Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Sweet Garth - Godspeed

Our Garth went to the bridge on Wednesday. He was diagnosed with Osteo the day before his 11th birthday on April 10th. We had been treating him for a soft tissue injury to his knee on the recommendation of our vet for 6 weeks. When his limp was to the point he was afraid to do the stairs to go outside (6 small step), and we had to carry him, I asked for a referral.

Dr. Matt Corse of Northlake Veterinarian Specialists did a quick exam with Garth laying on the floor and determined it was not his knee but an intermittent issue with his hip. Some pain but not consistent with each manipulation. He ordered x-rays, and the Osteo presented at the top of his femur, up in the hip socket.

There were 4 treatment protocols that were presented to us, but given Garth's age, the location of the Osteo, and Garth's terror of the vet office, keeping him comfortable at home was Garth's only real option. I asked for a chest x-ray to determine if the Osteo had metastasized, and it had not. "Thank goodness, we may have a few more months with our guy", I thought.

He was already on Rimadyl for inflammation; Tramadol was added for the pain management. We moved from Rimadyl to Meloxicam the following week without any issues. His limp improved for about a week, but started to get worse again. On Sunday, blood appeared in his urine. Not just a little blood, it appeared he was only peeing blood - dark & thick. Our vet ran a test and it was a bacterial infection, so we added Baytril to Garth's cocktail of meds.

Monday evening, Garth's previous foster mom, Maria came for a house visit to see her 'ol guy, Garfie one last time. She could see the same thing we did, he wasn't his usual happy, lively self. He did shower her with a few of his clumsy kisses, and hugged on her some, so there was a little glimmer, but it was fading fast.

On Tuesday evening, Garth stopped eating and taking any treats from us. He had figured out that they were probably laced with medicine. If any of you have a hound that makes food fly while they are eating, you know this is not a good sign. He sniffed everything and walked away, or he would take the treat and drop it on the ground.

Wednesday am, his pee was pale yellow again - Yeah, over a hurdle, but he still wasn't eating or taking meds. His limp became very pronounced. There was no where for the swelling to go inside of his hip socket, and we knew it was his time. His eyes told the story as he lay in his bed.

We tried to make his last day as full as we could for him. We both stayed home and loved on him. He took several small walks in the backyard with us. We took a few very nice pictures of him, like the very last one of him that is posted above. We let the FedEx man come onto the porch to leave a package, and 'Ring the Doorbell'. He jumped up, ran to the door, and barked like he usually did. Jon bought a rotisserie chicken for him at lunch, and he actually ate the chicken - didn't share even a nibble with Drew or Handy. But he looked very tired.

Our vet and her tech, Amanda, came to the house in the evening. We set Garth up in his dog bed under a tree in the shade for his last moments with us. Right on cue, in usual Garth fashion, he jumped up and barked and growled at our vet as she came into the backyard - our Guard Hound Garth! Amanda was in tears as we were. Garth was very special to her. Jon and I were relieved that he no longer had pain, and that he could now join many others at the Bridge to wait for us to join him.

I have to thank Mr. Author for posting on Facebook about Garth's trip to the bridge, and the many people who sent messages and wishes for our comfort and reassurances that he is now whole and pain free, and playing with the many who went before him. Although the messages brought many tears to our eyes, they also brought hope and smiles when we imagine him as he used to be.

Little Bud Bud, we miss you, but loved you enough to know it was your time to go. Handy misses you terribly. The one hound we thought would never get to attached to another hound. She searches the house for you each day, lays in your dog bed, has a hard time getting out of bed herself, and is very melancholy, refusing to eat on 'our' schedule. Please let her know that you are OK now. You were really loved by all here in our home for the 5 short months we were allowed to care for you!

Lisa and Jon
Drew and Handy - the pooches.

10 comments:

Cool Coty said...

Garth was such a handsome gentleman, 5 months is hardly enough time to share in his love. Coty and Luna are sorry for your loss.

Zan said...

Please allow me to express my condolences. I know first hand how hard it is to lose a special hound.

Zan, Rosie, and Nick

BrittBeah said...

What a lucky boy to have gotten to find such a loving forever home. I am sorry for your loss. I hope his paw print on your heart leave you with happy memories.

Poolie said...

I still keep pinching myself when I look at the calendar and realize he was only with us for 5 months. He had serious SA when we got him and I guess all the special attention he received made his stay seem much longer. He was convinced that his purpose in life was to be right there with you, and I wish he could have been 24/7. He was a very special hound and I miss him much.

Ms. ~K said...

I know your pain and my heart aches for you...
They never last long enough...
~Kit

Angela said...

Their time with us is always far too short. Garth was a special boy and loved so very much. I am sorry for your loss.

KF-in-Georgia said...

I'm so sorry Garth didn't have you for longer--and vice versa. I hope Garth soon sends you all a message that he's okay. Hugs to you and Jon and Drew and Handy.

Ridlon Tails said...

Our deepest sympathies for your loss.

Life With Dogs said...

You know I am thinking of you still, and hope you are as well as can be expected. Garth was lucky to have you, no matter how short the time.

Bronny said...

I'm so sorry for your Loss it's such a terrible ache when we loose one we love. But how wonderful to have enjoyed 5 glorious months with such a beautiful Grey baby. Enjoy happy memories.