A TRIBUTE TO DAISY
December 15, 1987 to July 1, 2003
OUR TRIBUTE TO DAISY
Our wonderful "Daisy" has been with us for 15 1/2 years. She has traveled all over the country seeing new and exciting places. She loved to ride on the motorcycle with us, in her basket on our mountain bikes, and in our boat as we fished different areas. We are deeply saddened that she is no longer with us after all of these years.
As a puppy she adapted well, living full time in our travel trailer. From her first trip in the camper at 10 weeks old going to her new home on wheels, to her first boat ride at Lake Mead, she was always excited to experience new things. In our boat, she had her bed and shade cover along with water and food. As we trolled for trout, kokanee, salmon, or bass, she would sleep in her bed, look up at us when we caught a fish and thought to herself, boy, fish for dinner. She loved eating fish, along with a tug on an artichoke leaf.
When we would go for our bicycle or motorcycle rides, she would run out to where the bikes were parked in the garage, we would ask her, "Daisy, tell us which one you want to go on, the motorcycle or the bicycles," she would look and then run to the one that she wanted to go on! We would put her in her basket, and away we would go for our ride. On the bicycles, she rode in the front, sitting in her foam padded basket looking all around. On the motorcycle, she would sit behind Nancy in her padded box and would look from side to side with the wind blowing in her hair.
When Bill and I went to play golf, we would load up our golf carts and tow them a mile to our local golf course behind the motorcycle, we would tell Daisy that we will be back soon and take her for her ride. When we approached the house, she could hear the motorcycle and was ready and excited to go.
We spent several years as campground host's at Strawberry Reservoir in Utah. We had all of our bikes with us, and when we took our bicycles around the loop to collect the money, Daisy would be in her basket. We told the campers that she was on "dog patrol," to make sure that all dogs were on a leash. One camper said, "Your dog is not on a leash in her box, we said, “Oh yes’” she is and showed him Daisy's short leash tied to her basket!"
On our days off at the lake, we would go fishing, catching large rainbow or cutthroat trout. One day we took our mountain bikes and packed our lunch, Daisy's food, and water, and with Daisy in her basket on Bill's bike, we rode up a dirt trail from 7,000 feet to 10,000 feet to the top of Strawberry Ridge. It was a hard ride, but Daisy was a trooper, enjoying every minute of it. At the top, we took pictures of Daisy and the view, it was spectacular!
As the years passed by, she was always there by our side, "Our little traveler, companion, and precious bundle of joy." The last year, her hearing was not as good and her eye sight not as sharp, but for 15 1/2 years old she was still always wanting to go everywhere with us. With the camper/truck, Daisy was always comfortable. On the 12 mile trip into Yuma, the "big city," Daisy went with us, sitting in her bed on the front seat between us.
Daisy was spoiled with beds all over the house, in the boat, and in the camper, they are now empty, but her presence is still there. With all of the photos, we have of her, memories, and our trips she will be with us forever, along with our other two dogs who spent many enjoyable years with us.
Daisy had a set back over two years ago in January, 2001, when she had her teeth cleaned at age 13. Before the cleaning, they always gave us antibiotics to give Daisy three days before her cleaning, then we would take her in and they did a blood test to see whether she could handle the anesthesia. This time the new girl in the office said that they now find that this is unnecessary; we questioned her because Daisy was 13 years old. She said not to worry and so we took her in for the teeth cleaning. A few days later she became very ill, so we took her to our vet, and he immediately ran some tests, and her blood counts had soared from a normal ALK of 80 to 18,000 because of a severe bacterial infection. They also did an ultrasound, and it showed that she had a problem with her gallbladder, maybe gallstones. Since they did not specialize in that type of surgery, we were given several names of specialist to take her to. We decided to go to San Diego, California. We loaded up the camper/truck and made the 200 mile trip to see Dr. Nancy Hampel at Animal Medical Center in El Cajon, California.
Dr. Nancy has the expertise to treat pets with any condition, she is board certified. When she saw Daisy, she performed an extensive blood work up, along with a complete ultrasound. The results showed that her liver was 40% enlarged, she had a slight heart murmur, the blood counts were all high and her gallbladder had sludge in it. Like gallstones in people, dogs get a buildup of sludge in their gallbladders.
