Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Sad - but HappyTale

I've been desperately looking for my picture box so that I could find a good picture of Penny - our dog.
Let me tell you about Penny:
We think she's about 16 - going on 17 ish. We adopted her from the local Humane Society 15 years ago. I was actually looking at another dog - a white collie cross - but when I got there it had already been adopted. As we were walking through and looking in all the pens - Penny was sitting quiety facing the corner like she had been a bad girl. I asked the attendant what was up with her.
"That's "Bonus" she said - she's due to be euthanized tomorrow. When I asked why - they said she had used up all her time. She was about 2 years old - had been brought in because she "kept having puppies". Well - you know dogs - "Bonus " looked at me with those big brown eyes - and I melted - not on my watch!
We dutifully filled out the applications, went through our interview and brought her home.
At the time - I had a 2 year old - and a 5 year old (Children that is). My parents freaked when they learned that I was bringing a Rottweiler/Lab dog home with the children - especially with all these children being attacked by dogs.

My daughter called her "Penny" - and she soon settled in. But Penny - wasn't about to have an easy time of it.
Being the responsible dog owners that we were - we took her in to be spayed.
The vet opened her up - and out popped "Kidney Worms" - some as long as 3'. I just happened to be working out of town that day - and was tracked down. Did we want to save her - of course.
3 hours later ($700 poorer) - they had cleaned out all the kidney worms. She was actually the first known dog to have survived this horrible affliction. In the process - the worms had already eaten through one kidney. She was weak - but alive. We'll spay her another day.
The worms were sent to the University of Guelph - Vetrinary hospital for the students to study.

4 months later, we dutifully brought her back to the vets to be spayed. While there - ahem, the vet decided to do her blood test for heartworm (do you see where this is going). Uh-oh.
Unfortunately - Penny had never been cared for - and she had heartworm. It was decided that she was not a good candidate for the standard arsenic treatment for heartworm - and now we had to get special government approval to bring in a new treatment from the States. In this treatment - they take 2 long needles - insert them down between the shoulder blades and into the heart and inject a medicine that kills the worms. She spent 2 days at the vets office - and then had to come home for 6 weeks (and be kept quiet). The heartworms die - form a blood clot and then are passed from the system. If she was to get too excited - the clots could kill her.
Keeping this bundle of love and energy quiet was a chore - but hurrah - we managed.

Smooth sailing from here. Penny loved us with all her heart. She played frisbee with the kids.
She guarded all the animals. If an animal was on the property that wasn't supposed to be there - we knew about it. She loved to walk in the woods. We did go through a spell where she kept slipping her halter/collar and taking off into the woods for the night - but she always was right there the next morning. She was a truly amazing dog. She never ever harmed a chicken or sheep - even when they came and shared her food in her dish. We even had her go after a raccoon that had killed a chicken once - scare it off - and then bring the dead chicken back up and place it in front of the garage till we got home. She was a truly remarkable dog. She was afraid of thunderstorms (until she went deaf).

This last year we noticed that she was starting to slow - her eyes were fogging over with cataracts, she walked slower - but she still went on walks with us. About 3 weeks ago - she decided she didn't want to eat anymore. I tried everything - she would nibble at the canned food. I called the vet - who came out and gave her a couple of shots of B12 - and some massage and herbs. She took blood and checked her all over. "She's old" - but not her time yet.
We soldiered on - special food - and lots of love. Lots and lots of love for a dear old friend.

On Tuesday morning, I opened the barn door to find her lying silently curled up in the straw by the door - right where we had left her the night before. She had quietly slipped away in the night. The way it should be. We were happy that she didn't have to endure another long cold winter here. We were happy that we could give her 15 years of love - and she gave us nothing but love back. That rottwieler/lab never once growled or spoke back to us. We never once had to raise a hand to her. She was possibly the best dog anyone could ever have.

We buried her up in the corner of the barnyard (My husband wanted to bury her in the woods).
But I knew that even after she was gone - she would want to be close to us. I can look out and see where she lies - and know that she was always there for me.
I have to go now (because I am crying so much it's hard to type). I'll find those pictures this weekend and put one up on the blog.

Good-bye my dear friend - we will meet again.


Michelle said...

Tears are spilling onto my computer now, too. What a tribute to a wonderful dog, who was only giving back what she could to the wonderful family who gave her life, love and a home. Good-bye, Penny. Could you send another canine angel to this family to watch over them and fill their hearts with joy?

thecrazysheeplady said...

{{{hug}}} and pass the tissues.

Cornerstone Fibres said...

HUGS honey!!!! What a wonderful story and truly what a blessed life she had there with you.

Kim and crew

flickerslair said...

Oh Tammy, what a beautifully written tribute. My heart goes out to you. It is so hard to be parted from our furry friends.

Now I need to go find tissues.

Jenny Holden said...

Oh, now I'm all welled up too. It sounds like she had a wonderful life with you. No need to be sorry for anything, she was loved and cared for by a family who were drawn to her in the nick of time. May the memories continue to bring you much joy x

Denise said...

As I read your blog my rescue dog, Holly, is laying asleep on the sofa beside me, and if she were awake I know that she would send you lots of licks of love

The Shephards Daughter said...

Awww. Tammy, I don't know you but I have known that kind of love and have also lost the kind soul that gave it freely.
Your tale of Pennys life with you is wonderful.
Thank You for sharing.

I hope that when it is time you find another as kind as she to share their time on earth with you.