Friday, August 31, 2007

Thrawn & Life

Hi Everyone, it's Maryann.

I turn 34 today but I feel like I have aged 10 years in the past 24 hours. As I posted, Thrawn's face started swelling on Wednesday night so Thursday morning I dropped him off at Dr. Bill's office. I was also concerned because he has a few sores on his back legs that would not heal.

As I've posted about a lot before, Thrawn has a lot of health problems. It's a miracle he's still around in both my and the Drs opinion. He's over 10 years old, he's been on so many meds his whole life, the Cushings, the seizures, the neurological problems, the list goes on and on. In March we found the tumor in his liver and really since then I've felt we're on borrowed time. We chose not to pursue the testing and such to find out about the tumor or to remove his adrenal gland because of his health and age. In a rare grown up instance I made the choice of quality of life over the quantity for him. That said, I go back to yesterday.

The sores on his legs are pretty much like bed sores. With his back end being so weak once he is lying down (which he does 90% of the time) he can't move them much. I've been keeping Neosporin and such on them but between Bear licking and Thrawn rubbing them on the floor they just won't heal. I can't stress what a crappy dog parent I feel like for this. Dr. Bill said there's not much to do for them except keep the meds on them. Thrawn has never wanted to lay on a bed, he loves the hard cold tile but I'm going to see if there's anything I can find he'll lay on at least for a portion of the day.

His face swelling was caused by a broken tooth. His very back tooth appears that he either hit it or bit down on something, but it was cracked into three pieces and infected. They did his pre-surgery bloodwork as usual and Dr. Bill called me to tell me that his liver levels were so high the lab couldn't chart some of them. The tooth had to come out because he can't risk infection with his other problems but what it came down to was he might not make it out of the surgery. At 3:15 yesterday I gave him the ok to do the procedure then I sat upstairs at work for the next hour and fifteen minutes waiting for the call in misery.

You spend a lot of time rationalizing things and second guessing your actions when you're waiting on the results of what could be a horrible decision. The quality over quantity theory didn't seem a good choice just then when faced with the end. Maybe I've made the wrong choices with the dogs, I'm probably not as proactive about certain things as I should be. His tooth might not be broken if I had taken better care of his teeth all these years and then I wouldn't be risking his life to take it out now. Perhaps when I found him in '99 and learned of his problems I should have found him a home that would have been able to aggressively address his medical problems. I just don't know.

When Dr. Bill finally called and said he was waking up I don't think I've ever been as relieved in my life. I don't know how I would have dealt with it otherwise. His levels are sky high like I said and we're cutting out one of his meds to see if this will help any. It's kind of a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. His levels might go down, but he might not be able to walk. If his levels don't go down it will likely kill him, so what's the trade off?

There's a good chance that cancer is slowly spreading and causing the constant new problems. The plan of attack is to just keep him comfortable and happy for the time he has left. Hopefully we can get his counts down so he doesn't have liver failure and buy some more quality time. He's eating, drinking, asking for treats and participating as much as usual. (which has never been a lot for him really) As long as he seems happy I'm ok with that. He's a strong dog and he has a will to live, otherwise I think he would have gave up a long time ago. I just wish I were that strong. It hasn't even been six months since I lost Dakota and I'm just not ready. Not that I guess you ever can or will be.

Thanks for all the well wishes and tips, I really do appreciate it. I'm ordering him a Kuranda bed today to see if he will try it out and I think he's going to switch to a mostly soft diet. He still likes to chew so I saw Merrick has some softer options for elderly dogs so he can still have that activity. If any of you have any other ideas I would love to hear. Sorry for the downer of a post, but thanks for the help. -Maryann


Sparky said...

Oh Maryann, Patches and I are sending lots of puppy kisses. You are a darn good doggie mama, and don't you forget that!!!

Louka said...

Maryann, you've done a lot more for Thrawn than most dog owners would have. You have not only given him a wonderful home and pack and saved him from life on the streets, but you've seriously cared for all his medical issues which, frankly, some dog owners would have had him put down for. Our whole family is sending you good vibes and support during this really difficult time. I hope Thrawn comes out of this ok and lives for at least a few years yet. He has made everyone here laugh with his funny pictures, especially the one with the five pounds of flour and we all adore him.

Siobhan, Louka's mommy

Lisa said...

*hugs* to you Maryann. I know how much it killed me to say goodbye to Possum just 5 months after Emma, but I really had only one choice. You've got some options now. You're doing fine. Thrawn belonged with you and there's no way to know that someone else would have or could have done any better. He's a pack member. Rub his ears for me will you? I miss rubbing my old Shannon's black velvety ears. She was the Norwegian Elkhound I grew up with and she's been gone almost 17 years :( I think you will see it and know it when Thrawn's time has come.

Poppy said...

Don't doubt that you are a good dog mom. There is no way to see into the future, so we just do the best we can with the information we have at the time. It sounds to me like you have made good choices for Thrawn. You are definitely a good mom.

