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For the Love of Daisy

From adoption to amputation – Daisy's story

A Celebration of Daisy’s Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daisy at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 16, 2010  Tagged , ,

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Daisy deteriorated quickly after my post last Tuesday. She started having difficulty getting up, and even after I helped her get to a standing position, she had shortness of breath and was pretty unsteady on her legs. She also lost interest in my home-cooked meals that she had always devoured. However, she still smiled and wagged her tail, so I knew she wasn’t going to make the decision easy for me.

Knowing what lay ahead, we decided to give her the treats that she never had before. Last Wednesday, we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and Daisy ordered chicken McNuggets and fries for herself, which she enjoyed immensely! Then we went to the DQ where she ordered a sundae with milk bones—yum! On Thursday she enjoyed yogurt, hot dogs, and extra large helpings of broccoli, which she loved. Spending time in the backyard was always one of her favorite things to do, too. Here we are with my son, Brian.

Enjoying the summer day with momma and Brian

This morning we called the vet and made the dreaded appointment for 1:30. To honor her life, we had dark cherry/chocolate ice cream and peanut butter cookies. She was delighted with my choice of food with which to celebrate!

Celebrating life with cookies and ice cream

We are grateful that we had time to love her and kiss her and reassure her that she was a very courageous girl who brought much joy to our lives for the past 22 months. Her passing was very peaceful. She lay stretched out on the examination table looking as if she were merely asleep. We can imagine her romping with other dogs who’ve gone before her. We take comfort in knowing that our timing was right, but the house sure is empty without her.

A kiss goodbye


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News That Tugs at My Heartstrings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daisy at 10:57 pm on Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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I could tell that my sweet girl wasn’t feeling well starting last Thursday, July 8. She had no energy, so I suspected parasites, as she’s had them before with similar symptoms. Dr. Pomeroy (whom I’ve mentioned in a previous post) diagnosed her as having 3 parasites, and he prescribed the necessary supplements. She did some vomiting over the weekend and had little appetite. Even pre-amp, when she had the most pain, she still enjoyed eating! Since she wasn’t better today (Tuesday), I took her in for an x-ray. As I suspected, her lungs are filled with cancer (which is probably why she’s not responding to the parasite treatment). It’s a matter of time now–could be a few days or a few weeks. I’ll keep giving her lots of love and treats and trust that she’ll let me know when it’s time. The suddenness of this really caught me off guard, but I’ll be OK. I am so grateful that I’ve had as much time as I’ve had with my best girl. Below are pictures of Daisy in two of her favorite activities: in the sun getting petted by mom (mid-yawn) and retrieving a ball from the water.

Sunning with mom

Swimming in the river

5 Weeks Post Amp.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daisy at 10:17 pm on Thursday, June 24, 2010  Tagged ,

For the first few days of Daisy’s recovery, I had decided that she and I would “bed down” on the landing of our split-level home—no stairs to navigate, and to go potty she just needed to go out the door and through the garage a few feet. It worked out very well. And although I didn’t get much sleep in my sleeping bag on the hard floor, I found the Tripawds website during this recovery time while browsing the net with my laptop, and that was a great find!

Just hanging out in the yard on a warm day.

Now that I know what some other pets have gone through, I can say I was very lucky in that Daisy’s recovery was quite uneventful. In fact, she surprised me on day 3 by navigating the stairs by herself (I had forgotten to put up the baby gate). From that day on she was back in her bed by my side of the bed, and we both slept much better. I didn’t have the Ruff Wear harness yet, as she had no protection over her stitches. Without even asking the vet, I decided to wait until the stitches came out. Instead, I used a towel under her belly to give her support going up and down the stairs. Probably the most eventful thing that happened was when I awakened at 4:45 a.m. on day 5 to Daisy’s very loud licking. First of all, I was surprised that she could reach the surgical site (front left leg), but the licking itself didn’t surprise me, as she had previously been licking her leg where the IV was inserted. The loudness of the licking did scare me a little, however. Imagine being awakened to loud s-l-u-r-r-r-p, s-l-u-r-r-r-p noises that can be readily heard over the sound machine in the bedroom! I first got the flashlight so as not to awaken my husband, but what I saw scared me even more, as it appeared she had broken a stitch and was oozing from that area. Not knowing what to do and starting to freak out, I then woke my husband for support. He promptly dressed and headed to the nearest 24-hour drug store, returning with a package of surgical dressings that we held in place with an Ace bandage. Even though Dr. Pomeroy had given me his home number for emergencies, I did not think this constituted one and waited until office hours to call him. He reassured me that she had most likely not broken a stitch but rather was just licking up the extra fluid that was oozing from the site, and he was right. (There was no drainage tube inserted during the surgery, and he had warned me this might happen. However, that little detail was lost among all the other things to think about at that time!) The oozing lasted for less than 2 days, but while it was going on the surgical dressings, with their multiple layers, worked very well to absorb the flow.

