One Year

Hello to all of you that have used our website and contacted me this past year.

From the time I put the website up in January to this past week, the affirmation that I have received from you all has been amazing.  I used to get 1-2 emails per month asking for resources, sharing stories or just looking for a sympathetic ear and now I get 1-2 per day.  We have over 3300 visitors to the website each month and we are #1 on google for various search terms related to canine liver disease.  Our site has become successful beyond what I could have imagined.

The good news is that the website is helping to inform, give hope and connect people who are dealing with this terrible disease.  It is becoming a premiere resource for people searching for information to help their pets and dear friends & I am SO grateful that I can be a part of making a difference, even a small one, in the lives of a family and their furry friend.

It has been 1 year on this exact day since our beloved Reiley passed away and I am reminded each day through the work I do for CLDF that her death was not in vain.  I miss her each and every day and am very sad that she was taken from me at only 9 years of age by something so terrible as liver disease.  I am angry that more is not done to help understand and eradicate this problem and I am working toward trying to make a difference in the prevention and early detection of CLD.

Thank you to all who have written to me, called and emailed, it is for you and your pets that I do what I do.  Thank you for helping me to keep Reiley’s memory alive and well each and every day, I do miss her very much and love her still.


Lisa Smith

Founder, Canine Liver Disease Foundation

Dedicated to my first “baby”, Reiley – I love you, miss you & we are making a difference!

October 30, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Dog’s Last Will and Testament

On the 1 year anniversary of our Reiley passing away, I thought I would post this poignant piece of writing.  May it help any of you that are going through what we went through just a year ago.  Our hearts still ache & we miss our girl everyday but know she is feeling better now. ~ Lisa

I came across this wonderful piece of writing by Eugene O’Neill, the well known American playwright and a Nobel prize recipient. He reportedly wrote this to comfort his wife when their beloved dog, Blemie, was in his last days:

” Last Will and Testament”

I, Silverdene Emblem O’Neill (familiarly known to my family, friends and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their time hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and – but if I should list all those who have loved me it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is in vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-by, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me.

It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those of my fellow Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; here all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted; where jack-rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleeps in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, ‘When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one.’ Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living-room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best.

So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred, or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jackrabbits than I have been able to in recent years. And, for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: ‘here lies one who loved us and whom we loved.’ No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail. “

October 30, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

In Memory of Karna

Family and friends,

We want you to know that Karna, our 5 year old German Shepherd, was put to sleep today due to irreversible liver disease.

He was a brave and loving dog who brought warmth and affection to all he met. He will be deeply missed.


Tony and Melissa

October 28, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Financial Assistance for Veterinary Bills


Thank you for the wonderful web site you created dedicated to Canine Liver Disease. I’ve found the information helpful in understanding the disease diagnosis I just received for my 5-year old male German Shepherd, Karna (a rescue).

After treatment in August from my veterinarian for cracking and flaking paws and lethargy proved unsuccessful, she referred me to the North Carolina State University Veterinary School for a diagnosis at their dermatology clinic. I took him last week and was informed that Karna had Phenobarbital induced (he has a history of seizures) Hepatocutaneous Syndrome – also known as necrolytic migratory erythema (NME). This is apparently a new and extremely rare disorder. They want to start a treatment on him quickly that will cost $750-1500 initially, with one or two additional treatments possible and ongoing therapies of injections (administered by yours truly) 3-4 times a day.

Here’s the reason for my email: I am currently unemployed and have been for some time (my profession is tied to the construction industry – hardest hit in this economy, as you probably know). I received my last unemployment insurance check in June and my wife and I are hanging on by a thread. This event with Karna has already put us in debt to the tune of nearly $1200 on top of an additional $700 we spent in February at another specialist (canine neurologist) for treatment of anticonvulsant toxicity he was diagnosed with then. I’m not complaining, I’d do it all over again. We love our boy very much. But we’re facing the reality now of having to make a decision between treatment or euthanasia because we have come to the end of our financial resources. I have asked the NCSU Vet School if we would qualify for financial assistance. The person who makes that decision is out until this Monday when I am scheduled to take Karna in for treatment. So we do not yet know if we will qualify. But we are taking a leap of faith and going ahead with the treatment in the hopes that we will be approved for assistance. However, if we are NOT approved, we will be in financial trouble and likely will be at the tipping point of being able to pay our bills. So I want to ask you if you can direct me to any other organizations that might be able to help my wife and I pay for Karna’s treatments.

Karna is probably the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned. He loves absolutely everyone and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He is a frequent hugger, known to wrap his long neck around the legs of those he meets. He deserves a shot at regaining his health. He’s been a brave boy through all of his misery and we want so much to save him. He has many years left in this world if we can do so. The doctor who will be treating him (Dr. Olivery) is optimistic that the treatments will help Karna regain liver function, but admits that only time will tell. Unfortunately, because of the economic downturn, the timing for all of us in this matter couldn’t be worse. I am not one to ask for charity, but I see no other course right now if I wish to try and save my buddy. Any information or help you might be able to provide is very, very much appreciated.

October 10, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog