RIP, Daisy

31Jul14

Daisy

It’s been a rough week. We said goodbye to our beloved Daisy  tonight. I’ve shed a lot of tears — before, during and after — and I’ll probably shed lots more in the coming days. Saying goodbye to a pet is seriously one of the hardest things to do.

KP and I adopted Daisy in September 2010, just a month after we got married. With one look at her adorable pictures, I knew she had to be ours.

Daisy

On paper, Daisy was everything we were looking for — she wasn’t a puppy, she was crate-trained and she was house-broken. And she was adorable. Daisy had been surrendered to the Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue organization, we were told, by an elderly couple who had to move into nursing care. Seems like this was probably the case, as Daisy did better with calm, quiet and a sedentary lifestyle more than she did with much chaos and activity.

Early on it was evident that Daisy was pretty feisty. She did what she wanted, when she wanted, hence earning the moniker, Daisy the Diva. I remember anxiously telling our vet how she refused to walk on her leash; she would literally put on her brakes and flat out refuse to walk! She also had two traits of a 50-year old man; she farted and snored incessantly. But we still loved her. We also quickly learned that Daisy was a biter, but under very specific circumstances (that’s the defensive mom in me coming out). Daisy hated sudden movements and god forbid she felt like she was going to get stepped on. Instead of waiting to see what was going to happen, she’d proactively nip at an ankle or bite toes if she so much as thought she was going to get trampled, or felt her space was being invaded. The rules of Daisy became a running joke in our family: 1) stop, 2) acknowledge, 3) proceed with caution.

While most dogs love the dog park and playing with other dogs, Daisy did not. We took her to the dog park a handful of times, only to watch her mingle with humans. It was wasted on her. She just didn’t have much interest in other dogs. What she did love, was food. To say that Daisy was a food-motivated dog is an understatement. She loved baby carrots, eggs, peanut butter, cheese and Scooter’s frozen custard in a puppy cone. She also loved chasing squirrels, rabbits and rodents (it’s Chicago, people…). As far as people were concerned, so long as she got a belly rub or at least a pat on the head, you were in her good graces. She abhorred the doorbell and ringing cell phones, and any kind of chaos.

Daisy was a very lucky dog for her first three or so years with us; she was our firstborn “dogter,” after all. We truly treated her like our child, sparing no expense for Daisy. And even after baby sister, Nora, arrived last May, we still spared no expense for Daisy. It was clear that she was no longer top dog, though. Nora was our priority and I have no doubt that Daisy felt it. Daisy was not a fan of Nora initially. I vividly remember the day we brought her home from the hospital. Daisy flat-out ignored Nora; instead, she was fixated on a squirrel that was on our back deck. As soon as Nora let out one of her squeaks, though, Daisy was intrigued — and not in a good way! The first several weeks were touch and go, with Daisy climbing up on Nora’s bassinet every time she made a peep. But, I guess once Daisy realized that Nora wasn’t going anywhere, she eventually came around. It was a slow process. She went from probably to despising her, to acknowledging her existence (but refusing to make eye contact), to accepting belly rubs and hugs from Nora. I think Daisy instinctively knew that all bets were off with Nora. And maybe it helped that “Daisy” was Nora’s first word; Nora was bound and determined to make Daisy her BFF, whether or not the feeling was mutual.

Last fall, things began to change for Daisy. She was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in August or September, and it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ever since then. Not that she was much of a go-getter to begin with, but her energy level decreased dramatically. She frequently had accidents in the house. She developed calcinosis cutis. She was much more susceptible to other illnesses due to her weakened immune system. And she didn’t do herself any favors by eating a mini spatula (well, just the rubber head part) back in December, as she had to have it surgically removed in January. We tried to control the Cushing’s with medication, but it became a never-ending battle; just when it seemed like we had things under control, it became clear that we didn’t.

In recent months, Daisy’s decline became more and more obvious. And in the past week, even more so. Like I said, Daisy was all about food, so clearly something was up when she let baby carrots, cheese and peanut butter go uneaten. She simply wasn’t herself and Cushing’s wasn’t doing her any favors.

After we got home from our family vacation, we knew it was time. Even still, we hem-hawed about the decision. I told myself last week that she had had such a great week that there was no way it was time… only to have all these other things happen which reconfirmed our initial decision. All of these thoughts ran through my head — one of the dumbest ones was that “she’s only ten!” But as I’ve been reminded by many people, age has nothing to do with it. Like most decisions I make — right or wrong — I scour the internet as my means of “research.” There’s a lot of helpful information out there about how you know when it’s the “right time” to say goodbye to your pet. And I knew. Without even reading all of those articles, I knew.

So tonight we said good-bye. It was very peaceful as I held her in my arms, and I truly felt that she was in a better place and finally found some comfort. We will miss her like crazy.

So long, Daisy… until we meet again (May 7, 2004 – July 31, 2014).

 


Rainy Monday…

28Apr14

Image

… calls for a nap.


RIP, Spike

17Mar14
Daisy & Spike

This picture says it all. Daisy, barking like a big mouth, and Spike completely ignoring her nonsense.

One of our favorite furry friends, Spike Thekilla, left us for dog heaven yesterday.

We met Spike about four years ago. And, had we not met Spike, we would’ve never gotten Daisy. Spike’s Dad, Frank, rescued him six years ago from the Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue, a group that does wonderful work. Frank always got emails when the organization rescued new dogs, and he forwarded the one with Daisy’s picture to me. We immediately pursued her and the rest is history. So, we have Spike to thank for crotchety, gassy Daisy.

