I don't want to write this, because if I do, it will make it seem all the more real.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Joe left this morning with Blitz to return him the the breeder, Al.
To say that we are sad would be a monumental understatement. Since last Thursday, things have really sucked around here. Let me explain... Last Monday Blitz was at my folks house for the day while Joe was sleeping and I was at work. I got a phone call from my mom as I was walking out of work asking me to come straightaway to her house, something was wrong with Blitz's right leg. When I got there, he had a swollen spot on his foreleg that looked like somebody had shoved an egg under his skin it was that puffy and a significant limp. My mom had no idea what happened because she was with him the whole time - no falls, yelps of pain, she didn't see any bees outside next to him, nothing. She had put him in his crate for an hour while she went to a Dr. appt and when he went in he was peachy, when he came out he had a bump and a limp. I wasn't really that worried, because he let us touch it and didn't seem in pain or agitated. So I took him home, iced it, and got an appt for him the next morning with the vet.
Joe took him to the appt, (another 500 bones spent) they did Xrays which confirmed that there was no break or fracture, so they thought it was most likely a spider bite that got infected and sent him home with some antibiotics. The lump went down, he perked right along, and we thought all was well. Until Thursday afternoon when the vet called with devastating news. He had had a radiologist look at the xrays, and right off he noticed that something was wrong; Blitz's joint was malformed, which had cause his bone to slip out of place, and caused all the swelling. He explained that if you cup your left hand and place it over your right hand that you've got clenched in a fist, that is how the joint SHOULD be formed to rotate and bear pressure properly. Now, make both hands into fists and place them knuckle to knuckle, and you have how Blitz's is formed. They said that the more he grew and heavier he got, the more pain he would be in, and more unstable the joint would be. There were three ways to fix it:
1. Surgery on the joint that would cost upward of $5,000. We would have to severely limit his exercise an activity so as not to re injure the joint, then when he would be a year old and done growing they would preform the surgery, and then he would have to be casted/splinted for 8-12 weeks while it healed.
2. Amputate the entire leg including the shoulder blade. Since he is so young he would recover very quickly and should adapt with no problems. But what the hell kind of quality of life would that be for him?
3 Euthanasia (ick, ick, ick!!)
Option #1 was out because even if we could afford that kind of treatment for him, with our schedules how could we care for him with limited movement/exercise??? German Shepherds NEED an outlet for their energy, and even if the surgery was done, there's no guarantee that it would be successful or require something more, and where is the $$$ line that you draw? That really left it between #s 2 & 3. I just didn't feel good about #3 AT ALL. He is so full of life and has so much to offer - how do you just snuff that out? I am all for ending it when pets are in pain or beyond any other help. But for the love of Pete, this is a puppy - who happily chews his ice cubes and digs in the backyard and fetches his ball and sleeps on your feet while you stand at the sink and do dishes. So option #2 was looking more like a possibility, but I knew deep in my heart that it would probably dampen the quality of his life just to keep him in ours. I cried a lot. Heck, who am I kidding? I still am.
Friday I got a flu bug and we had one of the hottest days of the year. Oh yeah,and my period too. Poor Joe. I was a nauseated, cramping, crying mess who felt that I was about to spontaneously burst into flames. So he took me and Blitz to my folks to the sanctuary of their AC and we stayed there over night since he had to go to work and he smartly realized that I was in no condition to be left alone.
So we waited, and waited, and I cried and cried. It seemed like no matter what we chose it was a crap decision, and one that didn't have a great outcome.
Yesterday, Joe took Blitz to the breeder's house so he could see him with his own eyeballs. Al and his wife Sylvia are such loving people. My goodness, what they offered to us and to Blitz was more than generous and really shows their character. They felt very strongly that they needed to "make it right", and wanted us to entrust Blitz to their keeping, for them to raise. Even though his condition is not hereditary, simply a birth defect, they felt the need to step in and basically give Blitz the best care and life possible. They will not put him down and they will not amputate. While they have never had this occur in a litter they have bred, they have owned other shepherds who have had joint issues so they know all the intricacies of how to care for him with the types and amounts of exercise, joint supplements, etc. When he is a year old, they will have the joint surgery done on him in Mexico where it will be much cheaper and they have family, and he will live out his life as a family pet to them. There's a part of me that screams "just tell me what to do and I'll do it!! anything!!"... but I just don't have the set-up that they do, or the expertise to deal with something like this. They are also going to give us a another puppy from a littler they hope to have born sometime in the late fall. I have mixed emotions about that... yes, I want a dog very badly, but dang it, I want the one I had.
