Monday, September 19, 2011

Rest in Peace, Nala

This is the post that we have been dreading for a long time.    Nala was unable to get up and make her rear legs work Sunday morning.   When we got up, Nala was in the process of dragging herself in the dog door from the back yard, using her front legs and dragging her rear legs.   She had pulled herself in to the garage and across the garage floor, but she had not been able to pull herself up the ramp into the house.  The Paw Challenged One picked her up and carried her to her bed in the front entry.  He had come downstairs without his shirt or shoes, he ran back up to get them, by the time he came back down Nala had managed to pull herself into the Kitchen to check on progress with her food bowl.   Somehow in a sitting position pulled herself down the hall.  We called the vet and ran her across town.   A quick review was that she was not in pain, her legs just would not respond.   There was some neurological damage and the question was if it was permanent or reversible?  We had to leave her there for observation. 

Today Nala's condition had deteriorated.  On Sunday morning she could get herself up on her front legs and drag herself, now she would fall over and she could not make her front legs work either.  Her eyes were rolling, she was breathing hard and heavy, she seemed to have lost control of her nervous system. Her vision had deteriorated recently.   There was some suspicion that she had a brain tumor, that would account for her recent vision deterioration.   There may have been a stroke as well.   Yes, they could keep her alive and perhaps she would leave the vet's cage after a few days.  But in the short term she would have no unassisted mobility, in the long term she would have to receive help to go in and out. 
We remember how upset Nala would be if we closed the dog door and she could not come and go on her whim.   We remember how we would wake up in the middle of the night and see the motion detector lights on in the back yard, Nala was making her midnight or 2:00 am rounds. 

She had been very upset with us when we went to the annual picnic at the lake without her.  But she was having trouble getting up and down, once she was up, she stayed up, once she was down, she stayed down.   If a dog brushed her in the hallway, she would fall and getting up was getting increasingly difficult.  We knew she would love the picnic, but we were afraid she would hurt herself by not setting limits.   She would be walking the shore, trying to be part of the action, but she did not have that level of energy or of function in her hips.   We knew she was failing, so we left her home, she was mad at us for not letting her go along.    We made sure she had extra treats when we came home that night.

Today, the decision had to be made whether to try and keep her alive, knowing that she would lose most of her mobility in both the short run and in the long run.    We thought about how active she had been, in spite of her hips that were so sore that she drug them, even when they worked to stay under her.  We remember how she would come looking for head pats and ear rubs in the middle of the day.  We remember how excited she would be when she saw her food dish in hand, she had a special dance she did to hurry it along.   We remember how she would begin nagging us if supper was late, she would begin going from her empty food dish to where we were sitting, reminding us we had duties to take care of at 6:30 am and pm.  We remember how each trip up the ramp was a struggle, she pulled herself up with her front legs, her rear legs reluctantly coming along.  Her front legs had grown stronger as her rear legs became more unwilling to cooperate.  How would she feel about living a life where we had to put a vest on her to pick her up every time she wanted to go outside?   We had to ask ourselves if not being able to leave the dog bed without help was really a life?   Would she enjoy living if she had to have her dog dish brought to her, if she had to be half carried out the door to her cherished backyard?  Would she enjoy living if she could no longer sneak out and lie in morning sun in the big hole she had dug under the pine tree?

We hope we made the right decision, it is a decision that does not carry re-do's.   No second chance on this one.   We weighed her life as it would be if we kept her, against the life she had told us she wanted to live.  We sent her on her way with dignity, we sent her to run free. 

Thank you to Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies for taking her out of a back yard where she spent 365 days of a year in a lonely yard, in sun, rain and snow.  Thank you to Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies for sending her to us to enjoy for her last years. 

We will all miss you so much, Nala. You were a special lady to us for a long time. Thank you for coming to our house to live.  We were blessed and privileged to be able to help her find happiness in her final years.  Rest in peace, Nala.

