Journeys Of Elvis Blogging about the happenings our senior foster dog, Elvis, from the Central Texas Humane Society. Fri, 12 Aug 2011 03:18:32 +0000 en hourly 1 Everywhere I look, I see Elvis… Thu, 11 Aug 2011 22:22:25 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> It’s been two weeks since we lost Elvis. We’ve brought in a new foster dog, and she has helped heal some of the pain. But the hole is still there.

I asked Randall this morning how such a small dog could leave such a huge, gaping hole. Something so large I don’t remember the last time I had to navigate one this size. He couldn’t answer; only agree.

In the morning, the routine we had for breakfast is helped because our new foster dog has to have two meals a day right now. Penny’s need has helped paper over the time slot where I sat with Elvis on my lap while Randall handed him his four “oats” before his breakfast.

At lunch, Penny helps. That is when I eat. I’ve found it hard to want to eat lunch at the same time. In the same place. Having the same foods. There’s a knot in my stomach that food has a hard time going around.

Afternoons are better. There weren’t that as many interactions between Elvis and me. Randall said he tries hard not to look under his desk much…it was Elvis’  spot for two years. He had a towel there, and when he wasn’t hanging out here in the bedroom with me, chances were he could be found snoozing under Randall’s desk. It’s funny how that place draws my eye.

It’s really in the late afternoon that the hole is really gaping.

Elvis watched his Foodlady very closely from 4:30 on. Every half hour or so was marked by some Elvis Event, and he knew them all and timed them. He knew at 5:00 that the cats went up. And if I lingered to long behind closed doors with them, he got anxious. Too long, and the wheezing and coughing would become alarming.

At 5:30 he got fed. The beginning of “his day” so to speak. Between the time he finished and the time Randall and I sat down for our meal at 6:30, there was constant watching and activity. Trips outside, goodies handed out, more trips outside. Setting the table. Putting the finishing touches on the foods. Maybe a bowl to clean up.  Plating the dinner. Sitting down and the humans got their portion and then he got his. SO important. His little pieces of tortilla, topped off by his SPECIAL PIECE of something that only he got at the end of the meal.

I don’t want to look on the side of the table he stayed on. Our other dogs got their treats on the left side. Elvis got his on the right. It’s impossible not to look down, but I try hard not to. I know he won’t be there, and he should be. I expect to see him there. But he’s not.

And so the evening marches on. And every 30 minutes or so he and I had something we did together. Until 8:30 when he got a dab of milk from me, and he could lay down and relax next to Haley on her blanket. It wouldn’t be for over an hour until he’d have to watch Randall and get his handout from him. It’s amazing, really, that for all his extras, he stayed a trim 8 1/2 pounds, but he did.

And the last, and really hardest time of the day is when everyone goes out for their last potty break before bed. Every night for two years, there was a Stumpy Snack handed out…the soft treats I took time to fix for him so he wouldn’t be left out when everyone got a bribe to go into their crates for the night. It’s funny, I still have to make them for Penny…she has no teeth (like Elvis didn’t). And I tried the first couple of nights to call them Penny Pieces. It just fell flat. So Stumpy Snacks they have been and Stumpy Snacks they’ll remain. Somewhat fitting that the treat that really belonged to Elvis bears his name.

And when everyone is up for the night, it’s so hard not to tell him goodnight. To remember that a couple of weeks ago, we wished him his final good night.

And every morning, when I get out of bed I wonder how long it will be that every where I look, I see Elvis.

]]> 0
A different sort of day at Rainbow Bridge… Sat, 30 Jul 2011 21:29:43 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often. He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be.

But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge. With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him. “You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge. ”

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life. “Watch, and see” said the second animal.

A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

“What happened?”

“That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge. ”

“I think I like rescuers”, said the first animal.

“So does GOD”, was the reply.

]]> 0
Thank you all so much. Fri, 29 Jul 2011 23:17:17 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> I want to thank all of you for the lovely comments about Elvis both here, on Ollie’s blog and in email/Facebook postings.

As you can all imagine, the last 24 hours has been horribly difficult. Losing an animal is never easy. Losing one that you interacted with so closely with for two years is devastating.

Elvis was one of the most special little dogs that I’ve ever been privileged to know. Randall and I were able to make a difference in a life in way we’d never thought of. And, in turn, he made such a difference in ours.

Rest in peace, Elvis.

