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A Tribute to Merlin Upon His Death

The following is a tribute that I wrote the day after Merlin died on August 13, 1987. I posted it on the Canine VAXnotes conference on Digital Equipment Corporation’s internal network. For many years, I presumed that I failed to keep a copy of this tribute, but today (November 29, 2013) I found it.

——————————————————————

Yesterday, I lost my best friend.

Like many of us who lose our 4-legged kids, I need to talk about it, and about him.  I am grateful for all of you out there who support this conference and who can understand and share this with me.  I hope you can bear with me as I ramble on about Merlin and the events of the last month.

I got Merlin just a little less than 12 years ago.  Astolat’s Myrddin Emrys, named after the Merlin as depicted in the Mary Stewart books—a name that portended much of what he was.  Merlin was special by any criteria.  I mean, I love Shelties in particular, dogs in general, and animals even more generally; and I know that Ellie (my other Sheltie) is also special.  But Merlin was raised as my child, expected to comport himself as a human, act responsibly, help with the chores, and so forth. He was greatly loved by all who met him (well, there’s this one lady in Denver whose dog could never quite score higher than Merlin, but…), had a high genius IQ, understood over 500 words of English and a fair amount of French, plus a little German, Hebrew, and Greek.  Ah, but I get nostalgic…

This wonderful little guy was an obedience natural.  He loved his obedience work, and going to a dog show was second only to playing in the snow on his list of fun things to do.  In his relatively short career (only about 4 years from his first trial until his retirement) , he won over 500 ribbons and trophies.  He scored several 199½ scores, but never quite got a 200.  He received a “Will Judy” (a/k/a “Dog World Award”) for both Novice and Open (CD and CDX), and just missed it for his Utility title. He had his UD at 24 months, and his OTCh at 36 months—and this was living in Utah where shows are few and very far between.  He was the first dog in the Rocky Mountain region to earn the OTCh title.  Several times, he was rated in the top 5 dogs in the country in terms of competition, and placed several times (as high as 2nd in Super Dog competition) in the Gaines Regional and Classic events.  In short, he was a true wizard, helping his daddy through obedience (he was my first obedience dog).

Ah, but that wasn’t all he ever did.  He could rock climb at about a 5.1 or 5.2 level (if I helped him with the long reaches!), swim all day long, and teach his little sister bad habits.  He loved hiking and climbing, adored going cross-country skiing, helped train new dog handlers in ring procedure (I could send him into a ring with anybody and he’d do wonderfully—helping new handlers learn how to do things), was very well traveled (went to about 42 states and several Canadian provinces, though he never made it to Europe), and was a fun date at the drive-in.

About 3 months ago, Merlin had a cataleptic seizure, a “petit mal” event. It really scared me, of course, to have this wonderful kid of mine suddenly get “unplugged” from the world for 15 or 20 seconds. So, naturally, I called the vet immediately.  The vet tentatively diagnosed epilepsy and wanted Merlin brought in for examination.  He ended up prescribing Primidone as a way to control future (inevitible) seizures. Well, I gave Merlin the Primidone, but he turned out to be pretty sensitive to it and was easily over-sedated by it.  But the alternative was too much to risk, so we juggled dosages and figured it was under control.  Over the next couple of months, he had what I called “micro-seizures”, where he would just sort of “zone out” for a second or two, but wasn’t really cataleptic.  I began to get confident that we had it under control.

Well, about a month ago (5 weeks ago today), I got home from work really late and found Merlin having a grand mal seizure.  I have never been so terrified in my life!  If you’ve never been exposed to that, I hope that you never are.  It is horrible to see someone you love so much shaking and screaming like they’re in agony (though medical literature assures us that individuals having such a seizure do not feel it as pain).  The seizure only lasted about 6 or 7 seconds, and it was after midnight on a Friday, so I thought I could wait until morning to call the vet.  Not so!  Just an hour or two later, he had another.  This time, I called my vet immediately.  Of course, I got their answering service, but said I had to talk to the on-call vet immediately.  The vet called me back in about 5 minutes, but was tremendously UNhelpful.  He basically said “there’s nothing I can do about it, so bring him in tomorrow.”  Screw that! I called the local animal emergency hospital as soon as I hung up. The vet on duty there was much more helpful, but felt that he didn’t have the skills to do anything but sedate Merlin.  He, however, recommended a clinic in Denver which had a resident canine internist and a resident canine neurologist (one of only 10 or so in the country!).  I nursed Merlin through about 4 more (smaller) seizures that night, and called my vet back at 0800 sharp.  The vet who had most often dealt with Merlin was not there, so I asked them to have him call me.  The answer?  “I told you, he’s not here.”  I suggested that with the hundreds of dollars I had spent with them that I bet he could afford a phone at home.  Well, they put me on hold, came back and told me that my vet was out of town, so I should bring Merlin in to see someone else.  I refused and asked that the “someone else” come to the phone.  When he did, his first words were “Mr. Mellon?”. Wonderful—he doesn’t even know my name.  So I asked if he had looked at Merlin’s chart.  His answer was “Who’s Merlin?”  That angered me, as you might guess.  I suggested a couple of anatomically impossible acts and told him that I only called to give them the courtesy of notification that I was going to another vet.

