Last Friday, we lost our West Highland Terrier of 8 years. Abbey was the joy and spark of our lives 4 years before we became official parents to our boys. She had spunk, personality and she had unconditional love for us all! I will never forget the day we got her, Mother's Day, 2003. It was just one month before we celebrated our 1st Wedding Anniversary and we were SO excited to go and pick her up. After searching and searching for a "Westie" we finally found her! We fell in love with her the moment we walked in!
I will admit there was some frustration and sleepless nights in her "puppy days!" Mike would come home during his lunch shifts to let her out and by summer she was ALL mine. I was off during the summers since I was a teacher. Abbey was the sweet puppy, that only ate the left shoes, and always ate the bottom of my long flow skirts. She loved to get into the trash and shred it ALL over the kitchen!!! And she was the puppy that loved to go for car rides! If we just took her on 1 -2 car rides a week, she was a well behaved dog. If we didn't give her that attention she would act up or take it out on us in other ways... :) And she was that "puppy" that went on every trip with us and she was "that puppy that was secretly snuck into hotels" cause she was SO little and was so easy to handle :) Abbey and I made a couple special visits to see Mike the year he was auditing a client about 2 hours from us! Those were some LONG weeks for Mike. And HE loved having her and I come and visit (at the hotel...that of course we snuck her into.) We boarded her 1x and we never did it again. No comment needed. So, thank you to ALL our close friends & family, especially Mom & Dad Riese, The Hoeyes & Yvette for being our "dog sitters!" As you can tell, she was our first "baby" and we made sure to make that clear to all. However, we welcomed Parker into our home when she was almost 5 and she accepted him...but fell in LOVE with him when he had leftover dinner for her! :) He was her best friend during meals! One of her ALL time favorite snacks was Peanut butter and Tuna. She was my "assistant" in the kitchen and was always more then happy to try anything out :) I couldn't cook in the kitchen at all last weekend. It was SO sad not having her around. She was my assistant-waiting to try anything that "fell" or mommy happily shared. :} I know that time will heal, but not sure that I will ever be completely healed from her loss. However, I have had to learn to accept that the 8 years we had with her. She made our home special with her unconditional love. She was the perfect greeter to all who entered.
She didn't give us much notice that she would be gone by Friday, but I think in our hearts we knew it was soon. However, I don't think I could have ever been prepared for how I found her. But after I processed the WHOLE day, my goodness my heart smiled and realized she knew Friday was her day!
She woke up Labor Day puking. It was uncontrollable at times. She ended up being tied up all day to our kitchen. I saw her weakening before our eyes on Monday, so I got her into the vet on Tuesday. They gave her a shot for nausea and vomiting and we were all being conservative on NOT doing ALL this blood work, and X-rays. She had just been in the end of Aug. for a swollen Anal glad. She had just had had blood work for parasites etc. So, her Dr. really had an inkling that her symptoms were related to taking her prescriptions on an empty stomach! We had a follow up on Sat. and she never made it! She wouldn't eat and would only drink a little bit. I have moments where I kick myself for not rushing her in sooner!!! But I can't change what has happened. I need to cherish the time we had with her and know that our God is Sovereign! But I do have a gut feeling that she may have had H.G.E. virus! You can read about it below. The days to follow she just stayed the same. She never barked or whined.
On Friday, I closely watched her. She moved from room to room ALL day. She started her day out in Parker's room, then she made her way to our master bedroom, and laid on my side of the bed and then within 30 min. she had moved to Mike's side of the bed. I went in to get her by 2:30 and took her down to our family room. She had been laying on one of Kaden's blankets! :( My heart sank AFTER a friend pointed this all out to me). Abbey was spending one last moment with each of us.
Parker and I took her to the family room around 3:00 and I left the room around 4:00 to go chat with a friend and "nap". I found her at 5:45 "asleep forever" on our couch! (OK!!!! I am still suffering from this moment!) My mom calls it "Post Traumatic Dog Death Disorder!" I keep walking into the room and I keep seeing her and unfortunately Parker found her with me. "Mom, she is in here ASLEEP-but her eye is open!"
My mind instantly says-she is dead! Get the boys out of here! Then I think,(CRAP! How do you explain a dead dog to a 4 year old) and I instantly FROZE!!!! And then my mind and my body FREAKED!!!
NO! She is gone!!!
*But I have completely forgotten that I am a mother to 2 small boys who are in the room.
I don't care, I just start wailing and bawling and I have now completely turned into a state of shock. I dial Mike and it was NOT a nice phone call!
Mike answers and hears; "BAAAAHHHHA"~ "SHE IS GONE" I don't care about your job-you have to leave, NOW!" Don't make me take care of a dead dog!!!" "I beg you, please leave now!"
Mike responds-"ok! I will leave now and be right home!"
(He was suppose to work till 10 that night for GE quarter closing= basically a really crazy time at work for him!)
All during this phone call I am motioning the boys to go out and play! And I finally get them in the back yard. Parker has some idea, and Kaden has no clue! He just heard the word "outside" and ran to the door!
I have to tell you, I have no idea what my phone call was like to my mom except complete shock and screaming! (Sorry Mom! I know you were preparing to go help another Daughter, I really didn't plan to be so needy the night before your international flight! EEK) I love my MOM! She is awesome, when I am in a complete state of shock.
I am so grateful for our neighbors. I took the boys immediately down to the Hoeyes and waited for Mike to get home! I was a mess running down that sidewalk with the boys in the wagon and me running! I don't want to relive that day again.
Fast forward! We are sad and I miss her the most. She was with me the most. But we are making it! Miss her a ton in the mornings, meal time and when we go to bed! Here are some sweet photos of our Abbey girl :)
Thanks for letting us share the latest and I covet your prayers for this sadness to get better. (So silly...but she was NOT just a dog she was a part of OUR family!)
And many have said she knew her "daddy" well! She knew how frugal he was and it was only best to die "FREE" in her favorite spot called home! :) Seriously, glad all in all that we didn't have to pay the bucks and make the choice to end her time with us. It was her time to go. You don't have to agree, but I do believe we will see our fluffy white little,Abbey one day again. Or as the famous poem talks about it on "Rainbow Bridge!"
RIP Abbey Girl! You will be missed :)
Here is information on the virus that dogs can get. We are still not sure if this is what she had, but allot of these symptoms were similar.
What is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis?
It is a possibly fatal disease which can strike any dog at any time. There is no known cause for it other than some speculation that it could be a virus, or parasite. It could also be caused by allergies, a change in diet, stress and many other reasons.
How do I know if my dog has it?
The signs are blood in the dog's vomit and bloody diarrhea. However, in Abbey's case, she showed no clear signs of blood in her vomit till the end, but she was puking allot. So watch closely. If you suspect that there is even the smallest amount of blood, rush your dog to the vet.
Is it curable?
Most of the cases of HGE have been cured. The most important thing is to recognize the signs early and act quickly. There is only about a 10-15% chance of fatality with treatment. That's WITH treatment. Without treatment, fatality is almost guaranteed. There is also a 10-15% chance of HGE recurring in your dog once they've had it. So again, it takes dedication and diligence to spot it and get your dog to the vet.
What's the treatment?
Hospitalization is a must. The vet will administer an IV with fluids, antibiotics and sometimes potassium. There is also a possibility of a blood transfusion in cases that need it.