7/28/06 - We had
follow up vet appt for Spirit tonight, but we moved it up to 1st thing
this morning because Spirit really had not been doing that well. In my
years of fostering, I am so used to a dog in Spirits condition, and with
lots of good food, comfy place to sleep, and tons of love, I have seen
these dogs blossom and become the dog they were meant to be. But Spirit
was not improving. In fact, in the last couple of days, his condition
appeared to be deteriorating. During his stay, he developed kennel
cough, and his appetite decreased during that time. It was a bad case of
kennel cough, but Spirit was already on antibiotics for his condition
when he 1st came into rescue, so his treatment did not change.
Spirit was often panting, even though he was on a very comfy overstuffed
bed and a very cool air conditioned room. This is a sure sign of either
stress or discomfort. I was afraid it was discomfort. He was on pain
med's, but still looked to be in discomfort.
His left front leg became quite swollen 3 days ago, and then his right
leg quickly swelled up also. None of this looked good. He was having
difficulty walking. During all this time, Spirit remained the perfect
house guest. He went out and did all of his business, never an accident
in the house. He got along with all the dogs, never bothering anyone.
The vet had told me on the phone that what I was explaining to him did
not sound good, and I was prepared to hear bad news this morning. When
the vet examined him, he discovered that there were now lumps/masses in
his other lymph node in the rear leg, and the 2 front legs also had
developed lumps, all in a span of 2 weeks. He ruled out infection at
this point, and was convinced this was a lymphoma, a cancer being spread
in the lymph glands. He said there was some aggressive treatment they
could try, but he advised that at Spirits age, and poor overall physical
condition, he would probably not survive the treatments. He told me we
really would be doing this boy a favor at this point and take him out of
It is always so hard to let go, you just don't want to. You're never
ready. I wanted so much more for this sweet old boy. I wanted him to get
healthy, fill out, play with toys, run with the other dogs, and find his
forever home. I wanted to get kisses from him, see his tail wag when he
saw me. I did not get to see any of those things. Poor guy, at 10:00
this morning, Spirit went to the rainbow bridge, with me hugging him and
telling him I loved him. In 2 short weeks, I became pretty attached to
this guy. He was gentle and kind, even though he was sick. We spent
every night together, from the time I came home from work till the time
I went to bed, I hung out with him. He was a special boy, for sure. At
times like this, the only consolation I can take is thinking that Spirit
did in fact find his forever home.....with God.
Be well my old buddy, I am glad I got the time to spend with you and got
to know you. You truly were a special boy. Forever, Your foster daddy
- Poor old Spirit, he just can't seem to catch a break. Just as he was
starting to settle, put on some weight, maybe even feel good, he has
come down with kennel cough. So, now he is gagging, and hacking away,
has lost most of his appetite, and just looks like a pretty sad boy.
Like I said, he needs a break :o((
Spirit is definitely a housetrained boy, who has no problem going into
his crate. He has not messed his crate and not had an accident in the
house.. He just hangs out, taking it easy, trying to get over the hump.
As of now, he has shown no interest in anything, no toys, not even all
the dogs he is hanging out with. Now granted, they are small guys, pugs
and pekes, but he basically ignores them. Maybe when he is feeling
better things might change. I am pretty sure we have not yet seen his
true personality yet. He is feeling too lousy to show us much. When he
is feeling better, we’ll introduce him to the boxers in the house.
He is taking his meds with no problems, so we hope he will be on the
mend and rebound shortly.
So, visit back in a few days for another update and see how your Spirit
boy is doing. Thanks for stopping by :o)
7/17/06 - Picked spirit up
from the vet, and although the news was better then expected, it is
still not known if spirit will recover and lead a normal life.
X rays showed his lungs are clear, and his knee does not appear to be as
large as it is from cancer. X-rays, as much as they can actually tell
you, it does not appear to be cancer.
The lymph node behind his knee has a big ass lump in it, but the DR did
not want to aspirate it just yet, and is leaning toward it being an
For Spirits muscles to be as atrophied as they are, he thought he must
have snapped his ACL at one time, but he manipulated the joint and it
feels pretty sturdy, so he is not really sure why he is in the condition
he is in. He really has NO muscle tone, and the vet is not sure if and
when it might return.
He was put on Rimadyl for the pain right now, and antibiotics, but poor
Spirit seems to be in almost constant discomfort, as he is in his crate
over stuffed with padding, in a totally air conditioned room, and he is
still panting and drooling most of the time.
The vet said to let him take it easy for a week and see how he does. I
asked if exercise would help him build up his muscles, he said right now
he would not recommend any exercise.
