Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dingo And Our Final Day Together

To Our Beloved Buddy Dingo
Thanks For Six Wonderful Years!
December 2003 - October 2009

Dingo's ashes at rest in the living room

This entry into Dingo's blog has been the one I've dreaded having to make from the moment we embarked on this project. Seven long months of working hard, finding encouragement in Dingo's will to live and hoping for the best, were all dashed so quickly. It still so hard to believe.

It's been very difficult to know how to approach sharing the events of October 18th, but I've decided not to focus too much of the pain of day. The whole experience was far too personal, and I'm sure anyone who's ever dealt with the death of a pet can understand the extreme void left by the loss. I however will share that we had arranged for a vet to perform the procedure at home when the time came, and his passing was done peacefully on his blanket in the living room. Dingo slipped away while resting in our arms, receiving equal amounts of loving strokes and sorrowful tears from us both.

What I would like to share from that final day, is the beautiful morning he and I had together. After a very fitful night, Dingo woke me, as usual, at the crack of dawn for his morning pee. All of us were exhausted as Dingo had a great deal of pain the night before and just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. While outside he laid down to rest in his favorite spot in the backyard to view his kingdom. I grabbed my camera to document what were to be his final hours of lucidity.

Dingo and I sat quietly together staring into the leaves of the trees as the sun came up on what otherwise, would turn out to be a beautiful day. We listened to the birds and the wind, absorbing every sound around us with silent intensity. I crouched down as low as I could to view the world as he was seeing it right then, and shot a few more photos.

He glanced at me off and on, and I looked into his eyes desperately searching for the next sign. Was he going to hang with us and fight another day, or would he give the signal to let me know it was time. I could tell he was really in a precarious place as his eyes would go from connecting with me to drifting off entirely, as if he had no idea who I was.

After a few hours he laid his head on the ground and became pretty unresponsive. We knew then and there the time had finally come and began to say our goodbyes.

In memory, I wanted to conclude Dingo's blog on a positive note, reflecting on all the great times he gave us over the years. Dingo touched so many people and was truly a one of a kind dog. Friends, family, neighbors, delivery drivers and strangers who never met him, sent their warm condolences on his passing. Thanks to all who brought flowers and dog treats to the temporary marker we placed in his favorite spot on the driveway. We're honored have had time with such a special buddy and our lives have been permanently changed for the better.

The above footage was from the day Dingo came home with a positive diagnosis for lymphoma. The day was spent at his favorite park, playing with the coveted 'oven mitt' (for some reason he went bonkers every time he saw it), and then just relaxing at home.

Above is a collection of photos taken by us, my mom, our good friends and neighbors Pete and Rachel and our dear friend Tara. Click photos to view larger images.

The photo below is still one of my favorites. It was taken when he was less than a year old when he would constantly chew on his back paws to the point we thought he'd choke himself. It really shows the quirky side of his personality.

Goodbye buddy and thanks
for the memories!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Time Has Come

At 8:10 PM, October 18th, Dingo passed away.

I wanted to set this marker as the date and time of his passing for those who have been thinking about him and couldn't be here.

When I gather enough energy I will be blogging about our last day together.

Much love to all from us both and from Dingo.

These photos are taken Monday morning October 19th. Both memorials are Dingo's two favorite places to lay and watch the world. The front driveway where he could greet neighbors, their dogs, customers, delivery drivers and keep a watchful eye on squirrels. The back yard was his favorite place to stare into nature and contemplate life.

Dingo we love you and you are so truly missed.

Mark & Barry

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Night Waiting and Watching Dingo

Made an appointment with Dingo's vet today. It was very last minute, but fortunately she was able to get him in at 5:30. Once again he had another bag of intravenous fluids and his anti-nausea shot, the same routine as the last two times. Now it's fingers crossed to see if it takes by morning and we wake to find Dingo at the door ready for breakfast, pestering me to get my shoes on for our routine drive to the local coffee house for the daily hunt. Muffins for me and squirrels for him.

It's always so hard to read him in this state. One minute he's down and without much energy, then next he's up wandering around greeting a guest who stopped by to say hello. Although, he's always the perfect host and greets everyone at the door, making them feel welcome regardless of how bad he might be feeling. Part of the day he spent running around the yard making sure all was in the right order, and even got in a good howl at a fire engine down the hill. That's always music to our ears.

Right now he's having trouble keeping liquids down again, though he is showing some restrained interest in food. He's obviously too nauseous at the moment but his food is there when he's ready.

I never sleep much on these nights.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Elevated Alert With Dingo

It's Friday morning and once again we're in 'careful watch mode' with Dingo. He's been pretty listless once again the past 16 hours and this morning he's back to turning away from his food. He did manage to eat a few chicken snacks but doesn't seem much interested in a full meal or water. Also got his pills in him by hiding them in a spoonful of hummus (something he can't resist).

Dingo has been spending a lot of time at our sides. This is where he rests at my side during the day while I work.