Mogley G. Retriever 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies Reunion Picnic

Look closely at the photo above.    It is a photo of several hundred Rescued Golden Retrievers playing in the sun and water.    Several hundred abandoned dogs, having more fun that you can even imagine.  If you have ever donated to a rescue, driven a car to transport a homeless dog, or made telephone calls to arrange a rescue, this is what you made possible.  This is the annual Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies Reunion Picnic.    A reunion of the rescued dogs, their new owners, and the people that made it all possible.  For all of you that work in rescue, this is what you have done.   Most rescued dogs and cats disappear into a new home quietly, you don't get to see the joy and celebrate the new lives that you made possible.  We here at GRRR are blessed that once a year we can see the fruits of our labor.    We get to enjoy a day in the sun and water with our success stories.  We get to see that the lives were worth saving.   This is what a second chance for an abandoned dog looks like. 

We don't have time to tell you the whole story about the day in one blog, it will take several blogs.   We met old friends, fosters that have gone to forever homes, but come back to the Rescue Reunion to celebrate with us.   Fosters that we may have seen as scared and abused dogs, now are shining examples of the resiliency of our canine friends.   They are running free, playing as hard as they can, their new owners sharing the joy with their new best friends.   This is what rescue is all about.   Rescued dogs, showing the joy they have from a second chance at life.    If you have ever helped rescue a dog, then you had a part in making this picnic possible.    What were once lives at risk are now lives at play.  Enjoy!
After several hours of playing, all the dogs had to stand on shore (photo above, waiting for the last straggler to come to shore) and wait till the tennis balls, some marked with prizes were thrown, then we were released to fetch for prizes.    I brought in two balls with prizes, so I earned my kibbles for the day.   Below, the release.

The photo below, shows a beautiful, calm morning when we arrived at the lake, if you look closely you can see the snow on the Rocky Mountain peaks behind the lake.   How quickly several hundred Goldens can destroy the calm. 

It was a day to celebrate, and it was a wonderful celebration.

Thank you to all the volunteers that have made this day possible by helping a dog or cat move down the road to a new home. This is the proof that donating and volunteering in rescue was worth while. 

Mogley G. Retriever

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Score: Golden Retrievers 1, People who abandon dogs, 0

Above, Boo Boo Bear enjoys the warm summer day.  His left leg out beside him, it is pretty cooked from an old break.

We thought you needed to know the score.   Last night we went out to inspect a possible new home, for Butters.  We met Butters and her foster mom in order to do a good pre-adoption home inspection.   We had been trying to get Butters out to meet with a new home that had applied to adopt a Golden Retriever.   Since it was near and Butters foster home was close, we all just went out and had a home visit that ended in a home adoption. 
Butters met their rat terrier named Trip, as in you tend to trip over him.  Trip told Butters all about the rabbits that lived under the hot tub and in the big field behind the house,  How they did not have a dog door, but the hole in the screen door was just as good.   How there was always someone home to spoil a dog.   The hand to dog ratio was 6 to one, and if Butters stayed, it would still be a very good 3 to one.  Butters unpacked her collar, her bag of dog food, her thyroid pills, and moved in.   She told her new family to hurry up and sign the documents, she was moving in to stay.  

Butters did tell her new family that she wants to go to the Golden Retriever Rescue Reunion Picnic at the Boulder Reservoir.   Over 200 wet, muddy goldens retrieving tennis balls for prizes, it is the place for Golden's to be.    So you mark your calendar also, September 11th.   If you don't belong to GRRR, you can join at the booth.  It is a hoot, and below is a photo from last year.

We have to bring you up to date on Boo Boo Bear.   He went to the vet on Tuesday morning.   He had a broken leg, it healed crooked, but it was healed.   His current problems are his ankles, they are pretty bad.   He is on a mild pain reliever with slowly increasing dosage to find the point at which he becomes active without over stressing his legs.  Boo Boo feels better already.  After years of pain and hobbling around, a little relief goes a long ways towards giving him his mobility back.   Below, Boo Boo says this is a very unflattering photo, but it does show his bent legs.  The left rear paw turns in and his knees, both of them, bow out. 

Mogley G. Retriever