4/10/2017 A STRESSFUL WEEKEND

This past weekend was not a good weekend for sweet”B”

Saturday was not a good day as she was not perky and slept a lot.  I laid on the floor, by her bed, Saturday evening as she napped. Wishing she could talk I contemplated how the end would be. Would she just go to sleep or will I have to make the hardest decision in my life. I know she is tired. She has ran her race and what an amazing race it has been.  But how will I know for certain what her wishes are? How will I know that I am not giving up and letting her down? Searching for answers online I have done the quality of life calculator https://journeyspet.com/pet-quality-of-life-scale-calculator/ and she scored 5 on everything. However, Sunday brought another attack (vestibular, stroke) I gave her the anxiety pill, 1/2 tramadole and prayed for quick relief.  The attack lasted a solid 45 minutes. The rest of the day was total confusion and weakness.  She was wobbly walking and had difficulty with vision and depth perception. She had to drink from her bowl because she could not steady herself enough to drink from the spout on the water bottle.

She did eat dinner on her own, out of her bowl. I gave her ribeye steak and rotisserie chicken with a couple tablespoons of wet food.  Maybe not a fair assessment of her appetite, who can resist this kind of dinner?  She took all her evening medication with little issues (in peanut butter)

As night time rolled in she settled down into her bed and had a peaceful nights sleep. She did not wake at all during the night with a 6:30 am wake up. I took her outside, she walked in the grass to find the perfect spot and peed. Now she is having her morning nap under my desk as I write.

A bit of disorientation still has a grip on her this morning and my stomach is sick worried about what the day will bring. I am really struggling with this whole grief situation. While losing my grandmother is still very raw with moments of tears throughout the day, I have entered into a sort of pre grieving for Bailley.  The pain is so intense at times I feel helpless to deal with it. I contemplate ways to avoid thinking of all this loss, emerging myself in endless chores to the point I am exhausted. At the end of each day I am finding being exhausted only feeds into a weak mind that is primed for grieving.

I look at the world around me and stand witness to just a fraction of the horrible things that take place every day. I have heard stories of the unthinkable that has touched so many lives. The things that are happening in my life are normal. It is the circle of life. My grandmother was was old, Bailley is old. No tragedy of sudden death. Life has been lived. Time demands restitution for a long life. How is it those who suffer such tragic loss emerge strong? How do they find the strength of mind to live a normal life? Do you just tuck it away and try not to think of it? Does time ease the pain of loss? I hope in time these answers will become clear to me.  In the mean time I will endure and push forward in hopes there will be a peaceful end to Bailley’s story.

 

4/2/2017 THE ATTACK

On Sunday 2/19 Bailley woke just as any other morning. Our routine started with her morning potty break. I put her in the grass and she started to pee when I noticed and felt an immediate change in her body language. I moved towards her and at that very second she started to dart off as if she was bit by something.  I snatched her up screaming and she peed all over me in the same manner that a woman’s water breaks just before birth. I knew this behavior all too well as she suffered a similar attach in 2015 which left her mostly blind. We have Trazadone on hand due to that incident.

I ran in the house with Bailley in my arms as she screamed, peed, and fought to get away.  My husband came running in to investigate the ruckus.  With both of us I was able to locate the Trazadone, crush it in a spoon of water and squirt down her mouth. Was this the end? I had resolved myself I would do whatever needed to be done if she could not come out of this. I knew before making any harsh decisions running to the vet for her final sleep, I had to be calm and give it time.

The medication took some time to work so we took her in a closed room and for some reason I put her down hoping she would relax. It was a very scary situation. I decided to film what she was doing so I could show the vet if we needed to go in. The video below shows her in an active attack. One video shows me holding her and the other after I let her go. It was best not to touch her as that made it worse. You can see she starts to calm

WARNING: It is very disturbing

 

It took around 20 minutes but she finally calmed down and slept most of the day. I did a lot of research to find out what this is. It was dignosed as some sort of stroke the first time but after much reading and research on the internet I believe it could possibly be Vestibular disease or Old dog disease, which is related to a stroke.

Causes of the condition can include chronic and recurrent inner and middle ear infections, overzealous cleaning of the ears resulting in a perforated eardrum, trauma from head injury, stroke, tumors, polyps, meningoencephalitis, hypothyroidism, as well as certain drugs like the aminoglycoside antibiotics, including drugs like amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin, and tobramycin.

