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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Piper

Tonight, around 8pm, we lost Piper.  I have to get this out, so please forgive me for the rambling.

Piper was 9 years old, but never acted like she was an older dog.  She was full of energy and life.  Piper was probably the sweetest dog I have ever had the privilege of having in my life.  She always wanted to be where you were, whether it be in the bedroom, or in the living room--she was there.

At the beginning of this month, I noticed she was breathing funny.  Her entire stomach was going in and out, along with her chest, and I knew something wasn't right.  She wasn't eating well, but we had just changed foods, so I thought she didn't like what we had bought.  We went back to the old food, and she still wouldn't eat.  She sounded like she had a cold, but I couldn't shake the feeling there was something else going on.  Our vet confirmed her diagnosis of blastomycosis, a fungal infection that coats the inside of the lungs with a thick yeast, making it difficult to breathe.  There was treatment, but like all things with animals, there was no guarantee it would help her.  We decided to treat her, because I couldn't give up without a fight.  At the time, she didn't seem to be suffering.

As treatment began, her breathing became worse, and I was told she would get worse before she got better.  About a week into the treatment, she stopped eating everything I offered.  She was still making the effort to drink water, but she wouldn't touch food.  We decided to take her to the vet after a few days of this, to see what they had to say about putting her down.  Piper walked into the vet's office under her own power, and laid there while we decided her fate.  I couldn't be at peace until I knew I had tried everything I could to fight for her.  We were given special food to feed through a syringe, and steroids to help her breathing, and stimulate her appetite.  Two cans of food later, and we noticed she threw up, and there was blood mixed in.  I know now that was a sign of things to come.

This morning, she was laying by her water bowl, spread eagle, but alert, and looking at me.  I tried to get her to stand, but she wouldn't.  I let her stay there, mostly because she was making the effort to drink water.  Dave kept watch over her all day, and fed her tiny portions at a time.  She never got up on her own.  When I got home, we carried her outside to do her business, and she couldn't stand on her own.  We brought her back inside and laid her down on a blanket in the kitchen.  I knew then she wouldn't be with us much longer, and I hated the thought of taking her a cold office, and having her put down.  I wished beyond hope she could have her last few hours with us at home.  Little did I know a mere hour later she would be gone.  I had fed her half of her food, and for ease put her antibiotic and steroid in the syringe so I didn't have to force anything more than I had to.  She took her food fairly easily, and then I gave her a dose of benadryl to maybe help her breathing a bit. Piper was gone less than an hour later.  I'm still questioning whether or not that dose of benadryl is what ended her life.

I can't even begin to relate how much I miss her.  When I was losing pregnancies, she was always there beside me, letting me cry in her fur when I was alone.  We buried her tonight in our side yard, under a tree, with her bones tucked in next to her.  I will miss you, my sweet girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hanging in there...

I've not blogged recently, mostly because I've been busy with school.  Okay, overwhelmed with school.  But that came to a bit of a halt this past week.

One of our dogs, Piper, was diagnosed with blastomycosis, a deadly fungal infection.  She acquired this by breathing in a spore, which turned into an infection in her lungs.  My once powerful, and sweet German shepherd girlie is now a very sick, thin, baby.  It breaks my heart to have to tempt her with all sorts of foods to get some calories in her.  Today, nothing would induce her to eat but about five licks of gravy and meat.  Yesterday, she ate 4 eggs.  She still drinks, though.  Especially after I force peanut butter in her mouth and make her swallow.

I'm not naive enough to think she will come through this with flying colors.  If you followed the link above, and read the information, you know we're likely fighting a losing battle.  But, as long as she continues to make an effort to drink, and sometimes eat, and actually move throughout the house, come to the fence when I get home, and meet us at the door, I will continue to fight for her.  As a good and wise friend told me, she will let us know when it's time, and she can't fight anymore.

It's devastating, because when I was losing pregnancies, I had my dogs.  Piper would lay on the bed with me as I cried, or just slept.  She seemed to know I was hurting, and did what she could to ease my pain.  She's the sweetest dog I have ever had the privilege to have, and I hope beyond hope we get to have her around a little while longer.