Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Raider went to be with Jesus today. I spoke to Dr. Erwin and Boyd this morning, and after steroid injections he had become worse. He did not eat any this morning and only took sips of water. He was unable to walk out of the kennel today for them to clean. They had to put him on his blanket and slide him out on it.

Around 3:30 today Brandon and I made it to the vet clinic. Brandon and I knew what we had to do being the condition he was in. Dr. Erwin came in and spoke to us and in his opinion it was the best option to put him to sleep. Tears filled all the staff's eyes. Just in the few days Raider had been with them they all had grown attached to him. "He is a great dog" they all would say.

Dr. Erwin had Raider taken into the OR and gave Brandon and I some time to say our good byes. The look in Raider's eyes told us he was ready to go. He could not even get up to greet us when he saw us come in the room. We both got down on the floor and told him how much we loved him, kissed him all over and he covered my face in kisses... the best kisses any person could ask for.

Dr. Erwin and his staff came in and Raider gracefully went to sleep in my lap and made his way to meet Jesus. I can just see him now romping his way to the pearly gates of Heaven meeting Jesus and giving him a "five" or maybe "ten!" :o) We are having Raider cremated and he will be placed in a cedar box for Brandon and I to pick up in a week.

My heart is hurting so bad right now I can't even describe it. I feel like I lost a piece of myself today. The only thing I can hold onto is knowing that he is no longer suffering and getting to party it up in Heaven. I just hope that Jesus has enough food for him (he ate A LOT!) and babies (not real ones - stuffed animals) for him to chew on and tear up and carry the carcass around!

I know Raider is no longer physically with us now, but he will forever live in my heart. For those of you who had the privilege of knowing Raider, you know how happy of a dog he was! He never met a stranger! I feel privileged to have been his mom for the 16 months he was alive and will hold the blessings and memories he gave to me close to my heart.


His first bath in the sink

Squeaky clean and loving his new home

Keep me warm mom!

Just a baby

Finally not afraid of the kitchen floor

Learning how to walk on those long legs!

Fun in the sun!

His first "baby"

He always helped me do laundry - made him pooped!

What a sweet face!

5 1/2 weeks old

6 1/2 weeks old

7 1/2 weeks old

8 1/2 weeks old

9 1/2 weeks old

10 1/2 weeks old

11 1/2 weeks old

1 year old!

What a stud muffin!

When Dad could pick him up!

Mom's little man!

Yes, he really used to sleep like this when he was a puppy! :O)

Then he became a bed hog!

My night time snuggle buddy!

At the dog park with his friends!

Proud Papa!

Mom's munchcans!

That's what I call a nap!

As big as his mamma!

Always a good sport at my birthday parties!

My little gobblin

Hiking the Davis Mountains with mom!

On a trail at the Davis Mountains with Dad!

Taking a break from hiking! He was a serious hiker!

I love you more than you will ever know biggin'!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We have the best friends and family anyone could ask for.

"My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dog's eyes."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


My world is crashing in. My heart is hurting like it has never hurt before. My mind can't escape the thought. My body is so sad it is weak.

Sunday we had decided to take all the puppies to the dog park for a little romping with their furry friends. When we arrived and the park and let Raider (the Great Dane and baby out of the 3) run free and he completely collapsed. His back legs just gave. When he was finally able to get up he was having trouble walking. We immediately left the park and headed straight over to talk to Brandon's grandpa who is a retired vet. After picking his brain over whether it could be hip dysplasia (which is common in the giant breeds) or some kind of spinal cord injury, he just could not come up with a reason so I found the nearest emergency vet and we were off.

Once we arrived at the vet Raider was having difficulty getting in and out the car, due to the weakness in his hind legs. After the Doc looked him over he was given an anti-inflammatory and we were told to make an appointment with our vet the next morning. He did so good at the vet hospital and was so brave. I was so proud of him, because I knew he was not comfortable and not feeling well.

So Monday morning came without a lot of sleep due to a night full of worrying. Raider slept well but was not his usual self. I took him out to potty and on his way back into the house he collapsed in the kitchen. As soon as the vet opened I was on the phone to see if we could get him in to have x-rays in order to determine what was going on with my baby boy. She said they could get him in that morning at 9 so I quickly left work and headed home to pick him up. When I got home he was moving, not well, but moving. I did have to help him get his hind legs into the car. The trip to our regular vet was worthless, I am pissed at her and I will never take ANY of my puppies there EVER again. All respect I had for her in her profession has officially gone out the window. I had to walk Raider into her clinic using a towel across his belly to support his hind legs for him to make it inside. Once inside she then told me that she would be unable to help me because he was "too big." As I recall I do not think I stuttered on the phone when I said I had 130 pound Great Dane who needed x-rays. I mainly was so upset because Raider had to go through that whole trip for no freakin' reason.