As for bed suggestions, here's one that comes to mind: a Cocojor cooling bed. Here's the website:
Go to the website and click on "cooling products." Look for the Hawaiian Sun Cooling Mat. Maybe that would provide some cushioning for Thrawn while still making him cool like the hard floor.

Poppy's Mom

Michele, Ruby's Mom said...

First off...Happy Birthday! After today you deserve a margarita...or 2!!!

Secondly you are doing an amazing job with these pups. They are so fortunate to have you and they know it...that's why Thrawn is a strong as he is...because of you!

Times like these are so difficult and I have no real idea what you must be going through. Just go with your've always had the best interest of the pack in your mind and that's all you can do!

Try and have a restful weekend!

Lorenza said...

Hi, Maryann
Happy Birthday!!
We all know that you are a great mom!! There is no way we can know what's in the future! We have to live day by day. I really wish the best for Thrawn!
Have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Hi Maryann.. Happy Birthday. I am so sorry that it has been a downer of a few days here. Please know that we are praying hard for you and Thrawn. Just give him as much love as you can and know that we are sending love from Georgia.
Shelli, Sitka and Tia

Lady Kaos said...

Don't you ever think you're a bad dog mom. You are one of the best!! You have more patients than most and if it wasn't for you, none of your dogs would be having as good of lives as they are having. Most people freak out when 1 dog is high maintenance and look at you!
Have a great birthday and remember how much not only your pack loves you, but the entire DWB pack!!!
Kaos and Hilary

Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

Big hugs to you Maryann - and a happy birthday for yesterday. I am so sorry to hear about Thrawn - please don't doubt yourself, you have given all of your pups a wonderful life, and they all now know what it is like to be loved and cared for.
We are sending BIG DWB's vibes to you - and we are all thinking of you and Thrawn.
Lots of love,
Opy & her mum

wally said...

I'm so glad to hear that Thrawn made it through his surgery and I hope the doctor can do something about his liver levels/mobility I hope everyone in the pack (especially dogmom!) has a good, relaxing weekend thinking about how lucky you are to have one another.

We'll look into the soft chewies thing--I may need it some day (not that I have British teeth or anything).


ps. Big Wally Smooches for all! Especially Sam and her mom. :)

Gus said...

We are sending some terrier tenaciousness to help you and Thrawn and the rest of the pack. Me n Teka are small, but we can spare some. And we know you are a great dog mom...we can see it in the faces the pack show us, and in the way they seem to bond to one another.

Muzzer says choices are hard, but you have done well so far, and we know that Thrawn and the group trust you to make the best choices for them, now and in the future.

Kissies from
Gus n Teka

Hana said...

Oh gosh Maryann, I am so sorry to hear about this. You are doing the best you can, as we all do. You have been a great mom to all your furkids. Some dog owners do nothing all at and would throw their pet out into the street to get rid of "the problem." I haven't really kept up with your doggie's blog, but I know you have a very good heart. Please remember that and don't second guess yourself.

The Husky in the Window said...

Oh MaryAnn, never think you are a bad mom. You have given all your pets a loving home and care they never had. AND they love you. You can see it in their eyes. Thrawn will hang in there until he's ready, so you just do what you'are doing and stop second guessing. You are a good mom. You love them so much, we can fell it when you write about them.

We'll be thinking of you'all and sending husky vibes.

Husky kisses to you on your birthday. MayaMarie, Missy
and a hug from Gerri .

Pugsley, Buster, Cricket & Daisy said...

Thrawn is in our thoughts and prayers. You are a great mother so please don't second guess yourself. Happy birthday.

xoxoPugsley, Buster, Cricket and Daisy Mae

Holly said...

I'm so sorry about Thrawn. I know how hard it is to have a sick baby. I would like to suggest some things that might help with his liver problems, it did with Shula, as her liver counts were off the charts too, and the meds we used really helped bring them down. She lived to be 16.

Go to Click on the DOGS tab. Order the Dyna-Lode w/CoEnzyme Q10, and the Dyna-Taurine. Both are proven to help dogs with liver damage. I used 2 pumps of the dyna-tauring (it's a liquid) and you can follow the directions for the dyna-lode tablets. The two items significantly helped Shula's liver count.

I will say prayers for Thrawn. He is only 10, don't give up yet!! There is help out there. I have used these products and know they work!! If you want to chat, please e-mail me at the e-mail address on Holly's blog.

(Holly's mom)

Texas's Mum said...

Hi Maryann,
This is Texas's mum Stacey
2nd You are NOT a bad mom to the
dogs they are VERY lucky to
have you.
3rd Texas and us are sending you
all the good vibes we can.
Ok now that my mum has said what she
wanted to say it is my turn.
So Thrawn dude I'm sending all
the good doggie vibes i can and
i will along with my hoomans will
be thinking of you and your family
both 2 legged and four.

Love and Licks and Good Vibes
Texas (and his humans).

Amici said...

