Just a Dog

Read this online today and loved it :)

From time to time people tell me, “Lighten up. It’s just a dog.”
or “That’s a lot of money for just a dog.”
They don’t understand the distance traveled, time spent or costs involved for “Just a dog”.

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “Just a dog”.
Many hours have passed with my only company being “Just a dog”
and not once have I felt slighted.

Some of my saddest moments were brought about by “just a dog”.
In those days of darkness , the gentle touch of “Just a dog” provided comfort
and purpose to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “Just a dog”, you will probably understand phrases like
“Just a friend” or “just a sunrise” or “Just a promise”.

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust,
and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience
that make me a better person. Because of “Just a dog” I will rise early,
take long walks, and look longingly to the future.

For me and folks like me, it’s not “Just a dog”.
It’s an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday people can understand it’s not “Just a dog.”
It’s the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being
“Just a man ” or “Just a woman”.

So the next time you hear the phrase “Just a dog”,
smile, because they “Just don’t understand”..

Author unknown

June 2, 2011 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Ripley

Ripley must have ingested some sort of toxins, as he was fine around Christmas time. The photo of him in the snow was days after Christmas.

Then about 2 wks after Christmas, he wouldn’t eat his dog food & we fed him rice & chicken or boiled eggs. Eventually didn’t even like that.

After xrays, barium liquid, blood work, more xrays & then surgery (thinking he had an obstruction), found out he had end stage liver disease (severe hepatic cirrhosis)…with no favorable outcome according to the surgeons.

His brother, Rusty misses him dearly & is suffering from separation anxiety, so we have him on calming herbs that are helping. (as well as lots of extra TLC & walks!)

I found this online, and it is nice:

I just wanted to let you know that I made it home. The journey wasn’t an easy one, but it didn’t take too long.

Everything is so pretty here, so white, so fresh and new I wish that you could close your eyes and that you could see it too.

Please try not to be sad for me. Try to understand God is taking care of me…I’m in the shelter of His hands.

Here there is no sadness, no sorrow, and no pain. Here there is no crying and I’ll never hurt again.

Here it is so peaceful when all the angels sing. I really have to go for now… I’ve just got to try my wings.

February 10, 2011 by Lisa  
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Thank You

Hello. My friend and I both have dogs that suffer from Liver Disease. My Wire Fox Terrier-Skye was diagnosis with Chronic Active Hepatitis in Sept. on 2010, and my friends Golden was diagnosed with Liver disease just a few weeks ago. My friend sent me the link to your foundation and I wanted to let you know it has some really amazing information for those of us who, know really nothing about the disease.

First of all, what a beautiful story about Reiley. It is nice to see that my husband and I are not the only ones who are completely and utterly gaga over their pets :0). I have never really had to deal with many pet health concerns until my husband and I adopted Skye from a Wire Fox terrier rescue so I thought I would share our story.

I new the minute I saw her picture on the adoption site she was “My Girl.” I live in a house with my son and husband and 2 male dogs so I thought it was time to have another girl in the house. So, In May of 2010 Skye was flown from Canada to the owner of the rescue, and then my husband and I drove over 500 miles to pick her up. I never really found out why the original owners were getting rid of her, but I am thankful they did! Like I said, Skye is a 5 year old Wire Fox Terrier. She was full of spunk and energy (like a typical terrier) and we instantly fell head over heels for her, espec She had a pretty bad yeast infection on her skin, but other than that, she seemed to be in great health. Skye fit right in with our other dogs Patch, a 10 year old Wire and a 7 year old Beagle named Barney.

In Sept 2010 after a camping trip, Skye was not acting herself, no appetite, no energy, very lethargic and we were very concerned. We thought that she had gotten into something while out camping. We had recently changed vets, (the old vet just kept pumping her full of antibiotics to solve the yeast infection that they couldn’t seem to get under control) thank goodness, otherwise I don’t know if she would be with us right now. Anyway, Skye continued to get worse, so our vet started with blood work. They ruled out Pancreatitis and some other obvious things.