Frank was lucky to have Spike and vice versa. I’m not sure who was luckier, actually. Frank took amazing care of Spike, but Spike always looked out for Frank, too. They were a great pair. Spike was nearly always at Frank’s side; he took him along on everything he did — jet skiing, beer drinking, you name it…

Boozin'

Boozin’

Spike and Daisy had a love/hate relationship, heavier on the hate side, I’d say. Maybe “hate” is too strong of a word. Let’s just say from day one, Spike didn’t put up with many of Daisy’s high-maintenance antics; he just grinned and bore it — rightly so. Frank often kept Daisy for us when we traveled, much to Spike’s chagrin, no doubt. She stole his toys, his bed and his food, and snapped at him plenty, too. These two simply coexisted. The one and only thing they could agree on was sunbathing. Oh, and dog ice-cream.

I don’t know what the first eight years of Spike’s life were like before Frank; I don’t think they were very good. But I can guarantee that his last six were the best any dog could ask for, thanks to Frank. We’ll miss our little buddy and hope he gets all the sunny spots in dog heaven.

Sunbathing


Our Thanksgiving included a 12-hour drive to Pennsylvania (and of course, another 12-hour drive home). I was pretty sure Daisy wasn’t up for that kind of a trip, nor were we up for having her in the car with us that long given her gas issues… not to mention my frequent climbing into the backseat to keep Nora company or feed her.

So, off Daisy went to Earth Pups. And per usual, drama ensued at the drop-off. “But I don’t wanna go!!!”

"That's cool, Dad; you stay, I'll go home."

“That’s cool, Dad; you stay, I’ll go home.”

And per usual, I’m pretty certain Daisy had a grand old time. Little does she know, she’s captured on film.

Here she is, not enjoying hanging out with other dogs...

Here she is, not enjoying hanging out with other dogs…

To be honest, Daisy isn’t much of a dog’s dog. We used to take her to a dog park until she made it adamantly clear that she had no interest in the dogs there whatsoever, but would much rather hang out with the human beings. Still, it would be hard for her to convince me that she doesn’t enjoy the perks of Earth Pups. Ground turkey and sweet potato on Thanksgiving? They had her at “turkey.”

Earth Pups Thanksgiving

We are thankful for Earth Pups all year long, and even more so, for their willingness to accept our “unique and special” Daisy (“love bites” and all) just as she is.


… kinda feels that way, anyway. One of the symptoms of Cushing’s disease is excessive drinking… and consequently, more frequent urination. Having cleaned up three accidents that Daisy has uncharacteristically had in the house as of late, we’re definitely starting to see more of the symptoms rear their ugly heads. Kind of feels like we have two babies in the house, in that respect!

So it’s been confirmed that Daisy has the pituitary type of Cushing’s disease. The good news is that it’s treatable. Although, according to Daisy’s vet, they don’t always treat it because of the potential impact that treatment can have. They decided that treatment would be a good option for Daisy, though, but we’ll have to monitor her treatment closely to ensure that she doesn’t develop Addison’s, which is basically the opposite of Cushing’s but what some dogs develop with treatment.

She’ll start her new meds as soon as we receive the prescription, and after seven to ten days she’ll go back to the vet for an ACTH challenge to ensure that the meds aren’t negatively impacting her. She’ll do that test again in a month and then I think again in three months — the key being frequent monitoring until the vet is satisfied that the meds are only doing what they need to do to treat Cushing’s, but not so much that it causes the development of another disease.

I would’ve never imagined we’d be dealing with all of this with Daisy, but I just thank my lucky stars that this is all it is, and that it’s manageable.

Daisy


RIP, Biskit

06Nov13

Image

This was a sad week for one of our furry friends. We learned last weekend that Biskit (pictured above, center) had gotten very ill out of the blue. She had a fever and her kidney and liver levels were elevated. She was taken to the doggie ER and they did lots of tests to no avail. Unfortunately, she got worse instead of better with each passing day, and her dad had to make the incredibly difficult decision to say goodbye on Monday night.

I shed plenty of tears for Biskit and more importantly, her dad, when I read his update. He lost his best friend, as he said. And of course that made me think about what it would be like to lose our furry friend, which I can’t even imagine.

One of Biskit’s dad’s friends posted the Rainbow Bridge on his Facebook wall. A sweet poem, it can give us dog lovers a tiny bit of comfort at times like these.


Poor Daisy. I don’t think she envisioned her golden years quite like this. First, we bring a baby into the house and shower her with all of the attention that Daisy used to get (well, most of it, anyway).

Beep beep

“Of course she gets a car… she’s been here all of five minutes, after all.”

Then our vet ran some tests on Daisy which had abnormal results. He thinks she might have Cushing’s disease. Unfortunately, they can’t do a simple test that will have a positive or negative result to determine if she does, in fact, have the disease. Instead, it’s a series of tests — expensive tests, naturally — that they have to conduct.

Daisy

So far she’s had two rounds of tests, and both results pointed to her having Cushing’s, but it still isn’t certain. We’re told that the last step in the process will be an abdominal ultrasound, then they should have a better sense of whether or not she has the disease and what our next course of action will be.

I didn’t know much about Cushing’s disease before, other than that it’s a disease that humans can get, too. And even after the vet explained it a bit I still didn’t fully grasp everything, so of course I did a lot of reading online. PetMD (seemingly like WebMD!) seemed to have the best outline of the disease, which lists all of the symptoms — many of which Daisy has been exhibiting lately…

The good news is that a) the vet seems to think it’s the pituitary type that Daisy has and b) it’s manageable with oral medication. Hopefully we’ll know for sure one way or the other very soon.




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