Among the reasons I am thankful for Gwen, is that she showed me that an animal being toothless was nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
When the vet told us after her procedure that she might have her tongue hanging out forever, and that she may or may not need a special diet, I thought, oh, what have we gotten ourselves into?
But I quickly learned that Gwen didn't have it in her to be slowed down by a little thing like teeth. The only time that I'm reminded that she doesn't have teeth is when she chews on my hand. Her little gums tickle, though if she's really insistent, she can pinch your hand pretty good!
She eats just as well as Aery does, though I think she's a bit messier with her kibble. She gets a packet of wet food as a supplement every day, but only because I love to spoil her, not because it's necessary to her well-being. I think in the eight months since her surgery, I've seen her tongue peek out of her mouth maybe twice. I think I see Aery's tongue more often than Gwen's!
So when the time came for Mikenna to get the last of her teeth pulled (the vet said that they might be able to leave a few, but I was prepared for it to be a total loss), I had a lot less to fear. I was concerned about how she would do with the procedure itself - that part has always been a huge worry for me - but I wasn't worried at all about how her life would be afterwards. I knew she would be okay.
And so she is.
She's just as indecisive about whether she wants kibble or wet food as she was before, and just as demanding about having her food exactly at the moment she requests it.
She gives kisses just as enthusiastically as ever, though it's a little bit sloppier these days, and for whatever reason, her tongue seems to come at you from more of an angle. I think she's realizing that she no longer has the force to try and drive her tongue up your nose, which is good for everyone involved. (Trust me, there's nothing quite like getting sweet westie kisses and then suddenly having this dog tongue ram up your nose. It's not pleasant.)
I do think that she's more of a beggar than she was before the surgery - one real drawback. I'm starting to see that she had lost some enthusiasm around food, presumably because it didn't feel good. But I'm only realizing it because this little force of nature is now trying to steal everything I eat!
I really thought that Mikenna was slowing down, getting old, and I would just have to accept it. Well, now that her teeth aren't slowing her down, she's quite the dog. It's a bit startling, to be honest. She's cuddling more, being more animated and forceful, and dare I admit it? Obnoxious.
My toothless girls are happy, really happy. I wouldn't have believed it before, but I can see that they're both happier now than they were before. It makes me wish that animals could really tell us when something is bothering them - I'd have gotten Koo's teeth taken care of much faster if I had realized how much it was actually bothering her!
As an added bonus, it's one thing that I know I won't have to take either of those two back to the vet for. One possible expense off the list.
Surely it's better, if possible, to help your animals retain their teeth and to have the healthiest lives possible. But if the most humane and hygenic thing to do is to have their teeth removed (whether all at once or a bit at a time), then do it. They may not have the words to thank you for it, but trust me, they will think it in their own way.
I'm very grateful for these two healthy, happy girls. In a weird way, I'm glad that they have each other in this, and I'm glad that they've shown me just what a full life they can lead.