hsifeng: (Pele-Mei)
*see icon*

Still miss you Pele-mei, you were my soft headed little dragon goddess.

This post was meant to go up yesterday, but you know how it is when doctors appointments spoil a schedule. :P

*****************************




The inscription:

Near this spot 
Are deposited the Remains of one 
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity, 
Strength without Insolence, 
Courage without Ferocity, 
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices. 
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery 
If inscribed over human ashes, 
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of 
BOATSWAIN, a DOG 
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803, 
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808. 

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.


~ Boatswain Memorial at Newstead Abby, Lord Byron
hsifeng: (Am I Blue?)
When I got home from work yesterday, I found that the little man who lives in Pele's head had been running all over, switching things off.

I noticed her standing next to her bed in the corner of the living room as soon as I entered the house. She wanted to stand up and walk outside, but her left front foot wouldn't work. The leg moved, but the foot wouldn't land pad-side-down so she could take a step. I hoped she just had a leg 'asleep' from her resting so much recently.

So, I carried her outside and set her down. After getting her balanced and all her feet under her, she tried to take another step. Same result - the foot rolled under, her back legs gave out and she started to go down. I held her up for a few minutes, hoping that circulation would resolve the issue.

No luck.

I carried her back in (no poop, no pee) and made her comfy on her bed.

I lost if for a minute.

Hubby and [profile] bedpimp were at the movies, but I tried the cell phone anyway. Left a message.

Pele was resting without looking upset, so I put on a movie and curled up next to her. She went to sleep. I didn't.

Hubby got home and we reviewed our options. We tried getting her up and outside for another attempt at potty and walking. No go. Same result.

We came back in and set up the futon mattress in the living room with some soft blankets and a pile of pillows. That is where Pele and I slept last night, with hubby watching over both.

This morning, I called the vet. Dr. Brewer agreed to come by the house at 2:00 PM and to bring the medicine necessary to put Pele to sleep. We spent the next five hours loving on her, calling local friends so they could come by for a last visit, trying to keep her as relaxed as possible. Hubby, Fritz, Pele and I all curled up on the futon together: She slept, had a couple of 'chase dreams' (which I liked to watch), sipped a bit of water and then slept some more.

I took some time to thank her for being my dog, to thank the universe for bringing her into our lives, for letting us have these last few weeks to have her while she slipped away. To tell her I loved her and always will.

Abby Pet Hospital called at 2:00 PM, Dr. Brewer was on her way. Hubby took Fritz upstairs (I didn't want him to bite Dr. Brewer when she was being nice enough to come take care of this at our house), and we waited. At 2:10ish the vet came through the door. I was curled up next to Pele. Rene (Dr. Brewer) talked to us a little bit about her condition, hubby noted that she hadn't been breathing well that night while he was watching us sleep.

The needle came out, Pele didn't move until Rene had put it in her leg (a tiny yelp and a little jump - then she settled again). Rene did a slow push of a large volume of sedative. I had my hand on Pele's neck and felt her pulse fade out. She sighed once, relaxed and then stopped.

Tomorrow, I am going to buy a Thank You note for Rene and the other folks at Abby Pet Hospital. They didn't have to come out to our house to take care of us, but they did it without complaint, didn't charge us and have taken care of Pele's remains getting to the pet cemetary for cremation.  Those will be on the mantel along with Leopold's and Nichodemus' early next week.

I miss her already.

Someday I may own another greyhound, but I need to wait a bit - because right now any other grey would only suffer by comparison to my little baby.

Pele
Pele-a-mei
Pepe-la-mei-a
La Bouch
Legs
Skinny Dog
Bologna Tongue
Stripe
J Lo Booty

You are the best dog ever.
hsifeng: (Am I Blue?)
Well, it's pretty much official: Pele is blind.

Bright sunlight in the backyard, no way that she shouldn't have been able to see us standing by the house. She was confused, obviously trying to use our voices as a location. Stumbled into a couple of objects (not hard) before I could get her to stand still so that I could lift her back up the steps to enter the house.

She was equally uncertain of the back hallway, but it seems like she knows how many steps it takes to get to the door and can tell if it is closed (most times).

