Destrehan woman fights to save sight of beloved poodle

Dorothy Hollister and her dog, Zoe.

‘She’s my heart and soul.’

For 81-year-old Dorothy Hollister of Destrehan, her poodle Zoe means everything to her.

“She’s my heart and soul,” Hollister said. “She’s my baby.”

She’s long felt that way since receiving the dog as a birthday gift from her daughter-in-law nine years ago, when Zoe was a freshly born pup. And that is why she became deeply concerned when after a series of times taking Zoe for a walk, it seemed the Zoe was having trouble finding her way around.

“She was walking into things,” Hollister said. “She’ll run and hit the garbage can. I could tell she was having trouble.”

A trip to the vet confirmed the cause of those issues. Zoe was diagnosed with a late immature cataract of the right eye and hypermature cataract of the left eye.

The dog’s vision wasn’t just in decline, Hollister learned — she was already completely blind in her right eye and, without corrective surgery, her left eye will be blind as well.

“I’ve been lucky with Zoe, she’s always been healthy,” Hollister said. “But this time it was something different. I just feel for her. I’d do anything to help her.”

That’s not the easiest thing for Hollister, however. The senior citizen lives on less than $1,000 a month income and the cost of surgery, medicine and aftercare will exceed $4,000 to correct Zoe’s left eye.

She began a GoFundMe page (see “Help Zoe [to] see again please”) to help raise money for the surgery, though that in itself was a decision she initially struggled with.

“I’ve never been the type of person that goes and asks for someone else’s money,” Hollister said. “It took me awhile to even think about getting on that page.

“But finally I said to heck with that, she’s my Zoe and I’m gonna do what it takes. I have to put my pride aside and do it … I’d do anything for her. I’ll go down to the vet and beg if I have to … I’m gonna take care of her regardless.”

While she says Zoe is quite the sweetheart, she does have her quirks.

“Don’t mess with her food,” Hollister said with a laugh. “She can be a little bully underneath that gentle exterior if you go near her food bowl. She’ll love you to death, but stay away from her food.

“It’s like she’s the only child. She acts like an only child … she’s a character, I’ll tell ya.”

Hollister says she’s always had a tender spot for all animals — even at 81, she says she’s ready to go after anyone who would abuse animals — but with Zoe particularly, it was love at first sight.

“When I saw Zoe, that was it,” Hollister said. “That’s my baby.”

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  1. The LSU Veterinary school in Baton Rouge would no doubt do the cataract surgery for a lot less money than a local vet. Perhaps someone could help arrange to have this pup make a visit up to BR? This dog is quite young and has the potential to live a good and long life as small dogs have longer life spans, if she gets vision.

  2. God bless you and Zoe! I know what you are going through because my little Peanut (4lb. Maltese) has been completely blind now for about 4 years. I was told $4000 per eye and since it is senior cataracts they could grow back again. I also live on Social Security so
    the cost was way out of my reach also. He has given me so much love and devotion for 11 years that I decided the very least I could do is be his eyes for him for as long as he needs me. So Bless you and Zoe’s hearts because that love will “see” you through each day together!

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