Saturday, June 4, 2016

And Then There Were Five. . . .

I said goodbye to this sweet little dog today. He was a tiny little guy, barely tipping the scale at 5 lbs. but what a gigantic  personality he had. 

When he was healthy he was fearless, he would bravely take on the world.

I can't begin to count how many fights I broke up in the early years. And once he finally understood attacking the other dogs was not permitted, he took his wrath out on inanimate objects. 

For years he had an ongoing war with brooms of all sizes - whisk brooms, kitchen brooms, shop brooms, if it had a handle and bristles he would fight to the death (or what passes for a Yorkie killing a broom.) He also had a passionate dislike for helium filled balloons and would bark incessantly until we removed it from his sight. What a little character he was.

While he certainly displayed a Yorkie 'tude, he was the best little dog. He loved to curl up on my lap when I read a book and he'd climb on the sofa and press against me while watching TV in the evenings. He'd snuggled up beside me in bed at night and would chase the others away if they came to close. What a sweet, feisty little dog he was. 

Gaylin had such an irrepressible spirit, such a love of life, such a wonderful irreverent attitude it's hard to believe tomorrow will come without his ornery little personality announcing he's ready for the day. He was a pint sized bundle of love and I miss him more than I can explain. 

I loved that little guy, I will always love him. He made me laugh out loud and he made my heart smile. Every day with Gaylin was a good day. Except for today. Today I lost my buddy. Today I cried. Bye Munchkin, Mom loves you to the moon and back. 







Friday, November 13, 2015

Saying goodbye.

It's been a difficult 19 months. We've lost four Spoiled Royals Holly, Myla and Punkin, and Sweetie. Three wonderful Pomeranians and a happy Yorkshire Terrier all gone in less than two years. 

Holly was unquestionably the happiest dog I've ever met. She didn't walk, she bounced. She had a silly sense of humor and loved to sucker her fur siblings into thinking something was going on. She would suddenly hop up, start running and barking and get them all riled up then quietly sit down and watch the fun.

She was a happy, silly little dog with the look of a fox and she always had a smile on her face. She loved life, loved her fur siblings especially Myla and could not stand to be placed in a crate. What a little character she was.

Every day at 4:00 PM she came to wherever I was and pawed at me. I would pick her up, hold her in my arms and give her a belly rub. It took a long time for her to discover the joys of a belly rub but once she did, she was adamant that she received one daily. How I miss that silly dog demanding her daily belly rub. Out of the blue, in early April 2014, just after turning 14 yrs old,  she laid down on the deck and went to sleep and simply did not wake up.  It's been almost two years and I still can't reconcile our beautiful, spunky little red Pomeranian is gone.

A few weeks later in April of 2014 we had to help our little Yorkie Sweetie to the bridge. Her cancer had progressed to the point we couldn't keep her comfortable. She was such a good little dog, always in a good mood, always bossy, always fun. I never like putting any of our dogs down but it was especially hard to let her go.

I've told the story many times but she came to us as a Yorkie in need of a new home. After we decided she was home, I wanted to rename her because I didn't care for the name Sweetie. I spent a good two weeks playing with different names, trying to decide if they fit her. I finally gave up and stuck with her original name because honestly, she was (and always will be) a Sweetie. She was 6 months shy of her 15th birthday when we lost her and not a day goes by that I don't miss her.

All went well for several months and then Myla, our beautiful, blossoming white Pomeranian passed away in September of 2015 just two months away from her 16th birthday. She was the most frightened dog when she came here and it took years for her to trust us but oh what a change once she did. Like Holly, Myla had a perpetual smile on her face. Although sudden moves still could startle her, she quickly realized whatever scared her was not going to harm her and she would stop mid-flight. She just blossomed with love for us, wanting to be where we were, barking a "hurry up" at mealtime, always, always a joy.

She went outside one morning very early to potty and something happened. We found her laying in the grass, unable to stand, breathing hard. We brought her inside and held her as she took her last breath. Such a majestic beauty, such a sweet dog. Three well loved dogs gone in the blink of an eye. And then there was Punkin.

Punky was the smallest dog here and also the oldest at almost 17. His health had been failing for the last couple of years but he kept chugging along, always bouncing back from whatever health crisis he faced. He was a tiny dog with a huge heart, no fear and fiesty as could be. This sweet little guy is my cautionary tale.

I knew his health had been failing. He wasn't eating well, he started stumbling, losing his balance, and developed dry eye.  He was just off. I was taking a couple of other dogs into the vet and added Punkin to the visit for a quick check. I knew he was not great but I just thought he was getting old and maybe needed some meds. He seemed thinner and not as sharp but Punkin was a survivor. It turned out he was in renal failure, suffering and in pain. There was nothing to be done except help him to the bridge to stop his suffering. Oh how I hate that he was that sick and I didn't see it. Learn from my lesson, when you have a senior dog in poor health, get an objective pair of eyes on him. This tough little guy suffered more than he should have and that breaks my heart. One thing I do know for sure is that he knew he was loved every minute of every day that he lived here. Like his three fursiblings, he is missed every day.

