Anniversary

It was a year ago that Apple guy and I had to put Spike down. I still miss him immensely and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him in some way. To this day, there is a hole in my life where he used to be. No matter how much I love little Cooper, I still miss Spike. Here is just a quick shot of the hundreds I have of him. He was only in my life for just under 2 years but he brought me so much joy. I still remember the first day I met him. . .

Due to timing and cost, Spike arrived in SF before Apple guy. We had decided it best to ship him cross country instead of by air to avoid not only the extra cost but also the potential health risks. As soon as the guy opened the back of the trailer and pulled his cage out, he bounded right toward me as if he knew me. He ran up to me and promptly rolled over and presented his belly to be rubbed. I of course complied and knew I’d have no reservations about him coming to live with me. I took his blankie1 and collar and introduced him to his new home. After lots of affection and attention later, he investigated his surroundings for a bit and then decided it was nap time. This new place was his home for the rest of his life.

As time passed, he became such a huge influence in my life and brought me happiness I’d never experienced with an animal before. I never once regretted his presence or the attention he needed even after Apple guy and I split up. His death was a great loss and is still very painful for me. Having raised him from a pup, I’m sure Apple guy’s sense of loss is that much greater.

Much like Cooper, Spike was a rescue. Apple guy rescued him when he was not much younger than Cooper and gave him a life of joy and happiness. Coming to live in SF seemed to agree with Spike and he quickly settled into a life of leisure. lol He was vibrant and mobile up until the very end. His last sight in this world was of us and I can’t think of a better way to go. He was loved and he knew it.

Spike, where ever you are, you are missed and most definitely not forgotten. You brought light and joy to my life and I will always be thankful for that.

I miss you Spikey.

  1. Spike had his own blanket that he loved and it came with him to ease the tension []

Miss

It’s nights like tonight I really miss my Spike. Its warm, the moon is full and it would have been a perfect night to go for a nice walk. I don’t think I ever realized what a wonderful and much needed companion he was. He couldn’t go far but he could go and was always happy to do it.

After a long day like today (and yesterday) he was always a welcome soul when I got home. He didn’t care how my day went, he was just happy to see me. Often times I’d come home and see him waddling around excited and begging for attention, a treat, or to go out and I would forget the troubles of my day.

Shane and I have discussed the idea of getting a new dog down the road but I’m still not on board with it. I don’t want another dog, I want Spike. I know I can’t have him because he is gone now but even almost 2 months later I find moments where I tear up thinking of him. I’m still not ready to contemplate getting another animal.

We’ve discussed the idea of getting a Frenchie (French Bulldog) because they’re a bit smaller and it would be more ideal for the apt. I realize its a better idea than another English Bullie but I’m still not sure. I didn’t mind taking care of him or cleaning up his messes from time to time. And while the apt was a tad small for Spike, he never really minded. He got plenty of walks and outings to ever feel cramped or cooped up.

I know I’m not betraying his memory by getting another dog but I do feel that way. Spike was unique and original and I couldn’t think of “replacing” him. While I am a little more open to the idea of another animal, I’m still not ready.

Echos

Ever notice how you get used to certain routines, habits, and daily rituals? Well, maybe you don’t notice until the ritual gets interrupted for whatever reason.

Its been rough since Spike’s been gone. It seems everything I do at home reminds me of him. When I wake up in the morning, he isn’t at the bedroom door waiting patiently for me to get up. Anytime I’m in the kitchen I notice he isn’t siting just outside the kitchen door looking/hoping for a treat. When I come home on the motorcycle, he isn’t at the front door waiting, having heard me come home. When I sit on the sofa, he isn’t sitting next to me with his head on my leg/knees.

Several times this weekend. I found myself looking for his water bowl or getting him a snack only to remember he isn’t here anymore. This brought on several teary-eyed moments when the realization would suddenly hit me. I’ve been completely out of sorts since the sad day last week. Focusing on anything for more than few minutes has been pointless.

Shane and I both are going out of town soon.1 I’m headed to TX to help my friend Trevan. He is having a small back surgery and will need me to help do for him. Considering he has done the same for me on at least one occasion, its the least I can do. lol Anyway, I’ll be gone for about 4 days. Shane will be gone for 5-7.

