Thursday, October 14, 2010
A trip to the vet disclosed that she was heart worm positive, suffered from arthritis and joint problems. The rescue was very concerned about her, her heart worm infection was very advanced and in her weakened condition there was worry that she might not survive the treatment that would be necessary to start her back on the road to health. She was treated, then kept for observation for several days. When we picked her up, she was still very quiet, she was still under some strong drugs. We had a follow up vet appointment for her after Christmas, they wanted to get her over the heart worm first.
Her trip to our home was uneventful, she rode in a car like she had done so many times before. She was quiet, she was still taking some pretty powerful drugs and she was still fighting off the heart worm treatment. We often wonder what an older rescue feels as they ride to a new home, do they look back on their old home, wondering where their familiar faces are, or do they look forward with anticipation to a new life? We decided that Agnes was just happy to be off of the street and in a warm place.
In a few days it was clear that Agnes had successfully defeated her heart worm. For a few days she was noticeably weak, but she fought the fight and won. She came to us, knowing that she would be hard to place, she was old and she was somewhat stiff in her movements. Old dogs are slow to find new homes.
Mogley and Bella welcomed her into the pack for a long stay. She quickly became a loved member of our home, she was teaching us about the joys of older Golden's. As the drugs lost their hold on her, she became a lover, she had missed the attention and love while she was a stray, then again while she was under the drugs and while her coat was healing. She soon became a hand follower, if a hand went by, she would follow it just in case it would stop where she could put her head under it. Her favorite place was beside any chair that someone was sitting in. She quickly proved that she was a toy hound. We gave her an early Christmas. Because she enjoyed toys so much, we gave her some brand new ones. She had a toy or a ball in her mouth at all times, a sign she was feeling much better.
She did not like the stairs to the upstairs bedroom, but she would struggle up each night so that she could sleep beside the bed. We soon had a routine involving hauling a bed up and down the stairs so she would have a place to lay during the day on the main floor beside the big chair. The rescue has a vest with a handle on the back, on our next trip we would get that so we could help her up and down the stairs, she would not let us go up stairs without her, so we would have to help.
One afternoon during her potty trip to the back yard, she was way out with the other dogs, barking at the back fence where walkers were on the trail in the park. We called then all in for treat and pill time. Everyone ran to the door, Agnes came in her usual “stroll”, half way to the house, she slipped on some hard snow or ice under the trees and fell. When she made two vain attempts to get up, we ran out to see what had happened. She was obviously in pain, and she could not move her left rear leg. We called a neighbor to come help put her on a blanket-stretcher, made a call to the vet that we were coming and headed out. The vet confirmed that Agnes had broken her hip. She had advanced bone cancer, her hips were laced with cancer, there was no hope of recovery, no way the hips could heal with so little bone left intact, there was no hope for her to move or walk again.
After only 13 days with us we had to let Agnes go. We hope we were worthy of her, she was a wonderful lady that deserved more than she was given in the last days of her life. Her passing was helped by the wonderful, loving actions of the rescue veterinarian staff. Agnes was a treat hound, she loved treats. Dr. Carpenter and the Arvada West Veterinary Hospital staff were wonderful. For her last moments, they made sure the pain medications were taking care of her so that she would be comfortable. Then the staff raided the refrigerator and gave Agnes all the “bad” things they had, bits of sandwiches and even chocolate candy, all those wonderful, forbidden treats. They did all they could to make her last moments happy. Yes, Agnes, there were people who loved you and cared for you to the very end of your life.
We still regret that we had overlooked one of the symptoms of her cancer. Agnes had spotted the carpet twice in the days just prior to her slipping on the ice. We thought that the medications were making her incontinent. We responded by making sure she went out on a regular schedule, we did not consider that she was in too much pain to make the trek outside on her own through the dog door. Had we given it more thought, we may have arrived at the conclusion that her hips were worse than we thought and needed some attention. This has made us watch our fosters much more closely, looking for signs that something else may be going on. We should have known that a lady such as Agnes would never make an error in the house unless there was something very bad happening.
Yes, Agnes, we foster because of you and so many more that need our help, even if only for a few days or hours. Thank you Agnes, you made a very big impression on our lives. The rescue volunteers worked together to help her, from picking her up in Southern Colorado, transporting her, grooming her, it took many volunteers to help her along her last journey. Thanks to all of you, you made a wonderful Golden Lady's life a little better. We will always remember you.
Posted for the many rescue volunteers that make it all possible.
Mogley G. Retriever