Meet Alex: A One-Eyed, Deaf, and Toothless Dog With a Lot of Love to Give

Alex might be a one-eyed, deaf and toothless dog, but you won’t catch this 13-year-old poodle complaining about it.

On the contrary, these “setbacks” in life don’t even seem to phase this spry senior dog, and some may say they even add to his dashingly good looks. Alex’s positive attitude towards life can be attributed to Michelle Ooley, who has cared for Alex in her Saint Paul, Minnesota townhome for the last three years.

Before his stay with Ooley, Alex was looked after very well by his original owner for the first eight years of his life, until the original owner moved to a pet-free dormitory and had to give Alex away to a friend-of-the-family acquaintance. Under his tenure with his new caregivers, and unbeknownst to the original owner, Alex was severely neglected for two years.

As a result of the two years of neglect, Alex developed a series of tooth and ear infections that ultimately led to his toothless and deaf condition. As for the missing eye, that is accredited to a startled interaction with Lily, the otherwise hospitable Calico cat that also lives in Ooley’s home.

Alex Photo 2

A New Home

Once the original owner discovered the neglect that Alex was enduring with the friend-of-the-family acquaintance, she reached out to the community to find a new home for Alex, and that’s when Ooley was first introduced to the newest member of her family. The relationship between Alex and Ooley clicked automatically.

“The original owner was trying to rehome him, so that’s where I said, sure, I’ll dogsit for a while,” Ooley said as Alex jumped into her lap. “One thing led to another and when the original owner dropped him off at my home, it was an instant connection, I knew right there, that’s him, that’s my little man.”

Maybe it was good timing or something more, but when Alex needed a new home, Ooley might have been looking for something new herself. Prior to Alex’s adoption, Ooley experienced the deaths of her two previous dogs, a quick and sudden blow that brought her to animal loss grief support at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Fast forward to today and Ooley, Alex, Lily and Max, a 16-year-old Bichon, have a lot of love for each other.

Alex Photo 7

A Rumbly Stomach to Rule Them All

Both Alex and Max were welcome additions to Ooley’s home, but she soon discovered an issue with Alex that she had never dealt with in all her life as a pet owner.

“He had the most rumbly stomach of a dog I’ve ever met, where it would just be constantly gurgling and you could audibly hear it. He’d be laying down at the foot of my bed and you could just hear his stomach rumbling, especially after eating,” Ooley said.

Alongside the rumbling stomach, Alex made messes in the backyard, and sometimes inside the house. After cleaning up the kitchen floor enough times, Ooley began looking for answers to Alex’s upset stomach and started researching alternative diet plans, restricted by wet food options for her toothless dog.

Because Alex can hear certain decibels even with his deaf ears, and the sound from eating out of his own bowl seemed to disturb him, Ooley feeds Alex by hand, which she mentioned wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Through hand feeding Alex, Ooley has a close view towards what foods Alex seems to prefer, and by cleaning up after him, she can tell how those foods are affecting Alex.

“I was trying new foods with Alex and he started developing a rash, almost like a yeast infection all over his skin. Things just weren’t getting better, and it didn’t matter what I fed him, everything just came out wrong,” said Ooley.

Alex Photo 13

A Good Recommendation

Ooley belongs to an avid online community of conscious pet owners, so when Alex’s indigestion failed to relieve itself, she turned to social media for solutions. After discovering The Honest Kitchen while searching online for grain-free, limited-ingredient dog food, Ooley reached out to her online community about the brand.

“Two people said it was all they fed their dogs, and it had done wonders with upset stomachs and allergies,” Ooley said. “So I went onto the The Honest Kitchen website and ordered some samples. I ordered a couple of different flavors, and the Love brand, the beef, that was the one Alex just went crazy for.”

While Alex couldn’t seem to get enough of his new dog food, Alex appreciated the organic ingredients and the ease it presented in feeding her toothless dog. It wasn’t until Alex started acting differently that Ooley decided to make the switch over to The Honest Kitchen for good.

“The first thing I noticed was his tummy stopped rumbling. I never have had a dog that relieves himself so much, and now it’s like clockwork, without the runny stools or diarrhea he had before. It has been such a great improvement,” Ooley said.

Alex Photo 11

The Cost Analysis

Once Ooley understood that she wanted to switch over to The Honest Kitchen, she sat down and did the cost analysis of The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food and the canned wet food she had previously been buying.

“When I first looked at the initial costs of The Honest Kitchen, I thought I would have to break my budget, but when I started comparing the amount of food the dehydrated food makes against the amount of dog food cans I buy in a month, I figured out I was spending more money on the lower-quality canned food,” said Ooley.

Ooley was also quick to mention the many indirect costs avoided after switching Alex over to The Honest Kitchen, including fewer and healthier vet visits and less time spent cleaning up after messes made by his old diet. Alex is happier too, she says, especially come meal time when he is known to dance on his back legs in celebration.

Whether it is his diet, the family that he belongs to, or maybe it’s his lengthy wardrobe of fashionable sweaters and coats, but upon meeting Alex, you can tell Ooley is right; he is happy, and he looks like he’s going to remain that way for quite some time.

Want to discover more True Stories and how diet has played a positive role in the health of over 1,400 pets? Click here

Meet the Author: Brad Lane

Born in raised in the great state of Iowa, Brad has lived on both sides of the country, from the Blue Ridge to the Cascades. He currently resides in Wenatchee, Washington working as a freelance writer when he's not spending time outdoors.

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