Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Goodbye, my darling pug

I have no words for what is in my heart.

enjoying the afternoon sun in her mama's arms

From Sasha's (much more literate) auntie:

how do you say goodbye to our first pug, our lovable grande dame.  

i am grateful for every moment you have been with us and all the joy that you brought to our lives. i can't imagine the last 14 years without you. 
i'll always remember the first moment i met you, you funny looking thing, and how i could lift you with one hand and how you always wanted to be near a human.
i'll never forget catching a glimpse of you on top of the kitchen table, after having just shoved a wine glass onto the floor.  
i'll never forget how excited you became over the duck toy your mom dangled in front of your face, and how you would rambunctiously run up and down the stairs. 
i love how you would bury your face completely when sleeping. 
remember i put a stocking on your head one christmas? i don't think you liked it. 
it will be hard not to have you at the dinner table this christmas, but what matters more are all the holidays we did spend together and all the treats the big pieces of food bestowed on you. they loved making you happy--we all love making you happy. 
i guess that's why, as your body fails, we know that what your parents are doing for you is the right decision.
 we don't want you to suffer.
you know, and have always known, how loved and treasured you are. as much as this hurts now, we wouldn't trade it for a second of the time that we've shared with you. 

we love you forever and ever. we let you go with heartache, of course, but more importantly with love and comfort, and knowledge that you will be at peace. 

baby girl there will never be another pug like you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family time

For the past few weeks, we've been taking it a day at a time, enjoying every last moment with our Sasha.  She got a little strength back, and was able to show us once again who is le grande dame of the house.  Best were (rare) days where she showed moments of true pug appetite.

Cabbage.  The only thing she really tore at with pug gusto. 

Sasha does love her cabbage.

It's these brief flashes of 'Sasha' that've been keeping us going.

But, she's weakening.  She's eating less.  Her liver is mysteriously failing, while simultaneously pitching her kidneys in and out of crisis and giving her recurrent internal bleeding.  Her vets wanted to do internal organ biopsies and treatment for her presumed disseminated cancer.  We refused. 

She's happiest when in one of our laps, never willing to let us out of her sight.  I'll tuck her onto her heated bed in a comfy corner in one room, walk into another, and look down to see my old girl toddling in after me.

As long as she's comfortable, we get to hold her for one more day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spending quality time

What a week.  Happy days when Sasha came home, and seemed to be healing, slowly but surely.  Then, panic-stricken terrible days when she took yet another downturn over the weekend -- lethargic, out of it, breathing heavily.  Turns out that now her liver appears to have suffered some damage.

We've decided no more hospitalizations, no more heroic measures.  We just want her to be comfortable, enjoy however many days she'll give us, and try to make each precious moment count.

To that end, we took her to her favorite beach.  She can't frolic like a puppy in the sand anymore, but she can certainly take in the ocean air and watch the waves. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Slowly recovering

I don't want to jinx it.... but so far, Sasha is getting stronger day by day, hour by hour.  For the first 2 days, she slept as if dead.  Engendering no small amount of panic in the mama.  

Poor puglet is still very weak (she falls down a lot), but this morning she's better able to stand and walk on her own.  Seems like such small things, but they feel like major victories!  Someday I hope to not have to hold up her bum while she's squatting out a loaf....

She's still not eating well -- 'mealtime' is basically our trying to offer her any kind of food under the sun all day long -- but she's drinking well.  So although right now we're giving her fluids under the skin daily (with a needle! poor baby), I hope that won't be permanent.

Sasha also seems pretty dazed.  Don't know if it was the constant bright lights and poking at the hospital that threw her off, but it seems to take her a while to figure out where she is or what she's doing.

you would think that the return of the big flashing thing would clue her in that she's home

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A small miracle

Yesterday, we thought Sasha was lost to us.  Today, I brought her home.

Her bloodwork came back much improved.  Her xrays were clearing.  She started eating.  They told us she would heal better and faster at home, and literally shoo'd us out the door.

Sasha back in her dada's lap

She's still got a long road of recovery ahead of her, and she's not yet out of the woods.  But it's such a gift to have her home again.

Cleo and Deedee were happy to see her home again

Monday, September 17, 2012

Emotional roller coaster

Sasha had another setback this past weekend.  Her breathing started to become difficult, with her little body struggling to make each breath count.  Turned out she had a pneumonia on top of everything else.  And she was refusing to eat.  We saw our baby girl working so hard, it broke our hearts.

After weeping all night and day over whether or not to say goodbye, we made what we thought would be one of our final visits to the hospital.  And found that Sasha had turned the corner.  Little puglet was alert and looking for her dada.

So, we watch and wait another day. 

She's still not eating, though.  Which is so alarming to see in a pug.  We watch each potential bite with such hope.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Glimmer of hope?

It's been a roller coaster.  We went from the lowest of lows last night, when we were planning the unplannable goodbye -- 

Sasha couldn't even wake up for my visit yesterday afternoon

To today, when we can hold an extremely weakened, but alert (!) and hungry (!) pug.  

