It Was A Good Run Baby Girl ~ Lili Pup 12.01.02 - 05.06.14
My German Shepherd Dog who fought a courageous battle with an autoimmune disorder similar to Lupus and she beat it. She did it for me and for our family I'm absolutely certain of this.
Lili was born December 1, 2002. And she was destined to be mine. We had put down our 12 year old Prudence because she was ready. Not eating or drinking. We knew. My husband and I took her together and stayed with her as she fell asleep. It was gentle and peaceful (nothing even akin to what my Lili endured.) At this point we weren't thinking of a new dog yet. But as the weeks passed I felt that the home was empty without a dog after so many years. I had a friend who had gotten a German Shepherd earlier that year and she was such a good dog I thought we would like one as well. And that's where it began.
I started searching the papers and Internet for German Shepherd Puppies but I couldn't afford a papered dog. So I asked my friend with the GSD if she knew where I could get one and it just so happened that she worked with a woman who's dog had a litter maybe 10 weeks earlier and there was ONLY ONE LEFT. Female flop eared and sweet as could be. She wasn't tiny as no shepherd pup is. But she was such a baby she actually wanted to be held and I could only do that until she was around 4 months. After that she followed me everywhere. After about 2 1/2 years we got another dog, a smaller shepherd mix and they got along beautifully. And again probably 18 months later we got our Siberian. That was our fur babies the three dogs and two cats. All was well until Lili started having joint swelling and limping.
It's a long drawn out story but I'll try to nutshell it. Lili was sick. Very sick and hospitalized twice. She had swollen limbs, high white count, anemia, and kidney issues. She lost almost 30 lbs. my 80 pound dog was weighing somewhere around 55 lbs I think. She almost died. We almost put her down then. But we decided to take her home and try hamburger and rice diet to encourage eating and I was her nurse. She was on so many meds I needed a chart to keep track of them. The vets didn't think she was gonna make it. And this is when we decided that if Lili wasn't gonna be with us much longer we needed another Shepherd because Lili was our guardian. And you know a Husky and a slightly slow little white dog wasn't gonna cut it.
I went online found a breeder and put a deposit down on a pup who was yet to be born. This time we could afford to get a trained pup and let me tell you that is the only way to go if you have the money. And if you've ever had a pup destroy so much property that you could've paid for a trained pup, you'd def, choose the training. Anyway over the summer Ilse was born and remained at the breeders until she was 3 months old. During this time Lili was gaining weight and getting stronger. I know she fought hard to get better. And she won that battle she so did!!!
That was 5 years ago and she would have to take meds off and on but mostly off. And then one Sunday afternoon she was whining in pain. And I know that dogs only do this if it's severe. I had some tramadol left from another dogs surgery and gave her one but it didn't help. As the night went on she developed a swelling all around her neck and shoulders and she was so uncomfortable she couldn't be still and she went outside on the lawn. All three other dogs were with her, I panicked then. I thought she was gonna lay there and die. Then her third eyelid came up over one eye and that was it. My husband called the vet and she met us at the clinic.
She got Lili hydrated, drew blood and tapped a huge fluid filled lump that had appeared within hours. She started her on anti biotics and she was well enough to go home. Once again she improved. The swelling subsided to nearly nothing. I took her back in for a check and had the catheter removed from her leg. They did another blood draw, and only noted her temp was elevated. When I called to check her blood test results everything was normal. Whereas the blood from the er visit had shown an elevated white count and thyroid was off a little. So this was great news. Then once again, about 3 days later in the evening she was having the discomfort and all the symptoms except the swelling and she was breathing hard. I thought I'd take her in in the morning and get another iv etc... I was so far from wrong that I didn't even see it coming.
By the time I reached the vet she was in pretty bad condition. They had to lift her out of the truck but she walked in on her own. That third eyelid was showing again and she was bluish. Also there was a bit of blood coming from somewhere in her throat or lower. They planned to give her oxygen and do an X-ray. It was here in this small exam room that we had our last eye contact. And I told her it was okay and that I would not leave her. One of the docs and a tech took her back just a few feet really to give her the oxygen and not 10 seconds later they said I better come because she had collapsed. This was the worst part of the whole situation right here,
Lili was in distress trying to breathe and she was fading fast. I totally lost it and started sobbing. The senior vet rushed in and directed them to remove the mask from the oxygen tube and put it in her throat as much as possible to give him time to asses her. The oxygen helped a little and he quickly examined her asked questions about recent history reviewed her chart and said he was sure she had lung cancer. Gave me the option of a medicine to clear the fluid from her lungs which would take a while to work and would no way get her well or end her suffering now. Of course I said I wanted it over. She was so far gone already that as I stood behind her stroking her forehead and telling her what a good dog she was and that it was okay, I didn't feel she was there at all. I honestly believe her spirit was already out of her body. Which is a very good thing. If you've ever had an out if body experience during a time of great discomfort then you know. This was good. It took me several days of reliving this to realize that. And searching for the last moments I actually had with her. And as I said it was in that little exam room. The eye contact, me assuring her I would not leave her.
It was so horrible what she endured that last leg of her journey, the euthanasia was one part only and I was glad. It was quick and merciful. When the light went out in her eyes, it wasn't dramatic at all. That was my first clue that she wasn't there at the time her body died. May 6, 2014.
You know that beautiful old dog was so wanting to please me up to the end that when we were leaving the house and I said let's go get in the car. She was up and ready to go wherever I went. She was even smiling. Seriously. She was half dead and happy to do whatever I asked within her ability. THAT is a good dog. NO an EXCELLENT DOG.
The mood amongst the other pets was somber for several days. They were actually seen all gathered together (3 dogs and 4 cats) in a room where no humans were present. Never has that occurred before. That night one of the older cats slept with me. I'm not sure what took place when they congregated but I am sure it was Lili who called them together and that it was out of concern for me. Never has any animal looked at me the way she always did. She loved me, I was and am her mama. And I know we will meet again.
It hasn't been very long and I hurt I'm crying so much right now my shirt is soaked. I picked up her ashes the day before yesterday and I've been laying in bed with the box. To get some comfort I have to do this. I was hoping for some type of contact but I may be too messed up to receive it. You know. I love all of my animals but the difference here is how she loved me and depended on me for so much. And I didn't really realize until she was gone how I depended on her. Just to be here. Just to be HER.