So Raider and I made it out to the car, slowly but surely, to head to the vet that had seen him in the ER Clinic. This vet clinic is AWESOME! The people are wonderful and Raider felt at home. The clinic is called Tall City Veterinary and Dr Erwin and Dr Boyd are amazing! After Dr Erwin looked Raider over he agreed that he was not any better, he was taken away from me to have x-rays done after a bunch of kisses and tears. Brandon and I would have to pick him up later that afternoon after work. One of the longest afternoons of my entire life. All I did all day was wonder if my little man was going to be ok.

Brandon and I met at the vet clinic after work. Raider had to be put under anesthesia to do the x-rays due to his size and to put him in the positions needed to perform the x-rays. First x-rays we saw were of the hips...they looked great! Yeah no hip dysplasia! The x-rays to follow were not so great. The x-ray of his cervical spine showed some slight abnormalities, but were not so clear as to where we could really diagnose exactly what the problem was. After some discussion it was decided that Raider would stay over night to have a myelogram to be done the next morning in order to determine what was going on in his spinal column. A myelogram is where they inject dye into the spinal canal to help determine any abnormalities. Leaving him over night was one of the hardest things ever. I have never allowed any of my dogs to stay over night after any of their surgeries/procedures, because I know we can take better care of them and monitor them more closely than any vet. But I was made to keep him over night just so he would be away from his brother and sister and rest, making his spine more stabilized. They wouldn't even let me go see him because they did not want him to get excited. I cried all the way home.

Did not sleep a wink Monday night. Brewster and Maggie spent their time wondering where their brother was. Woke up crying in the middle of the night. Not my idea of a good way to start a Tuesday morning. I got to work a little before 8 and called the clinic to see how my little man was doing. The doctors were in surgery and could not speak to me at that time, but I was told that they would be able to get him in for the myelogram! Yeah! Today again was one of the longest days of my life. I called the clinic at 4 to see when I good time would be for us to come and talk to the vet about the myelogram. Dr. Erwin got on the phone with me and gave me the bad news. It was exactly what we hoped it would not be - Wobbler's Disease. The tears immediately came crashing down my face. I called Brandon and we made our way over to the clinic.

Once we got the clinic the Dr's came in and we reviewed all the x-rays from the myelogram. Typically when the dye is injected into the spinal cord it quickly makes it way down the spinal cord. After 45 seconds of the dye being injected the dye had not even left Raiders cervical (neck) area. Results of the x-rays showed that he had 2 areas in his cervical spine that were "pinching" or compressing his spinal cord. Not good. We talked over the options. Option 1: perform surgery and do a fusion of the unstable vertebrae to take the compression off the spinal cord. Sounds good, but being that Raider is only 16 months old and has another year left of growing, the fusion would most likely not hold and could cause more problems down the road as he grows. Also the surgery is considered "successful" if the dog makes it through it alive. So that option is off the list. Option 2: load him up with Dexamethasone, a steroid, which would help with inflammation and maybe relieve some of the pressure off the spine. Option 3: Put him to sleep.

After alot of discussing with Dr Erwin it was decided that we were going to give the steroids a shot. In our minds it is at least worth a try. We were then taken back to see Raider. I had brought his blanket from home hoping they would let him use it so he would feel a little more at ease. When they took us back to his little post-op surgery pin i completely lost it. A huge chunk of his hair had been shaved to do the myelogram, all his limbs were shaved for IV site, and his eyes just left me feeling empty inside. I know some of it was due to anesthesia, but I also knew that this was not the same puppy I had taken in the day before. We could just read the pain on his face and he even jerked due to pain when Brandon touched his hind legs. He gave me a look that said "mom please just make me all better." He gave me lots of kisses and I knew he was so happy to see his mom and dad. He even mustered up the strength to give me a "five" with one of his front paws. That is one of his most favorite things to do. Melted my heart. After loving on him for a while and telling him how much we loved him and to hang in there we had to leave. As we went to leave he so badly wanted to follow and go with us. He attempted to stand up, and although his from legs were weak from anesthesia, he could not even get his hind legs off the ground. I fell apart on the inside, but did keep it together until I got to my car. I felt worthless and helpless knowing that I could not do anything to make it all better. I will never forget the look of confusion, pain, and fear that I saw in his eyes that day. I can't get it out of my head to this second. Raider was having to stay another night in the hospital because myelograms can cause seizures for up to 24 hours in dogs, so he would be closely monitored and had medication on stand by if it was needed. I felt worthless and helpless knowing that I could not do anything to make it all better. I will never forget the look of confusion, pain, and fear that I saw in his eyes that day. I can't get it out of my head to this second.