Losing four dogs in 19 months is difficult. It seems like we had no time to recover from losing one and then another senior gained their wings. Was it worth it?  Yeah, it was. Life is filled with valleys and peaks and losing a beloved pet is definitely a valley, but the joy of loving one is certainly a path to the highest peak.

Goodbye dear Holly, sweet Sweetie, majestic Myla and precious Punkin, thank you for being our dogs. We miss you guys so much.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Find a Vet You Like and Stay With Them


People who vet hop drive me crazy! I'm not talking about trying different vets until you find the one you feel is the best fit for you and your pets. I'm talking about those folks who never have a regular vet. They take their pets to the vet only when illness or injury strikes and it's rarely the same veterinarian twice in a row. 

They explain how vets are only in it for the money and they complain about the cost of everything from CBC panels to medications.(Of course veterinary school was free thus there are no student loans to repay, all laboratories perform tests at no charge for veterinarians, the gas and electric company donate services and both vets and staff work for free because they are so dedicated to helping animals. Thank goodness they don't have to pay for groceries, gasoline, medical care/insurance or a mortgage.)

I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who was outraged by the cost of medicine a vet was prescribing for his dog. On the one hand, I knew the price he was quoted to be high but on the other hand, he'd never seen this vet before, he went there because he had a free exam coupon and the vet only had his word on his dog's history because he had never bothered to keep records or bring any with him. Of course all vets are omnipotent and know all, see all and can look at a dog or cat and know its entire medical history.

I know he loves his dog but honestly, IMO, he needs to love his dog enough to find a vet and stick with him or her. Why is that concept so hard for so many people to understand? Find a veterinarian you are comfortable with, one your pet also likes then take your pet in at least annually. As the pet gets older it might be necessary to take them semi-annually and even more often if it has a medical condition that needs monitored. 

There may be a few wacko vets out there but I can tell you unequivocally there are a lot more wacko owners. A veterinarian goes to school for a minimum of 8 years, they do continuing education to keep their skills sharp, they spend a lot of time and money developing and maintaining the skills needed to diagnose and treat your pets. Respect that.



Establish a rapport  and trust your vet. If you don't understand something, ask. If you can't afford a recommended treatment tell your vet that and ask if there is a less expensive alternative treatment that might help.  If the pet needs a treatment you can't afford and there is no alternative available, ask how much time your pet can wait and then get busy and find the necessary funds. Pet owners should be prepared to find a way to pay for needed care, that is your responsibility not your vet's. Vet care is not discretionary, you have a pet, you have a responsibility, live up to it. 

You'll find that a regular vet most often will try to help where they can.  Sometimes they may be able to direct a pet owner short of funds to resources where the pet owner can apply for financial assistance, sometimes they may be able to offer a discount (please note that is never required) and many times, because they know your pet, they can offer advice that money can't buy. 

They can't do any of this if you are forever vet hopping. Figure out what you need in a vet and then look for one you click with. Then, take your pet there for annual or semi-annual visits. If you have an emergency, start with your vet and follow their instructions. You will make many investments over the years but one of the very best is investing in the right vet for your pet. (And you won't have to listen to me rant because you vet hop. LOL)

 








Friday, January 18, 2013

Another Spoiled Royal is waiting at the Bridge. . .







Joey came to us with an attitude and several health issues in October of 2009. He was Cushinoid with terrible allergies and because his immune system was compromised he had 2 or 3 ear infections a year. He developed an eye ulcer but a good ophthalmologist and a lot of luck saved his eye. There was always a question whether or not he could see as he had a damaged optic nerve and his ophthalmologist was pretty sure he was blind yet he acted like a sighted dog.

A year ago Joe developed diabetes and cataracts appeared seemingly overnight. The cataracts answered the blindness question as we watched him struggle to learn to live in a completely black world.  And learn he did. Just like Max, Joe learned the layout of the yard and the house. We put a lit lavender candle at one end of the house and a vanilla one at the other. We used different textured throw rugs in the doorways between rooms and we kept furniture in the same positions. Joe adjusted so well that visitors had no idea he was blind, figuring it out only if he bumped into them. He received two insulin shots a day, Trilostane for the Cushings, and an allergy shot once a month. Life went on, he was happy and loved.

We called him our growly bear. He "talked" all the time, walking around the house and yard making growly noises. We knew his secret, he was all bark and no bite, and he was adored. He did well until September of 2012 when he needed surgery to remove his gall bladder. He had a good surgeon at a great medical facility, an on site ophthalmologist, several excellent vet techs and an outstanding primary vet in his corner. Joe survived the surgery, had his feeding tube removed, was hospitalized a couple more times, had his feeding tube put back in and he fought to live. He was a gallant little guy. Then one morning it was clear something was terribly wrong, sometime during the early hours Joey had had a stroke. We took him to the vet hoping against hope that she had one more magic trick to pull out of her bag but it was not to be. She examined Joe with her usual gentle touch, watched him walk, touched his ears and feet (which always resulted in a growl fest previously) and noted his total non-reaction. I knew he was gone but I needed someone else to tell me. "He's had a stroke, he's not going to come back, I'm sorry."   There was nothing left but to hold him, love him and say goodbye. 