In a way, I’m glad Spike passed before we left. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being in pain or suffering and us not being here. Even worse, if he’d deteriorated and had to be put down while we were gone, I don’t think I’d ever have forgiven myself. Don’t get me wrong, I wish he was still with us but I’m thinking things might have worked our for the best, considering the situation.

Anyway, here’s hoping this week goes better.

  1. him today, by the time you read this and me on the 8th thru the 11th []

Spike

Yesterday was the day we’ve been dreading for weeks. Spike reached a point where he was no longer able to have any quality of life and we had to put him to sleep. To say that  I’m (we) heartbroken is an understatement. I knew it was coming and I tried to prepare myself for it but when it came right down to it, it didn’t help one bit. I loved that dog more than an other pet I’ve ever had and it broke my heart to see him go. But it wasn’t about me, it was about him. He was suffering and I couldn’t bear the thought of that no matter how much I wanted him to stay with me.

The irony is we’d gotten is hacking cough under control. This was the original symptom that pushed us to have him checked out by a vet. The meds completely suppressed it from day one. Sadly, he developed some secondary problems, including problems with his legs/hips. We weren’t really sure what the problem was but the vet seemed to think he’d developed secondary tumors on the nerve sheaths around his joints. He’s been limping for weeks but it came and went and he still had drive to get up and down. Most days, he seemed ok and we were trying different med combinations to try and combat any discomfort he might be feeling.

The morning before yesterday he seemed a little better. He even tried1 to run a little bit after a bird that was clearly in need of being chased. He seemed energetic and excited and I thought maybe we’d finally found a good med combo to keep him comfy. By the night, he’d developed a more pronounced limp and started yelping anytime he tried to get up and down. He deteriorated rapidly from there in just a span of 12 hours. By the time yesterday morning rolled around, he could barely move his head w/o yelping in pain.

It was obvious to us a both it was his time. We’d thought to get him thru to the weekend but seeing him deteriorate so quickly, we knew we had to act right away. We spent the night up/down with him. He’d get settled and then try to move around and re-settle, as dogs tend to do. This would set off a new round of yelping. It was an ear-piercing yelp and you knew he was in a lot  of pain. None of the meds were having any effect, even at double and triple the dosage.

As soon as the SPCA opened at 8:00am, we took him in. Shane sat in the back seat and held him all the way there to keep him as still as possible. By this point, he was in so much pain and our only focus was relieving it. We quickly got a private room and said our good-byes. The original vet that treated him interrupted her visit with another patient to come in and oversee his treatment. We were both right there with him as he took his last breath. We sat with him till the vet had confirmed his heart had stopped and it was over. Needless to say, we were both a mess.

Don’t mourn for him though. Spike had a wonderful and long life, courtesy of Shane (and myself toward the end). He was loved and he knew it. Shane rescued Spike when he was just a puppy and has had him ever since. They’ve been thru a lot together and I know he is taking it very hard. Spike’s only been in my life just under 2 years and I’m a blubbering mess. I know it must be that much harder for Shane. Anyway, Spike missed his 9th birthday by two short months.

For my part, Spike was a blazing bright spot in my life that has gone out. To say I loved him would be an understatement. He was such a daily part of my life and I miss him every moment of the day. I’ve already had several incidents where I’d momentarily forget he wasn’t here and go to feed him, walk him, get him treats, etc. The apt feels so empty w/o him now. But he’s better off now. I hold onto the memories of him and how he enriched my life. I’m not sure animals go to heaven but if they do, I can just picture him right now with his head on someone’s lap begging for a treat with that sad but paradoxically excited look of his. That or presenting himself for a belly rub to any and everyone who walks by. 🙂 He loved his belly rubs and would promptly present himself and assume the position on his back and/or side for expected rubs. I don’t know about you but that makes me smile.

  1. and quickly discarded the idea []

Doggie Update

Thanks to everyone who wrote in about Spike and sent good wishes. As mentioned, he’s home and we are trying to keep him comfy. Overall, he’s doing ok.  I’m cautiously optimistic. This last week has been emotionally rough on both Apple guy and myself. Him more so than me I’m sure. Spike’s been in his life a lot longer and they’ve been thru a lot together.