Come to find out when a dog is experiencing these attacks, they are better not picked up because they cannot get their bearings without touching the floor. They liken the attack to humans having vertigo. Dogs have no idea what is happening and it is stressful for them. She has never had an ear infection so I am lead to believe stroke may be the cause.

She was doing much better the following day but I still noticed she seemed dizzy.  I found a natural medication that is supposed to help people with vertigo and was touted to help dogs with motion sickness. I ran to the vitamin shop at 8:30 pm and purchased the medication right before they closed for the evening.  It is called Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Cocculus Indicus

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I immediately gave her three tiny pellets crushed in a spoon of water. After about 10 minutes I noticed she was not tracking with her eyes and seem to calm and feel better. I have been using it ever since when I notice she is tracking and appears dizzy. I am so glad I found it.

So Bailley returned to pretty much normal a couple days later. A gift arrived for the dogs from a special Shih Tzu Mommy. I put the bag on the floor and was moved to tears when I saw Bailley acting like a normal dog.

I found out many people put their dogs to sleep when they have one of these attacks because they are so violent and scary they think the dog is dying and some vets dont understand the attacks either.  I wanted to make others aware of this so they can possibly make an educated decision concerning their pets. Most of the time a sedative is what is needed to calm them down. Do some research on it before your dog suffers from this just so you are prepared.

1/27/17 – WESTMINSTER BOUND

This year on 2/13/17 Cody and I will be showing in New York. What an exciting time for Tian Mi Shih Tzu. I invite anyone interested to watch live streaming of the Shih Tzu breed judging at 1:30 on the Westminster web site located at http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/ There will be links for each breed to watch them live. I don’t expect any big win but it will be a nice experience and we can hope to get an award of merit.

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1/21/17 NEW SUPPLEMENTS

I realized a couple weeks ago I realized that I have changed a few of the things I give Bailley and wanted to share these things with all of you as well as amend her medication page.

Cody brought a very mild case of Kennel cough home. He and Peyton were recently vaccinated. Peyton did not get it at all. Cody had a snotty stuffy nose. Phoebe (9) and Bailley (16) got it the worse. With Bailley being pretty bad. I had a couple days that Bailley did not want to eat. She had trouble standing and coughed so bad she could not sleep. Phoebe cough non stop. I am telling you this because these circumstances lead me to a couple new wonderful things.

To treat the kennel cough every one got nebulizer treatments twice a day for 10-20 min each. We have a human nebulizer with a mask that works well with the flat faced dogs. Ours is similar to the one below. I bought it on craigslist.

I used a saline solution which I keep on hand for different reasons. One for each treatment. The saline I buy is here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XCQXXN0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have hydrocodone syrup on hand for Bailley when she has extreme attacks of coughing due to her heart. It was very nice to have but after a couple days I started to wish I could give them something else in the morning so they would not b groggy. A fellow breeder recommended this cough syrup. It worked with all the dogs and I have used it on the grand kids as well. The dogs got it twice a day. Morning and before bed. Bailley got Hydrocodone before bed as this helped her sleep for at least a few hours. You can give this syrup 1 cc every 6 hours.

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Another breeder friend told me about a supplement she used to get rid of Kennel cough. Vibactra Plus. I did some research on this and found it could be very useful not only for the distressed situation Bailley was in at the moment but also all the time.  Vibactra Plus

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It is around 30.00 a bottle. I got mine on ebay. About a week into using this I saw a marked difference in both Phoebe and Bailley. Phoebe was all but over it with a few coughs here and there and Bailley’s cough sounded more like it was a heart cough than a kennel cough

 

She was doing much better. As you can see in the video she started getting back to her old self. She was moving around like her body was not achy anymore. She started eating regular food (for her) again. We went through two rotisserie chickens over a two week period that is all she would eat. Since this video was taken she has shown more improvement.

After all seemed to be over with the Kennel cough, it seemed Bailley was left with a heart cough that was a little more often than before. Over the Christmas holiday her vet had to call in a new script for Lasix  (furosemide) For some reason the pill form was sent. She has always had the liquid. I noticed when she was sleeping there was a wheezing in her breathing. I suspected the Lasix was not doing its job. I had a little of the liquid left so the next day I gave her liquid just to test my theory. I was not sure if it was my imagination but she seemed better with the liquid. So I went to Walmart and had the liquid re filled. What did I have to lose? The script is around 11.00. It was worth it to me just to see if it would be better. There is definitely a difference in how her body responds to the liquid. She is almost back to her regular cough which is almost non existent. Only when she wakes from sleep or stress.

