Saying goodbye

I know I am long overdue updating Kaylee’s blog. Once Kaylee rocked rehab and regained as much function as she could, we just focused on enjoying life. She truly smiles with happiness.

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After her reactive dog buddy Jack passed away, we tried going to the dog parks and Kaylee LOVED them! We frequented often for a few years…it was my favorite time with her because she was so, so happy. We also decided she would happily welcome a new dog friend and we adopted Malcolm. He came with plenty of baggage, but he treated her sweetly. When he first came home, he would run to her crate each morning and give her a kiss.

When Kaylee started to lose some function, we returned to rehab and saw some gains. Ultimately, though, it was time for a cart, which Kaylee embraced with her usual can-do spirit. Her joy at being mobile again was contagious. She made many people smile. One of our most remarkable moments was a young couple walking at the park with their daughter in a wheelchair. The girl connected with Kaylee and the parents were crying happy tears. Just another moment of Kaylee’s magic.

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Kaylee with her wheels for the first time at Badger Prairie Park…SO HAPPY!

Kaylee is now about 13 years old. For a dog with serious spinal cord and hip injuries, it is probably nothing short of a miracle she is still with us. Her spirit is still strong, but her body has grown quite weak. She is now unable to walk on her own, and must be assisted with a harness.  She turns and crawls away if I get ready for her to use her cart. She tries hard as do we to keep her on a schedule, but potty accidents happen often and she is getting frequent infections. The skin on her bum hip is breaking down from when she drags herself.

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As is too often the case with the broken dogs we adopt, we have to make the challenging decision of when it is the right time to say goodbye. This has not been an easy choice, but one that we knew was rapidly approaching. When we adopted Kaylee, we didn’t know what her future held or what we were really getting into. I am so thankful we were able to give this amazing little pup a second chance for a happy life and she had so many good years. Every smile and every moment of her joy has made all the challenges well worth it. I will try to remember this when we hold her tomorrow as we help her pass away peacefully.

If you believe in the Rainbow Bridge, imagine Kaylee able to run, jump and play like a puppy. No pain, no physical limitations. For a dog so happy with severe physical challenges, I can only imagine her joy at being without boundaries.

Many people have joined us and this determined little dog on her journey. Thank you for being a part of our lives.

 

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Big smiles

With unseasonably warm temperatures on a beautiful sunshiny day, Kaylee, Jack and I headed out for a little hike at a nearby wooded park.  Kaylee was running with excitement for at least the first ten minutes.  After about 20 minutes of our trek,  Kaylee looked back at me with a big smile.   She was so obviously enjoying herself and feeling good, and I think she wanted to make sure I knew it! 🙂

Working hard

My office was closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but I ended up working the whole week.  The office feels less eerie and the days go by faster with some canine companionship.  This was Jack’s second year, and as you can see by the picture, he was pretty comfy.  Kaylee, on the other hand, was excited about her first time working with her mom.  Look at that big smile!

Welcoming a new family member

On December 27, our household of senior and special needs pets welcomed a new member.

We have “slots” in our house for two dogs and five cats.  After losing Isiah to lymphoma a couple months ago,  we started looking for a new kitty.  We briefly fostered (with an option to adopt) a homeless six-year old confident and friendly Siamese.  We quickly decided he wasn’t the right match for us, mostly because of his talkativeness.  He found a delightful adoptive family after only being with us a few days that has Siamese experience and is more than happy to have frequent conversations with him.

We also found a renewed commitment to find an animal that truly needed us and could blend into the chaos of a multi-animal family.  We didn’t need to look far.  I volunteered on Christmas Eve at Angel’s Wish Pet Adoption and Resource Center and had the opportunity to spend time with “Chip.”  Twelve years old, Chip was a senior that had been homeless since he was surrendered to a  vet clinic over two years ago.  He had recently entered an Angel’s Wish foster home. With a thyroid condition and allergies that left him with numerous bald spots and scabs from old sores, he is also special needs.  He will need twice daily meds, special food and careful monitoring to remain as healthy as possible.  But what got me were his sad eyes.   Several people have mentioned he looks like he has been beat down and given up.   I’ve seen that look before in our Elvis–an animal that has been sheltered too long that they have almost given up any hope.  And yet, even in his sadness and despair, he sat in my lap and purred.  It took only a few minutes to make our decision to adopt….despite a ten page medical history, a bag full of meds, and one of the scruffiest coats I’ve ever seen on a pet.  (Of course, considering Kaylee’s multiple issues, he seems to be not-so-needy in comparison!) He certainly needed a home…and ours should be a good fit.

Merry Christmas, Kaylee

This is Kaylee’s first Christmas with us…and her first Christmas indoors in three years.  She’s sleeping soundly, curled up on her soft bed near the Christmas tree.  Merry Christmas, Kaylee.

Looking good, kid!

After starting with weekly rehab visits, then bi-weekly, Kaylee is now on a once every 3 to 4 week schedule.  This seems to be working out well as Kaylee is still challenged by her home exercises and the initial large gains in mobility have tapered to smaller victories.  She also seems to be able to be effectively pain managed for that period of time, with the laser therapy a good occasional  intervention.  Jack is also enjoying coming along to the sessions….lots of big smiles from both pups today!

Another advantage of more spaced out sessions is that Kaylee’s rehab team notices the progress that is less noticeable day to day.  For example, Kaylee’s body shape continues to become more normal. She is down to 34.4 pounds and is nearing her ideal weight.   She also looks very different as she has completely lost her undercoat and is a shiny, darker color!  Amy even noticed how darn speedy she has become as she ran around the rehab room.   Go Kaylee!

Happy Howl-days!

Tonight was the beginning of a weekend of holiday decorating.  At the top of the first container I opened?  Reindeer antlers for dogs!  It is never safe to be the nearest dog to me when I find them each December.  So, Kaylee, welcome to your first Christmas season at your new home!  (Now, be a good dog…no shredding presents under the tree!)

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