Then, I called Denver.  The doctor with whom I spoke there, Dr. Colter, was the neurologist.  My descriptions of the sequence of events and of the symptoms let him to think that the internist, Dr. Roger Pitts, should see Merlin first.  I took Merlin right up and left him there in hands that inspired confidence in both me and Merlin.  Extensive (and extremely expensive) tests over the next couple of days (including a spinal tap done without anesthesia because they deemed the risk of a general anesthetic as too high with Merlin’s problem, but knew Merlin to be so well-trained that a “stay” command was enough to make him lie still while they did it!) showed only negatives–not this, not that, not the other.  The lack of positive information led to the following tentative diagnoses: a tumor in the cerebellum, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, or some bizarre form of epilepsy.  Dr. Pitts prescribed a steroid to reduce the inflammation and an antibiotic to try to attack any undetected biological causes.  Merlin got better.  He came home and we had two very nice weeks together.  He seemed a little wobbly, but that was to be expected.

However, suddenly, without warning, on Saturday night, just as we went to bed, Merlin had another grand mal seizure.  Dr. Pitts had given me his home phone number to use if anything like this happened (how many vets—much less human doctors—do you know that give out their home phone numbers?), so I called him immediately (at 0200!). He said to sit it out for the night, giving Merlin comfort and more steroids, but that first thing in the morning he’d call in a prescription for phenobarbitol and valium—the former for long-term suppression of the seizures, and the latter to act quickly until the phenobarbitol could reach appropriate levels in the spinal fluid. Poor Merlin had about 3 or 4 more seizures during the night, but they tended to be quite short—5-8 seconds.  In the morning, I got a neighbor to sit with Merlin while I raced to the pharmacie.  He didn’t have any more seizures while I was gone, and we heavily medicated him to suppress them.  But that night he had several more. So, of course, I took him back to the hospital early on Sunday. Merlin started recovering by Monday, but I left him there 8 days for observation and tests.  I visited him several times (of course!) and by Sunday evening, took him home.  He really seemed fine!  His spirits were back to normal, he was a little bit wobbly but that seemed to be the level of phenobarbitol we were using, he played with me and with Ellie, his appetite was good—as it always was—and he really seemed on the way to recovery.

Therefore, a week later I didn’t feel bad about leaving for a 3-day business trip, since I have a friend who stays at the house and takes care of Merlin and Ellie when I’m away.  Unfortunately, Monday afternoon my friend came to the house at about 1500 to check on the kids and found Merlin collapsed from the aftermath of at least one seizure.  Of course, she instantly put him in the car and raced to the hospital (45 minutes for a normally 70-minute trip!).  By then Merlin had had at least 2 more seizures and was in a coma.  The vet called me in Michigan, but advised me to wait until Wednesday as planned to return, and visit Merlin on Thursday. We stayed in close contact, calling one another 3 or 4 times a day on Tuesday and Wednesday.  When I called him from the St Louis airport on Wednesday afternoon, he said that things looked really bad and he couldn’t be sure Merlin would last until Thursday morning.  So of course as soon as my plane landed on Colorado Springs, I raced home and got Ellie and virtually flew to Denver.  I got to Denver at about 2145, but Dr. Pitts was going to meet me at the hospital at 0030, so I had them put Merlin and me into a room by ourselves (with Ellie, obviously) and I worked with him for 2½ hours.  By the time Dr. Pitts got there, I had Merlin alert enough that he was kissing me and Ellie (*very* happily; he was really glad that I was there and that I’d brought his little sister) and had even eaten a few Milk Bones (his favorite snack) and drunk a little water if I held his head.  But he couldn’t support his head, much less lie “up” on his chest and elbows.

