Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Little Angel

Though this is for "Wordless Wednesday," I have to say something.

The little bulldog in the picture to the left isn't Bodhi; it's Leo (AKC Name: King Leonidas of Sparta). He was with us from Father's Day last year until August 15, 2007. In his short little life, he shone brightly and charmed everyone who met him.

We met him on my birthday last year when he was only 26 days old. Lily was immediately enamored of him, as you can see in the picture. Leo became sick at 10 weeks old, two weeks after he came to live with us. He started exhibiting strange neurological behavior. A trip to the emergency vet confirmed our fears. Something was dreadfully wrong. They sent us to Leesburg at midnight to the specialty clinic. We had to leave our sweet little guy there for fluids and such. At three a.m., we got the call. His ammonia levels were 300, when they should have been less than 50. This meant that his liver was not filtering his blood.

The next day he was diagnosed with a liver shunt. his blood was bypassing his liver. We went through a major surgery with him, only to continue to battle his condition. Eventually his condition grew so much worse that we ended up at the specialty clinic again during the night. It was two weeks before we were to have his blood tested again to see if the surgery had worked. In our hearts, we were afraid it had not. At 16 weeks of age, he weighed less than 10 lbs. The next day when we saw the internal medicine specialist who had treated Leo all along, he did an ultrasound and told us the bad news. He shut the door, pulled up a chair and explained that Leo's body had now developed multiple shunts and that there was nothing we could do.

We made the difficult decision to say goodbye to him that day, 8/15/07, but we have never forgotten him. I will never forget the way he felt in my arms after the medicine stopped his heart and brain functions. He finally stopped having tremors. I whispered in his ear how much I loved him and that I hoped he would forgive us for not being able to save him. I whispered to him to be at peace.

Less than two weeks later, the breeder arranged another pup for us - Bodhi. He was more for Lily than for us, because she quickly became depressed when Leo didn't come home. At first, it was hard for me to accept another puppy. I kept waiting for him to get sick, too. I felt beaten down. Hubby was even worse. He is still very much affected by what happened. But Bodhi grew on us and quickly became a part of our family. He will never replace Leo, but he has helped heal our hearts.

If you want to see more about Leo (more photos, poems, etc.), please visit his memorial page here.

Peace - D


Daryl said...

Oh how sad .. and how loving of you to both hold him til he passed and to get Lily a new friend ... such a pretty girl, Lily is.


Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Oh Momma...I have tears in my sorrowful and sad....what a cute little puppy.....very sad ending to his sweet life, how I wish it could have turned out much differently.

I hope Bodhi continues to thrive and give you and Lily all the love and affection you so richly deserve.

You sound like really devoted pet owners. I know that little Leo is romping happily up in pet heaven...I truly believe that whosoever loves a pet, will one day see that pet again....

The tears are spilling out of my eyes now...

May God bless all your pets!

Momma said...

Daryl - Thanks, she really is beautiful, isn't she? With a personality to match.

Lavinia - Oh honey! Sorry to make you cry! Yes, I guess we are sort of rare in that we take care of our pets as though they were our kids, to the best of our financial ability. We have gotten pet insurance on both of the bulldogs now, because of their tendency to have medical issues. I figure that should keep us out of the poor-house!

Peace - D

Don Mills Diva said...

Aww- poor dear little Leo - that picture is so cute but so sad when you read the story.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Awww. What a sad and beautiful story all at the same time. Thank you for sharing it with us.

highlander1463 said...

Bodhi has started getting under the covers at night and sleeping against my back.

The last night that Leo was with us that is where he slept. When I woke up in the morning her stayed under the covers with his little face out watching me get dressed. It was like he knew where we were going and he just wanted to stay warm for a little while longer.

I miss him.


Marsha said...

I'm so sorry about poor Leo and what he had to go through. I'm glad that Bodhi has in some way filled the void and that your hearts are not as heavy!

I hope you get a chance to check out my WW post for today!

Just Some Thoughts

San said...

A heartbreaking experience. I never heard of such a condition as multiple shunts, but it sounds so painful, both for the sufferer and those who behold the suffering. You no doubt made Leo's final hours on this planet more peaceful than they would have been otherwise.


Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

O.M.G. I sobbed when I read about that sweet, little man! I remember holding my Pouncival (orange and white tabby) as he was given his shot. Heart wrenching. Thanks for telling us about him.

Jennifer H said...

Oh, how heartbreaking. He sounds like an amazing little guy, and I'm sorry you had him for such a short time.

Momma said...

DMD - He was a cutie.

NATUI - Yes, that was our greatest ordeal of last year. Well, one of them. It was by far the worst.

Highlander - I know, babe. Me, too.

Marsha - Thanks. Loved the gator pics on your blog today!

San - Thanks. Yes, I think he was often in pain, because he was trembling almost all the time. He couldn't take pain meds because his liver couldn't digest them. I hope that we did make Leo's life as good as was possible during those trying months.

CMGD - That was the first time we ever had to euthanize, but it was truly the only humane thing to do. He was going to starve to death, in constant pain, if we didn't. That fact didn't make it any easier.

Jennifer - Thank you. We wanted 10 years with him and we got 8 weeks. It wasn't nearly enough.

Peace - D

Akelamalu said...

This was just tooooo sad! :(

At least he knew love in his short life. x

Merisi said...

It is incredible how much these little creature can touch our hearts. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you did the very best to save him and gave him so much love.

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Sandy said...

I am so sorry. Poor little thing. It is so hard to say goodbye.

abie said...

oh, that is so sad to hear...

btw, mine is up too. hope you can check it out:

Momma said...

Akela - He certainly had LOTS of love.

Merisi - Thank you. You have a lovely blog!

Sandy - It was awful. As you can imagine, I cried, cried, and cried some more.

Able - Thanks. I will definitely pop over to see your WW posts!

Peace - D

Maggie May said...

That was so sad! Poor little thing!

Hilary said...

Awww that's just too sad. What an adorable little thing. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jay said...

Oh gosh, how painful for you. It doesn't take long for them to grab hold of your heart, does it?

I understand the heartbreak. The dog who still breaks my heart when I think of her was a greyhound we had for precisely five and a half months. We adopted her from the racing kennel as a nine year old ex-broodie, and as soon as I took her in to be spayed, the bloods showed that her kidneys were failing. Despite many, many vet visits, we didn't know it until the week she died, but she didn't have simple kidney failure, she had kidney cancer. She was such a sweet dog and it was the most traumatic thing not being able to save her, so I understand how you felt about Leo.

I suppose we are rare to think that way about our pets, but there are a ton of us out here. Kudos to you for caring so much. We did the same as you and got another greyhound very soon afterwards, not so much for ourselves, but for her bereaved companion.

Momma said...

Maggie - I know...we really miss him still.

Hilary - Thank you, my dear.

Jay - Thanks so much, and it's nice to think that there are a bunch of us out there. If more people actually cared about their pets (and all animals) there would be a greater peace in the world. I'm so sorry about your dear greyhound! I know that you gave her a wonderful, loving home for her final months on Earth.

Peace - D