]]> 0
Heaven’s Newest Angel Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:45:20 +0000 donna Thank you so much, KC and Mom ML.

]]> 0
The Journey Comes To An End… Thu, 28 Jul 2011 16:07:42 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> Elvis’s journey has reached its final destination.

This morning, Randall, Dr. Walthall and I made the wrenching decision to put him to sleep.

The bloating that we had seen over the last couple of days had done serious work on his lungs, but the final determiner was that another perineal hernia had come up on the other side of his tail. Even had the money been unlimited, we would have faced the same decision. There was barely enough muscle mass for the first hernia repair. A second would have probably failed. Even without that complication, it would have meant a second surgery right on the heels of the first, and he would have gone into it with much weakened lungs. That alone would have been too much to ask, I’m afraid.

So the end has come. Two years and a couple of weeks after it began. And it has really been two wonderful years. We were so blessed to be able to bring home a dog who knew nothing of life outside a puppy mill and had horrific medical problems, and watch the transformation that would happen. We never would have thought he would be here two years. And while we were hoping and praying for two more years, it just wasn’t meant to be.

I’d like to thank all of you who have been with us on this journey. Those of you who donated to his hernia surgery fund…all I can do is thank you from the bottom of my heart, and tell you how much I wish the ending was going to be different.

Thank you to the staff at the Central Texas Humane Society who entrusted us with Elvis. You had faith in us and in him. And Randall and I thank you.

Most of all, thank you Dr. Walthall, Dr. Cooper, Carol, Melody and the rest of the staff at the LaVega Veterinary Clinic. Without your love, patience and care, Elvis wouldn’t have had these two years. I can’t tell you how much your care and support has meant to us over the last two years.

And now, Little Stumpy Fella, we wish you a good night. Sleep well, Elvis. You were so loved and you’ll be so missed.

We’ll see you at the Bridge.


The Foodlady and Randall

]]> 2
Half a step back Wed, 27 Jul 2011 19:01:44 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> Last night, Elvis started showing signs of retaining fluid.

He’s been peeing less than usual, but I wasn’t sure how much of the increased urination had been caused by the hernia exerting pressure or the bladder trying to head out into the hernia, Still, for a dog with congestive heart failure, it’s something you keep an eye on.

Unfortunately, the visible signs didn’t show up until after his dinner (which is when he gets his meds), so I couldn’t increase his Lasix.

His weight has been holding steady in the past. It varies from 8.6 – 9.2 depending on when he’s had water (and we try to weigh at the same time every day…around 1pm). We made an exception last night and weighed him around 9:30. His weight had gone up to 10.2. More importantly, though, was how it “felt.” Along his back/ribs and chest, he felt “full.” That’s not a good sign. He was also really wheezy, and the coughing was increasing.

So this morning at 7:00, we weighed him again. 9.6. That’s better. I’m looking for a trend. And he didn’t feel as full. But has Lasix was still going up. From .75 ml twice a day to 1 ml twice a day. He can’t stay at the elevated dose for too long because it messes with his mind, but he’s usually OK with it for four or five days. Maybe a bit longer.

And it figures that 15 minutes before the afternoon weighing time, he tanks up on water. 10.0. Not good. I don’t want to see it go up. At least not too much, but I know some of that had to do with him hitting the water dish.

I’ve called Dr. Walthall to give her a heads up. Essentially, everything looks really, really good with him. Except this. And Lasix does take some time to work, so we’re going to monitor the situation. She’s traveling Friday, but her back-up vet will be in from 9-1, so if things begin to look bad, we’ll get him in.

(To give you an idea what I’m seeing. When he first came here, his weight was on the high side…nearly 11 pounds.  It took about two weeks or so to get his weight where I could see it shifting. Again, it’s the how it feels as much as what the scales read. So I want to get this extra weight off, but I’m not panicking with him either. It could take a few days for things to normalize, but we’ll watch him and try to keep the cough/wheeze as under control as we can because that can be a problem with his hydration.)

I’ll post another  update tomorrow unless things change.

]]> 0
Tuesday Update Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:29:20 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> Things are still going really, really well with Elvis.

The swelling around the sutures has just about disappeared. There’s a bit of residual redness, but not much and it seems to be disappearing, too. He’s been a good boy about fiddling with the stitches. He pretty well ignores them.

Just as importantly, everything seems to be functioning as it should. There’s no straining or constant squatting. He goes out, does his business and is back at the door ready to come in with the others.

