April 2011

April 2011
Boondocking at my brother's in Reno, April 2011

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dogs

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and it seems no matter what, there is a dog-shaped place in our hearts for each one of them.  My heart is heavy tonight for the loss of a member of the Bayfield Bunch.  My sincere condolences to Al, Kelly, and Pheebs on the loss of little Motormouse.  She kept us all entertained and I always loved seeing her share a breakfast burrito with Al.

We also got some bad news this week regarding our Poppy dog.  She was at the vet about a month ago and we were told she was pre-diabetic.  Doc thought we could get it under control by watching her diet and getting some weight off her.  We were so pleased when she had lost 7 pounds.  We thought we were doing everything right.  Unfortunately, it was full blown diabetes and not our careful diet that was causing her to lose weight.  Her blood sugar was over 400 and normal is 100, just like it is for a human.

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Diabetes in dogs cannot be regulated with a pill; They must have insulin.  She had her first two injections today and did not seem to mind but her blood sugar is still high.  Here are some of the considerations we are weighing in regards to Poppy’s situation.

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It is almost impossible to monitor her glucose levels by testing her blood.  It is hard to get blood from a dog except from their footpads or their ears – neither is a good option.  So we have the old fashioned strips that test her urine.  These are not nearly as accurate as blood tests so we are playing a guessing game to some extent.

We will NEVER be able to leave her alone or even with a housesitter.  Insulin therapy carries the inherent risk of low blood glucose and that can be life threatening and needs immediate treatment.  Her food will always be the same, at the same time of day, and in the same amount.  We will need to adjust her insulin dosage based on her level of exercise and how well she is eating.  It will always be an estimate and risky.

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The vet said it is pretty much inevitable that she will lose her vision.  With dogs it is not retinopathy that causes blindness, but cataracts.  He said the cataracts develop from high blood glucose and can totally eradicate their vision within a month.  It is not reversible.

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At this point we are not ready to give up on Poppy.  We know she is elderly.  We are not sure how old she really is but we have had her for over twelve years and they said she was 2 or 3 when we got her.  We will see how she responds to treatment and how well we can manage her disease.  The vet said she also has some fused disks in her back and her lung function is not as good as it could be – just old age, not a disease process.  She also has an infected foot from licking it and I am concerned about the healing process there.  Diabetics do not heal as well as non-diabetics, and this sore is not yet healing as we had hoped.  She is on antibiotics for that. 


P1110659 I was thinking back to the dogs we have had in almost forty years of marriage and it hasn’t been that many.  The only one we have had to put down was our first dog, Sheba.  She lived to a ripe old age but had cancer and it was the kindest thing to do.  Then we had Gidget who was also old, had a seizure and passed away at home.  Then there were Rusty and Poppy.  We tend to have dogs that live a long time I guess.  We already knew that Rusty was not going to last too much longer but I really thought we would have our Poppy dog for several more years yet.  She is the best travel dog ever and is always ready to go.  We are definitely going to go ahead with our planned trip later this month and she is going with us.  Rusty will stay at home where he is more comfortable. 

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It may be that our decision to treat Poppy is a selfish one.   It has been obvious lately that she hasn’t felt well.  I just put it down to old age.  We will see how the insulin regimen goes and if it is not in Poppy’s best interest, then we will have to rethink our plan.  I know she has already had a long (in dog years) life and she has enjoyed that life to the fullest, but I can’t let her go yet.  I know all you pet lovers out there understand.

We are again kid-less!  Corbin went home last night and we took the grand girls home this morning.  Our daughter and SIL met us in Salem (half-way) so that was a blessing. Glad we didn’t have to make the round trip to Portland.  We also got a new battery for the Fit and it is starting just fine.  Now we just need to get some rest tomorrow then get busy on getting Therapy ready to roll and see if we can get Poppy regulated enough to go on a trip.


25 comments:

  1. My heart is saddened for the Bayfield Bunch and now for Poppy. They give us such unconditional love and we have to do what is best for them and I know that is exactly what you will do for Poppy. We just found out that Scooter has a heart murmur due to getting older. So we keep a close eye on her. Be sure to let us know how Poppy is doing as well as Rusty.

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  2. I wish the best for you and Poppy. I had better go read about the Mouse now. How sad. :_(

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  3. Tears...

    Jasper spent so much time towards the end of our travels last year just sitting on my lap and looking at me. I asked him so many times "what, Bub?" and after we returned home and he was so very sick within two weeks, I knew. Poppy will tell you. But as her humans, you must listen closely. It is not an easy choice to make for a furry friend, but it is the very kindest.

    (hugs)

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  4. I am so sorry to hear about Poppy...they truly become a part of your family. I too would try things to see if it would work and help her feel better too. Hope the treatments work for her and you guys too!

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  5. I had one beloved dog with bone cancer in her jaw. We went the surgery route and had half of her lower jaw removed. She did well for years, but finally succumbed to additional cancers elsewhere.

    Our next dog, also a yellow lab, was diagnosed with diabetes at age seven. I gave her shots twice a day for two years. She did well. Then everything started to go down hill. Her vision faded, but she could still get around. I chose not to spend the 4K on her eyes. She developed a cough, and then was diagnosed with anal cancer. At each step we did only what was necessary to keep her comfortable.

    I made the choice to have her put to sleep when her blood sugar began fluctuating and she would have ad to have more days of blood testing at the vet to "get it right." It was a hard choice. I could have kept her alive for another few months, but knew the cancer was growing and would cause her pain soon.