Mary Ann we think it is wonderful what you have done for all of your animals. Plus, the way you found Thrawn and took him in and then kept him after you found out about his health problems...not a lot of people would do that. You are very special person and Thrawn and the rest of the pack are VERY lucky and blessed to have you. :)

We'll be thinking of Thrawn and your family!

Momo :) said...

Happy Birthday, Maryann!
Sorry to hear about Thrawn. He is in our thoughts. You sound like a great great dog mom!! :)

Momo xoxo

pee ess: Congrats for the photo of the month! I love that Samantha's photo! :)

Katherine and Pippa, said...

Hey So sorry to hear Thrawn is not too good. There is nothing wrong with trying to give any dog good quality of life. Your plan sounds fine. We'll be sending lots of soppy kisses your way.

Pippa and Kate

rpm said...

my thoughts are with you and I sure hope Thrawn gets better soon. I know it's hard on you to watch him be sick but I know you are doing all you can to help him. I hope you don't dwell on not doing something different. Sometimes there's just not a good answer on what direction to go. We had no idea our little Tiny was sick when she passed away the day she got so sick. The only thing you can do is love them and get them comfortable while you have them. Thrawn is so pretty...all your babies are.

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

Happy Birthday Maryann! I'm sorry about Thrawn. You're not a bad pet mom at all!! You've done what you could and loved Thrawn and that's what's important. I know it must be extremely hard for you, but you are doing right by Thrawn. I'll keep you in my prayers. If you need anything, let me know. We're just down the road, so to speak.

(Steve and Kat's mom)

Kapp pack said...

Oh, I hope you are feeling better so very soon!!!! We are all pulling for you and hope for an uneventful recovery. You mom needs you!!! Please take care of yourself

The Kapp Pack

Cubby said...

I'm glad Thrawn made it through! I'm sending boxer healing vibes his way!

Luckie Girl said...

Hey Maryann,
Happy Barkday to you from all of us here at home. I am glad to hear Thawn's tooth problem is better now. I know you did whatever you can for him and we all know how much love you have for ALL of them. So don't ever feel bad about that.

Butchy & Snickers said...

Hey Maryann,
Happy Birfday!!! We're praying for Thrawn to get better very fast. We know you have been a very good doggie mom to your pack. It's always hard to know what to do for a pet since they can't talk to us like humans can. When dogs are in their later years, Mama always thinks it's best to do what will make the dog the most comfortable & you can tell by their eyes if they are still happy or not. It's very hard to let go of a pet & Mama has had to do this many times & it never gets any easier. Don't try to second guess your past decisions. We're sure you did the best things possible at those times. We hope you have a nice holiday weekend!
Luv & Wirey Hugs!
Butchy & Snickers

-- The Mullin Clan's Mommy -- said...

Hi Maryann,
You are a good dog-mommy. You gave him a home & helped him through all of his crisis in his life with you. He knows that he is loved. We try our best with them & give them all of our love. It's been 9 months since we had to say good-bye to our girl, Shanna. When she had her first ACL surgery & had problems & that she didn't bounce back, I knew in my heart that we were not going to have her with us through another winter. When she tore her ACL in her good leg, I knew that it our time with her was over. We do what we can to keep them healthy & with us as long as they can. Do not doubt yourself as a pet owner. I hope you had a happy birthday.

Ferndoggle said...

Aw Maryann...happy birthday. Your post made me so sad. You are an incredible "parent" to that crew & I hope you don't doubt that one bit. Think of where Thrawn would be if he weren't with you now. Most likely not of this earth.

You do what you can & hope it's the right choice. If it's not, you can't beat yourself up. Those dogs have a better life than some human children...and a lot more love.

Keep your chin up. Now go eat some cake!!


(and thank you for my card! It made my whole day.)

FleasGang said...

Hi Maryann. I have a suggestion for Thrawn's sores. When Simon was unable to walk, he started getting those bed-sores too, and we bought this stuff called "Baby Bottoms". It's for diaper rash. It's a spray so it's pretty easy to put on and the other dogs may not try to lick it off. We also tried some diaper rash ointments but they tended to stick to his fur and it got all over everything he laid on. Just a suggestion :-)

The FleasGang

IndyPindy said...

I don't think Thrawn could wish for a better home. God bless you for taking him in and doing everything that you have done for him.

We all can see how happy he is in your home - you gave him that! Your are doing the best possible thing for him. We totally agree with what you have decided.
Indy and family

Bama said...

Happy belated birthday! Your post made all of us very sad, cause you sound like you doubt yourself. As long as you love 'em & do the best you can to care for them, what more could anypup ask for. It's obvious from your more recent pics that they are all happy and well-loved. We lost both Granddogs Starr & Ice in spring of 2006, they had been with our pack for 17 & 16 years, but mom & dad knew when it was time to say goodbye & let them go, and you will too. As long as he looks happy and isn't in pain be reassured that you are doing the best you can for him. Huskyhugs and furball prayers for you and your whole pack.
Bama & the River Hill Pack