CUTE AS A BUTTON, SICK AS A DOG…

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On Friday, August 29, I excitedly called my brother because I saw an 11 month Female German Shepherd ready to be rescued. I didn’t think much about it, because I didn’t have to, she would be perfect. He said, “Let’s go!” So, I packed my office up and went to get her. When we got there, it was clear I couldn’t have her. She could not be around kids, didn’t even like people and was aggressive. Of course, I was disappointed.

I asked Billy if we should go play with puppies and the puppy store to make me feel better. It sounded like a good idea because there’s not really ever purebred German Shepherds in the pet stores and I knew that is what I wanted. So, we did.

We walked in the door, and in the first window there he was. I don’t even remember it but when Billy thinks back he tells me that I just said, “that’s my dog! Can someone please get me my puppy!” I instantly fell in love with him. We took him out and played with him and we both basically knew there was no going back. There was just one little thing, he was very thin. At the time, I was told that he had stopped eating and his muzzle swelled so they had to take him to the vet to have an abscess tooth pulled. He had been put on a very strong antibiotic and he was only halfway through and that was causing him to get sick.

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Of course, me being me, I knew that I can fix that. I will get a special food, I will wean him off the medicine and I will love him so much he won’t even know that he was ever sick! Well, that was the plan anyway….

He stopped taking the medicine, but continued to get sick. I took him to vet after vet and no one could tell me what was wrong with him, only that he was too thin. Most mornings, he would wake up getting sick starting at 3 AM so we sat on the floor and cried together because we were both so tired. He would get sick often through the day, I would do anything I could think of to get him to keep his food down. I tried changing his food, I tried giving him special organic food, I tried blending his food and most recently I started cooking for him. If you can imagine this, I cook chicken and then put it through the garlic press and cut it up really small to make it soupy for him to drink.

Every feeding takes about an hour and a half to be fed 8 to 12 times a day. That was okay though, because I could handle it and we would find what was wrong and he would be okay. We signed up for puppy classes and went every weekend. He listens so well and is very well-trained. He was already sitting and laying down after only a week or two. I have to give Billy some credit for that too. He is so attached to me, we didn’t even have to teach him the “come” command in class. When the teacher held him and I walked across the room, he ran to me immediately as she let go before I even said to come. We did a lot of training at home too!

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He was only 12 pounds, playing and going after my brothers 115 pound German Shepherd, Chopper! Watching them play was so much fun.

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He made so many friends in the neighborhood. It was like Cheers, but only…. everyone knew HIS name, not mine!

He hates his cage!

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He loves going for walks, especially at Valley Forge..

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He loves car rides…

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He even loves the beach!

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Anyone with access to my social media pages saw happy pictures and outings with my puppy. I took him everywhere. He even spent plenty of time in my office with me. See, he requires special care so I have to pay special attention to him and spend more time with him than normal. In addition, because he is sick, he is so cuddly. When you think of the new puppy, you think of them running around like crazy and chewing on things and being terrors. My Jax doesn’t get to be a normal puppy. He doesn’t feel good most of the time, so I spend a lot of time just holding him. He takes his naps in my arms, he sleeps at night on my chest so I can make sure his heart is still beating and he sure has become my family.

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Two weeks ago, a vet told me that I should think about getting another puppy. I was appalled. After thinking about it though, I appreciated his honesty. He pointed out that sometimes there are sick puppies and they just should not be sold. After going through this process I started hearing a lot of stories about sick puppies coming from pet stores. Now, I am not ready to get into that but I can tell you this, my Jax is a sick puppy.

He has seen five different vets. He has gone through emergency services, he has had bloodwork, X-rays and ultrasounds. None of which were conclusive. Yesterday, however, we found someone who could find the answer and it was not good. I had myself convinced that he had a condition called megaesophagus. Even though the symptoms didn’t match exactly, they were very close and I researched all night and decided that is what he had. I started taking the advice of the Internet on how to feed them and work through it in a different way. This new vet told me immediately that he did not have this condition. Actually, he did a barium dye test which showed a congenital defect which explains part of the problem, but there’s more.