    If you choose to do the insulin, know that it is not difficult. You do have to be sure you are consistent on the times. We didn't go out for dinner for three
    years.

    Know that a blind dog can do quite well if they are kept in the same location. They get to know a room or a yard.

    Poppy may not be with you forever, but if you choose you can treat her for awhile.

    (I made a little pee collector with a coat hanger and a cat food can. I just snuck it under her at the right times. But actually you don't have to monitor them as strictly as a person.

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  6. Judy said it best..Poppy will tell you when..our heart is sad tonight for the elderly dogs in blogville tonight..and Al and Kelly too..must be a big empty space in the motorhome tonight..
    take care of her..animals look to us to make the decisions..it is not being selfish..if you can manage the issues at hand I say go for it!..give her a pat and hug for us!..
    one day at a time...hugs to you both!

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  7. Too much bad news for one day. First Cora and now Poppy. Praying that you get her diabetes under control quickly. She is such a beautiful dog.

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  8. I am so sorry to read about Poppy. You guys are such wonderful pet parents. I know you love your dogs as much as anyone can, and they live good long lives because you take such good care of them and give them so much love.

    I hope your plan works for you and for Poppy, at least for a while. I'm glad you're still planning on taking your trip, and bringing her with you.

    As meowmomma said, "tears."

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about Poppy's diabetes. It sounds like you will be able to manage her treatment at home and traveling in a motorhome may make her care much easier than if you were staying in hotels, etc. At least you will have a refrigerator for her insulin. That's good news that your Fit is fixed and ready to go.

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  10. awww poor poppy and poor you...we had a dog with..diabetes and it sure is a struggle to regulate. I used to test her sugars with a (normal) meter and did it in the ear..the trick was to use a flash light-put the ear flap on the flash light and the vein will show up easily for you....I hope the insulin regulates for you quickly....I think its harder on us trying to treat it for sure...take care and good luck

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  11. aso sorry to hear about your beloved pet. I'm hoping the treatments work.

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  12. It is a very sad night in Blogland tonight. I just read about Motormouse and now Poppy. I think Al and Kelly made the correct decision about taking her back home and I know that you and Russ will make the right decision when it is time.

    I am so very sad for both you and Russ.

    Sharon

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  13. Sorry to hear the news about Poppy, I hope she has a little longer than most with Diabetes.The trouble with pets is compared to humans, even under the best conditions they have a relatively short life span(about 15 years) while our love for them has a greater expectation.I know Poppy will have a wonderful time for the remainder of her life, just by the love you guys give her. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

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  14. So sorry to hear about Poppy. I know you'll do what's best for Poppy, but as another poster said, you have to listen to her carefully.

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  15. So sorry to hear about Poppy. I know you'll do what's best for Poppy, but as another poster said, you have to listen to her carefully.

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  16. Although we don't travel with animals, today's blog and also the Bayfield Bunch blog left me with tears and a heavy heart for you. Both Poppy and Motor were blessed with wonderful loving homes. How rich your lives are!

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  17. We are sorry that Poppy is having all these health issues and know that your heart is heavy. Having just gone through the painful decision to put our 16.5 year old dog to sleep last month, we know how hard that is. Enjoy your time with both puppies while you can.

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  18. Sorry about Poppy. We had a diabetic cat that I gave insulin injections to for a year. He didn't mind but it was hard to keep his sugar regulated. Finally determined the cause of the diabetes was an adrenal gland tumor and had to let him go. Poppy will probably feel much better once you get things stabilized. Best of luck.

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  19. I don't have any words left, but I have more than enough tears. I'm so sorry about Motor and now, Poppy. When Lizzie got sick, I did as you are doing. I loved her and braced myself to do what I had always promised her. She let me know when it was time and before she was suffering any pain. This still consoles me, and I hope it will you, as well, Donna and Russ. Just can't stop crying. I'm so sorry.

    reat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
    Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
    Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
    When it is cold and wet, please take me inside... for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements... and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth... though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land... for you are my god... and I am your devoted worshiper.
    Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
    And, beloved master, should I be deprived of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest...and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
    --Beth Norman Harris

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  20. The time we get with our pets is NEVER enough but ALWAYS worth it.

    After the loss of my kitty I realized that what I had gained was worth far more than what I had lost.

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  21. So sorry to hear about Poppy. I know you and Russ will do whatever it takes to make sure Poppy is as comfortable and pain free as possible. That's about all we humans can do for our pups when they get older.

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  22. My prayers are with u, Russ and Poppy. Hope the treatments work good so that u all can enjoy each other's company longer. I asked Killer to stay with me til the end for both of us...I hope we go together, just can't imagine life without him. No one understands til they've had the true love and companionship of the angels that God has put here to comfort us. They do so much more for us than we could ever do for them. I've found that I like Killer's company much more than a lot of humans I come in contact with. Love and prayers for u all. May God bless y'all with more time for love and comfort.

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  23. I am so sad to hear about Poppy. I am thinking of you guys and Poppy and hope the treatments work and Poppy shows improvement.

    It is nice you are taking Poppy with you on your trips an I am sure she will love being with you and traveling.

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  24. We both hope Poppy does well with the insulin shots. She is lucky to have the both you. Sure lot's of good memories to look back on and hopefully many more to come. Enjoyed the pictures you shared.

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  25. Not much to say that hasn't been said...So often I have said no more animals after losing one to God, but somehow another one always finds it's way into our home and hearts. As the others have said they know how to give us signs, just as motor did w/ Al and Kelly. But we are jumping the gun....the treatments will probably go very well and Poppy will be wagging and licking for a long time.

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