However, while Dr. Pitts was there, he continued to improve as we discussed whether the end was here and what other tests we could possibly run that would tell us whether there was any hope at all. The real problem here was that even if we could pull Merlin out of it this time, there was every reason to believe that he’d just have another seizure storm in another two weeks, and every time it was harder and harder to bring him back out of it.  But with him improving, neither one of us could, in good concience, say that the time had come.  So we agreed, at about 0230, to wait ’til morning. I went to stay at a friend’s in Denver, and called at 0830 to see how Merlin was.  Dr. Pitts said that he was slightly improved over when we left him, so I said I’d be in about 1000.

When I got there at 0945, Merlin was in a deep coma.  At 0900, he had had another seizure and it really knocked him for a loop.  So they brought Merlin to me—with his I.V. disconnected, as an indication of how badly he had deteriorated.  I spend about 45 minutes working with him, kissing him, hugging him, loving him, talking to him.  Finally, he got to the point where he did recognize that I was there and that Ellie was there—I put Ellie’s muzzle up to Merlin’s for him to smell.  He tried so valiently to give us a kiss, but just couldn’t control his tongue enough.  My poor Merlin was dying in front of my eyes, yet he continued to fight and to try so very hard to do what I wanted of him.  I broke off two pieces of Milk Bone about the size of my little fingernail and he managed to eat both of them—hungry to the last.  I held his head so he could take one last lap of fresh, cool water.  And he looked at me with that ineffable, undying love that he has for me, and he fell into a deep sleep.

I knew that he wouldn’t ever be the old Merlin again, that he would almost certainly die within a couple of hours—he seemed to have been hanging on expressly to say goodbye to me and to Ellie.  But I didn’t want to risk him having yet another seizure storm at this point—no violent death for my only son, my first born, my best friend.  So I asked Dr. Pitts to prepare an injection to help him on his way out of his pain and his confusion.  At 1045 on Thursday, 13 August, 1987—just 4 days after his 12th birthday—Merlin received an 8-times overdose of pentobarbitol in his sleep, breathed a little heavily for 16 seconds and sighed one last time. His heart beat for 2 more seconds and stopped.  Three or four seconds later, he tried one last time to get his tongue straight in his mouth—and failed. His lip quivered ever so slightly once.  And then he never moved again.

My most faithful friend, my longest relationship, my best companion, my hiking and climbing buddy, my confidant, my comforter, my Sheltie, my Obedience Trial Champion, my lovely son—died as peacefully as possible, with no fear or shocks, not even a skin prick from the injection, knowing that he was loved.  I continued to whisper how much I loved him and how much Ellie loved him until I knew that he could hear no more.

An era has passed now.  I will go on.  Ellie needs me and I need her. Nobody can ever replace Merlin, but some day I will get another puppy, and we’ll have good times, too.  But I’ll always love him, always remember the good times we had and the fun.  And at least I was able to be with him to hold him in my arms in his last hour of need.  And I did everything humanly possible for him throughout his whole life, but particularly when he got sick.

As a side note, Dr. Roger Pitts is not only an incredible man of medicine, he came to love Merlin in these last 4 weeks to the point where he cried and kissed Merlin frequently, and he gave Merlin dozens of hours of his time and treatment at all hours of the night. I recommend him very highly.

Thanks for letting me talk.  At least for now, I just can’t talk enough about Merlin and how special he was.  He meant almost everything to me, and now I have to learn how to live a life without him.

OTCh Astolat’s Myrddin Emrys, known to his friends as Merlin, has died, but he will live on in my heart where he’ll never be in pain, always have snowy fields to play in, eat his favorite foods, and where he will be loved as he always was—unconditionally and completely.

Rest in peace, my darling Merlin.

Jim

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How Many Senses Are There?

How many times have you heard somebody say “It’s almost like he has a sixth sense!” or something to that effect. And you’ve undoubtedly seen, or at least heard of, the movie “The Sixth Sense.”