I thought it was important to tell the story about the Lasix because your vet is your dogs Dr but, you know your dog and your vet can be more effective with treatment if you are diligent at home with being observant.

So on top of all of this going on I realized Bailley was very gassy. I mean to the extent that every time she coughed walking down the drive outside to potty, she sounded like my husband when he gets gassy. For a little dog this was impressive but I felt like it might hurt her a bit. Not only that but it scared her. She would dart away from each one like someone was poking her in the bottom. Now she gets baby gas relief drops in the morning (if necessary) and after dinner. Her gas is much improved. I do believe the excessive gas is part of her health issues.

So one more thing I have to tell you about. Several months back I noticed she seemed to have chronic infection going on and it seemed to be bladder or urinary track related.  She has been on Ketoconozole for two years now as well as all the other medication she takes. Everything she is taking damages the kidneys and liver. I found a product called Renafood. She gets one every evening with her food. We hide it just like everything else. She has been taking it for almost three months and has not had infection since. Her bloodwork has never shown signs of kidney failure but I believe it is imminent with age and lots of meds.

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To see the modifications in her meds and supplements check out her meds page.

2016 YEAR END UPDATE

Her biggest birthday come and gone. I have to admit I did not buy a birthday dress this year and did not plan a photo session.

My grandmother passed away mid October and sent a crushing blow to everything I called routine in my life. She was my rock for so many years, I adored her, treasured her and placed her above all others in my life.  Those who know me knew I spent the last few years setting aside at least one day a week, most times two, to take my grandmother out or just sit and visit. I called her every night while I made dinner to discuss what road our lives lead us down that day. I told her everything and I believe there was not much, if anything she kept from me. She was diagnosed with cancer around the same time we found out Bailley had cushings. For the following year I lived in a constant fearful state. I was looking down the barrel of loss. Not only my sweet Bailley but also my Grandmother. To be honest the thought of losing either one was unthinkable. Losing both of them was debilitating. If I was not busy with work my mind was lost in saying good-bye to them both.

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A video I made for her memorial service

I never thought Bailley would reach 15. I thought she would pass before my Grandmother. Turns out it was opposite. I realized at some point in my journey with both of them that I I was spending so much time focusing on losing them, I was not treasuring what life laid before me. I started practicing every day to take it as it came. I took it to such extent, I cannot plan to far in the future because I am so focused on today.

So today, I am sad and miss my Grandmother terribly. Even though it has been since October, I struggle with living without her. For the first year there are a lot of first things without her. But for me most of all are the phone calls in the evening. Phone calls that were so dear to me. Phone calls that started when I was in my teens. My grandmother shaped a big part of who I am.  The waves of tears are starting to get less each day. The happy thoughts of her are starting to creep in. I am not sure if I will ever get over losing her but, life is going on.

Each day brings different joys and challenges.

Bailley is holding her own. Her cough has increased quite a bit and she is more frail as time goes on. She doesn’t hear or see much at all. Eating is sometimes a challenge but for the most part she does very well, considering. The following video was taken today before her bath. Excuse her messy face.

 

The photos at the top of the page were taken on the eve of Sweet Bailley’s 16th birthday.

I will try to continually keep you all posted on Bailley’s progression through this crazy little life of hers. For now, may 2017 bring all of us joy and a heart of acceptance for what life throws our way.

9/19/2016 BACK IN THE SADDLE

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9/19/2016

Yesterday I rallied myself to start the task of a hair cut and bath for Sweet “B” Thinking she could go see Jesus soon I did not want her to look like the woofa wafus. Yes that is a real term my Nonnie has always used.

So I carried her in the laundry room and did not give into her demands. Panting, crying, fighting, yes, it was all part of the ritual. Two hours later we both emerged. Bailley looked cute as a bed bug, I on the other hand had patches of fur in my eyebrows, eye lashes, nose, mouth and every other orifice that was available. My hair was askew and I was exhausted. Bailley on the other hand was running, yes I said running, through the house like she had just single handedly taken down the Alamo. I am not quite sure what transpired in the laundry room but she obviously did not look like she was straddling the fence of life and death.

