Sunday, February 17, 2019

On About Day 70 of Grace for Bailey

I'm grateful that we are rounding the corner to another week. Last week was quite a week for both me and part of our pack. On Friday our foster girl Ginger had her spay done. It all went well. She's home and resting.
Most of the drama was Bailey. And I've been feeling the emotional fallout from it since. It began when I got home from work Tuesday evening, and found Bailey laying in the same place as she was when I'd left for work more than 10 hours before. My dog-walker hadn't gotten her up and outside, and my brother and husband had no idea about any of it when they'd arrived home before me.
~Bailey not feeling well~
Being in one position for so long had made Bailey sick, and she was refusing to move. We got her up and moving and outside, but she continued getting sick and was having problems breathing. By bedtime she seemed brighter, so we opted to monitor her overnight. It was a mostly sleepless night for both of us.

By the time the sun was coming up, I was exhausted and stayed home from work. I called Bailey's vet when they opened, but they were unable to see us until late afternoon. I didn't want to wait that long, so I called my Mobile Vet, who could see her a few hours earlier.

Having someone else see Bailey turned out to be a good decision. Mobile Vet decided to take x-rays.
With all the coughing up of fluid, we thought she might have pneumonia. But she does not. 
The x-ray below was taken with Bailey on her back. I've "enhanced" the x-ray so you can see that the darkened area in between the two arrows is her trachea. You can see that there is a curve. It should of course be straight/smooth. The tumor which is on your left has displaced that.  This is why Bailey has breathing problems. When she's in the same position for too long, fluid pools in that curve and obstructs her airway, and she coughs. If she's up and around, it helps to open up her airway and allow any fluid to move through.
Mobile Vet took the time to talk to me about everything that he thinks are options for Bailey's care. There are not many, but Mobile Vet thinks that a visit to the oncologist is a good place to start. His thought is that a bronchodilator may be something Bailey may benefit from. So, next week, Joy and Bailey will be off to see the oncologist.

And as we start a new week, Bailey is doing much, much better and is hardly coughing. Her appetite is back, and Mobile Vet gave me some new ideas for helping to keep Bailey's airway clear. My hope and optimism that all but vanished mid-week has returned as we continue on our "days of Grace with Bailey."

On a much lighter note, I hope you had a good Valentine's day! 
Here are a few photos used to mark ours. 


~Ginger~

~Rhett~
~Joy~
Thanks for stopping by - Have a good week! 


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Hardest Part - Update on Joy

For me, there is no way to articulate the rewards that have come from fostering the senior dogs for both the Golden Retriever Rescue, and Lab Rescue.

Last week, Joy met Mobile Vet for follow-up blood work. Her previous vet had been concerned about her high white blood cell count, and Mobile Vet was concerned about her elevated lymphocytes. I was hoping now that she is past being so ill, there would be improvement from the previous tests done just 2 weeks ago. But below is an e-mail that I woke up to this morning.
As Dr. R suspected, the blood work is consistent with lymphoma/leukemia.  He can add on another test to help confirm, but it may be best to see an internal medicine specialist for ultrasound, chest reds, and consultation...And/ or an oncologist for consultation.
Sorry for the bad news
This is truly the hardest part of fostering senior dogs like Joy. Especially when it's a dog like her that you've practically just met, and have hopes and dreams for. Knowing those dreams cannot be, for me, is heartbreaking.   

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Do You Remember Chipper?

With arrival of Joy last week I'm behind in telling you about Chipper. Do you remember that we even have him?  I've hardly written about him, so it's okay.  Chip arrived here in June from Lancaster Pennsylvania. He'd been used for breeding, and was given to Lab Rescue by an Amish farmer.
~Chip the day we met him in June, 2018~ 
Chip is a dog with a gentle heart and a wounded soul. He is afraid of practically everything. In the nearly 20 years that we've been fostering dogs, I have to say, that he is the most fearful dog we've ever had.  Honestly, he spends most of his time, running away from everything. Even including us. The picture below is an example of that - he's worried and his head and tail are down, and he's avoiding any eye contact as he tries to get away. It's very sad.

But I think Chip is torn by what he wants to do, and what he's always known. In the past 6 months that we've had him, he has made good progress and is much more relaxed. But the progress is slow, and sometimes we take steps forward, only to go back several more. There is no doubt, he has a long way to go and so much to learn. The progress that has been made is that he'll come to us for treats and attention so I know that he has come to trust us. It does help that he is highly food motivated.
In December when Lab Rescue announced their waived adoption fee for the senior dogs, it generated some interest in Chip, who is about 10 years old. But among those few calls about him, no one really seemed to understand the challenges of having a shy and fearful dog like Chip. And for that matter, no one had an interest in helping Chip overcome his fears and find his confidence. They appeared only interested in him because of the waived adoption fee.

I talked to Lab Rescue about my concerns, worries and hopes and dreams for Chip. The coordinator totally agreed with me about his special needs. And others who've met him also agreed that Chip needed a special adopter. I knew that we could continue to wait, and eventually someone may come.  But those of you who have lived with dogs like Chip know there is a unique and strong bond that develops when a fearful dog has given you their trust. The more time that passes, I feel that trust and bond with Chip. And last week when I was bent over and greeting another dog, Chip snuck up on me and quickly licked my cheek. He'd never done that before, so it surprised me, and he quickly backed away. But he didn't go to his "safe place." Instead he stood several feet away, looking at me and wagging his tail. And I knew in that moment that the decision that was made a few days before was the right one.  Chip has found his forever home, with us.
~Chip this morning, with his pack-mates~

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Joy Arrives at Golden Pines

At our house it may be wet, soggy and cold outside, but there's always room inside for a senior dog that needs a place to go.
~The view from our front porch this morning~
And on Monday that's what we did, we made room for one more, and we welcomed Joy. Found abandoned on a road in West Virginia by a family that couldn't afford to keep her, Joy eventually found her way to the Golden Retriever Rescue. I will add here that even though the family that found Joy couldn't keep her, they bought her a dog bed and sent it along with her. The bed may not be a well made one, but I'm touched by their thoughtfulness that says a lot about them. 
~Joy's first night with us~
We did not start out as Joy's foster home. But there was a bit of a "mishap" between Joy and a 5 pound smoked fillet of salmon in which the salmon and Joy both lost. She became very ill, and ended up hospitalized for about a week. The rescue felt it would be best for Joy if she went to another foster home.

Our dogs easily accepted this new comer who is quiet and very easy going. She's estimated to be about 11 years old, and her tail does not stop wagging. At just over 40 pounds, Joy has a few pounds to gain. She also has a few health-hurdles to get over; anemia, lyme disease, and of course her bout of severe gastroenteritis.

But this endearing little girl that was left abandoned on a road in West Virginia, now has a pretty brand new collar, and most importantly Joy has a bright future.

Welcome Joy, we're glad you're here!