When the Oklahoma Orphan Poodle Services (OOPS) received a phone call about Tessa, a five-year-old poodle in bad shape, they had no idea what they were about to encounter. Without hesitation, they sought to rescue her. What they discovered was a dog starving to death, malnourished, dehydrated, with eye infections, a kidney infection and barely able to walk due to muscle atrophy. They quickly learned Tessa had been put in an outdoor, 6-foot kennel at the age of one where she lived for four years with very minimal care. This was not the life any puppy deserved.

Once OOPS rescued Tessa, they acted quickly by updating shots, de-worming, spaying and giving her a really good grooming.  After shaving off 14 pounds of hair, they were able to see just how infected her eyes really were. She could only see about 30 percent due to cataracts in both eyes. Tessa’s foster mom took her to the Oklahoma State Veterinary Hospital for an eye evaluation. She was told, for Tessa to see again, she would need surgery on both eyes. Tessa already endured so much in her short life, but you wouldn’t be able to tell she experienced a single day of neglect by the way she acted with people. She may run into her foster brother and parents’ legs all the time because of her horrible eyesight, but this dog has nothing but unconditional love to give. Immediately OOPS began to search for the funding to get Tessa the eye surgery she so deserved.

OOPS reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) for financial assistance toward Tessa’s surgery. They told ISF Tessa was the sweetest, most loving dog, even after being abused, starved and hardly any human contact or exercise for four years. “Tessa deserves to be able to see and find a loving forever home,” a representative from OOPS commented.

Tessa seemed to be winning the hearts of everyone she encountered, including the Veterinary eye specialist and the student assistants working at the hospital. After receiving cataract surgery on both eyes, Tessa began making an amazing recovery. Her eyesight will never be perfect, she’s a little far sighted, but she can see again and no longer runs into things. Her foster family even caught her watching them do things around the house, something she had never done before.

A teenage girl in San Antonio, Texas heard about Tessa’s story and told her parents. They, in turn, expressed their interest in adopting Tessa from OOPS once she was finished with her post-surgical visits. They had adopted from OOPS before and had recently lost their family poodle due to old age. They had experience with special needs dogs and were ready to love and spoil a new member of their family. This wonderful family drove from San Antonio to Tulsa, Oklahoma to meet Tessa and take her home with them. Now Tessa is finally living the life she deserved from the beginning, with all of the love and nurturing she can handle.

In a letter written to ISF, Eric, Tessa’s new human father stated, “We wanted to thank you for your generosity with Tessa and OOPS. Given what she has been through, she has every right to be cranky and mean, but she just wants to be sweet and love everyone around her. Her surgery to help her see again was a big part of helping her make this turnaround and your contribution made a huge difference. We wanted to personally thank you for the contribution you made to Tessa, and ultimately to us.”    


July 2015 update: Tessa happy by her pool:


December 2015 update: Tessa happy by the Christmas Tree. 



written by Whitney Norton

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