Jann's Pages

3/25/13

Pets and Heartache

Lily Schott
Our miniature schnauzer, Lily, developed an autoimmune disease. Her red blood cells were being attacked. It was thought she had Cushing's disease, which can be common in dogs. Apparently the extra cortisol was helping with keeping the autoimmune disease in control. Masking it, so to speak.

When I took Lily into the vet on January 8th, it was for a cough she had. More like a gasping raspy sound. Blood work was taken and that was when the Cushing's was discovered. So she was started on a med to lower the cortisol. When that level came down, the autoimmune disease finally appeared.

January 25, 2013, I noticed her vision was just about gone.  She wasn't tracking the Pupcorn treats we'd throw into the air, and she would stumble into doors. Lily was having a hard time breathing. I was able to get Lily an appointment for Monday at Acoma Animal Clinic, in Glendale, Arizona. Blood work was taken and her red blood cell count was down to 15%. The vet gave a high dose of steroids and I was told to bring Lily in Tuesday morning to check the levels from the extra steroids she received.

January 29th, 2013, at 5 PM, Erik met me at Acoma Animal Clinic to talk to the doctor. He said they tested her blood twice throughout the day and both times the blood cell count was down to 11%. This was even after another dose of steroids which is supposed to raise it a little. The Vet thought maybe a tumor ruptured so we had an ultrasound performed. No tumors but no  explanation to why there was such a blood loss. Lily had a Coombs Test performed on her and that's when it was confirmed that Lily's red blood cells were being attacked. 

Her blood was so clotted going into the test tubes. The vet figured that a blood clot damaged Lily's eye sight. Her breathing was labored from not getting enough oxygen in her blood. 

So Erik and I had to decide on her quality of life. The chance of a blood transfusion being successful was not even 50%. It would just buy her a week and then she would have the same symptoms again. Seeing her labored breathing, plus her vision was gone made it painfully clear that we needed to make the difficult and heart wrenching decision to euthanize our sweet Lily. We discussed letting her come home to die, but we were advised that it might be incredibly painful for her for a period of time.  She might howl or cry, and if anyone who has ever heard a dog in pain express itself, would NOT want to let the pet suffer any longer.  

We were able to be with her before the procedure to say our goodbyes. It was just so defeating to know there was NOTHING that could be done to save our sweet Lily.  Many tears were shed, some pictures were taken, and then we were ready to let her cross that "rainbow bridge." I held her body as the medicine was administered and her body went limp quickly.  The only disturbing part was that her eyes wouldn't close, but we were advised of this before the procedure. We spent a couple more minutes with her after she was resting in peace and we knew it would be so hard to explain to our family why she didn't come home with us.  

I am so heartbroken that she isn't with us anymore. We all just miss her. I still get choked up thinking of how she had such a loving personality. She would get on our nerves whenever she would bark at the trash truck driving by the house. We nicknamed her "Baby barks a lot" because that was what she did best! 

Lily's smile
Lily just turned 11 years old the beginning of January. Erik got her originally as a gift for Charlie's mother, but Lily took to Erik and was devoted to him. Lily eventually came to love me...but Erik was definitely her favorite. She would actually SMILE    

and we could almost see her laughing with her mouth open when she was happy.  She had such a great personality and once she knew you, she was your friend for life.  She would get SO excited to see my best friend come over to the house.  Diana would just sit and cuddle with Lily in her lap.  


Lily's Memorial Stone
We decided to have Lily cremated. The previous home owners left 2 markers from their dogs who passed away while living in this house, so we wanted to place Lily's in the same area.  I ordered it from Personalizationmall.com and it arrived a few days later. I added a couple of great pictures I had taken of Lily to either side of the etching and sealed it all with an outdoor Acrylic spray.  Lily's Cremains arrived two weeks after she was euthanized.  One of the workers was so kind to give us a clay imprint of Lily's paw print.  When I saw that, I just broke down and realized this was REAL.  Our Lily is gone...but not forgotten.


Sunday, March 10th we had a small ceremony for Lily in our back yard.  We sprinkled small handfuls of Lily's cremains around the entire yard.  There's about a half cup left, which I sealed in a small Mason Jar that was placed under Lily's memorial marker. My two daughters, my mother, my stepson, and I listened to Erik read a poem that I found online.  It's called "Creation."


Creation
When God had made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals the fish, the birds, and bees
and when at last He'd finished not one was quite the same.

He said I'll walk this world of mine and give each one a name.
And so He traveled far and wide and everywhere He went,
a little creature followed Him until its strength was spent.

When all were named upon the Earth and in the Sky and Sea,
the little creature said, "Dear Lord, there's no name left for me."

Kindly the Father said to him, "I've left you to the end. 
I've turned my own name back to front,
and called you DOG, my friend."

Author Unknown

It has eased my heart a bit having this ceremony.  I still want to find some Tiger Lily plants or bulbs to plant back in that area where her stone resides.  That was Lily's "Given" name.  

We never called her by that name...just Lily:  Lilykins...Lily-Putiaan...Silly Lily...Baby Barks A Lot...Miss Kins. to name a few.  There were many nicknames for such a sweet dog. Everyone who attended the ceremony received a picture magnet of our sweet Lily, as a thank you for being with us to celebrate such a wonderful dog.  

Finally, I created a collage of some of the best pictures I took of Lily.  I plan on making a Photo Book with captions, but for now I wanted to share this with you.  Click on the picture to see a larger version.



† Rest in Peace, Lily †
01-01-2002 ~ 01-29-2013

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