When the labs came back, she had elevated liver levels particularly her Alt’s at almost 1500! At this point we figure, that they will fix her right up! After IV treatments, blood tests, Ultrasound and biopsy we finally found out that she had Chronic Active Hepatitis and we were told that she would ultimately die of Cirrhosis. Oh my goodness..I couldn’t believe it. We were told it could be managed, but that there were no guarantees. Skye was on an IV every day for about 5 days and they immediately started her on Denamarin (Liver),Ursidol(liver/billiruben), Pred(appetite), B-12 shots every week, Vitamin E and Fish oil capsules and an aggressive antibiotic to knock out the bacteria/infection that ultimately was the cause of her “spell.” It took her awhile to get back on her feet but she finally did.

She has had 2 spells since her diagnosis, and it’s like starting over, expect we know what is wrong and what the end result will ultimately be. We have flexed her medication, a little less of this, more of that, feed her this, or try that, just hoping that she will stabilize a bit. Unfortunately the meds she needs to keep her appetite up are not good for her liver! Her last attack was the day after Christmas, so the vet did more blood work and discovered she was extremely sick, White blood cell count thru the roof, Alt’s elevated again and every other level either too high or too low. They suggested one more ultrasound to see how bad her liver looked and we agreed. We scheduled it for a Monday and were told that she was extremely sick, she was starving and in pain and that we needed to be ready to make a really hard decision. We spent the weekend making her comfortable and really just saying goodbye. We were convinced that we were going to have to put her down. My husband and I both agree that keeping her alive, if she is in pain and suffering is selfish and we agreed we wouldn’t do that to her.

Well she had the ultrasound and they found 2 spots on her liver that had cirrhosis, but other than that she looked great. They did another blood test and everything looked great and her Alt’s were a little still high, 330, but nothing like they had been. So we put her on a liver prescription diet, which she loved (for about a 2 weeks) and then we had to find another food for her to eat. Our Vet agrees that at this point it is just quality of life and we want her eating and happy…so she eats fresh Steelhead (a recommendation from my friend) and Natural Balance, a grain-free sweet potato and fish blend.

Skye is doing good right now. She is eating and even playing! She has good days and ok days. We have no idea how long we have with her, but we just cherish every moment that we have with her. I never would have guessed that liver disease is such a big problem with the canine population. I know 2 people in just the last month that have had pets diagnosis with this disease. So I guess my purpose is to share my story and to say thank you for putting together a great website that is informative and touching. It made me feel like I was not alone. Thank you to you and to Reiley.

Sincerely,

Michelle and Skye

February 5, 2011 by Lisa  
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Good News – Liver Disease Recovery

Lisa,

Just another update that I hope may help others in the future. I just recapped the past 6 months.

Please feel free to copy and paste this last message to anybody that could benefit.

I just want to write about some facts. I hope it will be passed to someone that maybe is in the same situation I was. We took our 11 1/2 year old dog in because she had stopped eating the day before. this was 6 months ago the blood work came back with liver failure, internal bleeding and a white blood cell count 5 times normal.

She has had a growth in the abdominal area that we were told was nothing to worry about a couple years ago. The tumor had grown and has been uncomfortable as of lately. We read up and did all of the dietary changes and sam-e twice a day.

I read your site for months and tried to compare notes. I had to beg her to eat for months and we were just dreading the worse. She was tired and could not sleep comfortably. We gave Tramadol only at night and ceprofoxacin twice a day for 6 months. She has been on Metacam for a few years. We figured the growth on the liver was bleeding and causing an infection. I compared my dog’s condition with all of the messages I read on your site.

I called the vet and asked if we could do another round of blood work to see if the sam-e had helped after 6 months. I was told when you are in liver failure you are in hospice with out hope of recovery. I prayed we had been treating correctly and she may show signs of the liver getting better anyway.