Dare we hope?  For now I'm just happy to treasure the precious moments Sasha can give us.

Slowly letting go

No pictures today, because we want to remember Sasha as she was, and not as she is now.

Her transfusion was successful, in that her blood counts remain up. 

Unfortunately, her failing kidneys are not responding.  She is quite weak, and has lost control of her bladder and hind legs.  She's lost so much weight, yet, she's refusing food.

Every moment we have now, where we can look into her sweet face and those big bright eyes, is a gift. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2nd day of the doggie hospital

Although it kills me to not have my Sasha with me, I know that she's in great, capable hands.  Last night, Sasha bled internally some more, and her blood counts dropped to the point where she needed a transfusion.

Little girl was working so hard just to breathe.  She was so weak and out of it,  that I wasn't even sure she recognized me, despite the shnergles.

Sasha perked up a wee bit after her transfusion.  Her blood count and blood pressure went back up, and she was actually hungry.  Ravenous, in fact.  She literally face-planted in the plate of food a nurse brought to her.  

At this point, we can only see what the next day brings.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good news and Bad news

Sasha went to see the specialist vet, and they did some bloodwork.  The good news is that her blood count is holding steady, and not dropping.  

The bad news is that her kidneys are failing, which explains why she's been acting so punky.  It also looks like she's got an infection somewhere in that little pug body of hers.  She's going to need some round-the-clock fluids, medicine and care, so we admitted her into the hospital.  It was one of the harder things I had to do -- leave my dying pug in the arms of a stranger in the hope they can work some magic.

Sasha will be in the doggie hospital for at least 3-5 days.  We'll know better in the next 24-48 hours how she's responding to treatment.  Hopefully the bleeding will stop, and her kidneys can get to healing. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not the greatest news

Sasha went to the vet's again.  It was weird -- one second, she's alert and wolfing down her kibble voraciously, and imperiously yarping at me to carry her around.

look how awake i am, mama

And then, the next second, she's breathing like a race horse, and can barely keep upright without falling down.

is this pug or platypus?

I guess a mama knows.  Turns out her PCV dropped from 31 to 24, and it looks like she's continuing to bleed internally.  Tomorrow we see a specialist, who we hope will be able to help us get a handle on this, fingers crossed!

Not sure what to think

I've been spending a lot of time at home.  The puglets aren't used to such disruption in their typical 20 hour daytime naps.  Because they run to follow me every time I enter the kitchen, in the hopes that I'm getting something to eat and will share.  And it may very well be that I go into the kitchen a lot, so there, and I'm not ashamed of it. 

always on the alert, my little saber-toothed Cleo

Sasha has been particularly lethargic for the past day or two.  her appetite is very un-pug like, she's back to breathing like she's just run a race, and her heart is going a mile a minute.  Not sure if it's a side effect of one of the severals meds she's on, or if there's something else that's gone horribly wrong inside her little body.  Because I think her anemia is resolving, as she seems even pinker than ever:

The worst part is that I can see she's in so much pain.  We had to stop her arthritis med because it can contribute to internal  bleeding, and I can tell that it costs her so much even to do something as simple as bend her head down to drink water.

oh Sasha, don't you know that with your health is inextricably linked my happiness

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sasha update

Sasha's anemia continues to improve.  However, with her last blood draw, the vet thought it looked like she had an ongoing infection, despite the antibiotics that she's been taking. So just to make sure we weren't missing an intra-abdominal source of infection, Sasha had an ultrasound.

poor pug had her belly shaved for the ultrasound

The ultrasound came back clean -- no areas of infection, and no tumors.  Such a relief.  But she weighed in at half a pound less than last week -- quel horror!  She needs calories, stat!

In the meantime, we're just watching and waiting.  Sasha now gets a ridiculous amount of medication at mealtime, which she of course hates and tries to spit out.  Ungrateful pug.  She's also continuing to be really weird about what she will and will not eat.  We think her tastebuds are being affected by all the meds she's taking.

i need u to guess at what i'm thinking for lunch

Cleo and Deedee continue to respect the elder pug's space.  They seem to recognize that she's not as sturdy as she was.

we are certainly happy to eat whatever sasha won't eat, mama

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sasha is pinking up

At one point, Sasha was so anemic that her gums and lips were snow-white.  Thank goodness her system is making more blood cells, little by little, and her gums no longer have that terrible bloodless look.

Lacking a sophisticated home-lab in which to monitor Sasha's daily blood levels, I've been employing the ghetto blood-level check technique -- flipping up her lip to take a look at the color.  I like to convince myself that it's pinker than it was 2 hours ago.

sasha is a patient pug

Turns out that I was not that far off with my sophisticated monitoring method.  Sasha had a followup vet appointment today, and her PCV (packed cell volume) is 31!  This is compared with last week, when it was 21. 

She's still under strict supervision.  She apparently managed to lose half a pound in a week, so the lucky pug gets more meals.  She doesn't seem to mind the extra attention, since she's been ridiculously clingy lately, not allowing me to leave her sight.

mama don't leave me

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

At least we're getting our vitamin E

We've all been taking it pretty easy, because of the convalescing puglet.  She's not really up to a whole lot of exercise, so group 'walks' have been temporarily canceled.  