For many years, I’ve been bothered that that phrase. We were probably all taught in primary school that there are “five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.” And, although it’s forgivable that young children just accept what they’re taught, as adults, we should really know better. In fact, I can instantly identify at least one more sense that you have — temperature. Have you ever placed your hand inside a heated oven or over a burner on the stove (without actually touching anything)? Did you feel the heat? How about sticking your hand into the freezer without touching anything? Did it feel cold? Of course. And there is a sixth sense that we all possess. And the nerves used to transmit that temperature information to your brain are different from the nerves that transmit the sense of touch to your brain.

Here’s a seventh sense that you undoubtedly possess: Have you ever closed your eyes while standing and checked whether you’re able to detect whether you’re standing straight up or leaning over? That’s your sense of balance in play. It is, of course, created by the orientation and movement of fluid in your inner ears and the effect of those on the cilia (tiny hairs) in there, but it’s not the same as a sense of touch.

When we get away from purely human questions, we find even more senses than we might think. Sharks — as anybody who’s ever watched “Shark Week” on cable television will be aware — have a line of sense organs down their sides that can detect very tiny electrical impulses from the muscles of fish swimming nearby. That’s eight senses, so far. Many species of fish have a slightly different line of sense organs down their sides that can detect very subtle differences in pressure, the kind of difference that would be caused by a predator swimming rapidly towards them. And we’re up to nine senses.

Many bird species, numerous fish species, some amphibians, and probably others can detect the earth’s magnetic field and can navigate using that field the same way a ship’s captain navigates using the ship’s compass. There’s the tenth sense.

Many bird species can “see” the polarization of light and use that for navigation, too. This isn’t the same as our sense of sight, which detects light vs darkness, edges of objects, and color. It’s different and depends on entirely different kinds of receptors in the eye. We could quibble about whether this represents another sense or not, but I think it does…and that makes eleven senses.

I’m pretty sure that I haven’t remembered everything that can be reasonably considered to be another sense, but it’s a decent start in demonstrating that “the five senses” are little more than a myth. If you can think of additional senses that exist in the animal kingdom — and especially in humans — please comment on this entry and let the rest of us know what it is. Oh, and plants have still other senses that I haven’t mentioned herein, but please feel free to mention them yourself!

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Auto Draft

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=532709223412868&set=a.532709220079535.89100551.532707873413003&type=1
For some, 50 Shades of Grey may represent something erotic but for Monty’s family 50 Shades of Grey is how you feel when you’re Sheltie-kid has been missing for so long.  Sheltie Rescue of Utah recently recovered a Sheltie known (though not know by us) to be on the run for over a year in a particular area.  Monty is out there somewhere and needs help.
Please help us find our Monty. He is a Shetland Sheepdog/Sheltie who has been missing since Aug 26,2012 in Milpitas, CA. He has been spotted on Dixon Landing Road and on Washington Dr in Milpitas, CA. Click About below or Notes for more info.
Description

We have been searching for Monty since Aug 26, 2012. He does not know how to get home on his own. He has been sighted in Milpitas, CA. He is very shy so please do not chase or yell. It is best to lure him with food preferably into a backyard so he cannot run away from the area or into traffic. He likes cheese. He has a scar on his snout. He has been spotted on Dixon Landing Road and on Washington Dr in Milpitas, CA. Last sighting was in early September. He was seen using the overpass on Dixon Landing Road perhaps to cross the 880 freeway going west at around 6-7pm. He may be hiding and coming out near sunset or just before the sun rises to find food.

We’ve done everything on the list of things to do to find a lost dog from shelters and multiple websites. We’ve put up posters, gave out calling cards, drive around with a sign on our car, biked, walked, drove around the different neighborhoods, used petamberalert, craigslist, facebook, twitter, checked with city hall, police, vets, groomers, newspaper, all animal shelters, animal communicator, etc. City of Milpitas will not allow us to put a trap in the parks so we have to plead with everyone to keep an eye out for him. If spotted we can ask someone who lives near the sighting if we can use their backyard as a trap. If someone has taken him in, spreading the word will help that person find us so they can return Monty.

It takes only a few seconds to share his lost poster or his FB page on your FB wall. Please spare a few seconds to help find Monty. Thanks!

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My Sheltie is still missing from Highland, Ut

Feel free to check out my facebook page and I hope that we can bring him home. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Please-help-me-find-my-Sheltie-Little-Lad/207541909375916

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Voluntary Recall of Nature’s Variety Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley

Important Quality Update

Nature’s Variety News – July 12, 2012Nature’s Variety has issued a nationwide voluntary recall
on Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs

Nature’s Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of its Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs due to an off-odor smell that may develop over time. This product is not contaminated in any way, but some products are not remaining fresh for the shelf life of the product.

