Sunday, March 13, 2016

When The Time Comes To Cross The Rainbow Bridge

Dogs add so much to our life, we put it out of our mind that their time has come to cross the rainbow bridge. Yesterday, that day had come for Cookie.
We had brought Cookie into our life for one main reason. Our other dog at the time, Elvis, had stopped eating because he lost his best friend Cosmo. Elvis had come from backyard breeders, and was a fearful dog by nature. He grew up with Cosmo, with them both being a month apart in age. Losing Cosmo, really struck a chord in him. He lost his appetite and his weight dropped from 75 to 60 pounds. After two weeks of my mom and I seeing Elvis going through this, we knew he needed another companion or he would die from a broken heart.

I knew it couldn't be a replacement for Cosmo, who happened to be a black, tan and white Siberian Husky/German Shepherd mix. I figured getting a smaller female dog would be a good solution but not let Elvis think that I was trying to replace his buddy, but rather help him through his grief. When I brought Cookie home, Elvis was at first confused but surely warmed up to her. Her gentle, sweet demeanor helped Elvis become himself again.
Cookie was about two to three years old, when we adopted her. But that's only a guess. She was a dog picked up off the street who had given birth to puppies and was left to fend for herself. Thankfully she was picked up and taken to the city pound.

Elvis was an older dog by then. But Cookie being in his life, helped him live an extra year and a half. Soon after, Cookie was just so grateful to have a home, she was happy enough to be by herself for a while. A few years later, my mom wanted a companion for her, and then Gigi came into the picture. But Cookie, no matter what or what pets came into our life was the same. She was grateful she had a home and a family that loved her.

Thirteen Years Later

On my way to my mom's house, I had a feeling that her time was near. I didn't want it to come, but I couldn't stand to see her suffer unnecessarily. I went to my mom's house to take Cookie for a vet visit. When Cookie greeted me, her legs gave out on her. She was having constant accidents, and because she had epilepsy all her life, her seizures had increased much more in frequency.

I took my mom with me to see the doctor. I unfortunately couldn't make the decision because I had moved out when I got married at the end of 2014. My mom who is retired, was there day in and day out. She spent the most time with Cookie, so in all fairness it had to be her choice. When my mom told the doctor, that Cookie just isn't Cookie anymore, I knew.
It's never easy to say goodbye to your pet. I didn't write this to make you all sad, but since Cookie was one of the reasons I created this blog in the first place, it seemed the only fitting way to let you guys know, since she was such a big part of this blog. It is seen said that dogs live for less time than humans, because they've taught us all the lessons we need to learn from them. That definitely was the case with Cookie.

I'd like to thank you all that have come to support me and my dogs here. I still plan on blogging with all types of topics, not just the sad ones. For all of you who are in similar situations like I was with Cookie, my heart goes out to you. Thanks again for visiting, and I'll be back with new posts soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Return Of The Bladder Stones

Hello everyone. I know it's been awhile since you've heard from me. Right now, I live in a place that doesn't have dogs. However, I'm lucky enough where I can see Cookie, Gigi and Homer when I visit my family. Luckily, it's not too far of a drive. So, when I blog, you'll be hearing stories about me blogging from experiences outside of my home. It's my goal to do things more frequently and finding a balance between marriage, family, friends and my world online. Anyhow, this post is more about Gigi, so here we go.

In October 2014, I noticed that Gigi was having accidents in the house again and not eating. Not only that, but she would lay on my mom's bed all day and not budge. So it was time take her to the doctor again. Unfortunately, I had to switch doctors because the original one I had taken her to didn't have weekend hours. So I took her to the Petsmart in the neighborhood.

When I took Gigi there, they checked her over and we had x-rays done. From the x-rays, it was obvious the stones were back. They had prescribed Clavamox and she was eating the prescribed food. Taking her back on regular visits, there was little improvement and the doctor suggested that she may need to have surgery.

It occurred to me knowing that she had struvite stones, which are able to be dissolved, this place did not look at all the options. They looked at surgery as the be all and end all. There was no suggestion of a urine culture or other non-invasive treatments. I knew in my heart it was time for a second opinion. It also didn't help that the staff wasn't very compassionate either. For me, compassion goes a long way when it comes to those you love and the people who are responsible for their care. I also felt like I was being judged.

Time for a Second Opinion

One year later, I knew things shouldn't be this way When I got home, I decided to check my old vet's website. After seeing the hours, I noticed he now had Saturday hours in the morning. I quickly called to make an appointment. I brought Gigi in to get an exam and asked the doctor if it would give her the medication that he did in the past, because it seemed to work. I was hesitant about getting an X-ray because I knew in my heart from the way Gigi was behaving and struggling on walks that they were still there.

As the person taking her to the doctor, I had made some mistakes. I got a urinalysis first to see where things were and took a plan of action. It was getting scary because Gigi had become resistant to the original antibiotics. I shouldn't have tried to outguess my doctor. Because the urine culture wasn't done right away, it was hard to tell if the medicine was working properly or not.

So it turned out that the doctor ran the urine culture to see if there was any medications that Gigi's would accept. Out of the seven types of possible medications he ran against her blood chemistry, there was one in which she wasn't resistant. I realized then and there, it was time to me to let go and go all in with what the doctor was saying. We instantly switched the medication and I told my mom that she would need to give her a half pill twice a day.

This was a very long process, but after a couple of weeks, I took Gigi back for another test to see if the medicine would work and her body didn't build up another resistance to the medication. A few days later, I got another call and the doctor told me that the medication was working. We both were relieved.

Lessons that I Learned

This experience with Gigi and her bladder stones has been frustrating and incredibly fulfilling at the same time. I learned that no matter how scared you are, you can't try to second guess your doctor. I also learned that you have to go with your instincts. It's also important to build a foundation of trust with your vet and not to let incidents of the past cloud your thinking. Not all vets are the same. Because of my second veterinarian's unyielding commitment to finding a solution, Gigi didn't have to have an unnecessary surgery. I will always be grateful to him and his staff for their excellent care they gave my dog.

And Gigi? Because the stones came back after the first treatment, she will have to have prescription food for the rest of her life. The food is available by prescription only but it's a small price to pay to know your dog has a good chance of not getting the stones again. I'll also have to take her for a follow up visit in about four months.

Let's Discuss!

I love to hear what you have to say. So here is my question for you. Have you ever gotten a second opinion for your pet and how did it make a difference?

I appreciate you guys always coming here to support my blog. Have a great weekend!

It's All Related!

Gigi's Battle with Bladder Stones
What you need to know about Bladder Stones


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