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A special note to Fortis and Mackenzie

January 10th, 2011

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Although your awesome pawrents are mourning their loss, I am here, Fortis and Mackenzie, to welcome you to a special place. It is a place where we can play, swim, sleep in the sun and do whatever we please. We have no pain. We have no earthly bounds.

I love swimming!

I came before you but I have been watching for you. My Mum held both of you in a special place in her heart and asked me to greet you and show you around. We can stay here and look over our loved ones, share their good times, and provide spiritual support when they need it. Then, eventually, they will come to be with us and we will all be reunited for eternity. So welcome dear Fortis and Mackenzie, you have been great warriors in the fight, you have earned your rest. But don’t rest for too long, we have squirrels to chase and pools to swim in.

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Tai’s Last Day

October 29th, 2010

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 If it should be that I grow weak

And pain should keep me from my sleep;

Then you must do what must be done,

For this last battle can’t be won.

You will be sad – I understand,

Don’t let your grief then stay your hand.

For this day more than all the rest,

Your love for me must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years,

What is to come can hold no fears.

You’d not want me to suffer so,

The time has come, please let me go.

Take me to where my needs they’ll tend

And please stay with me to the end.

Hold me firm and speak to me,

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see

The kindness that you did for me.

Although my tail its last has waved,

From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

Please do not grieve; it must be you

Who has this painful thing to do.

We’ve been so close we two these years,

Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.

Tai’s last day was filled with joy. Although the sadness of what I was about to do lingered throughout the day we made the most of the limited time we had left together. She got to spend the morning sleeping at my feet. She was so comfortable, her breathing deep and slow, a smile on her face. After her snooze we got into the car and headed to the dog park. We live on an acreage but the dog park has always held a special place in Tai’s mind for a great destination. Just the mere mention of the words “dog park” would send her to the car window to stand on the armrest and hang her head out of the window elliciting squeals of pleasure. Her last day was no different. Although her burst of energy was short lived she bounded out of the car and frantically explored all of the doggie smells. After the park the next favorite words were “cheeseburgers?”. We headed to McDonalds. She had one cheeseburger in the car and another at home. Time for another quick snooze then outside to lay in the sun, take in the world, and gnaw on a tasty raw bone.

When it started to get too cool to stay outside we went in and spent her last hour loving her up. She enjoyed more treats, rolled onto her back and got the bestest tummy rubs ever. When the Vet arrived she was still on her back with a huge smile on her face, wagging her tail, getting tummy rubs.

I laid down with her and we took her last journey together with her head cradled in one arm, stroking her tired body with my other, my tears falling softly on her cheek, and me telling her what a great dog she was and how much I loved her. Her older brother laid down with her and stayed while we set her free. Run Free Tai Dog. You are loved and remembered.

Tai’s Tripawd journey ends tomorrow.

October 26th, 2010

Tai sporting her Tripawds Bandanna!!

Two weeks ago it was a lovely fall day and we happened upon the perfect dog stream. Tai was able to paddle, swim, fetch sticks and generally enjoy herself. I had a feeling it would be one of our last outings and we made the most of every minute.

The cancer has now spread to one of her remaining legs. I have made an appointment with the Vet to come to the house tomorrow night and relieve her of her pain. She is so brave and strong. Her tail still wags and she is still happy to see me, still brings me toys. I will make a tribute post in the next few days when I am able to see the screen without looking through tears. When the time comes may she rest in peace, sleep well little one, I will keep you close to my heart.

The discovery of cancer

September 24th, 2010

On December 18th, 2009, I made an appointment and took Tai to her vet to investigate a persistent lameness. It had been intermittent for a couple of months and previously controlled with Metacam. I expected a diagnosis of a sprain or something equally trivial. Not so. When I got the call from the vet that she was ready to be picked up (they gave her anaesthetic to do xrays) they suggested I bring someone with me. This was the first clue that it wasn’t just a sprain. The diagnosis was probable Osteosarcoma and a referral was made to a board certified oncology vet. She confirmed that Osteosarcoma was the likliest culprit and recommended amputation without delay. We agreed and on December 21st Tai went in for surgery.

Her surgery was uneventful and she came home 24 hours later in the afternoon. Besides being a bit confused she was coping well. When my husband came home that first night she showed her true spirit and got him a toy. I cried. Throughout the next two weeks we went through our ups and downs. She continually amazed us with all the things she could still do.  We felt her frustration at trying to manipulate bones to chew. She showed her tenacity by climbing over a furniture barricade and following us up the stairs. She still loved car rides and could even jump in by herself. All of it was overwhelming but we survived.

An introduction to Tai

September 24th, 2010

I know I’m delinquent in adding a blog for Tai. I’m computer illiterate. Here goes…

Tai was born in Taiwan, Taipei. She was taken from her Mum at a mere 6 weeks and put in a small wire cage in a pathetic pet shop. At night they took her out of the shop window and put her in a small crate that she couldn’t sit up or turn around in. However she got put in was how she came out in the morning. I had been doing weekly flights to Taipei and our hotel was a block away from the pet shop she called home.  When I saw her I just knew that she couldn’t grow up living in a big city. She had to come home with me. She had a cough when I picked her up from the pet store but the local vet (who hardly spoke English) said it was a touch of kennel cough and gave me some antibiotics. Fortunately I work for an airline so I was able to bring her home in the cockpit of the airplane. She was a trooper and travelled great.

When she arrived home I took her to my vet to investigate the cough further. For a number of weeks we tried different antibiotics with no luck. She was getting worse. She spent nights living in my bathroom with a humidifier and eucalyptus to ease her breathing. We did multiple chest xrays which indicated pneumonia was setting in. We continued with different antibiotics and miraculously she started to make progress. When her adult teeth started to erupt we noticed that they were lacking enamel. About this time she also had her first epileptic seizure, which was terrifying. With her medical history and the new symptoms of Epilepsy and poor teeth my vet concluded that she had most likely been suffering from Canine Distemper when she arrived in Canada!! It is so rarely seen here that the vets don’t even think to look for it.

That was all before she was even 6 months old. She still has horrible brown stained teeth and the occasional seizure, although fortunately they are few and far between.

Despite her rough beginning Tai is a happy loyal dog. She loves everybody and everything. Never one to chew toys she will carry them constantly and present them to any newcomer. Her greeting is always accompanied by a stuffed toy being thrust in your direction. If she doesn’t have a toy handy she will frantically search for something to bring you, at times resorting to sticks and horse manure. Life was good.

I recall thinking on her 4th birthday that I would never have believed she would live so long, her beginning was so difficult. Now here I am just after her 9th birthday, and 9 months past the diagnosis of cancer, thinking that 9 years is not enough.