February 17, 2012

Rest in Peace My Sweet Leesie

With a heavy heart, I write Lisa's final post. I've been horrible about keeping up with her blog, seeing as it's been 2 years since my last entry. Lisa had been doing well until last year when she started experiencing recurring urinary tract infections. Lisa's vet tried to convince me she was showing signs of Cushing's disease. I didn't want to see it at the time. To me, she didn't exhibit any of the classic signs of Cushings, the constant thirst, potbellied appearance, etc. However, little by little more of those symptoms began to appear. For various reasons, the most prevalent being Lisa's age (at the time 13-14ish), we chose not pursue a full on diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Rather than put her through the stress of that, we chose for palliative and supportive care. And for the last year, she had been doing well.

However, this past summer things took a turn for the worse when Lisa's hind quarters would no longer cooperate with her and they would simply collapse under her. I sat in the yard with her and cried over what she wanted me to do. The sparkle was still in her eyes. She was acting more like a "normal" dog than she'd ever had. I asked her if she wanted to go....her response was to slap me with her paw. Her way of telling me to shut up, she wasn't ready. Back to the vet we went and we came home with a prednisone prescription. This little drug is both a blessing and curse. Within a day, Leesie was up walking around like she was before. Yeah, sure, she'd slip here and there, but it was a marked improvement over the previous days.

So for the past 4 or so months, Lisa had been on steroids she would have good days and not so good days. Overall, she still seemed happy and the sparkle was still there. The last 2 to 3 months have been a different story. During this time, she'd become extremely difficult to manage her bathroom activities. She wasn't incontinent as she would go if she was outside. You just had to manage her very well and be vigilant about what she did when she was outside and when. Once back inside, she would give you no cues that she needed to go back out and accidents would follow. Because of this, her freedom to roam the house was over. Now, she was stuck back in her ex-pen when we couldn't physically watch her. Also, her rear had begun to get weak again. She wouldn't move many times, even when encouraged. That would be a bad day; on the good days, she'd follow you all over the house.

Little by little, her quality of life markers were being scratched off the list. She could no longer roll around on the carpet - something she enjoyed immensely. Her walks in the yard with me had become non-existent. And while she still loved to eat and that desire was still there, one of the side effects of Cushings' is increased appetite, so that couldn't be used as an effective qualifier. Lastly, and the most important one of all, the sparkle in her eye is nearly gone. It gives us brief flashes here and there, but I don't see it like I did. That's when I knew we were getting close.

It took me going away and having someone else care for her to truly open my eyes and let me see that I had been going through the motions because I didn't want to face the decision. Unfortunately, it's a decision that has to be made. Yesterday, I called the vet and made the appointment. At 4:30 this afternoon I'll walk into the office with her in my arms, and make good on my promise.

April 5, 2010

Tula Finds Her Forever Family

Prayers are answered; Tula has found her forever family! A woman from my husband's work and her family adopted Tula this evening. It's a bittersweet day for my husband and I. We helped Tula open the next chapter of her life and close her chapter with us. My rescue partner, Kay, was here to give Tula a proper send-off.

Tula greeted her new family like old friends, which they were as she had met them previously. She had no quandaries about going with them when it came time to leave. It was a perfectly choreographed scene. In addition to keeping her Mr. Man company while he works from home, Tula will have two children to keep her busy.

To say that my house feels a little emptier without her around is an understatement of mass proportions. However, I know the joy she'll bring her forever family will be greater than any absence I feel.

March 10, 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

My goodness! I can't believe how fast time has sped by this winter. Can't say that I'm wanting it to slow down exactly, since the weather here in Texas has been colder than normal. Spring can't get here fast enough!

A quick update on Ms. Tula: She is still looking for her forever home. Seems the right one has not come along just yet. I never give up hope - her family is out there. In the meantime, I'm quite enjoying her company while she's here. She is a sweet soul and as I've come to discover, a bit of clown, too!

Ms. Lisa has made some interesting new progressive leaps in her behavior. Her favorite pastime of scratching has dramatically reduced in recent weeks. Yay!!! In fact, her scratching at her crate pan has completely vanished: she no longer does it in either of her 2 crates. Even, the frequency of her wall scratching episodes has also declined. Now, she will scratch once or twice then, come to me. Of course, if I'm standing right next to her favorite scratching spot before she starts, she just looks up at me and then comes over or follows me as I lead her away.

In other recent Lisa news, her downs have become more consistent. She often would require me to repeat the hand signal a few times before she would lay down, but now we're down to once or twice. One other change has been her willingness to just sit on her own, just cuz! I love it! It's a behavior that she rarely offers and one that when she does I try to reward. If I'm especially lucky, she may even lay down and relax on her own, too! For a dog who never sat or laid down at all, these are huge milestones.

Her health has been great! She's been doing well and completely recovered from her ordeal in December. I did a bit of trimming around her face to allow her to see better and wow! she was like a new dog. It wasn't like I had never clipped the hair so she could see before, I just did it differently so it would stay out of her face. I guess it made an impact. :-)

Lisa's hearing has been playing cruel tricks on her. When the other dogs bark or a loud noise happens, she gets startled very easily, more so than she has in the past. When this happens, she wants to scatter and get away from the area quickly. Perhaps, her increased awareness of her surroundings has also led to this. I combat the situation by going to her, telling her she's okay and petting her a few times in a calm, purposeful way. I don't console, just steady her and let her know everything is fine. A few times now, she's actually turned to me when she's gotten freaked about a loud noise and that's what I want ultimately. Defer to me and I will let you know what's what. Speaking of increased awareness, she still sits and watches the activity outside her crate. Even if I think she's asleep, she gets the scent of me, my husband, or the other dogs walking past and she wakes up and looks around to see what's going on.

Again, all positive signs that we still are waking up even more parts of her sleepy brain!

Photos are of Lisa & Tula sharing a snack as I was refilling the food bin. They took turns each grabbing a bite! Naughty grrrlz! LOL