It's been so emotionally exhausting to us both during this whole experience, being given glimmers of hope only to have them pulled back with the peaks and valleys in Dingo's health. I look at our buddy when he's like this and wonder if we're doing the right thing. Is it really fair to him? Is it the right thing to do rushing him to the vet when his health declines? Is it fair to expect him to cling to life another day, or week after a trip to the vet, only to have him ultimately slip again. I know we got lucky in August and were gifted with two extra months, but this most recent slip came so soon, just 10 days after the last dip in his health.

They say a pet owner will 'know when it's time', that their pet will give them some sign that it's time to let go. As much as neither of us want to see it, we do watch and wait for that horrible moment that will some day come. Thing is Dingo throws a curve ball every time we think we've arrived at that point. Even when he's listless, and you know he's not feeling his best, he looks at you with that bright eyed spark as if behind it all he's still willing to fight.

We'll be keeping close tabs on him, giving him lots of love and waiting to see what he's decided.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dingo's New Fashion Upgrade

After Dingo's recent visit to the vet, part of taking care of his current health problems is protecting his skin from abrasion. He has four wounds on his back, sized between a nickle and a silver dollar, caused by thinning of his skin from the Prednisone. His doctor had to shave the fur around each to make sure all were free from infection, leaving him looking as if he had a bad body waxing.

So I made a trip to Target to pick up some tank tops (turns out his a boys size Medium), figuring they would both protect the wounds from further damage, and also keep him from scaring the neighborhood when we go out for walks.

Dingo of course takes it all in stride. We've got him on internal and spray on antibiotics and everything is healing up nicely.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dingo's Latest Battles

Hello all,

This is Mark, Dingo's dad. As Dingo mentioned in his post yesterday, the last month and a half had been pretty good until the dip in his health this past Friday. He's back up on his paws now, which we of course are thrilled about and calling him a 'Superdog' is an understatement. Twice now Dingo's health has dropped to such low levels that his vet had recommended we prepare ourselves to say goodbye. Both times we began the grieving process only to have this wonder dog turn his health around with a strong will to live, as if to tell his body "Not just yet". It's so hard to describe the pain and shock of watching Dingo fade to a ghost of himself in less than twelve hours, wandering around in a fog and barely able to move, to being full of life with that 'spark' in his eyes after receiving intravenous fluids. I really take great inspiration in watching him fight his cancer and take on his illness in his own way.

After this latest scare, I've been trying to keep him as active as possible. I believe that if his mind and body are stimulated with activity it can help distract him from how he may be feeling. Nothing's worse than just watching him lay there in a funk, knowing that he's not understanding why he doesn't feel well. However, I would never pressure him into being active if he wasn't up to it. Dingo has a very defined way of communicating with us, and if he wants to go for a walk or a ride in the car, he'll definitely keep at you until you give in. This past Saturday when he gave me that 'IT'S TIME TO GO' look, I figured I'd treat him to a trip to his favorite off-leash park and then the beach.

I get so much joy from simply watching him run around and explore, especially at the beach when he goes into a state of ecstasy just feeling the sand beneath his paws.

As much as we are encouraged by Dingo's will to live, and we try to stay hopeful, there are still new things that seem to pop up almost weekly that challenge him in minor ways. The latest are side effects related to his daily dosage of Prednisone, which he needs to take to keep his appetite up. 

The first side effect is what I can only guess must be 'cotton mouth'. Even though Dingo drinks plenty of water, he's quite often licking his chops for minutes on end as if he's dehydrated and his mouth is dry. 

The second side effect is more heartbreaking. Prednisone can make the skin very week and susceptible to abrasion, and Dingo has been getting common surface wounds that eventually scab over. Unfortunately once the scabs heal and fall off, the fur that was there goes with it, leaving him with coin sized bald spots all over his body. Fortunately, they don't seem to cause Dingo any pain or discomfort, as he's never tried to lick or scratch them, its more a cosmetic issue. Antibiotics help temporarily, and we're trying Neosporin now at the suggestion of his vet to see if that helps.

Will keep you posted on how this treatment develops.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Update From Dingo

Hello world, it's Dingo,

I know, once again it's been a long time between my posts on the computer-machine. To be honest, I've been reveling in being healthy the last couple months, enjoying quality time with Mark, Barry and my other close friends. During all this up time, I regret having neglected my need to communicate with the outside world. I'll try to be more diligent!

Unfortunately, I did have another small bump in the road this past Friday. Once again it was a case of not being unable to keep food or water down for more than 24 hours, resulting with me having no energy to play or move around the house. However, after an emergency trip to the vet for more intravenous fluids and nausea medicine, I fortunately was able to get back up on all four paws to prove, once again, I was stronger than the cancer in my body.

The next day I was feeling much better and, to my delight, was treated with a trip to my favorite dog beach. While there I made some new dog friends including one spunky female who actually helped me get over the fear of getting my paws wet in the ocean. She was very sneaky about it, getting me to chase her in circles on the shore to the point where I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. Before I knew it, the waves were lapping at my legs, and you know, it wasn't so bad. It was like big wet kisses with the sand tickling the bottoms of my paws! I kind of liked it. So I guess I can officially check that one off my 'To Do List'.

Be well everyone, and I'll be in touch soon!

Your buddy,