Had a hard time navigating in the house to her bed (which has never moved since it arrived here) - but once there was happy to figure out how to lay down.

The unwanted side effect of the blindness is that she now does not get *any* exercise other than her walks in the AM. I talked to the hubby about her walking her in the PM as well (heat permitting): Without exercise her back legs are going to give out sooner rather than later. The extra strain of her inactivity is already showing in her stiffness.

But, she's happy: She is laying on her bed grinning at me and panting right now. So long as that doesn't change we are golden!

Pele-mei

Jul. 21st, 2008 09:27 am
hsifeng: (Am I Blue?)


It is hard to watch a good friend age, especially when it seems to happen before it *should*. Then again, Pele isn’t going to get old on my clock – but on her own.
 
She had adjusted to the leg stiffness and weakness and has been eating well and not moping so much. Then about a week ago I noticed that she seemed pretty disoriented in the morning when she was following me around the house as we prepped for our walk: Disoriented to the point that she just went back to bed and laid there until I walked her outside to potty and get her leash on.
 
As we walked, I noticed that she was having a hard time understanding where the edge of things were – like the edge between the sidewalk and the grass, the edge of the curb, etc. I was suspicious, but hoped it was just a little dark out (we were walking at 5:30 AM) and that she was just extra stiff that morning.
 
The next day it was worse.
 
I called the vet, and let her know that Pele seemed to be loosing her ability to see things well. It seemed worse in her left eye, and even worse in dim lighting. But overall it was affecting her confidence and had lead her to not eat much that morning.
 
Dr. Brewer recommended a blood test to rule out Diabetes and a few other items: I took Pele in immediately so that we could get the results back as soon as possible. While her blood was being drawn, Rene Brewer checked her eyes out (as best she can as a non-specialist); she then had a second vet take a look as well. Overall, her conclusion is that there is *nothing* wrong with Pele’s eyes. No cataracts, detached retinas, corneal tears, etc. Without even finalizing the blood work, that rules out a large chunk of the ‘blood test related’ possibilities.
 
It means there is probably something else at work here: Like a tumor, or a blood clot, or something else lurking in the depths of her nervous centers.
 
We did the blood test anyway, and found a low grade thyroid issue as well as a mild infection that we are treating. There is a *slim* chance that the infection is an abscess that is pressing on her brain in a manner that might cause these problems – but it is pretty slim. We are treating her with an antibiotic that can treat that sort of thing just in case.
 
But overall, my little girl is just going blind and possibly worse.
 
Blind I can deal with.
 
The only thing that has me worried is that the ‘blindness’ appeared to come on very quickly. I know that dogs tend to adjust to failing sight and that she may have been loosing vision over a long period without me noticing – but the sudden drop off in vision that lead to her disoriented behavior has me concerned that we may be dealing with something that is progressing rapidly.
 
Nothing I can do but wait and see. I don’t have $1,200 for an MRI – much less the thousands for surgeries and treatments.
 
And honestly, I don’t really think it is right to put her through that sort of thing as I know how traumatic it would be for her – she is a nervy little thing at this point in her life, and I think it has a lot to do with her legs and eyes failing her and her not being able to trust the two things that greyhounds trust most: Legs and vision.
 
In the meantime, I am loving on her, protecting her, carrying her up and down the stairs (*when she’ll let me) and making sure she is getting enough to eat. At least her appetite is back!
 
I am going to treasure every minute I can get with her right now.
 
Even if she is peeing and pooping in the house because she can’t figure out how to get outside all the time.
 
*le sigh*
 
I’d still keep her for another hundred years if I could – even with the mess.
hsifeng: (Bouncy)
So, just how hard did our little girl work when she was on track? This hard! There is a nice picture of Pele with Jeff up on the site, as well as an image of her in racing silks. My little girl kicks some serious ASS! *grin*
hsifeng: (Bouncy)

Since my last posting, my vet had a chance to speak with Candy Lewis of the Harmony Animal Hospital in San Diego: Dr. Lewis actually wasn’t surprised at all to hear about Pele’s symptoms and said that she sees this sort of thing commonly in greyhounds. Basically there comes a point where the dog’s muscles fail – like a person getting older and needing a cane or walker.