She said that with treatment, Daisy would pull through. Daisy was put on Baytril, Flagyl, and Prednisone along with special canned dog food. She wanted us to get a blood work up from our local vet every month to chart her progress, as each month passed by her counts started to drop, and she was feeling much better, eating and gaining weight. After eleven months of the medication and with adjustments along the way, Daisy's counts were still high, but the 18,000 on the ALK was slowly coming down to 1,780.
During the summer of 2001, Daisy was feeling much better, so we decided to take the trailer to Utah, Nevada, and back through Arizona. Daisy did fine on the two-month trip.
In November, 2001, we drove her back to see Dr. Nancy for another ultrasound and blood work up. The results showed that her gallbladder still had sludge and her liver was decreasing in size and showed signs of regeneration. She put Daisy on Actigall; a medication used in people for breaking down gallstones. The three capsules are mixed in a 50% Dextrose solution. We first went to Walmart to buy the capsules, but at $4.00 a pill, this was getting very expensive. Since we have been going down to Mexico to get her other medication, we checked and they had the Actigall under a different name called Ursodiol. Dr. Nancy was concerned about the gallbladder and so she suggested that we have a blood test called Dexamethasone Suppression; this would rule out adrenal gland or pituitary gland (Cushing's disease). Her results were slightly elevated, but Nancy thought the Acitgall should help this problem.
As the months passed, Daisy was taken off the Prednisone and Baytril, but we added Amoxicillin. Her counts were coming down, although some months there was a slight increase. After each blood test, Nancy would call us long distance and we would go over her results, make some adjustments, and continued on the regimen.
In 2002, Daisy was improving, and adjustments were made to her medication. We did not leave for the summer that year since we decided to sell our trailer. We took side trips with the camper, fished and of course took Daisy for her rides on the motorcycle.
In February, 2003, she had a seizer and came out of it okay without any side effects. We went on a week's fishing trip in April; fishing several lakes in Arizona and Daisy did great. We decided to slowly decrease her medication for two months and get another blood test to see how she was doing.
On June 26th, we took her in for her blood test and went home to wait for our vet to call us with the results. When I took Daisy in, I mentioned that she has been panting at times. He checked her heart and lungs and said that both were good. That night at 1 a.m. in the morning, Daisy wanted outside. I took her out, but she just walked around, looking bewildered. As she came back to the patio, she stumbled and I held her in my arms for a while. I thought that this might have been another small seizer.
The next morning, our vet called all excited because Daisy's blood counts were all down, which was good news since she had now been off all medication for two months! When I mentioned the seizer and the continuing panting problem, we decided to watch her closely over the weekend. When we called Dr. Nancy about the seizer, and the good blood counts, she said that seizures can be caused by a brain tumor, lesion, or water on the brain. A brain scan would show this, but she said to try Prednisone for two or three days to see whether this helps the breathing problem.
On Monday night, June 30th, we were up with Daisy for over five hours, her breathing was getting worse, and she was weak. The next morning, July 1, 2003, we called our vet to bring Daisy in. When they heard Daisy breathing hard and coughing, we all knew what we must do. We made the decision to put our beloved Daisy to sleep. We were there with her to the end, and it helped to see her in peace and not in any pain. It was hard to do, but we know that she is in a better place, along with our two other wonderful dogs, Lady I and Lady II.
Dr. Nancy said that most people could not handle the situation as long as we did, but since Daisy was slowly improving during the last two years, it was something that we knew we had to do. We always wondered how and when to make this decision, but when you see your animal in a condition that has no positive outlook, you do what is best for your animal. Nancy said that Daisy had congestive heart failure and it was only a matter of time, and that it was good that she did not suffer.
We drove back to our empty house, and that night while sleeping, I heard Daisy bark several times, I woke up and realized that she was not physically there in her bed beside me, but knew that she was there in spirit. Sometimes at night when Daisy wanted to go outside, she would bark a couple of times and I would get up and we would go outside. Then a day later, while Bill was sleeping, he heard Daisy bark, he got up and felt the presence to go and open up the sliding glass door, and when he did, a dove flew up out of our yard towards the sky. We both talked about this and felt that we both had a strange spiritual experience.
It has been hard without her by our side, and the house is lonely and quiet. In time, we will get another dog, a Maltese, but for now we will just take each day at a time.
We wanted to write our story about Daisy, hopefully, to help others. If you ever need a specialist for your animal, we would highly recommend Dr. Nancy Hampel. Click on the link below to visit her web site and to get more information at www.animalmedicalcenter.info
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