~ Casey and Dottie ~

Almost three years ago, Griffon puppy, Dottie, found her forever home with Casey and her partner, Alex. Since then, Dottie has thrived and has brought so much happiness into their lives. 

Casey has always been passionate about animals. She has always wanted to help and support animals, which prompted her to open her own rescue, NZ Chihuahua Rescue (NZCR) in 2017. NZCR is a registered charity who work to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome chihuahuas, chihuahua crossbreeds and other toy dog breeds. 

In 2019, Casey was contacted by a Griffon breeder. The breeder noticed one of the puppies in a recent litter was very small and there were two others. Dottie, who was a little larger and another female who was normal-sized. Casey initially said no as she already had four permanent dogs, all Chihuahuas or rescue chi-cross breeds. She wasn’t sure if another dog would be a good idea. However, after the death of the first puppy, she soon decided to meet with the other dog, Dottie.

Soon after meeting the puppy, Casey couldn’t stop thinking about her. She was so small, vulnerable and curious. Something about the pup stuck with Casey. The next day, she called the breeder and agreed to collect Dottie that night. 

Three months after adopting Dottie, Casey and Alex grew concerned that Dottie had not grown at all. She was still only 1.7kg and still appeared just like a puppy. They took Dottie to the vet where they had x-rays completed and it became clear Dottie had dwarfism. From there they began a long journey to confirm the diagnosis and address several other issues. 

As a result, Dottie has some conditions that require monitoring, including hip dysplasia, incongruent elbows, a misshapen pelvis and shortened ulna syndrome. Dottie also has Chiari-like malformation (CM), a serious chronic pain condition that can affect Griffons. However, aside from the CM, the other ailments mainly affect her joints and bones, Dottie can enjoy life as much as any other dog!

While Dottie struggles with different health conditions, she always has a positive outlook on life. She is rarely grumpy and is always busy or looking for someone to cuddle. As well as this, she can always brighten the day of those she interacts with. 

No matter what may be happening in her life, Dottie always seems to know how to bring a smile to those around her. While some days are better than others healthwise, Dottie is always happy to meet people and to live her best life. She is thriving despite having health challenges. 

Because of the happiness Dottie brings, Casey was encouraged by friends and family to start an Instagram account for her. Since starting the account, they have over 20,000 followers! Seeing Dottie living her best life has brought joy to many. 

Not only has she brightened people’s days, but Dottie has become an inspiration. People who have similar conditions and parents of children with similar conditions have felt seen and less alone. It means a lot to Casey to be able to bring some happiness to people’s days. From those needing some joy in their day, to those with health issues, Dottie has touched many lives. 

On occasion, Casey and Dottie have even visited rest homes and hospitals. This allows the patients or residents time out from their days to spend some time with a cuddly pup. Dottie never fails to bring many smiles to their faces. 

In July 2021, Alex and Casey met Dottie’s biological Griffon mum, Emily and she came to live with them also! A video of Dottie being reunited with Emily was uploaded to her Instagram account and has been viewed over 7,000 times!

Casey, Alex and Dottie love to spend time together. Often they, and other pack members, Emily, Briar, Pepper and Spencer, go on holidays together, as well as errands and going into work. When Dottie goes into Casey’s workplace, everyone is excited to greet her. She’ll happily sleep in her bed on Casey’s desk, and often meets clients and co-workers which can make them feel calmer and happier.

When Dottie was first diagnosed with dwarfism, Casey struggled to find any information about what this meant for dogs. A lot of the information was largely negative. It was because of this, she decided to share her own experiences and spread awareness about the condition. 

Having amassed over 20k followers on Instagram, Dottie has had quite an impact. She has shown people that having health issues does not mean being unable to live a full life. While she does face struggles, Dottie is always full of positivity and enthusiasm for what each day holds. 

Thanks to the care that Casey and Alex have shown Dottie, she is absolutely thriving. They share such a strong bond and they have so much love for one another. It is obvious just how much of an impact they have had on each other.