To make a long story short, Jax is starving to death while we look for answers and he is not even healthy enough to have a surgery. I am stopped on the street by people telling me he is too skinny. He is going to be five months old and he is a large breed dog and he is barely 14 pounds. I have really run out of options and it is clear that he is suffering.

As I write this, my little Jax is laying on my chest, snoring just a little bit, completely oblivious to all the problems of the world. I don’t think I will ever be able to wrap my head around why this happened but I know that he has had love and happiness through his struggle. I gave him a good home and did all I could for him. I also know he would not have had that if he would have been left in the pet store that day….

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Comments

    • Lorraine says

      Laura, anyone that knows me, knows that I never had a dog , I like dogs, but am not a dog lover, but I am in tears of sadness for your Jax. Such a heart wrenching story , maybe deep down I am DOG LOVER. I feel that this is exactly the reason you were to get him, to give him love and security through this difficult journey for him. You gave him a great home and are giving him the best attention. I am so sorry . Love L

    • says

      I had a Belgian Tervuren with congenital megaesophagus and was told to put her down. We put her bowl in a black & decker vise table and she ate elevated for the next 12 years! Fed her food that matched the carpet so when it came back up, didn’t stain! We gave her small, frequent meals and dealt with the negative comments in public about how thin she was. How ever long Jax lasts, he has been loved.

  1. Donna Franzen says

    Laura I am reading this at work and cannot stop crying. I know you feel helpless. You are great to Jax. Pleaae let me know if I can help. I am here for you. Love you and Jax…. OK my boss just came over to talk to me tears are rolling…

  2. lisa says

    Oh Laura, I’m sorry you are going through this..Tears are flowing here big time…Jax is beautiful n is loved..plz let me know what I can do…Prayers. hugs. N love

  3. Jeana says

    Laura,
    As a you know I am a dog lover and have lost two of my most beloved pets in the last couple of years. The only thing that helps is to know that I gave them all I had for as long as they were with me and they gave all they had to me, when there was nothing more to give I had to let them go be in heaven where they are happy and healthy and waiting on me to meet them one day. I am sorry your puppy is sick but he was blessed to have you taking care of him through this. It was meant to be.

  4. Lisa Richardson says

    Laura – you are doing all you can like a good mom does for her sick baby! My heart breaks for you! I am asking God to heal Jax and bring you comfort and strength. Remember, God is your strength (Psalm 46:1) No matter how weak or inadequate you feel, as you take action, God’s power flows into you. Praying!

  5. Mary ann Jantes says

    Laura, i am at work with tears streaming down my face. I am so very sorry this is happening to you and sweet Jax. You are a very strong and loving person, just continue being you. I am hoping for the best for both of you.

  6. Christina says

    Laura,
    I am in tears at work right now reading this. I still cannot wrap my brain around all of this. This breaks my heart, and makes me feel so helpless. I know how much you loved Jax and saw how you cared for him and I know that this has been devastating for you. I cannot even imagine the pain you’re going through. Love you lots. I’m here for you if you need anything.

    Tina

  7. Christi says

    Have him checked for Myasthenia Gravis! Sounds like classic symptoms. Both dogs and humans can get it. Simple blood test or you can gauge his reaction after taking mestinon. The relief is almost instant.

  8. Harriet says

    i cried reading I love dogs had many has to put them all to sleep but when then were much older and sick. I’m still effected by each one. You gave him a wonderful though short life everything happens for a reason God knew what he was doing. I love your writing and I love you💙 you are a good soul🙏

      • Maritza says

        So sorry for your loss, unfortunately today was my first time seeing this(& reading it)I am a firm believer that with prayers and faith in god marvelous things can occur. I’m sorry that I just saw this today and unfortunately was too late. I know how much a pet can be loved. It seems that in his short and painful life he knew he was loved and in someway that can bring you comfort. Who knows how miserable his life would have turned out if he hadn’t left with you that day. You loved him & he felt loved and that’s what matters because that made him happy in all his pain. May he be happy and free of pain where he is now and may you find comfort in these words… Rip Jaxxy boy.

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