Reed Howlett, Nature’s Variety CEO, stated, “At Nature’s Variety, we make every effort to ensure that all of our products meet the highest quality standards. We’ve found that some bags of Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs have an off-odor smell. To be sure that our consumers only receive the freshest and highest quality product possible, we have decided to voluntarily recall all Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs from the marketplace.”

The products impacted are listed below:

• UPC# 7 69949 60420 4 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 5 lb
• UPC# 7 69949 60425 9 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 15 lb
• UPC# 7 69949 60430 3 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 30 lb
• UPC# 7 69949 60432 7 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 3 oz sample

No other Nature’s Variety products are affected.

Consumers who have purchased one of the above products can obtain a full refund or exchange it for a different variety by either returning the product in its original packaging or bringing a proof of purchase back to their retailer.

Consumers with additional questions can call our Consumer Relations team at at 888.519.7387. Or, consumers can click here to email Nature’s Variety directly.

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Jackie O is 7 Years Old in Her Forever Home with Jennie George

Jennie on Left and Jackie O on Right – What a Beautiful Pair!

This is past Sheltie Rescue of Utah Sheltie-girl, Jackie-O who has been living happily every after with her forever Mom, Jennie George and husband Wes.  There’s also a new addition – Paige – who is just a few years younger than Jackie.  Jackie is 7 years old now.

Jennie and Wes like to go to the Sheltie National when they can.  The year that the Sheltie National was last in Oregon, Jennie and Wes made arrangements to meet us there – AND – to meet Jackie O. We enjoyed having Jackie with us.  She’d sleep on the pillow on the bed and help us out at the Rescue booth at the National.  I believe she even attended the herding events with us while we ran the rescue booth at that venue.  Jackie was a busy girl that week.

It was immediately a love connection and Jackie did not return with us to Utah but rather went home with Jennie and Wes.  Jennie is one of our many adopters who are so wonderful – they stay in touch with us through email and photos and we just LOVE IT!!!  I really appreciate the chance to see their sweet faces – and how happy they are.  – Barbara

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Missy has Arrived from Meridian Shelter - Deformed Limbs and All

Missy arrived here Sunday evening at about 10:00pm.  What a long saga this darling girl has been through!  I carried her inside and set her down in the room in which all the dogs eat (previously our formal dining room).  The room smells great to dogs because of all the kibble and dog treats we keep there so it’s usually a great place to put a new kid – gives them yummy thoughts to think about instead of anxious ones.  I had a big bed set up for Missy and as soon as she saw it she headed right for it and settled herself in it.  I decided to feed her a light meal.  I was told by Danielle, one of the two LOVELY women who transported Missy, that she’s only supposed to eat soft/canned foods though nobody was quite sure why that is.  So I opened up a can of food (with new dogs I use Hill’s Prescription i/d which most vets use for the dogs they’re boarding due to illness or surgery or something like that) and Missy enjoyed a light meal of canned food.  This particular dog food is meant to help soothe the lining of the digestive tract and be very easy to digest regardless of whatever diet the dog may be used to eating.   I made sure a bowl of water was within a muzzle’s reach so she really didn’t need to move to get a drink if she wanted it.

I’m not sure why Missy is supposed to be on a canned food or soft food diet?  Her mouth and teeth don’t appear to be an issue.  However, with older kids, I buy the highest quality smallest piece of kibble I can find.  Right now I use Artemis.  I’ve tried out some on Missy and she seems to be doing very well with it. 

I slept on the couch Sunday night so I would be near to Missy just in case she had any problems or might be reassured by having a person nearby – having lived her life with people nearby.  As I became familiar with the specific difficulties Missy has with movement I have changed her bed to one that will be easier for her to get in and out of and still have a great deal of support for those deformed limbs she has.