With her Ruff Wear harness--3 wks post amp

Daisy is gradually building up her stamina (remember, she’s 12). And while it’s doubtful we’ll ever go for walks of any length (although I’m not ruling it out, as so far everything has gone better than expected), as of yesterday (her 5-week ampuversary) she’s the same playful girl who loves to retrieve the ball and swim in the river near us (with her life jacket on). Life is so very good! There is still a prayer team focusing on her recovery and continued wellness, and I thank God every day for the gift of Daisy.

Just after a swim

Life After Adoption

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daisy at 7:18 am on Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keeping watch in the front yard.

So that’s how Daisy came to her forever home and we began the process of getting to know each other. We discovered that Daisy liked to be fed little treats from the table, and just in case I didn’t notice that she was there patiently waiting, she would gently but firmly place her paw on my thigh as if to say, “Hey, I’m here too!” She’s such a good girl, though, that she would lie down if told.

I want some of that!

Daisy soon discovered that she didn’t have to go for a walk just to do her “business”—that we had a whole fenced-in yard for her roaming pleasure. We in turn discovered that Daisy was used to sleeping in the bedroom with her people and, unlike Molly, didn’t snore!

Snoozing

Daisy then discovered that we are only 2 miles from the local dog park and that we could go there often so she could socialize. And then came the biggest surprise discovery of all for Daisy—that we have a cabin on the water! There we saw further examples of what a playful girl she is!

Look what I found!

She couldn’t get enough of fetching the ball, which is very fun for us because Molly was never very playful and certainly had no interest in going after a stupid ball!

Getting ready to put the ball onto the dock for me to pick up and throw.

Mission accomplished!

Other than our planned-before-we-got-her two-week trip to Hawaii in late December 2008 to celebrate my husband’s retirement, things sailed along very smoothly.

Ears "sailing" as she barks for the next throw.

Even though I had a live-in person, including my son part of the time, to take care of Daisy and the other pets while we were gone, Daisy did get pretty stressed, and sometimes I feel a little guilty that I deserted her so soon after adoption. After all, she had been with her original family for 10+ years before they gave her up, and then 3+ months after I adopt her, I leave. I sometimes wonder if that stress contributed to her cancer. But what could I do? As I said, this trip was planned way before Daisy entered our lives.

Beginning in the summer of 2009 I would occasionally notice a slight limp after she had played ball for a long time, but I, as others have, chalked it up to arthritis or age or a slight sprain. The diagnosis of osteosarcoma came the first week of December. After doing some research online, I opted not to go the chemo route for various reasons. I also opted not to amputate, primarily because of her age; that decision seemed right at the time, and I still believe it was for reasons I’ll explain shortly. Instead, I followed the recommendations for diet and supplements found in Dr. Demian Dressler’s e-book. I am also blessed to have a wonderful veterinarian (Dr. Fred Pomeroy, St. Paul, Minnesota), who has developed his own form of kinesiology, uses EFT and, additionally, is a naturopathic physician. Dr. Pomeroy started seeing Daisy every three weeks to see how she was responding to her supplements and what new supplements she might need. I believe this treatment cleaned out Daisy’s system of any toxic metals and minerals and boosted her immune system so she was in a better position to undergo amputation at age 12. Along the way I had a shamanic practitioner named Mary Stoffel (http://humanimal.com/) journey for Daisy for purposes of healing. Daisy also made regular visits to Dr. Heather Douglas at Douglas Animal Hospital (http://douglasanimalhospital.com/) for acupuncture treatments. When the tumor on her left forearm wrist grew to nearly baseball-size,

Enjoying her birthday bone - 5/11/10

and when the pain meds were no longer taking care of the pain, I had to make a decision that most of you reading this blog have had to make at one time or another: euthanize or amputate. My gut feeling was to amputate—even though previously I had decided not to. Daisy’s health seemed so good and she had such a strong will to live that I reconsidered my original decision. Then I did something that many of you will think strange, but it is a part of my belief system and, in the interest of being totally real, I want to share it with you: I had someone from my church who does “pet readings”  (http://brotherwolfandfriends.com/) come to my house and converse with Daisy to get a sense of where she was at. (She doesn’t have to visit the pet to do readings, but she lived nearby and wanted to meet Daisy.) In short, Daisy wanted the “thing” gone, didn’t feel at all old and disliked the term, and was willing to undergo the operation and subsequent “tripawdness”. She didn’t feel it was her time to go.

