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Isa's Story

January 21st, 2017

Goodbye my sweet girl

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

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I knew, I knew all along. I simply was doing my very best ostrich imitation.
Isa had been having trouble getting around since well before Christmas. I thought it was the cortisone wearing off in her back. I still think that was an issue, but evidently not THE issue. She’d been eating very inconsistently as well.
Saturday she was on the bed playing with me, our long-standing weekend wrestling match and something she’d not been interested in doing in longer than I’m willing to admit. She was too close to the edge and rolled off. A perfect turtle trapped between the bed and the wall. I hauled her out, she shook it off and I didn’t think much more of it. She spent most of the weekend on her bed, not moving around much at all. Again I didn’t think too much of it – it had been that way for a while. I did notice Sunday that she was limping on her front leg.
Amazing what we can rationalize, isn’t it? I still clung to the belief that it was her back. At our regular Monday vet visit for her bandage change (her elbow never did heal), she was only barely walking, needed help with even a low curb. We were there to get her the cortisone shot as well so I thought we’d be okay in a few days once that kicked in. That was my plan anyway.
On Tuesday I was emailing a friend with the “weekend report” and suddenly remembered her falling off the bed. She must have hurt herself – I said very mean things to myself. Still I didn’t call the vet that afternoon, I waited to see if she was any better that evening. She wasn’t.
I called the vet in the morning. Our regular vet was off that day so I left a message for him and for our back up vet who was working that day. After some back and forth, I dropped Isa off for evaluation. I was still hoping it was a bruise or strained something from the fall. The tech helping me get her into the building commented on how stiff and obviously sore her right front leg was.
The back up vet called just before lunch. She talked for a while not saying much and I realized this was going to be bad news, I could hear it in her voice. This poor woman is same one that gave us the cancer diagnosis last summer. Eventually she got the words out – a metastatic lesion on her right shoulder. This stupid piece of crap disease didn’t even have the decency to metastasize properly. No, it has to start the torture all over again. The injustice of it is mind-boggling.
She kept talking for a while, “worst situation possible,” they could keep her there and we’d “take care of it” the next day or the next or I could take her home and bring her back into the office later.  I said I’d call back. I needed to wrap my brain around the information.
They put a fentanyl patch on her and I brought her home. We stopped and got a puppy latte at Starbucks and McDonalds for dinner: two McDoubles for her and we split some fries. A couple of friends came over a little later and we had wine and hung out with her, lots and lots of cuddles. I brought the smaller mattress downstairs so I could sleep next to her rather than try to get her into the big bed and hurt her in the process. We cuddled all night.
She had a giant steak for breakfast courtesy of one of our evening guests and I got her another puppy latte (and coffee for me). A pig’s ear, bone broth and some scrambled eggs in the afternoon. Her appetite was just fine. Aside from several naps, she was alert and giving kisses and wagging her tail all day. That fentanyl is some good drugs.
I cuddled and talked with her all day. The neighbors came over in the afternoon to say goodbye and prop me up. About 4pm a house-call vet came. She gave Isa a sedative and then the magic elixir. I held her and talked to her the entire time. Her passing was very, very peaceful.
I’m wandering around now with a gapping hole in my chest. I frequently get stuck places, sit down to put socks on and forget to get up again. Sometimes I remember to eat. It’s probably good Wallee is insistent on her needs.
Isa visited me in my dreams last night, all four legs of course. She just sat with me while I petted her.
Run free my sweet girl.

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January 13th, 2017

Six Month Ampuversary!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

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Ms. Isa has asked that I issue a statement as to her continued good health six months after having mislaid her spare leg. She stated that she was in a state of dishabille and was therefore refusing any and all photography or portraiture to commemorate the event. A hint was given that this decision might be reconsidered at a later point in time, if/when she has sufficiently recovered her belle tournure.

No apology or explanation for this sudden and inexplicable haughtiness were forthcoming.

She has been a bit under the weather of late – her back is getting worse daily and the gabapentin is of less and less help, so perhaps therein lies the explanation. After due negotiation with the vet (aka Dr. Charming), she’s getting another cortisone shot on Monday. Hopefully she’ll be back to her usual self a few days after that. Then we’ll go find some snow and see if we can match Meg’s antics!

Happy January!

December 29th, 2016

Long time no bark

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

I am going to claim December as the chaos it tends to be. Not that anyone is or should be keeping track but last I posted (exactly a month ago) we were headed back to the vet for back/coughing/not eating issues. In the true way of things, the cough cleared up a couple of days before our appointment and has not returned, thank goodness. We’re back on gabapentin and vetprophen (sp?) and that has helped her back immeasurably but not completely. Vet said he doesn’t want to do another cortisone shot until spring – I’ve no clue why. Because steroids cause cancer? The ways of veterinarians are quite mysterious (to me). The pain meds have helped with her appetite, mostly, so that explains that.