Our biggest concern was Spike’s hacking cough. The Opiate based pain pills the Veterinarian prescribed seemed to be suppressing it so far. We have him on low doses at the moment and I’ve only heard him cough a couple times. Keep your fingers crossed that we can go for awhile before having to up his dosage. The longer we can go before upping his doses, the longer he’ll be with us.

Unfortunately, he’s still limping quite a bit as his joints are bothering him. We were hesitant to start him on the prescribed steroid pills because of side-affects. The specialist that initially examined him called me on Wednesday with some additional test results. After a lengthy conversation, she assured me we could start him on’em and they’d help. We went with a very low dose and he seems to be responding so far. While he still limps, his energy level has come back quite a bit. He even got a little excited and tried to run the other day. He didn’t go far but it was just so wonderful to see him feeling a bit like his old self. His eating has come back too. This one really had me worried. He loves to eat1 and wasn’t eating much before his vet visit.

I think he suffered a bit of separation anxiety after the vet visit. For the first couple days, he was very clingy even on his walks. Normally, when we go out, he walks around and does his thing, sniffing, marking, etc. For the first few days after his visit, he’d just pee and then follow right behind me until we were done. On the other side of the coin, he definitely knows something’s up. He’s been getting extra attention and allowed to break several of his old rules. lol  He knows how to work it too. Of course, seeing him like that just makes me smile more because it means he’s feeling better.

Thanks again for everyone checking in on him. At the current level of meds, his still very alert and active. We’re happy he’s doing well. Keep sending good wishes that he stays that way!

  1. who doesn’t, right? lol []

Bad News

I had a rather optimistic post written but after the news I deleted it. If you haven’t been following me on Google+ Plus,1 you know Spike’s been sick lately. I dropped him off at the vet today and the news turned out to be very bad.

His hacking cough turned out to be much worse than we thought. What we thought was an infection turned out to be a mass large enough its already compromised 2/3’s of one lung and part of the other. Basically, he has cancer. The vet seemed a little surprised he was doing as well as he was. The irony is I was afraid he did. I don’t know why I thought that, I just did. Even worse, due to his age and the severity of the mass, there is very little to be done. We could pursue very aggressive treatment but even if they did get all the cancerous tissue, he’d end up w/very little lung left. So in a nutshell, he has weeks maybe months left to live. Our focus now is to just keep him as comfortable as possible. The vet gave us some pain meds for him which should also help suppress the hacking.

I’d like to thank everyone who texted, emailed, tweeted, posted, etc with well-wishes. He is home and resting at the moment. He is still very groggy from the sedation at the moment and keep wobbling around. It would be comical if I wasn’t so upset.

When I dropped him off earlier, he knew something was up. He was so well-behaved but he had such a pining look on his face. When I picked up, I was already fighting back tears. Coming into the treatment area, I saw him before he saw me. He was so distressed and anxious. The moment he saw me, even as doped up as he was, he tried to come to me. He was so sedated he only managed to flop over a couple times and roll out of his cage. God love’em. Even in his haze, he knew me and wanted to get to me. This of course only made me cry more.

We took him to the SPCA veterinary clinic and the did a good job. The doc was so sweet and treated him well. She obviously liked her job. Most of the staff were pretty involved as well. There was one douche who didn’t really seem to care…well until I snapped at him for being nonchalant about me going back to see Spike. I would have grabbed him by “his” scruff and given him a good shake. He got the hint and got the hell out of my way.

I’m trying to keep it together. I still have time w/my Spika-doo for a while longer yet and I’m trying to be content with that. Continue to keep him in your thoughts and send him good energies.

  1. and you should because I’m eventually ditching Facebook and maybe event twitter []

Better

Everyone’s been asking about Spike so I’d thought I’d update everyone at once. He is doing better. A big thank you to everyone who was worried.

I’m still worried about him but he seems more like his old self this week. He developed this weird hacking cough that was getting progressively worse. Bad enough that he was starting to hack up blood. We originally thought he had kennel cough but the antibiotics weren’t helping. Luckily, Apple guy has a friend who is a Veterinarian that came by to look at him. He seemed to think it was allergies. We had him on Benadryl for about a week and it did seem to help. If its possible, he was even more sluggish and lazy dosed up on the Benadryl. lol Poor thing, he didn’t even want treats (And that’s saying something for Spike cause he LOVES his treats.)) I’ve since switched him over to Claritin. He is still hacking but not quite as much.