His attitude is very good, and he’s apparently in no pain. I’ll continue his pain meds through Saturday. I’ve got one extra pill reserved which I think I’ll give him on Monday/Tuesday. He goes in Monday to get his stitches removed, so I’ll save it for then just in case.

I’ve moved him back over to his kibble, and he doesn’t seem to be having a problem with it…either with the digestive side of things or the “down to two teeth” side of things. He’s also got enough antibiotics for at least a couple of days (probably three, but the white opaque bottle with the white liquid makes it really hard to see how much is there).

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with what I’m seeing. Dr. Cooper did a great job with his hernia repair, and I’m trying to keep the clinic posted with Elvis’ progress.

I’ll also try to get some photos in a couple of days. I’ve threatened to take a Sharpie and draw a smiley face on his butt so I have something to look at besides baldness, but it’s just a threat and he knows it. LOL

]]> 2
A good day Mon, 25 Jul 2011 02:05:00 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> It’s been a good day over here.

The swelling around the surgery site has gone way down. I’m seeing just a bit of redness, but nothing that sets off alarms, and the licking he’s done is short and sweet.

He’s really being a good boy and not fiddling with things.

The one thing we’re seeing is some reluctance to go outside. Not terribly surprising considering what it’s been like for him for the last few weeks. There’s some avoidance there, which is understandable. Still, everything does look like it’s progressing normally. No straining and he breaks away when he’s finished and is called.

I added some of his regular kibble to his ID tonight, and I’ll keep adding it until he’s on it completely. He handled it with no trouble tonight (I add hot water and let the kibble sit while I’m doing his meds, so it has a chance to soften).

He’ll continue getting his pain meds with his heart medicine first thing in the morning. Starting Wednesday, I’ll move it to when he has his breakfast. I want to be sure and give him plenty of time to start healing, and I definitely don’t want him feeling discomfort. He’s got 8 more days of pain meds, and I’m pretty sure he’ll have at least six days of that. I don’t want him hurting so he is motivated to mess with his sutures.

I’ll call the clinic in the morning and give them a progress report. All in all, I don’t think it could be going better. He got to walk around the house today (making six circuits of the oval in here), and he didn’t show any reluctance to move out. So things do look good.

I’ll post another update tomorrow evening.

]]> 0
Good night Sat, 23 Jul 2011 14:22:51 +0000 donna Continue reading ]]> Elvis did really well overnight and looks good this morning.

He’s got a bit of licking going on, but not much and not persistent. His licking is more like cleaning, but I’m going to track down my Bitter Apple and careful dab some around the suture area.

The swelling is down, and he got his pain pill with his heart meds this morning. He doesn’t appear to be in any particular discomfort, but I’ll definitely watch him as the day goes on. I’ll continue giving him his pain meds early in the morning (actually, that’s Randall’s job because he gets up an hour or so before I do), and then on Tuesday morning, I’ll hopefully be able to give them with his breakfast at 8:15.

Breakfast was greeted with MUCH enthusiasm. His feeding schedule yesterday was seriously interrupted and the amount curtailed, so I suspect his stomach thought his throat was cut. He’s on Hill’s ID canned right now, and he’ll stay on that today. Tomorrow evening, I’ll add a bit of kibble and see how he handles it…remember, it’s not just the hernia repair we’re dealing with, but also the tooth pulling and abscess. He’s getting his antibiotics twice a day, so hopefully they will kick in soon.

So far, his movement looks unrestricted and normal. His attitude is very, very good. I’m not seeing any real indications of pain, though he was a bit cautious moving around last night. The main concern is how the stitches will hold up as the innards get back to normal and his bowels start moving regularly. The one time we watched him this morning, things looked good. No straining. And when he was done, he moved on. That was one of the main problems we had been seeing…unproductive and painful straining, and no voluntary end to the process.

All in all, things do look good. I probably won’t post another update until tomorrow morning unless things change. I’m optimistic, though. He looks like the surgery didn’t take much out of him, and the recovery will hopefully be uneventful.

Like I’ve said about Elvis so many times…don’t ever count him out. This is one determined and very resilient little guy. He just constantly amazes me with his pluck.


]]> 0
Butt and nothing but :) Fri, 22 Jul 2011 23:06:05 +0000 donna This is what we’re seeing the first night after his hernial surgery.

]]> 0