After leaving the vet Brandon and I went home, sat in silence and just cried. That's all we could do. We talked about the options, did pro's and con's of everything and have decided that we would make a decision when we pick him up. We have decided that when we go Wednesday that if he has not made a significant improvement then we will have to put him to sleep. WE know that when we look in his eyes he will tell us what he wants us to do. A dogs eyes can tell you a story without them even having to say a word. He does not deserve to live a life where he can not run outside and play and be the fun loving puppy that he is. Steroids will just put a bandaid on the inevitable. Eventually he would become totally paralyzed, loosing control of bowel and bladder, and basically just suffering. Dogs also can become "mean" after extended steroid use. I know he would not want to be that way. I know if it were Brandon and I we would not want to live that way.

Lots of prayers have been said to ask for strength and guidance. Wednesday is going to be a long day. I am still hanging on to the small bit of hope that he may be better today. Being that Brandon and I don't have children my dogs are my world. This has caused my world to crash down. I am not sure why this is happening or why we are being tested. As hard as it i for me right now Brandon and I know that we are just going to have to put it in God's hands because all things happen for a reason. All I know if that my heart is breaking in two right now......

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

~ Roger Caras ~

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Heart Walk & Healthy U!

Today was the 2008 American Heart Association Heart Walk and Healthy U sponsored by Midland Memorial! I have been participating with Midland Memorial in the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Walk and Healthy U since I started at the hospital in 2003! This event is so much fun!! Each year I help raise money for the AHA, and then me and my fam and friends always go out and walk for healthy hearts and bodies! :o) Usually the puppies go every year, this was the first year they had to miss out since their dad decided to plan a hiking trip on this weekend! They were really sad this morning when I told them they couldn't go. I also made sure to tell them that it was their dads fault as to why they couldn't go! He! He! :o) After the walk is over Healthy U then starts!

Healthy U is basically a healthy fair where the community can come out and have their blood pressure, cholesterol and all that jazz checked out! You will find every branch of health care at the fair along with other booths to teach people how to become more healthy! I always head up the booth for the Ortho Neuro Center and get to educate people about joint replacement, spine surgery, and osteoarthritis! I get to talk ALOT...which is one of my favorite things to do!! :o) We even have alot of the patients that we have seen for surgery stop by to show us how they are doing....I love that!

I was able to get alot of cool stuff from our doctors to show off and give away at our booth this year and we had a TON of people stop by! Yippeee! We even gave out these nifty little pens and key chains is the shapes of bones....they were cute & quite popular! We also gave out surgical caps to all the munchcans! They all looked pretty bomb dig! The event lasted until 2 o'clock today and then we had to load up! I tell you I am pooped after this week! All the time and energy it takes to get everything prepared and loaded and then set up and then take down and to get everything taken back will wipe you out! But it is all worth it in the end! Having the opportunity to educate and maybe even have an influence in someones life in a positive way is one of the best feelings! It is one of the reasons why I became a nurse! I LOVE my job and the wonderful people I get to work with!

The starting point for the walk and Healthy U!

The SUPER nurses of Ortho / Neuro

My bomb-dig fam who always come out to support me!

Our rockin' booth

Everything you you ever wanted to know about knee replacement

Everything you ever wanted to know about the spine and brain!

Everything you ever wanted to know about hip replacement!

The coolest nurses this side of Texas! :o)

Juice the Moose is ready to go in for surgery!

My chocolate sista! :o)
My hospital family..........

The Endo Gang!

Our neighbors in the hospital - Wound Care!

The Therapy Gang!

Ok who forgot to give Todd his meds! I swear we can't take him anywhere!

The Respiratory Therapy Gang!

Christina and Elsa

Super Nurse Daria

Super Nurse Lynda!
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I am so happy that my Red Raiders pulled out a victory! Thanks to Beeler I got score updates during Healthy U so that I could know what was going on! Get your guns up! Brandon will be home tomorrow...YEAH!

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”

~ Leo F. Buscaqlia ~