Missy is gradually becoming familiar with the location of all the various water bowls we have all over the place here.  That’s something I really like to see even with dogs who don’t have any difficulty walking.  I’ll probably bring Missy in to have an orthopedic evaluation with a specialist at our vet clinic.  Her funny walk appears to me to be related to birth defects in both her front and hind legs.  On her front legs her elbows bow way out. Her right front foot appears to be deformed, over-sized, and very flat.  Her rear leg “elbows” also are deformed.  Missy can walk but she does so with an obviously unusual gait.  I think these deformities could have occurred during or just after the birth process if not within the birth sac during her development in the womb.  Based on Missy’s teeth and everything else I see, she appears to me to be in pretty good health.  We will do a senior wellness exam on her at the same time we do the orthopedic evaluation.

I would like her to weigh at least a little less just to aid her poor legs which were not built to hold her even at a normal weight.  Although she seems heavy when I lift her, I can feel her ribs fairly easily.

Missy will be sleeping in her bed in the food room where two other girls sleep.  This will keep her on our main floor with no need to worry about stairs to get inside or outside.  She has walked both up and down the large ramp we have for the dogs to get into the yard from the back door.  It’s really good to see that she can be mobile on her own and it’s really good to see that she already anticipates breakfast and dinner at the times we prepare them.  I’d say Missy is settling in and getting familiar with us!   – Barbara

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Overweight 10 Year Old Missy Needs Transportation from Meridian, ID to SLC

http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23109013
Transport Needed for Missy – 10 year old Sheltie from Wyoming. Her owners passed away. Family took her in and moved her to Idaho. Other dogs in the home didn’t like Missy so she landed in the Meridian, ID shelter. We’re told that Missy is VERY overweight. She needs to be carried outside to go potty. Thanks to Jim’s building skills we have a ramp that she may be able to negotiate even with the excess weight. If you can help her move to Sandy, UT from Meridian Idaho please call 801-231-3031. We have a volunteer in Meridian who is willing to meet someone halfway. Meridian is about a 5 hour drive from Sandy, UT. If you can meet the volunteer from the Meridian shelter halfway, please consider helping Missy – doesn’t she have a great smile! 801-231-3031 or 801-942-4762. Thanks so much for thinking about this.

Pretty much as soon as she gets here we’ll get a senior wellness profile done on her – it includes a full blood panel, a urinalysis, and a thyroid test.  She may be so overweight as a consequence of low thyroid production – a common problem in many Shelties. After that, we’ll give her a chance to settle in and feel like she’s really home.   – Barbara

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Myra Moves from her First Foster Home into Second One With Us

Myra has the cutest face. She weighs in at only 17 pounds. She's several pounds underweight.

Well poor Corgi/Sheltie mix Myra has lost her first foster home here in Salt Lake County. It was reported that she was drinking large amounts of water and urinating both outside and inside – and very often, possibly even leaking in addition.  Were we looking at a urinary tract infection?  Could it be end stages of kidney disease?  Some other disease that would also mean the end stages of her life?  Would it just be that she’s healthy except for the onerous problem of dealing with a leaky bladder?  Well, we would soon see firsthand what our foster Mom was reporting to us and start to evaluate Myra’s urination and drinking behavior along with some diagnostic input from our veterinary clinic.

We immediately had Myra into the vet for a comprehensive blood panel, urinalysis, heartworm test, worming (she is underweight and was picked up as a stray), and thyroid test.  If she was suffering from a urinary tract infection – we didn’t want her to go on suffering from that any longer than necessary to diagnose it.

Well, guess who does NOT have kidney disease or a urinary tract infection?  Myra does not. In fact, her entire blood profile was very close to normal.  Since Myra was picked up as a stray, was in a shelter, traveled about 6 hours or more in a car on Thursday, was turned over to her foster Mom Thursday night, and was underweight – it wouldn’t be surprising if any of her blood profile was off by insignificant amounts — and that’s exactly what we saw.  Only her red blood cell count was off by an insignificant amount.   I next had to consider if we were seeing end-of-life issues such as possibly a cancer that was causing bladder problems but not showing us anything on a blood panel or urinalysis.  Or, were we just dealing with ongoing, heavy, and frequent urination as a result of senior incontinence?  My heart fell.  This is the reality of rescue and older dogs but we want to give them the best end-of-life that we can.

You have to meet this girl in person to really appreciate how cute she is.