So last night as Joe and I were discussing all this I was still feverish hoping against hope for a miraculous healing, it was becoming very clear that we had to accept Al's offer. It was truly the best thing for Blitz. Honestly, the best possible scenario - his body stays intact, he stays alive and there's no one else who could care for him as well. And what is truly amazing, it that for Al and Sylvia to take him, it is a sacrifice for them to do so as well. The zoning laws where they live says that they can only have 3 dogs at a time, and they already do. They will send one to his friend Luis is LA so that Blitz can stay with them. Talk about above and beyond.
I sure cried a lot this morning as I gathered some things that needed to go with him to his new home. Part of me feels silly, because it is not like I lost a person in my life, and in the scope of things, this is a relatively small loss compared to what other people in the world are dealing with. But... he was my buddy. Always close by me, following me around making his funny little noises. It is sad to think that for awhile it will be just me here at night.
That is a very lonely thought.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Oh yes it is... here I am!! Oye, what a month it has been. On May 10th, we were able to bring Blitz home. It is so much fun having him here with us - and a LOT of work. Luckily, he took to sleeping in the kennel at night really well, and after a week and a half was sleeping thru the night with no potty breaks like a champ. Housebreaking has been another issue. At this point, there are really no accidents any more, but for the first two weeks I wondered if there really was a light at the end of the tunnel and at what point I should buy stock in Bounty.
When he had been with us for 2 weeks we took him to the vet for his second round of shots, we got him microchipped, spoke to the vet about when we could sign him up for the snip-snip, and casually mentioned that he drinks A LOT of water. Like he would drain his bowl and then keep licking it and licking it. Since I've never had a larger type breed before, I didn't know if it was normal or not, but thought that it was just more of a nuisance because since he was constantly guzzling water, it was hard to gage when he would need to be taken out which resulted in lots 'o pee everywhere. Well, five hundred dollars later, we walked out of the vets office rather shell shocked.
No, the vet informed us, excessive water drinking is NOT normal, so a barrage of tests was done on him, and a lot of the possibilities as to what the diagnosis could be looked pretty grim. It could be something just as simple as a UTI or he just absolutely loves water. Or it could be his kidneys were not formed correctly so his body tells him to drink as much water as possible to help them flush things out. But they really can't do anything to test that until he's full grown and they do an ultrasound. If that were indeed the case, ultimately his lifespan would be shortened and there would be no cure. Or, it could possibly be diabetes lipidus. If that were the case, it would mean that his brain was not creating enough of a certain hormone that concentrates urine, and was always sending the message to his body to constantly drink more. There is medicine for that, but it could range anywhere $3-7 a day for the medicine for the rest of his life. So until we heard back from the vets office with some results, they wanted us to record how many cups of water a day we gave him to see just what his intake was.
The conversation that Joe and I had that night was not a fun one. Basically Joe said, we had to figure out where the $$$ line was that we were not willing to cross. Could we really afford to provide the best life for him, if in fact Blitz had an illness? The very painful answer, was no. It broke my heart to think about having to find another home for the little fluff ball that I had become very attached to. He was MY DOG. I cried like a 5 year old. We decided that we would wait to hear from the vet before making any decisions. Luckily, it seems that his blood work and urine samples all showed good levels of whatever they were looking for, although thru charting his water intake he does drink not quite double what a puppy of his size and weight should. So, the vet wanted to do a trial run on the diabetes meds for about a month. If his water intake were to decrease while on the meds, then we would know that it is in fact diabetes, if no difference, then no diabetes, and he's just a water lovin' hound. I am pleased to report that so far a week on the meds, and no difference. YES!!! Things are looking up, and at this point, we know that he'll be with us for many years.
So that's the latest with Blitz... that doesn't even include me slicing my hand open at work while cutting an avocado for my sandwich at work, me getting in a fender bender in our new car, Joe getting an a car accident at work (he's fine), saying good-bye to Joe's brother who decided to go to Australia for a year. Whew. That's a lot. But that doesn't mean that I haven't had time to look at all your blogs, just because I've been so negligent of my own. This lady? I love her whole site. I love learning about how she does her photography, and I've already cooked several of her recipes. And her and her? Well, they're inspiring.
The desk for the office has been ordered, so hopefully after that the new computer will not be far behind. That will make blogging and uploading photos SO much easier - getting to use the laptop only when Joe is sleeping is hard because there's 42 other things I should be doing. Whoever said sharing is fun was a liar. I'm ready for my own space!!