Dear Joey, mom misses you every day. I love you sweet boy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

 
 
Today is the day Sunny Bunny became an angel. She did so well for 9 months but about 3 weeks ago, she stopped eating. She was in renal failure and once again we tried to bring her back. She had sub-q fluids, appetite stimulants, pain patches and other pain meds. We offered her every kind of dog food, cat food, people food we could think of but she wouldn't eat. We had to do forced feedings to keep her going and then this morning I looked at her and thought, no, stop, it's enough. With heavy heart I made an appointment with the vet and helped her on her way. She was such a sweet, cuddly, happy dog.

Sunny had a previous owner, a senior gentleman who clearly loved and treasured her. He passed away several years ago and she found her way to us. She truly was one of the Spoiled Royals.

I hope she found him again and I hope she told him about her Ohio home and all her fur siblings. I hope they laughed and smiled together and I hope she told him that even though he left her, she found a wonderful home where once again she was loved and treasured.

Thank you for sharing her with us, we are giving her back now. Goodbye sweet princess, Mama loves you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Gentle Alpha is Gone

August 6, 2012
I knew when I woke up that I couldn't put it off any longer. Our Lhasa Apso mix Tucker was in pain. In addition to his arthritis, Friday's visit to the vet showed fluid on one side of his heart. Age and a tumor were not being kind to him.  Saturday the vet called to say he was also in renal failure. Damn, damn, damn!

We have a lot of dogs, yet each one is special, each is loved. For years Tucker was our gentle alpha. He ruled his pack with kindness and heart. It took me years to figure out he was the alpha in our pack because the others followed him so readily. Tucker never barked or nipped, he just set the tone with his attitude. The others all knew he was in charge and happily followed his lead.

In his younger years he loved to chase the chipmonks in our yard and I used to send monthly emails to his foster mom Andrea about his antics. I think she loved him almost as much as we did. That was the thing about Tucker, everyone who met him fell in love with him because he was such a good dog. Yeah, I know all dogs are good (and they are) but Tucker was special.

Years ago I had a little Yorkie mix who started having some kind of seizures in the last year of her life. She would come out of the seizures disoriented and shaking until one day, in the middle of a seizure, Tucker laid down beside her and wrapped his body around her. When she woke up, she was cuddled in Tucker's center. She stayed there until she quietly came back to herself. Loved, protected, safe. A year or so after losing Taffy, Mason came here as a foster dog. He came straight out of a mill and was at a loss to do the simplest things.

Mason was afraid to walk through a door way, he didn't know how to go up and down steps, he was afraid of Jim and me. It was Tucker who showed him how to walk through a door, go up and down steps and that it was okay to trust Jim and me. Tucker was an amazing dog and the real reason this was such a good foster home.  We really did very little, Tuck showed the fosters the ropes and vouched for Jim & me. He let the fosters know that we could be trusted and that in this house voices did not shout, hands did not hurt, dogs did not fend for themselves.

We loved him, he loved us, that was all that was needed. Until August 6, 2012. On that day Tucker needed help so he could leave us. He was in pain, he was old, he was not going to get better, there was no magic pill that would restore his health and his youth.  It's easy to explain how much he was loved, hard to explain how much I hated to let him go. God Speed Tucker, Mom loves you.




Thursday, January 19, 2012

Little Dogs, Big Losses

The week before Christmas, we lost Max. He went into renal failure and in spite of 4 days on an IV trying to kick start his kidneys, we knew we had no choice except to let him go. He was old and fluids and heroics wouldn't change that fact. I don't have the words to explain how much I miss him. We have other dogs, but there was only one Max. He was a little dog, but it feels like a big loss. 


Earlier this week I was storming heaven with prayers that our Sunny Bunny was not going to be next. She doesn't eat well - hasn't for about a year now. Part of it is probably related to her kidney issues which can cause nausea. Part may be related to her heart issues and I suspect a big part may have to do with her simply being a picky eater.

Regardless of the reason, her not eating is sure to give me a case of the crazies.  I know a healthy dog can not starve itself to death if it has access to food but I also believe an unhealthy dog can.

She has heart issues, kidney issues, calcium in her left eye, disintegrating disks and yes, she's older, about 13 or 14 yrs old.  I'm okay when she skips one meal, still good when she skips two. The third skipped meal alerts the crazies to get ready and the 4th skipped meal generates a full blown case.

We try a smorgashboard of canned dog food, dry dog food, kibble with or without gravy (beef, turkey or chicken), combinations of all of the above. We go through chicken and rice, baked chicken, rotisserie chicken - anything we can think of to get her to eat. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't.


Why, you ask, do we bother. Look at that face sound asleep on the day bed above. Even in her sleep you can see her sunny disposition. I know that one day we won't be able to get her to eat, we won't be able to bring her BUN or Creatin numbers down to a safer level or her disk pain will be so excrutiating that the Tramadol won't touch it.  I know that day could be next week or next month or maybe next year.  I know it's coming. But thank God, I know it's not today.