I decided to ask for an ultra sound to see if we could see the liver and tumor. I just wanted to see if we could see anything to help our treatment. The ultra sound test is less expensive than blood work. The test showed the liver looked okay. The massive tumor seemed to be on the spleen. Our dog has bad hips and there was no guarantee that the tumor had not attached to other organs. Surgery can make her hips worse because of the way they must pull the back legs and tie them. We did blood work again. The blood work came back all normal no liver failure. With our given new hope that a dog can live without a spleen, but needed the liver to take over the spleens function we did surgery. If they could not remove the tumor we wanted to just close her up and have her continue as she had for the last 6 months.

The tumor was on the spleen and pushing on all her other organs. I wish I had been able to have been lead to this route earlier and we could have saved her many uncomfortable months. The spleen and tumor was 9 1/2 pounds. Now she only weighs 79 pounds. The missing tumor seems to allow her to walk and get up with more ease. The test results showed no signs of cancer. We were told that it is hard to dissect a tumor that large and see everything, but what they tested looked benign.

Thank you for your deepest concern and sending me those liver group sites that were helpful in my search for treatment.

Jeanette

January 12, 2011 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Cooper

Hi, my name is Vanessa Lopez, i’m from Mexico.

My pomeranian named Cooper was 2 years old, was the best dog ever. Saddly when we noticed something wrong, and some tests results confirmed he had a liver desease.

My relief is that my little Cooper didn’t suffer, he never had pain, and even when he was at the vet’s hospital, he didn’t looked ill, he was in the hospital, for days, 4 days he was normal, we thought he was going to get better, we didn’t know how damaged was his liver. The last day, he just looked weak, but still not ill, and a thank God, he took him before any pain. I prayed to God did not let him suffer, just take him to be happy in heaven.

My Cooper was soooo happy, I think it was destiny, God knew what was going to happen and choose my family to take care and make him happy every single day.

I just wanted to let you know my story, one side sad because we missed him a lot, but at the same time happy, because my Cooper is in heaven, taking care of me and my family. I know it for sure.

January 4, 2011 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Rowdy

Hi, Lisa –

Just this past week, I came upon your website.

First, allow me to thank you for putting it together.

Secondly, I wanted to share my story with you. Feel free to post this on your website, if you wish.

My Rowdy, Mini Schnauzer (I always shaved his beard so he didn’t quite look like a Schnauzer) turned 17 years old this past September 27.

Three weeks ago today, he woke me at 4:00am having, what I came to find out, a Grand Mal seizure. Up until that morning, he acted quite normally. Even at his age, he still ran and jumped and ate like he always did. He was my hero.

After that seizure, he slowed down quite a bit and vomited quite a lot. Less than two weeks later, this past Sunday at 3:30pm, he suffered another Grand Mal. Then, at 10:30pm, yet another. Since Sunday, he’s gotten much worse on a daily basis.

I did some research and learned that the seizures could likely be caused by liver failure so I went out and got some Milk Thistle. However, he didn’t care for the taste and the capsule were way too big for him to swallow, so no Milk Thistle made its way into his little body.

Since last Sunday, there was a rapid decline in his health. By Wednesday morning, he was no longer interested in any food. By Thursday morning, also not interested in water or any fluids. By this morning, he was like a ragdoll – completely limp and unable to stand. He labored to breathe. At 10am today, he was at the Vet with us, being given an injection to put him out of his misery and send him off to be with his brother in heaven.

This past Tuesday, I did take him to the Vet and on Wednesday I found out that his liver enzymes were off-the-chart high.

Three weeks from first obvious symptom to …. off to heaven.

He and his brother (who passed on in February of 2008 supposedly from lymphoma which, I now believe crossed over to his liver because he bled out a couple times) were my world. I’m 51 years old and have no human children – Rowdy & Bear were it.

My question to you is this: Could old age cause liver disease?

I’m feeling so sad and wracking my brain as to what I could have done to prevent this…and should I have done something right after his first seizure – just three weeks ago – that may have saved him.

Please help. Thanks.

P.S. Please see his photo, attached. Photo was taken just 2 weeks ago, after his first
seizure.