The good news is he continues to eat and drink very well, is starting to
look a little bit "fuller" and this morning he seemed to put his left
rear leg down a bit, putting just a little weight on it,.....
He is still stiff in the morning, and needs help getting up, but the bad
part is he has no problem snapping and bearing his teeth if you try to
help him, or if you tug on his leash to try to get him to try to get up.
I have to assume that once we can alleviate the pain, his true personality
will come thru. The more time I spend with him, the more his tail is
wagging, and he looks at me for direction.
So, we will fatten him up a bit more, make sure he takes all his meds,
which he does like a real trooper, and see the vet in another week.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed
that he makes great strides this week, I can tell you this boy does grow
on you quickly.
7/15/06 - Spirit ate VERY well on Saturday and I left him out of
the crate to hang out on the nice cool tile floor. When it was time to
go to the vet, I called him and asked if he wanted to go in the car. He
just looked up at me and didn’t move, so I called him again, trying a
bit more excitement in my voice. He made a few attempts to get up, but
since he only has good use of 2 legs, he was struggling on the tile
floor. The leg he was pushing of kept slipping out form under him.
I saw he needed help, so I want around his rear to help lift him. Spirit
didn’t care for that, as he must be in a good amount of pain. He snapped
at me, no doubt it was hurting him too much. He would not take his eyes
off of me, so I decided in order to help him get up, I would muzzle him.
Once up, he was fine, and limped out the door and into the car.
We got to the vet, and Spirit was seen. The vet had some early concerns
upon initial exam. Seems his left rear knee is about twice the size it
should be, he has decreased breath sounds in his lungs, he didn’t know
what was the nature of the lump was in his lymph node behind his knee,
but he has a concern that cancer might be behind all of this.
He suggested I drop off Spirit on Monday, and leave him there, where he
would do a more thorough workup, with x rays, blood work and urinalysis.
During the entire exam, Spirit was a real trooper, never showing the
pain he must have been in. He was a real gentleman, and I was proud of
I then went to make the appt for Monday at the front desk. Poor guy,
everyone is the waiting room was staring at him, moving their dogs way
from him like he had some sort of disease. Only one person walked up to
him and said “poor boy….what have they done to you. Who would want to do
this to a sweet boy like you”. Spirit looked up at her with those
totally sad eyes, and his little nub started wagging.
I took him home and let him relax in his very plush crate. Lets hope
this boy gets a good report on Monday, god knows he deserves it.
7/14/06 - I
am always careful to say, "I've seen it all", because whenever you think
that, along comes a dog
like Spirit. Spirit was in a high kill city shelter, and in his age and
condition, there was a
ZERO chance he would be adopted. We came across him on one of our visits
to the shelter. He was all
curled up in the corner of his large concrete cage, barely moving. The
shelter attendant took him
out, and I was honestly taken back by what I saw.
He was a rack of bones, but honestly, I have seen that before, more
often then I would like to recall. It was the rest of his physical
condition that really struck me hard. When he came out, he was favoring
his hind, left leg (it did not touch the ground) and also he was limping
and favoring his right, front leg. So he was basically hopping out of
his cage. Then, once out, he began to pee for over 2 minutes, no
exaggeration. The look in this boy’s eyes can make you cry instantly. So
distant, so sad, so pained, like he was saying, please don't let me
continue on this earth. It totally moved me.
The condition of his left hind leg is scary. There is NO, and I mean NO
muscle tone to it, just a total hollow spot behind his bones. And the
lymph nodes behind his knees are swollen and a large lump it visible.
The atrophy in his rear leg is also the issue in his front leg. There is
NO muscle mass in his right front leg. GOD...how does someone let a dog
get to this condition? These issues did not occur overnight, that is
medically for sure.
When I was looking him over, I saw the highest concentration of "flea
dirt" I have ever seen on a dog. He was buried in the stuff. I assumed
he had an unbelievable case of flees, but when I put the flea comb thru
him, I was amazed...not one flea. The dirt smothered and clogged the
comb, but no fleas.
His eyes were dripping with mucus and dried up crud, and we cleaned that
off right then and there.
The shelter listed him at 13 yrs old, but it was easily apparent that
although his physical appearance looked like that, his teeth told a
totally different story. A more educated guess is more like 8 yrs old,
in fact, his teeth look better then many 6 yr olds I have seen.
Spirit, who was named at the shelter, certainly was showing absolutely
none of that, but it is my hope that by the time he is thru rescue, he
will grow into his name.
So, off Spirit went, for a ride to the suburbs, a nice soft bed, air
conditioning, great food, and some much needed vet care. Fingers crossed
that this boy is not too far-gone, and can be helped.