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  • Trixie

    Dear Sarah,

    I want to thank you and every person who poured their hearts in here.  In a time when I couldn’t cope, I found this website and read about what other people have been through with their furry loved ones.  It helped my tears slow down.

    A week ago I lost my best friend.  Blu was a healthy 9 year old standard poodle.  We were very close, inseparable, bonded.  She could read my mind. She was more than just a dog to me.  She was smart, sweet. She loved children, cats and everyone.  She was also a little clumsy and couldn’t swim which for a poodle is hilariously not the norm.  So, when my husband sent me a text at work, telling me Blu had a swollen leg.  I wasn’t surprised.  Sometimes, she could play too hard playing fetch, and she strained her hip before.  So, I wasn’t alarmed.  We put an ice pack on her hip and set her up on the sofa with pillows to rest.  The swelling went down but not entirely, so we brought her to our vet and they discovered bites on her inner leg.  huh?  They told me spider or snake bite! What?! I live in a city.   They gave her anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.  When her leg was shaved, her skin was purplish pink. Sort of looked like Black Widow bites according to online pics.

    I tore my house and property apart looking for anything that might be a clue as to how a toxic bite could happen and yes, around our shed there were many spider webs.  In a couple of days she recovered and the blood tests revealed she was 99%.

    Two weeks went by and suddenly her leg swelled up again and seeping clear fluid.  Our vet said she had “vasculitis” which means inflammation of the blood vessels.  It was beyond what his office could treat and he recommended we make an appointment to a specialist, Internist.  The soonest appt I could get was in 3 weeks.  She was eating and playing and didn’t seemed to be fine.

    While we were waiting for the Internist appt., I took her to vet #2.  They took blood work and began a more aggressive approach/immunosuppressant medication.  They said she needed to take it for a week before the next blood test.  Three days in, she seemed “stoned” and out of it on the drugs. I didn’t like it but I figured the doctor knew better than me.  I also noticed she stopped eating, which was a side effect of the medication.  During this time, I was working but leaving early, taking days off, and rotating shifts to be with her.   After another 2 days on the meds, it hit me like a tons of bricks when she didn’t wag her tail.  She was getting worse.  She was  getting weaker, which I tried to give her nutrition in every possible way.  I tried to massage her legs, and ice pack on and off.  I tried everything.  And on Thursday morning I begged an appt. to the vet.  That afternoon they were still stumped as to what was happening.  They said we could take her to the emergency vet hospital but since it’s LA, every hospital is at max capacity and even if she’s admitted, they might not get to her case.  They said she might not make it to next week.  WHAT!   At that moment, I was in shock and denial.  I thought there was no way she would die, she was too healthy to die of a bite.  Everything I read online said she would recover.  She was just weak from not eating.  That we would make our Internist appt.

    In the next couple of hours, her health decline was accelerating.  That night all her legs were starting to swell and she couldn’t stand or walk anymore.  She wasn’t whimpering or looked to be in pain but she had a look in her eyes that told me that she wasn’t ok.  I laid with her all night.  I caressed her snout, telling her how much I love her and I kept apologizing to her.  I failed her.  I was her caretaker and I failed.  First thing in the morning, we called our vet and we took her in.  It was gutting.

    My world caved. I sat on my sofa in shock, staring at the blank tv for hours, running through the events over and over.  I hate myself for the decisions I made. I blame myself for missing signs.  I blame myself for not getting her better vet care and forcing myself into the pet ER.  I blame myself for being undereducated about her condition.  I should have fought harder. I should have done things differently. I shouldn’t have left her at home and gone to work.  I should have taken her to a pet ER in another county. The list goes on.

    My heart hurts. I’m trying to breathe again.  I’m trying to eat again.  I’m trying to be a normal functioning person again.  It’s all I think about right now.   It’s the many stages of grief and I recognize that.

    When I open my eyes in the morning, I expect to see her big brown eyes blinking at me with her chin on my mattress, wagging her tail, willing me to get me out of bed.  Sometimes, a paw smack on the face.  I miss her so much  <3

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