For Sasha's sunshine fix, she and Cleo and Deedee have been hanging out a lot in the yard. Lots of napping.  Interspersed with a bit of foraging within the garden.  A little bit of ferocious barking (Deedee) at the neighbor's dog.  

the girls, doing what they do best

And a lot of Sasha getting coddled within an inch of her life.

keep healing, little pug

Monday, September 3, 2012

This anemia thing is really taking its time

Sasha's blood counts are gradually going up, but of course not as quickly as I would like.  

look how pale her gums/lips were

She's still sleeping a lot, and breathes heavily.  

heal little pug, heal

This normally ravenous pug is still really choosy about her food.  Luckily she's still Miss Gluttony over bread-and-cream, so at least we're able to get some calories into her.

yes, that is a cream mustache you spy

Cleo and Deedee have been very solicitous pug sisters.  They're very careful around sleeping Sasha, and seem to know when she needs cuddling and where she needs more support.

seeing this truly makes my heart just burst

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On the upswing

Sasha is a little more alert every day. Her last blood count showed that her system is making more blood cells, so even though she is still pretty weak, we are hopeful she is on the permanent road to recovery!

Sasha is so weak that she has a hard time keeping her eyes open

We have  been keeping her under very close surveillance.  I have her next to me almost every moment of the day, so that I can monitor every heavy breath, every head turn, every little paw twitch. 

my little pug is as snug as a bug

Her appetite is not the greatest, and she'll refuse foods that normally she likes.  We've discovered that she cannot turn down bread with cream, however.  Needless to say, she has been getting quite a bit of it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Poor Sasha

Sasha was pretty lethargic over the weekend, and was breathing quite heavily.  Her little heart was going a-thumpa a-thumpa.  I knew it was something terrible when she refused her favorite -- tomato! Turned out she was profoundly anemic, probably because of a bleed somewhere in her intestines.  

Our lives have been revolving around my ol' girl for the past few days (interspersed with prolonged bouts of weeping -- by me).  We've been keeping her close at all times, mostly because she seems to get really anxious if we're not next to her or directly in her line of vision.  She's being treated like a little queen -- pretty much the only thing she'll eat is brioche dipped in milk or cream (hand-fed, of course).  

For now, we think the bleeding has stopped (wherever it is), and her blood counts have stabilized, and are actually starting to go back up.  Little puglet is still pretty weak, and breathes all the time like she's just run a marathon.  We're hopeful that she'll pull through on her own, and won't need invasive intervention like a transfusion.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I think Sasha's acupuncture is working....

Another day, another swipe of the credit card.  I MEAN, Sasha went to get another acupuncture treatment today.  She's had 3 treatments so far, and we think it's helped.  We couldn't tell at first because it was the absence of her previous behavior as opposed to her frolicking around like a puppy. We've noticed little things -- she no longer hobbles when she gets up first thing in the morning, she doesn't hold her leg off of the ground, and she will actually tackle a few stairs down when motivated.

i tolerate this only because of the treats involved. gimme one.

Today Sasha was far more chill about the procedure than previously.  No shaking in fear uncontrollably like the drama queen pug that she is. 

It's all fun and games until the needles go in around the elbow.

mama i've decided that we should leave

Thursday, August 16, 2012

mama u suck

I know.  I have not been splashing the puglets's visages around as much as a doting mama ought to. I can blame nothing but my apparent attempt to win the Worst Pug Mama of the year award.

mama u suck

what's the point of being cute all the time if u refuse 2 show us off?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sasha's 1st acupuncture visit

Poor Sasha has terrible arthritis in both of her elbows.  She's been OK on pains meds for years, but in the past several months she's limited her activity quite a bit.  No more stairs.  Walks are more like pug-carries.  And the final straw was when she started falling down because she couldn't control her legs.

We have a wonderful specialty vet clinic nearby, that luckily has a vet that does acupuncture.  Off Sasha went.

a pug should have to wait 4 no one

Sasha was much more interested in sniffing the place than in wondering what was in her immediate future.

as long as there're treats involved 

You can see how crooked her little legs are from all the arthritis.

Sasha was surprisingly chill during the first part of the treatment.  She tolerated the needles in her back and even her knees without so much as a bat of the eye.  She did keep hoping that one of the needles was a treat, tho, so she did try to taste each and every one of them.  I'm sure the vet thinks we don't feed her at all.

I tell ya what she did NOT like.  The needles in her painful elbows.  It was like combining the experiences of cutting her nails while giving her a bath and brushing her teeth, but with a wider audience.

the offending needles

Sasha immediately felt the sedative effects and snoozed in my lap.  Very unusual for the pug that typically prefers her dada.  She will usually only hang out in my lap if the only other option is a pit of burning lava.

i feel.... sleeepy

We have high hopes for this!  Hopefully she'll feel some positive effects as early as tomorrow!