Its is 8:30 on the day we say good bye. It feels like and eternity will pass before 10:00 will get here. The closer it gets, the more intense the ach in my heart and sickness in my stomach get.
I prayed that I am making the right choice. Yesterday afternoon Bailley had another attack. It was mild but it left her very confused to the point that I do not think she knows who I am. I gave her something to help her sleep hoping she would wake and it would be gone. She is a bit better, not panting and pacing but she is still very confused. I love her so much I want this to stop for her.
I just wanted to sign in to tell everyone who is following and all those who ask about Bailley on a regular basis, tomorrow we must say good bye.
After 16 years 8 months and 27 days of life Bailley will be laid to rest. Over the last couple weeks she has declined to a point of not really wanting to eat. She turns away everything we present her with including rotisserie chicken. This morning she did eat a jar of beef baby food. I do think I could nurse her along a couple more days, maybe even weeks. Is that fair to her? She cannot go outside on her own anymore. We carry her out and sit her in the grass. She is so weak she struggles just to squat to pee, sometimes falling over. She could never find her way back to the door to come in. She sees shadows and hears next to nothing. She has started to wander more tracking her head back and forth as if she is nervous. She sleeps most of the day with little awake time and when she is awake it seems she is in a constant state of confusion.
This has been an agonizing decision for me to say good bye to my heart. I have struggled with, am I making the right choice? If she could talk would she say, “I am ready to rest.” The reasoning side of my brain is telling me, even if it may be a day or two too soon, why wait until it is an emergency situation where her passing would be a big stressful drama with the end result of her having to suffer.
We have a vet coming to our home at 10 am tomorrow morning, Bailley will go to rest in her bed, in her home, in peace.
After losing my precious Nonnie in October, I struggled with living in a world without her. It has been a hard road. I have started to move through life with only her memory beside me. I am a grown adult now and understand how life works. We cannot keep the ones we love forever. They say knowledge is power. Knowing loss does something to your heart. It is a pain unlike no other. A pain that seems to always be in the dark spots of my mind. The pain of losing my Nonnie was a place I was totally engulfed in for months following her death. Now it is a place I only find myself gravitating to once in a while. I am able to remember happy memories of her with a smile from time to time. I am able to function without wallowing in the dark.
The dark place will now hold the two lives I have found most precious and dear to me. I am there now. Thinking of what I have lost and fearful for how the world will look tomorrow at this time. The only comfort is my happy memories of felling love so deeply, so unconditional.
So just as I thought a week or so ago, Bailley is now going through a good time. She is wagging her tail when I come home, eating all her meals, she potties outside, even going out and in by herself. We are now 12 days from 16.5 years old. Two years ago, I would have never thought she would make it to 14 much less 16.5. When you get this old half years matter!!
Bailley’s issues at this point in the game are:
- She has hypothyroidism – controlled with meds
- Cushings – controlled with meds
- heart disease with a grade 5 murmur
Her symptoms are –
- hearing loss
- her vision is very limited. Im thinking she only sees shadows and light.
- Her right eye has become red and irritated, I assume it is possibly dry eye starting. I am controlling it very well with Genteal Severe Dry Eye relief lubricant.
- She coughs when she wakes up and off and on throughout the day
- Seems confused if you wake her. Like it takes her time to wake up
- Gassy with panting and discomfort at times – controlled with meds
On the positive side –
- Her skin looks great
- hair is full and grows quickly
- mostly does her business outside
- she eats her food, mostly unassisted
- She appears to not be losing weight anymore
- She takes meds pretty easy
- She recognizes me and wags her tail
- She loves her snacks and goes to the cookie jar when she notices others there
- She runs and plays in her sleep like a puppy
- She still digs in her bed and cleans her face after dinner
I have her on minimal meds at this point taking only her prescriptions and vibetra plus in intervals. We took her to see Doc last month and her condition was not any worse than a year prior. I have decided with my vet’s advice, there will be no more trips to vet. Only refilling her scripts and keeping her comfortable and happy with some kind of quality of life. All I can do at this point is try my hardest to appreciate each day. I pray she will go home to be with the angels while sleeping.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
To see the modifications in her meds and supplements check out her meds page.
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.
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.
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!
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.