 

There isn’t much that can be done other than supplements, a course of steroids (to see if they have any effect – they generally don’t), exercise and good diet. We are covering all these bases and I have been looking into the various ‘elder dog’ items that I may need to pick up including this.

 

There has been no issue with incontinence and there may not be for some time, but I am actually a little amused at the ruffled panties I can get her in hot-rod flame prints when/if it becomes an issue.

 

The apparent ‘sudden onset’ of lameness and weakness that was going on at the end of last week is starting to clear a bit and I think I know what it was: Little girl was still trying to sprint into/out of the house for her back yard breaks and was fishtailing all over the linoleum floors in the kitchen and hallway. Now I walk her out, carry her down the steps and lift her back onto the porch to walk her back in. This seems to have given her legs a chance to recover from the damage that was done by her falling several times at the beginning of last week. She is still stiff and awkward but appears to be moving better than she was in the recent past.

 

All in all, I am hopeful and Pele is starting to adjust to her new parameters: The thing that was worrying me the most was that she was obviously worried about trusting her legs. Something I am sure is a spirit crusher in a dog that has run its whole life.

 

Pele Update

Apr. 7th, 2008 04:52 pm
hsifeng: (work)
I called my vet today and left a message for a notation to be added to charts that included a phone consult on a thyroid test, inflammatory disease panel and lumbrosacral stenosis.  Weird as it sounds, I am sorta hoping for the later since it appears that it may be controllable with injections and may not be as likely to progress despite treatment the way that DM seems to.

EDIT: Just got off the phone with Jim of GAC. That man is a wealth of information! He referred me to his San Diego vet (who is also the medical directory of the organization) and I will be having my doctor call her as soon as possible to go over what we can do next for Pele.

Little girls is resting happily at present - she hates all the supplements that Mommy is making her take. I am going to try mixing them into some peanut butter and putting them in her Kong instead on making her swallow them. I am sure she will appreciate it!
hsifeng: (Am I Blue?)
I took our greyhound to the vet today, she has been having an issue with her back legs acting 'stiff' for about two weeks now. I had been under the impression that she had pulled a muscle (this has happened before and I have been accused - by my vet -  of being paranoid for popping into the vets office every time one of my fuzzy kids acts a little weird). But this time the sprain wasn't healing up as I thought I should so I made an appointment.

Dr. Brewer took some x-rays, did some mobility, function and nerve sensitivity tests and has settled on a diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy, sort of like MS for dogs. While this seems to be most common in German Shepherd's, it is also found in other breeds. I am in the process of doing some research on the disease (I am not 100% sure this is the cause and have a few blood test I want Dr. Brewer to run this next week including one on Pele's thyroid and an inflammatory disease panel): In the meantime, hubby and I went out and bought a list of supplements that were recommended as well as the ingredients for a 'home made' dog food which will be much better for Pele's overall health. We are also looking into acupuncture and possible water exercise therapy.

The dog food was a pain to make but she loves it! It is portioned out into servings and is in the fridge and freezer - should last us about two weeks before I have to make another one.

The long and the short of it is this: Pele seems to be at what Dr. Brewer calls 'stage two' of the disease. She is having some fine motor control issues - tripping, crossing her legs up sometimes and not reacting well to the 'standing on the top of her foot test' - all of which are exacerbated by stress (which meant they were really acting up on a Saturday at the vet's office). The work that hubby and I are doing - exercise, diet and medication/supplements - can help to delay the onset of stage three. Stage three is the loss of deep nerve use and paralysis. She may well loose the use of her back legs and bladder, followed by the slow progression of the disease up her spinal column.

This is not a trip we are looking forward to, and not one that we think Pele would want to make without a fight.

On the other hand, we don't plan on pushing her past the point where her quality of life suffers. If she is up for a doggy wheelchair and a diaper then we will work with her on that, if not, we will have to let her go.

With any luck, the work will mean she is around for at least another few years - what we could expect from a regular greyhound lifespan.

I love this dog - I love her more than I have loved an animal in a *long* time. I could have done with better news at the vet, but we will deal with this.

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hsifeng

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