Her elbow on the other hand, lord have mercy. After a month of bandages and crossed fingers, on Monday he called me into the back to look at her owie – if anything it was worse! This has been going on since the middle of July! The vet’s comment: “She almost died. Who’d have thought she’d be doing so well?” I’m not entirely certain how to process that one. At any rate, the decision was made to put her under, make some small incisions and slide some skin down over the wound instead of continuing “conservative” management by squishing the sides together and hoping for the best. Done and done Tuesday this week. She was incredibly dopey when I picked her up that evening, always good for entertainment value.

We go back next Monday for a check. It’s a minor issue in the scheme of things but please everyone think good thoughts for her/us. In the meantime my plan is to scrounge some scrap foam from somewhere and create some padding that will (miraculously) stay on – that’s part of the problem, she’s heavy on her elbows. Seems like there’s a (bad) joke in there somewhere.

We had a quiet Christmas or I did. I built a fire in the fireplace which freaked her out so she hid in the garage, including once again going up the steps she swears she cannot negotiate without help. She looked at me like I had been beating her so I coaxed her back in and let the fire die out. It is now official, not that it wasn’t before. My life is ruled by my dog. It could be worse.

And because I’m liable to be exiled from the community if I post without pictures, here is evidence of our cozy winter nest:

or maybe it’s evidence of how thoroughly Isa is not a morning dog. I don’t think I got so much as an ear twitch when I took the picture.

I hope everyone had a lovely whichever-December-holiday you celebrate and wishing one and all and happy and healthy 2017!


UPDATE: Because I totally forgot to tell you! Of course they took a chest x-ray last month – identical to the one taken last July at diagnosis! Hooray!

November 29th, 2016

This and That

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Mostly we’re cruising along, Isa and I. We split a rotisserie chicken for Thanksgiving dinner which left enough for a sandwich for me and several days worth of treasure hunt treasure for her. Getting us out for an adventure over the long weekend was less than successful. On the other hand I got a ton done around the house. But we did go for a short walk. Might have been longer but I was not dressed appropriately for the wind/weather which suddenly decided it was, in fact, winter.

You can see her top coat has still not grown back. Craziness!

In the car - as always, there seems to be some question regarding my sanity.

In the car – as always, there seems to be some question regarding my sanity.

And for Sally, a very blurry picture of the steak presented on the occasion of her four-month and one week ampuversary. At least my sanity is not being called into question here.


We’re still going round and round with her elbow. It’s better for a day or two and then not so much so I put together an elbow protector for her, a thing of beauty. I tried to take a picture but it’s black fabric on black fur so problematic. Also problematic is someone’s ability to undo velcro in less than ten seconds. I thought I’d won, bypassing the velcro with safety pins. But no! I got up this morning and she had somehow undone (as in opened and removed) the safety pin and pulled the whole thing off. Moving on to Plan Q now, whatever that is. But when we can keep it on, the owie is so much better!

In the interests of paranoia, we’ve got a vet appointment next Monday. I’m reasonably certain her back is starting to bother her again, causing a certain amount of wobble. I think you can see it in the video. And she’s parsing out her breakfast some/most mornings, not clearing her bowl until mid/late morning – absolutely unheard of. Not to mention this weird cough/choke noise on occasion, mostly at night. That one has me intermittently freaked out, not to mention frequently startling me out of a sound sleep. Hopefully I can record it so I won’t have to attempt an imitation for the vet. Smart phones have to be good for something.

I’ll report in post-vet although “they” have been making me actually work at work, thereby radically cutting into my Tripawds time. The nerve of some people!!

I hope all of you and yours are well. Happy belated Thanksgiving!


November 18th, 2016

Mom totally forgot!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

To tell you the very best part! I got to go to Disneyland!* I haven’t been in forever and ever** and it’s the Best. Place. Ever. I got to play with lots and lots of other dogs all day, it was forever and wonderful. And all the humans paid me so much attention ’cause they said I’m so special. Okay, there was one puppy that was really annoying but I could ignore her mostly, even if she was barking really loud at me. It was so, so  much fun, I was so so happy. Mom looked like she was maybe going to cry when she picked me up but that doesn’t make any sense at all. Anyway, mom said I get to go back and play again on “payday” whatever that is. Hooray!!


Notes from mom:

*Really and truly called daycare.

** Not since before her surgery.

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