Because we’d heard so much about her not holding her urine, I diapered her when she arrived here.    It was a bit of a struggle to get that diaper on her not the leas

t of which was that although I accidentally had some doggie diapers here, I’d never used them before.  Jim helped me and between the two of us we got her diapered although we did a poor job of it – even trying to pull off a tab that wasn’t supposed to be pulled off (because when we did – it started ripping the diaper!).  Almost immediately after we diapered Myra she lifted the back end of her body up into the air and walked on her front two legs.  I mean her entire bottom was pointed skyward while she made forward progress.  Jim and I were both startled.  Within a few minutes Myra adapted to her diaper and was back to walking on all four paws.  I was relieved.  The idea that she was so bothered by her diaper, bothered me.

We went outside with the other dogs on our usual schedule.  Her diaper was always dry.  In the meantime, Jim and I went to Barnes and Nobles in Sugarhouse to Bobbie Pyron’s book signing of her popular novel, A Dog’s Way Home.  While we were gone, I crated Myra without her diaper to see what would happen.  I also measured the water in her water bowl so I could measure the amount of water she was drinking.  You can imagine my surprise when we arrived home (just 2 1/2 hours later – not very long) to a dry crate and a water bowl that really looked like it hadn’t even been touched!

We went back to giving Myra the run of the house with her diaper on.  By now, not only had Myra, Jim, and I gotten the hang of putting these diapers on (although I still needed Jim’s assistance) I began to realize that these diapers were really well made!  They are stretchy in all the right places and seemed to me to be pretty comfortable to wear.  They stayed on Myra without sliding off and they’re very adjustable.  I have to say that I like this product.  I think we’re also lucky in that she didn’t try to pull them off – many other dogs would have.

Myra settled onto one of the many dog beds here while we watched a movie and she spent what seemed to me to be an easy evening with us.  She liked saying hello to the other dogs here but in general wasn’t especially interested in them.  Except for Honey.  Honey is a very grouchy girl here who wants nothing to do with the other dogs.  For unknown reasons, Myra started following her around.  It was like a mini-parade of two dogs walking back and forth, Honey leading and Myra following.  If only we were smart enough to know what they were thinking.  After about 15 minutes of this, Myra lost interest.  She couldn’t hear Honey growling at her because Myra is completely deaf and I think she’s been completely deaf for a long time.

On our regular outings to go potty, Myra pee’d and pooped normally outside.  Her diaper was dry every time.  And she’s had no accidents inside.  Myra is an easy, wonderful, girl who was possibly misunderstood by her former foster Mom.

Myra woke me in the morning barking – she needed to go potty!  I took off her diaper before letting her outside and it was completely dry!  I don’t know what to make of this except that so far it’s great news and completely consistent with the urine and blood work results that we’d done.  Here are some photos of Myra in our home.  This morning she’s diaper free because I feel that she’s demonstrated, to some extent anyway, that she’s not urinating uncontrollably or frequently, indoors.  I believe she’s housetrained and doing exactly as well as I’d expect an older dog to do, who’s used to being in a home.  Myra shows EVERY sign of being used to living in a home.  I can’t help but wonder if her owners are looking for her? If they’re not, I think that someone else is going to have a wonderful, trouble-free companion in Myra.  In general, these kids are wonderful and absolutely the easiest dogs you’ll ever bring into your home because they’re used to being part of a household and are well mannered and just so happy and grateful to be loved.

Myra is looking for a forever home – I hope we can find one for her quickly, if we don’t find that her owners are looking for her  We’ll have to scan her for a microchip.  Although this was probably done by the shelter in St. George, not all shelters have a universal scanner yet.    – Barbara

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Java’s Adopter Has Passed and Now Java is Seeking a Forever Home

Very Lovable Java – A Wonderful Companion!

This is Java. We placed him about 10 months ago with a gentleman with a terminal disease. Java is a wonderful companion dog – very gentle, sweet, well-behaved, and very well house-trained – and very, very loyal. Sadly, he lost his adopter a couple of weeks ago – so we’re looking for a gentle, sweet, well-behaved and very, very loyal adopter that will give him a forever home where he will be spoiled with the healthiest dog foods, treats, and toys for the rest of his life. Java is about 5 years of age. Prior to his adoption we had a thorough dental done on him along with a comprehensive blood panel, urinalysis, thyroid test, heartworm test, vaccinations, microchip implant, and worming. I’ve got to say that I find him so lovable – it’ll be hard to say goodbye to him…again. – Barbara
http://youtu.be/27ZV_-eK0So

Doesn't he just get cuter with every photo? Java is actually very camera shy! That's why his ears are back.