Last night was the first night in a few weeks that he ran like he usually does when I took him out. He doesn’t run far but we have a game we play where I run ahead of him and he’ll run to catch up out of excitement. I got such a tickle out of seeing him run. lol Such a small thing and it made me incredibly happy.

Apple guy’s friend is gonna come by again this week and look him one more time. I still think something else is wrong but I could be over-reacting. I sure hope so. For the moment, I’m just glad to see a semblance of his normal self return.

Hip Hop

If you’ve been following me on twitter or Facebook, you know Spike hasn’t been doing so well the last few days. He woke up the other morning and his hip was really bothering him. Poor thing, while he was trying to pee (lift his leg) he lost his balance and fell down. It would have been comical had I not been so sad. He turned and looked at me like I’d done something to him. It took him a few minutes to realize he was having issues. I promptly freaked out, got really upset, and almost started crying.1  He got thru it and I actually carried him upstairs. Not because he couldn’t make it on his own, I was afraid he might irritate his already unsteady hip.

Hip dysplasia is a very common ailment for English bulldogs and Spike being almost 9 (in just 2 short months) I guess its good that its taken this long to manifest. All of Spike’s siblings have passed away already according to Apple guy. I guess it was only a matter of time before Spikey succumbed to something. Luckily, he seems to be on the mend. He is limping a lot less and we are massaging and stretching his leg daily. At this point, we’re only trying non-invasive treatments. I’ve put him on a glucosamine regimen that he will remain on permanently, either thru his food or treats. I’m hoping rest and supplements are enough right now as I don’t have a lot of extra cash at the moment. If this doesn’t work, I’ll look at steroidal/arthritis supplements as well. It seems in Bullies dysplasia and arthritis go hand in hand.  Often the dysplasia increases the arthritis symptoms.

As I mentioned, he is doing better. I’ve been keeping his outside walks very short and he seems to be responding. He’s been putting more weight on it and walking around more and more like normal every day. We broke out his heating pad again2 to help keep his him warm at night and during his many naps. Keep your fingers crossed by the end of this week he’ll be almost back to normal. Sadly, this means he won’t get to go on as many walks. He loves to go out and I’ll have to come up with ways to get him out w/o overworking his hip. I have no problem getting him a red Flyer wagon and dragging him around in it. lol He would totally love it too. The problem would be keeping him in it. His eagerness and excitement is unabated and he loves attention.

I’m not prepared to think worst case scenario right now. I’m still shocked at how attached I’ve become. I grew up on a farm. I raised livestock and pets and never felt this much angst. The very thought of losing him drives me to tears. I love that damn dog and my life just won’t be the same without him.  And no, I have no desire to replace him now or later. If and when he does get to that point there will be absolutely no discussion of replacing him.

  1. Yes, I cry. I’m a typical Aquarian in that I’m very emotional []
  2. under his bedding []

Howwie

Is me again. I’m sneaking onto the square box thing while daddy is sleeping. I still don’t understand it but my translator used to seem reawwie busy when I yipped at the bright square flippy thing . . . I think he called it a “scween”.  My translator left the other day. Daddy said he was “raptued” or something like dat. You’ll have to pawdon my spelling, I’m not a vewwie good speller. Daddy has been reawwie proud of me lately. He says I’ve  been extra special good. Even when we walk to the stoe w/o my leash on.1  Ewyway, my daddy has been wowwied about me. I’m approaching my ninth birfday and my age is starting to catch up with me. Don’t wowwie, nothing is wrong yet, Daddy just likes to wowwie. He notices I can’t run as much as I used to and I get a little tired sometimes real early. Daddy tries to give me a good walk every few days to keep me stwong and limber. When I get tired from my wawks I just take a break for a few days until I’ve regained my stwength. I like long naps. I curl up in my bed, I snore a lot and bury my face in my pillow to block out the sun. On really bwight days I put my paws up over my face to help keep the light out. I sometimes remember how to actually bark when I sweep. I can yip but barking is reawwie hard. When I’m sleeping, I have dreams of chasing birds and cats and I bark in my sleep. Its twue! Just ask my Daddy.  Ewyway, I told Daddy not to wowwie about me. I get lots of love and attention and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

