The last few weeks have been very difficult.. my mama’s boy, my baby dog, my shadow, my lil’ Butchie has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
The day before Easter of 2014 he had an episode, not quite a seizure but more serious than his typical dramatic exhausted collapse, you see Butchie was my drama queen/little clown. Of course, we were out of town on vacation and he seemed to bounce right back to his crazy little self so we attributed the attack to him being tired from playing ball and the stress from an 8+ hour car ride.
I made an appointment with our vet right after we returned home, where he was diagnosed with CHF, congestive heart failure, his collapse was actually his first heart attack. Our vet was very surprised at the severity of his condition as Butch was young (10 1/2) and had no history of heart issues. We were told to try to keep him from running and over exerting himself but to let him be a dog.. so we did.
Life went on almost as usual last summer.. some days Butch would need help up the stairs or would run too fast or play too hard with his best buddy, Bailey our 12 1/2 year old Boxer, and have an episode/attack but for the most part he was fine.
As the weather turned, so did Butchie’s health. By October he was having episodes more frequently and it was decided that he needed a full cardio work up.. the results shocked even our vet. His heart was now severely enlarged and his lungs were retaining fluid so he was prescribed blood pressure medication, heart medication, an amino acid and a diuretic 4 times a day. We were given two weeks of medication and a follow up appointment but you could tell by the tone that no one really expected to see him make it to the appointment.
Butch not only made that appointment and he made many more.. he played with my grandson at Thanksgiving, he traveled with us for a holiday visit to our hometown, enjoyed Christmas dinner, devoured a special New Year’s Day sauerkraut & pork feast and even played in the snow with his best buddy. He seemed to be beating the odds.. with one exception, he was becoming increasingly more anxious. I could no longer be out of his line of sight. Bailey would often try to get him to play ~some days he would, others he wanted no part of it. In typical Butch fashion he never missed a meal, or a treat and continued to boss Bailey around like it was his job and demand that he be first no matter where we went.. he was still my Butch, my crazy little clown. He managed to convince us all that he was OK..
.. and then he wasn’t. We had a follow up appointment the first week of February, I knew it wasn’t going well when they wheeled in the ultrasound & Xray machines. Now his liver was also enlarged and the fluids weren’t able to be aspirated. We discussed changing up his meds.. adding another dose of each for a week and then calling the office to chat. The extra meds only seemed to make things worse so we went back to the old regimen. Butch was now starting to “disappear”, which I now know is a sign that he sensed he was very ill, I would find him in the foyer or in the office curled up in a dark corner.
On his last day Butch’s health deteriorated very rapidly.. he couldn’t walk 15 feet without collapsing. I carried him out to potty because even as sick as he was, he refused to potty in the house. Bailey would kiss his face each time he collapsed.. Butch and I were both crying.. it was time to let him go. I made the phone calls and my hubby came home to take us for one last ride. Before we left I fixed the boys Butch’s favorite foods for lunch.. strawberries, hotdogs, string cheese and cake.. they gobbled every bite and Butch rallied, again. He walked into our vets office like the champ that he was.. and I held my baby dog while he drifted off to sleep.
At home Bailey knew Butch was gone.. he cried for days, refusing to eat or drink and searched every inch of the back yard, sniffing out Butch’s tracks looking for his best buddy. I truly thought we were going to lose him too. I finally managed to get him to drink a bit of broth but he was still refusing to eat so we went to visit our favorite vet, where he was diagnosed with severe depression and stress induced colitis. He has been on a scrambled egg, boiled chicken, home made white bread and bone broth diet along with an antibiotic/anti-inflamatory and is making progress. I am very gradually weaning him back to his regular diet of lamb & rice. He is slowly adjusting to our new life but is still so sad.
Which brings us back to the title of my WIRL.. Bailey needs a companion, he misses his buddy Butch and we miss him terribly too. So today we applied to rescue a dog.. not to replace Butch, because no dog could ever replace my baby. Just as Butch didn’t replace Maxx, our Cocker Spaniel, the new dog will not replace him.. they will be in my heart forever. The Circle of Life continues..
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