Welcome to Higgins's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Higgins
I received a call from WT Cares, a Welsh Terrier rescue group that spans the U.S. About 3 months before the call came, I had pulled a 4 year old WT from a shelter in the next county. Her owners didn't have time for her. She was sick, so I fostered her to recovery and then adopted her. Her name was Ellie May. I wasn't sure I wanted to have two dogs to care for, but the group needed someone to receive this owner surrender. The mother and son brought the 2 1/2 year old male to my home. The two dogs were getting along fine. There wasn't another foster home available in the area that could take him, so Higgins stayed with Ellie May and I for 6 months. Ellie seemed happy to have a tug-of-war buddy, and soon I knew we both wanted him to stay permanently. Higgins was his own dog! He didn't like to cuddle but he loved to sleep on the bed with me, as long as he wasn't touching Ellie! He came with skin problems that caused excessive itching and was found to have environmental allergies. At that time the best that could be done was frequent bathing with special shampoos. A few years later, Ellie went to the Rainbow Bridge after an exam indicated her extreme cognitive difficulties were likely due to a brain lesion.. I loved that sweet little girl very much; Higgins helped me through the grief I was feeling and our bond grew stronger. As the years passed Higgins began to show signs of aging but wasn't suffering in any way. His allergies were controlled by Apoquel which helped a lot. Then I found a small hard lump between his front leg and chest. The vet removed it. It was found to be malignant, but the vet apparently got it all. Fast forward several years and Higgins had minimal hearing and sight left. He seemed content, but then he began rubbing the the left side of his face against whatever hard surface (like a table leg) he could find. And he cried while doing this. The vet said he definitely needed a lot of dental work, He got through the removal of 12 teeth without any problems. But the rubbing and crying continued. He blood tests showed some slightly elevated liver values, so he was put on medication for that, also pain pills.Next he began having white gook in his eyes, the left more than the right. I learned how to remove it and apply ointment. Again he seemed better, but it didn't last. Bloodwork was done again and it showed that his liver numbers were off the chart. I had been researching Apoquel and found that the FDA released the drug without a sufficiently long period to see what long term side effects were. Liver and kidney disease were on the top of the list. No more Apoquel for my boy, but his itching intensified until he was scratching and biting himself to the point of drawing blood. This can happen with liver disease. He was crying more and more. I noticed one evening that his chest seemed to be expanding. It wasn't from overeating, in fact he had steadily been losing weight. By this time I believed he had severe liver disease and was in pain. I knew I needed to decide water to end his pain and scratching. The vet agreed. On April 17, 2019, I said goodbye to my buddy. It hurt so badly, I couldn't stop the tears. I miss him every minute of the day and night. The house feels so empty without him. I believe I will get through this, but it's going to take a long time. I hope Higgins and Ellie May are running easily with great joy.


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