The Ups and Downs of Fostering Canines

 

We lost Remy today.

Wednesday I was off for the holiday so I got up early, walked my various and sundry dogs (I’m up to ten at present – don’t judge me), then took Charles’ pup Nanuq with me over to Mama’s to pick blueberries.  Remy was fine then.  He chased cats with his best friend Buddy the Basset Hound, caught on quickly to picking blueberries (which dogs love, FYI, and they’re so good and as good for dogs as they are for us), and he played with Nanuq.  He’d had a good breakfast that morning and was ready for the day.

Wednesday evening Remy refused his supper.  This was enough unlike the chow-hound that we’ve grown to love that Mama called me and said that while she was worried, she would give him til the next morning.  We hoped it was the heat.  We hoped Thursday morning he’d be back to his old self.

Thursday morning Remy refused his breakfast, though he did accept a piece of boiled chicken with his Prednisone.  Mama called Triad and they asked her to bring him on in and drop him off – they’d keep him over the weekend and see how he did.

Thursday evening Remy ate his supper for the Triad staff, but by Friday morning (this morning) he was refusing food again and this time it was obvious he didn’t feel well.  Remy has been sick for seven months and this was really the first time since his diagnosis that he hasn’t felt well.  They called and suggested that Mama might want to come and see him, and asked if she wanted to be present when he was euthanized.  At first she said not, but then she reconsidered.  She called me as she was getting ready to leave the house – Did I want to come too?

I had to take an early lunch today for another reason, but I made time to swing through Kernersville and visit Remy.  He was very glad to see us.  We walked him outside, and he wanted to get in Mama’s car and go home – he said he was sure he’d feel better at home.  We explained to him that we’d love to take him home but he needed to wait on Dr. Marti.  Sometimes it’s ok to tell sick dogs a little fib so they don’t worry.  He said that was fine and that he was ready to go back inside.  We sat in an exam room with him for awhile – he sat in my lap, licked both our faces, and then wanted to go back out into the lobby to visit with the staff.  There were no patients waiting so we let him.  He went back into the storage room and returned with a ball, which he brought to Mama.  She tried to take it from him but he bore down, dug in, and held on.  This is how Remy plays ball.  Oh, sure, he likes to chase it sometimes, but he’d far rather play tug of war with it.

I couldn’t stay very long – just half an hour or forty five minutes – but Mama stayed on after I headed back to work.  I hadn’t been back at the office long when she called me.  He was vomiting and Dr. Marti and Dr. McGinnis felt it would be best to go ahead and euthanize him.  Mama said she’d already left the clinic but when they called she turned around and went back. She was with him at the end.  I wish I could hav ebeen, but I’m glad Mama was, and I know that the staff at Triad loved Remy just as much as we did; he was, after all, their dog.  And Remy loved them too, as much as he loved us.

They gave Mama a cast of his paw print, and said they would email us some good photos of him.  We’ll go through ours and send them copies of what we’ve got too.

When I got off the phone I had to close my office door and sit down and cry.

Later on in the afternoon I got a second phone call.  This one was from Susan with The Mosby Foundation, to which I’d applied for a grant to help with Baby’s surgery expenses.  They’re inclined to help us; she needed our vet info, which I confirmed with Mona before sending.  They are donating $200.  This put us within $100 of being able to have one leg done.  This was the best possible news I could imagine today.  I’m so relieved.  In fact, if not for losing Remy, I would probably be plain giddy.

Maybe I am a little giddy.  I want to laugh and I want to cry.  I’ve done both and will probably wind up doing more of both before this day ends.

I had to give Baby a pain pill yesterday morning, and another last night.  This morning she wasn’t limping as much so I didn’t give her one.  Onyx is too rough with her so I’ve stopped taking her out back even though she likes walking back there now that Onyx and Nanuq are the only puppies.  (Puppies – ha!  Onyx is a pit mix and around a year old, no older, and is taller than Baby; Nanuq is only four & a half months old and is already as tall as Baby and still growing!)

This thing with Baby scares me, because she’s only five years old, and she’s in very good health even if she is somewhat overweight; she’s playful; she’s affectionate; and she’s a mighty chicken stalker… but she’s also got two extremely fragile knees.  I had to fuss at her and at Bridget a couple of weeks ago because Bridget was out front walking Baby and Baby wanted to run so Bridget decided to run with her.  They were running and jumping and carrying on like a dog OUGHT to be able to do with a kid, and I had to fuss at them for acting normal, because Baby’s NOT normal.

One break is all it would take.  One bad landing, one trip, one stumble, just one break.  Snap, and Baby’s life would be over.  Dr. Cowan said she can repair what we’re looking at right now, but that if further damage is done she doubts it will be fixable.  And when a dog does irreparable damage to one leg and has a bad joint on the other, there’s often little choice left besides PTS.  And I just don’t want to think of Baby being PTS.

I told Baby and Bridget that when I scolded them, and Bridget’s brown eyes got big and moist and she had this little bit of a quivewr to her chin when she said, “I’d NEVER hurt Baby on purpose.  I won’t let her run again.  I forgot that she’s not like the other dogs is all.”  And Baby sat there staring at me with her big moist brown eyes and she said, “But I’m a DOG.  I’m SUPPOSED to run and jump with this kid, because that’s what dogs do!”

When I got home this evening I got a second phone call.  That $100 difference between what we’ve got, what’s been pledged and what we need – you remember that difference, right?  Well, this second phone call was from another wonderful charity group called RedRover and they’re donating the $100.  Do you know what that means?  That means that we now have the money to have the operation on leg #1.

While that’s excellent news, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we’re only half-way there.  We can have one leg done – but now we have another $750 – $1,000 to raise for Baby’s OTHER leg.  We’ll get there the same way we got here – $5 or $25 or $100 at a time.  It’s all about small steps – they do tend to add up.

So this has been a day of true ups and downs.  Remy’s gone.  He got to be a dog and was a damn fine dog when he was doing it.  He’s crossed the Rainbow Bridge and no doubt he’s looking for celestial cats to chase.  He enjoyed chasing cats.  He never wanted to catch them – when he’d get one cornered he’d paw and bark at it until it would run again.  When he’d come across one sunning he’d tease it until it would run.  Remy was all about the chase – he didn’t care about winning, only about running.

And now we’re half-way along on Baby’s long road to a semi-normal life.  She’ll never get to be as much of a dog as Remy was… but she’ll get to be more of a dog than she is right now.  Once this leg is done we’ll have six to eight weeks of recovery time, and then, if we have the funds, we’ll be able to do the other leg.

It took us EIGHT MONTHS to raise $750 for the first surgery.  Surely to goodness it won’t be another eight months before we can do the other.

If you would like to donate to Baby’s surgery fund, you can do so by visiting www.stokescountyhumanesociety.com and clicking the “Our Furbabies” link to the left of the page.  If you’re on Facebook, visit Baby’s very own page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/BabysLuxatingPatella.

We can only do this with your help.

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A Few Funny Dog Photos

Today I received an email from a friend – the subject line is “here are your funnies for the day.”  I’m amused enough to want to share them with everyone.  🙂  Enjoy, and hope you’re as amused as I am.