little guy is undeniably HUGE in overcoming. The doctors and staff called him an anomaly.
The good news kept coming. Expecting a large bill due to the added anesthesiologist during Chuvian’s procedure, instead Kristin was astounded. “They could’ve taken me for everything I had…and I would have gladly paid.” The final bill was $2,316, “barely over the lowest end of the quote.” she says.
As the doctor predicted, Chuvian’s second hip did go out, but rather than the predicted one year, “He made it a year and a half,” says Kristin. “They told me when it happened we wouldn’t have to go through referral. He was an established patient, so they fit him right in.”
“The surgery took exactly the same amount of time [as the first], and cost only a little more — consistent with the rising costs of my own doctors in that period of time.”
“The second surgeon — this time Dr. Howard — also called Chuvian an anomaly. He asked, ‘How did you do this?’ My response was that I did what he told me to . . . I got him on his legs as soon as he came out of anesthesia.”
Kristin says she works at a scrap metal yard on 14 acres, “so we’re able to do four or five hours of physical therapy a day.”
“Chuvian is really, really smart,” she says, “but I’m just a little bit smarter. When he’s pretending to use his leg but he’s not, I know.”
She went on to say, “All the tips they gave me to ensure his full recovery — they prepared me for every possible scenario — really helped. For the first seven weeks I had a plan for physical therapy.”
“Both surgeons gave cues like that, going into depth about what to expect after surgery. They were direct and to the point. One doctor suggested I do physical therapy first and then walk, saying if we walked first, Chuvian might not want to do the physical therapy.”
“It made surgery more human and less . . . surgical. It made it so his success was on my shoulders. That meant the world to me. It meant I had control — control of the health and wellness of my animal.”
Musing on how helpful the process had been for her, Kristin was clearly “there” again, reliving the moments.
“The first hip damn near decapitated me,” she said. When asked what she meant she explained, “I didn’t know what to do. I walked into CVRC and they told me exactly what to do. So I was able to turn my head off and just follow their instructions.”
In Chuvian’s case, that went a long way in earning him the title “anomaly,” which is just another name for amazing success.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: (Chuvian)
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. (Scamps Pet Store)
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