So here we are, back in the saddle again. She had a decent night and has not had a single episode of panting and pacing. Is this God’s way of preparing me? Is God being merciful and giving me just a little more time? One can never know what the future holds but between my grandmother and Bailley, I have learned a very valuable lesson as the events have unfolded over the last year. It’s not over, until it’s over. Until the final breath is drawn There is still a story to be told. God uses tragedy for good. We are all certainly headed for death but until it happens, life is something to find joy in, even if only for a couple hours.

On another note, I have been breeding dogs for 15 years. I can certainly say I have had more than one litter of puppies in that 15 years. This weekend was spent sleeping with a flash light, waking every time any living thing in our bedroom breathed funny. Those living things included, three dogs in bed with us, Bailley, Phoebe, and Peyton, Cody in his crate beside my bed, and Ella in her bed enclosed in a baby gate. Ella was the main culprit so every little bustle I heard I sprang to my feet, flashlight in hand, searching for her bottom to see what was going on. By the end of the second night I was exhausted and Ella was looking at me through her great big brown sleep deprived eyes like I was insane. I think I may have finally flipped that switch. After realizing the girls have just been running around all day like its party time I decided to take yet another look at the dates they were bred. Sure enough, I found the notes on the calendar written in big black letters were not the day of breeding, it was the day they started their heat.  So now their due date is not until NEXT MONDAY!

9/18/16 THE MORTAL ENEMY

As the sun started peaking through the darkness of our room this morning I slowly woke after a long night of keeping one eye open for the impending birth of new baby Shih Tzu and the up and down potty runs with sweet B. It seems she is having more episodes of restless panting that wake her during the night. She has also had them the last few days during the day. The only way to get her to relax and go back to sleep last night was a dose of Trazodone.  As the pill started to work its way into her system I could feel the tension leave her body. She drifted off to a peaceful sleep that she welcomed with open arms.

Just as every other morning once sunlight enters the room, dogs begin to wake one at a time and with little whimpers they tell me its time to see what the new day has in store.  I noticed Bailley in a strange position at the top of the bed positioned between Steve’s pillow and the headboard. She seemed lifeless. I reached up and touched her with no sign of life. I did not detect breathing it seemed for a few seconds. No twitching, nothing. I pulled my hand back and took a deep breath as if to brace myself for the thing I have feared most for years. I reached up again and I felt a little twitch.  Was I relieved? I cannot really say I was. In the last couple weeks, the big DECISION has attached its self to me like a dark shadow always looming in the very corners of my mind. The decision and I are mortal enemies. I have noticed the last week or so the decision comes out of the shadow and gently whispers in my ear. Almost like it is time for us to have a short moment of truce. These moments of truce with the decisions are familiar to me in past experiences, but how do you call a truce with your mortal enemy when it means letting go of your soul mate.

Bailley has been the ONE consistent joy in my life for almost 16 years.  There has not been a single night I close my eyes and not feel her warm fuzzy body snuggled happily by my pillow.  My days have been filled with her antics of discovering new ways to communicate to me that she is the queen and I am her special subject. Bailley has never been a needy dog, she has always been full of self confidence. She would grace me with her snuggle loving and mushy kisses on her terms and when she did it was a treasured moment. Bailley seemed to understand that people treat you according to how much you value yourself. It has always been clear to anyone entering our home that Bailley is queen B.  Bailley loves me in a way that I have never been loved. She would wait for me until Jesus came. She greets me at the door with tail wagging leaping happiness, no matter how long I was gone. Every reuniting was a cause for celebration.

Her light that shined so bright for so many years is now fading to a faint glow.  I look at her and I know she is still in there but her body is betraying her. Getting around is difficult to get started, she cannot hear, I imagine most of her sight is gone as she bumps into walls, cant seem to find the nozzle of her water bottle and she gets lost outside unless we are there to guide her. Most of her light has faded in the last couple weeks with more coughing, almost to the point she cant seem to get it out. She eats sporadically. The episodes of her panting anxiously with constant movement trying to find a comfortable spot, have increased. She has restless nights of up and down to potty and then unable to settle back in bed because she seems to be uncomfortable, possibly in pain as she whines at times. It seems her quality of life is less that mediocre at this point. Is she having a bad day? A bad week? A bad couple weeks? I wish she could tell me, maybe she is and my heart is fighting a truce with the decision.

Even as I write this she is bouncing back and forth from her doughnut bed to the hard cool floor as if she is looking for a spot that she can find comfort. I have known for years this time would come. I only hope that God could intervene and make it a little easier for me. But I know life is never easy.

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