I think I like this box thing. It glows pretty colors and seems not to gunk up when I slobber on it. I’m not allowed to chew on it though. I would get in awot of trouble if I did that. Daddy found a new treat for me the other day at some place called Waw-gweens. Its got something called healthy gwanola on the outside and a hard chewy bone on the inside. Its my new fwavorite treat! I slobber and lick all the crunchy stuff off then I bite, chomp, and chew on the boney part till its nice and soft and I swallow it. I’m not supposed to hurry but I get es’ited and I sometimes choke. I try not to choke cause Daddies gets reawwie mad when I barf on my bedding.

I’m tired now so I’m gawna say goow night now. Ya’ll don’t tell that I was on the shiny box thing again ok? High paw!

Dawgs rule!

Spike

  1. Oh ssshh, I’m not supposed to tell that. My other daddy doesn’t like it when I walk w/o my leash on. []

Hewwo Worrrrld

*I’m intro’ing a guest blogger on my blog to help fill in the void at times. Treat him kindly or he just might bite you!*

 

Hewwo, my name is Spike. I’m an 8 (and half) year old English bulldog. My co-daddy, Moby, has asked me to write to you today and introduce myself. Daddy has decided that I need to start writing for his blog to fill in the empty spots. He is forcing me to do it under protest. My paws are too fat for the keyboard so I’m using a translation service. I have no idea what a blog is or even what this funny looking square thing he makes me sit in front of is used for. I’ve had to stop several times already to clean off my slobber and look at my daddy with confused eyes asking him, “what the hell are you making me do?!

Anywwway, I like walks where I can sniff/mark every plant, bush, planter, and/or shrub that comes my way. I love to chase pigeons, or any bird for that matter. I never catch them cause my stubby legs are too short and I can’t run that fast. That, and those rascally birds tend to fly away before I can get even get close. Mark my words, one day I’ll catch one. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with it when I do but who cares.

I have a variety of other interests too. Eating, drinking, sleeping, slobbering, farting, snoring, begging for treats, and being very loveable. Though, not necessarily at the same time or in any particular order. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m very well house trained. I sleep about 8-10 hours a day so I’m usually pretty easy to care for. I do have my moments but who has time to run around like crazy? I can do a few tricks when I want something delicious. I like most doggy treats but I love Love LOVE cheese, peanut butter, and grapes. I love attention and will always wag my butt1 when someone shows me some attention. I’ll try to jump on when I get excited. I’m not supposed to but I can’t help it.

I can be stubborn at times but I know that when I am bad, I get a whoopin’ with the rubber shoe. I try not to be bad. Sometimes if my daddies forget to close the bathroom door, I’ll sneak in and try to drink out of the toilet. I know I’m not supposed to but I loves me some water. The shoe doesn’t really hurt but Daddy makes me sit in my kennel by myself when I’m bad and I just hate when Daddy is mad at me. I give him pleading, begging looks to try and get in his good graces again.2 Truth be told, my daddy spoils me rotten. I have a heating blanket under my rug so when it gets chilly in SF, I’m nice and toasty during my many naps. I get treats every day and sometimes when I’m really good, I get an extra one. I also get a gooey chewey food on my birthday every year. I can’t eat it everyday cause I’ll get fat and my daddies don’t like that. Sometimes, when I’ve been really good at giving daddy  my ‘poor lonely pathetic’ look, he’ll put a blankie on the sofa and let me sleep on the sofa next to him while he plays video games.   …Oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that part. My other daddy doesn’t like it when I’m on the furniture. Shhh! Don’t tell!

Anyway, daddy says I can stop now. I think we are going for a walk in the park so I can try to play with the other dogs. I’ll probably just end up getting tired and laying down and watching them run around like crazy idiots. Nice to meet ya’ll!

Dogs rule,

Spike

  1. not sure where I got that from []
  2. Don’t tell him but it usually works. []