That was on May 17, 2010. I prayed about it that day and made the decision to amputate. On May 18 an x-ray was taken of her lungs just to be sure they were clear. On May 19, her limb was amputated. Some people were praying for Daisy around the clock while others were sending her distant healing energy. The day after surgery, Dr. Pomeroy found her standing up in her recovery space. He carried her outside to do her “business,” but she didn’t go—she saved it until she got home (just like some people I know)! After he carried her back inside, she took off running/hopping down the corridor—rather scared him and the staff that she might fall. She was definitely ready to come home, which she did just a couple hours later. To be continued . . .

Daisy’s Arrival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daisy at 9:07 pm on Tuesday, June 1, 2010  Tagged

I wasn’t always Daisy’s momma. Nope. People are surprised, as our hair is very similar in color (joke, but really, I’ve had so many comments about that!). Daisy’s first mom had tried very hard to keep her, despite living in rental property that didn’t normally allow pets. But Daisy barks sometimes—not a lot, you understand, just enough to let us know that someone might be at the door—and eventually the landlord said “no more,” and that is how Daisy found herself lying on the hard floor of a tall cell at the local Animal Humane Society at ten years, three and a half months young. She knew this place, as she’d been there briefly a year and a half before when Mom and Dad first split up. Dad had said he’d take care of her, but instead he had brought her here. When Mom found out, she rescued Daisy right away. So Daisy lay there, sadly but patiently, waiting for her mom to come back for her again, not knowing that this time the mom she knew would not return.

Meanwhile, on August 11, 2008, I had euthanized my 17-year-old beagle, Molly, who had also come to us through the Animal Humane Society when she was 3. Molly had a sudden growth on her left forearm six months prior that the vet had removed. When it returned with a vengeance six months later and Molly stopped eating, we knew it was the end of her journey in this world. Before Molly passed, I assured her that soon she would be running freely and joyfully in a field of daisies, as I could see her doing just that in the crazy way she used to run with both front feet rather outward as she sped around the yard. My husband and I decided we would take some time off from canine responsibilities (we still had two cats and a bearded dragon lizard) and would think about adopting another dog the following summer, perhaps.

About two weeks after Molly passed, I found myself late at night looking at pictures of animals that were up for adoption at the AHS. Although I felt driven to do this, I didn’t really understand the urge, as we had agreed not to immediately adopt another dog. I told myself this was a natural reaction to losing Molly and that I was just window shopping with no intention to buy. One night I went to the local AHS website as usual and the long, sad face of a beautiful yellow lab looked out at me. My heart started racing, and I had a very visceral reaction to her picture, as if I knew her, as if she belonged with me. I read her brief bio and cried as I imagined her pain at being orphaned by the only family she had ever known. I decided to visit her the next day after my son got home from school; we’d go together.

The next day I called to get more details about this sweet girl, and that’s when I was told that the AHS was closing early that day for a meeting. I couldn’t wait for my son—I had to get there before they closed. As fate would have it, I was not working that day.

I went into a room and sat on a bench while they brought Daisy to me. She was super excited and super nervous as evidenced by her running from me to the door and back again to scoot under my knees, her body actually lifting my legs off the floor as she stood there trembling. She showed me all her tricks: come, sit, lay, and shake with each paw. “OK, can we go now?” she seemed to be saying. I hated to disappoint her, but I had to put her on a 24-hour hold while I discussed her with my husband, who didn’t even know I had been window shopping! (That’s another story.) As I was completing the paperwork for the hold, a man came in and stated that he was there to see Daisy. When he was told Daisy wasn’t available, he didn’t understand, and he tried to explain that he had called just a half hour before. Overhearing his confusion, I spoke up and revealed that I had gotten there first. Timing really is everything! The next day I returned, and this is how Daisy came to live with us exactly one month after Molly passed. I do believe that Molly, while enjoying her romp through the field of daisies, helped lead me to my special girl.