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How Kassee got her wag back

Sick pooch turns frown upside down

Created date

February 28th, 2009
Last fall, after more than 21 years in their Oak Hill, Va., home, Emmett and Gayna Dunsmore moved to Ashby Ponds with their beloved miniature dachshund, Kassee Joy. Before they moved, Kassee Joy was diagnosed with sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), and her future happiness was far from certain. Not herself In December 2007, we noticed that Kassee just sat there with her head down, says Mr. Dunsmore. It was as if in the course of a single day she completely changed. She was lethargic. Playing ball was one of her favorite activities, but we would throw the ball, and she would just sit there. Barking and wagging her tail were also favorites, but like playing ball, they also stopped. A veterinary ophthalmologist diagnosed Kassee with SARDS, an illness affecting 4,000 small-breed dogs a year. The condition is permanent, and Kassee Joy would suffer complete blindness. The Dunsmores were offered an opportunity to try an experimental SARDS reversal, but with the risks one of them being death far outweighing the benefits, the couple decided against the surgery. A breath of fresh air Miraculously though, within weeks of their move to Ashby Ponds, Kassee Joy was quickly becoming her old self again. The Dunsmores credit Ashby Ponds, in part, for Kassee s healing. She really enjoys it here, says Mrs. Dunsmore. Ashby Ponds is a very social place, and Kassee loves visitors. Occasionally she steps out into the hallway to greet other residents who are passing by. We re also on a single level, which makes it easier for her to get around, and she just loves spending time out on the patio. As for the tail wag, Mr. Dunsmore says that s the true sign Kassee is overcoming her limitations. One of the best sights to see is Kassee s tail wagging, he says. It started not too long after we moved to Ashby Ponds. It s beautiful to see her happy again. We re thrilled that she s herself. She s finally gotten her wag back.