Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lila-dog's sudden illness and departure

Note: I've wanted to post this for a while, but I never had it quite the way I wanted it.  I wanted more pictures, better pictures to capture her joie-de-vivre, but circumstances have forced my hand. Yesterday morning, our other dog, Casey, died of a sudden illness. Both dogs in six months. We are pretty devastated here, but at the very least, I have to get Lila's memorium up now so I can make way for Casey's as well. What a horrible problem to have.


A couple of weeks before Hallowe'en 2012, I wanted to get Lila's shots up to date, so she could go to the park for walks again. She had developed a small squishy area on her tail 2 weeks prior, so I mentioned that as well when we went into the vet's.  The vet said to wait on the shots, because the tail lump looked suspicious - I truly had no idea, it just looked like water retention.  The doctor took a biopsy, but said he had to send it away for further tests - it didn't look like a fatty deposit under the microscope. It turned out it was cancer, and she needed surgery. She had a tumor within a tumor - a small malignant one surrounded by a large fatty benign one. The post-op examiners had never seen one like it.

But as awesome as the surgery went, and as clean as her wound recovered, she never did. She shook all the time, had difficulty eating. We tried pain meds, and mood meds to calm her, and appetite increasers - nothing really worked well, she ate sparingly and kept losing weight. She stayed in this state for about a month. And always, in the back of our minds - had the cancer already spread? The margins still had cancer cells in them, it was possible. Then she finally took an upturn and started eating more. We thought she'd make it! Definitely to Christmas. I bought her a special Christmas collar with bells on. But a week after that, one week before Christmas, she took a terrible downturn. She couldn't even take in water. It was over. It was the weekend, the hospital was closed. I wanted her regular care doc to see her, so we had to wait until Monday. Give her till Monday, and maybe she'll turn it around again? But that Sunday night I stayed downstairs with her all night. She was at the end, and we both knew it.  She refused even the water I tried to put on her lips with my fingers.

Monday morning we got her in, and her regular care doc was able to send her on her way, with Dave and I gently rubbing her body as she faded away. Her doctor was just so awesome throughout this whole thing - he has Jack Russells himself, and he understands their moods and how to deal with them. All the reception/tech girls were really pulling for her too, and all were sad to hear she couldn't make it. The girls used their casual day monies for an "angels with fur" charity, and they made a donation to that charity (which helps animals in need), in Lila's name. So sweet!

Lila and Dave and I tried so hard, but it just wasn't enough. I'm still having flashbacks the grocery store - I made so many soups and cooked strange meats and things to try to get her appetite going, every aisle reminds me of her.

But I wanted this post to celebrate the good things about her life - for most of it, she was a very happy puppy! She loved to flop on her back at the top of a sunny, grassy hill (flower-filled was even better still), and wiggle her way back and forth slowly down the hill, belly to the sun. She loved the summer - the hotter, the better. Sitting in the grass, out in the hot sun of a summer's day, she looked perfectly content and at peace. Winter - she hated. Couldn't wait to get back inside after a quick pee outside. Hated to wear her little sweater, too, which she was very cute looking in, regardless. She did enjoy a short game of 'catch the snowball', however. She shook when she got excited. Or scared. Or hungry. Or happy... To Lila, every time we left felt like she'd never see us again (a result, we think, of us being her 3rd owners). She greeted us with an effusive abandon I've never seen before. It was darling. We called her wiggle puppy sometimes, and that's why - she'd shimmy and twist her whole body in delight, jumping up and down and wanting to give kisses each and every night we came home. We also called her football, because she was built like one, LOL. She loved peanuts. She honked when she was happy. She snored adorably at night. She barked almost constantly during play. It was a habit she picked up early in her life and despite our best efforts, she never overcame. We got her a mini soft frisbee to hold in her mouth during outdoor play time so she would carry it around and growl through it instead of outright barking. She was a picky eater! We went through many different brands to find something she'd love. They stopped making her favorite brand (Alpo soft beef) and we never found it's equal.

She was a dear, sweet puppy who died young for her breed, only 10 1/2 years old, and deserved a far better life than she was given.  Rest in peace, wiggle puppy!

She loved the kotatsu almost as much as the cats. No pics of her underneath as she liked to do on cold winter nights, but here's a couple of her on top, enjoying the sunshine through the window - having so little fur, she was a big fan of all things warm.
Every now and then, we'd take off her collar, she found them itchy. Here she is 'naked' on the back hill enjoying a warm summer day.
Enjoying her new doggie bed a couple of years ago. When Casey got a new, bigger one, Lila tended to hijack that one, and Casey was left fitting into this tiny one, just big enough for her butt. Dogs...

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