DNX FOOD Recipes A Dozer update.

A Dozer update.

A Dozer update. post thumbnail image

When you accidentally make your dog as much of the face of a business as you are, it is inevitable that there will come a time when you have to publicly share not-so-happy news with the world.

Let me first preface this post by assuring you that Dozer is currently “ok”. He has a condition called laryngeal paralysis which is obstructing his breathing. He is home after being in surgery, exhausted. But he is alive, and as I write this post he is sprawled at my feet, snoring loudly.

Here is an update on what’s happened – and why I’m telling you.

Dozer heading in for tests at our local vet

Dozer has laryngeal paralysis

Dozer has been diagnosed with a condition called laryngeal paralysis which is where the larynx is paralysed so it doesn’t open to allow the free flow of air into his lungs. Think of it like a flap in your throat that opens to let air in.

It’s a nerve deterioration condition that’s irreversible and untreatable. In the last week before his surgery, the lack of oxygen meant he was permanently lethargic. He didn’t want to go for walks or swim. He couldn’t climb stairs.

And most concerning (not joking), he wouldn’t waddle into the kitchen when I started cooking.

All he did was eat, sleep and go to the toilet. And pant a lot. Heavy, raspy breathing – even with the air con on.

A swift decline

His decline has been swift. In January, he was running wild on the beach as he has done for the whole 11 years of his life:

By the end of January, he was refusing to walk around the block. Just sleeping all day inside.

In mid February he was diagnosed with one paralysed larynx at our local vet. Then one week later, the specialist hospital determined that his other larynx was also paralysed.

And one week after that, he was in surgery.

Checking in on surgery day (yesterday).

The decision for surgery

There is no treatment for laryngeal paralysis. I could have done nothing. The consequence of that would be Dozer spending the rest of his days pretty much doing nothing because he wouldn’t have the energy to do anything, and to hype him up into an excited state would be dangerous.

He could never chase birds again, or run with his friends. His muscle mass would quickly fade. He would lose interest in life.

His tail would never wag.

I couldn’t let him be like that. It’s not living life.

So I made the decision for Dozer to undergo surgery to tie back one larynx which would help clear his airway to allow more oxygen into his lungs.

The surgery itself was not complicated (I’m told) though I was warned of a mortality of 1 in 10, I understand relating to post op complications. Which, as you can imagine, had me in a flood of hysterical tears at the thought of losing Dozer.

The surgery went fine!

So, this update post is live and in real time. Dozer went in for surgery yesterday at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (“SASH”) in North Ryde which is only 15 minutes from my house. His operation was fine, no complications.

The vets and surgeons there are incredible. They called me just before he went into surgery and when he finished. They sent me photos and reports at the end of the day. And it will come as no surprise to you that I called for an update in the middle of the night and 6 am this morning. 😊

This is a photo from inside the ICU from last night:

Look how plump and soft that pillow looks!

He’s home 🥰

After a night in ICU, he’s home. He’s absolutely exhausted, still recovering from the anaesthetic I presume. He’s breathing heavily from swelling around his air passageways. He’s very wobbly on his feet, he can barely stand, let alone walk.

And he’s got a nice big shaved patch on the left side of his neck, revealing skin more wrinkly and flabby than I expected! They went in from the outside of his neck to operate on his larynx.

He’s snoring like a trooper in his favourite place – under the dining table, surrounded by his most precious possessions. I’m so happy he’s back home!

Why I’m not celebrating – yet

While the operation did not have any complications, you might be sensing a lack of happiness in this post. And that’s because he’s not in the clear yet.

His breathing still sounds raspy because of swelling inside his oesophagus from the operation. The vet tells me it could be up to two weeks before the swelling goes down and we can hear if it has improved his breathing.

Secondly, the operation does not come without consequences. With his larynx tied back, he is now at greater risk of lung infections. Which means:

  • no swimming – the beach is his favourite place in the world 😢

  • no more random treats. He needs special lung infection “safe” food that will slide down his throat – like slippery meatballs

  • no bones – danger of little bits flying into his lungs too great

So, there will be a new life routine to figure out. And a whole lot of research and recipe development to create new safe Dozer-food.

But I’m so hopeful that he will be able to get back to some level of normalcy in his active life!

Why I’m telling you

I always swore that I wouldn’t use my website as a platform to mope and moan about headaches. And I actually did not intend to make this news about Dozer public until after the surgery and once I knew the surgery was a success.

However, I felt like I had to explain myself as a result of this media piece due to cancelling an event I was due to be at in Adelaide this week. Not explaining myself to the media, but to questions that I received from the RecipeTin community – understandably so after cancelling a reader dinner just a few days prior.

All these questions came from a place of concern and kindness. And that’s what made me decide to explain what was happening on social media – and now here on my website. If you’d like a little more background, I made a little video on Instagram – you can watch it here.

☀️ On the brighter side! ☀️

All that said and done, I can’t finish this post on a sombre note! And even with all the worry, we’ve had some lighter moments throughout the last couple of weeks. Here are some of my favourites!

1. Realisation: ONLY LARGE TREATS

Yes, you heard me right. Gone are the days I’d save a tiny scrap of my steak for him. Small = unsafe because it could fly into his lungs! It has to be a 2.5cm / 1″ piece that will slide down his throat safely.

Yes, you heard me right. It is unsafe to give Dozer tiny scraps of food. You must give him large pieces of your steak from hereon!

2. REALISATION: he can do what he wants

“Don’t stress him out!!” is the mantra around here these days. Agitated Dozer means distressed breathing which has to be avoided.

Which means – if he doesn’t want to do it, no one is allowed to force him. Plonks himself in the middle of the kitchen? Everybody walks around him. Doesn’t want to go upstairs to my bedroom? I move my bed downstairs. Nudges you for a belly rub? You better drop everything and rub away, lest he starts barking (bad for his throat!!).

Yes, what Dozer wants, Dozer gets. I can’t quite believe we’ve ended up in this position either. (Though note: hopeful once he has fully recovered from his operation, King Dozer may be dethroned!)


Seriously. He got flowers. Even on my sickest of sickest days, I can tell you that I NEVER got flowers as big as Dozer did!

4. scavenging until the very end

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I baked for the vet hospital. 🙂 Especially on surgery day when I couldn’t work or sleep, I just baked, baked, baked and took them in with me when I dropped Dozer on surgery day.

And right up until that very last moment when they took him away, he was sniffing the warm muffins, hopeful for a little taste. That’s my boy!

5. dozer’s big heart

And lastly, my favourite. When the vet showed me Dozer’s X-rays, he noted that Dozer has a nice big heart.

I told him that we didn’t need an X-ray to know that. ❤️

I love you, Dozer.

You’ve been the one constant in my life since the moment I got you. You love unconditionally. You’re unwaveringly faithful. You want to be friends with everyone.

I have wanted you all my life. But I waited and waited until I knew I was in a position to be able to care for you properly, when I was done with the corporate world, travelling overseas and working long hours in the city.

I knew you would need care and attention as you grew older. You’re so fit and healthy for your age, but it was inevitable that time would catch up with you one day.

Whatever the coming years bring, I will be here for you to do whatever I can to make your life happy and comfortable.

I love you with all my heart, Dozer. – Nagi x

Dozer and Nagi on the couch

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