November 28, 2010 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Boofer

Boofer was my 13 year old cocker spaniel. I got him when he was a puppy at a pet store in Arizona. When we went to the visitation room he grabbed a hold of my coat strings and pulled on them and I knew right then he was the dog I was going to get. He loved ice cream and bananas and my dad had a garden and he would go pick all the riped strawberries and eat them before they could get to them. He also learned how to pull corn out of the ground and shuck it. He was so full of life and so happy. He has been with me through a lot but he always had a smile on his face. He would always prance around like he was the best looking cocker spaniel when he would get his hair cut. He was my best friend. I will forever love him.

November 21, 2010 by Lisa  
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In Memory of George

Dear Lisa

I just found your website this afternoon and would love if you would share George’s story on your blog:

I just lost my furry baby, Georgie, to liver disease last month. In just one week he transformed from my happy, soccer playing dog into a dog that was in so much pain and so lethargic that he could barely walk and play. He did everything he could for me to try to make me happy, up until the very end when we played tug of war and hide and go seek for the very last time right before he was euthanized.

I got Georgie when he was just a tiny puppy at three months. We had an instant connection and did everything together. He was my best friend, my sidekick. But then when he was just two and a half, he started to get sick. We went to the vet about every month or so for about a year because something was always wrong and they never knew why. Then he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and we put him on the proper medication and he started to lose weight and he became more active and just like a puppy again.

Then he started to lose too much weight… he went from 120 to 90 pounds in about two months and then in September, he just stopped eating and started to show all of the symptoms of liver failure. He died in my arms on September 16th, four months shy of four years old.

Although we were only together for three and a half years, Georgie, my baby, changed my life forever- he taught me what love truly means. I think about him everyday: I think about his adorable antics, how he loved playing soccer, sitting on my lap, getting dressed up, how he used to be scared of his reflection in his water dish, how he carried his leash and the pizza boxes, and how much we loved each other. I tell myself that George lived his short life with the sole purpose of making me happy and therefore I should try to be happy even though he is gone, at least that is what I think he would have wanted. Thank you so much.

Best,

George’s mom, Maeve

October 18, 2010 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Sophie

Sophie and her sister, Chloe came in to our lives four months after I had suffered a heart attack at age 41. Our family needed the laughter and happiness they provided. Although Sophie was with us only a short period of time, six years, she accomplished much. We will miss her more than words can say. We promise her that we will take good care of her sister.

Thanks so much!!!

Cindy

….Grieve not,
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you…
I loved you so –
‘twas Heaven here with you.

Isla Paschal Richardson

October 12, 2010 by Lisa  
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In Memory of Connor

Hi Lisa,

Me and my wife have just lost our boy to Liver disease. It crept up so quickly we are both still in shock and disbelief. He slowed down eating etc around 4 before. As with you he had symptoms before this but they were up and down and we just believed that after antibiotics he was better. By the time we got him to the vet recently he was not a well boy. He had blood in the liver and was not getting better, as we were waiting for Blood tests etc to be done. They put him on a drip to replace any lost fluids and we were just left to wait for the results while he was tested. After a long wait we were told that he was effectively bleeding to death. We made the obvious decision to have him put down. As hard as this was for me and my wife we felt that there was nothing else to do. ALthough i was gutted. As with you guys we found ourselves telling him how much we love him and telling him this was for the best. He died in my arms on Thursday 25 Feb. Me and my wife are both devastated and cant help but blame ourselves that we should have picked it up sooner. We love our dogs and we still have Connor’s friend Matilda who is keeping us sane but still miss and think of him everyday.

Everything I do leads to this beautifully natured dog who had such a impact on us. I wanted to share this with you as I believe that Connor was so special it would not seem right not having his story for others to read. He was a Legend and will be missed deeply.

Please Please Please anyone with any of the symptoms get their dogs checked. Even if you are not sure. Its so better to be safe rather than sorry.

We love you Connor

Take care buddy.

Matt and Gabrielle Page

March 1, 2010 by Lisa  
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