I first met Kelsey around August 28th, 2004 at the Richland Hills, TX Animal Shelter. A friend of my husband's and me volunteered there and told us we needed to come see this beautiful girl. We had only been married not quite a year and weren't sure if we were ready to commit to a dog, but the shelter was close by my work at the time, so I went to see her on my lunch hour. It was love at first sight. She was the only dog in the big cage area that wasn't barking and I thought she looked so sad, like she had given up hope. |
They told me I could go into the cage so I did and I saw she had a tiny lamb toy that she wasn't playing with and she wouldn't look at me, so was so still and quiet. I knelt down as far as I could and put my hand under her chin and lifted her head very gently and talked to her and said, "it's okay, you can look at me sweetheart." I was glad the shelter let me take her for a walk. They had a nice big grassy area and she enjoyed it as much as she dared. She did seem to pep up a little which made me happy. I hated when my lunch hour was over and I had to put her back in the cage. It was the hardest thing to do, to walk away. I told the shelter I really liked her but my husband was out of town so I would talk to him on the phone and see what he thought. He agreed to let me adopt her from the shelter without him even being able to see her first, what a guy!
She was timid in the house at first and when she met my husband Jim, she was scared of him so we knew she must have been abused by a man when she was younger (the vet that checked her before we adopted her guessed that she was a year old, we think she might have been 2 years old almost).
A couple of days after her adoption, she let me chase her around the living room and we had a good time, then my husband tried to chase her, and it was so sad, but it scared her and she yelped out loud and cowered down. For about two weeks, Kelsey would look at Jim like she didn't know what to think of him and he would try to pet her as much as she would let him until one day after 2 or 3 weeks she let him pet her more and more until eventually, she became a Daddy's Girl. It was so beautiful I know she loved me too but the bond they had was so extra special, maybe because she had never trusted a man before. She was my baby too though, both of ours.
In early March, 2011, one night she couldn't get settled in the bed (yes, we let her sleep with us, she was spoiled and worth it!). She seemed to be in pain so we took her to an emergency vet literally right down the street. They did xrays and gave her morphine which was horrible, she was making the most awful noises. The vet showed us the xrays and my first instinct was that something was going on in her stomach. My husband even told the vet he thought something was wrong with her stomach, that she seemed to be squeezing her stomach funny, but the vet said, "No, she's got some back problems," and she pointed to the bones in Kelsey's spine which did look a little funny to me but the stomach area looked weird. We asked what that was in her stomach and she said it was gas. It looked like more than gas to us but what did we know.
So she sent us home with pain pills and instructions on how help her to heal, but the next morning I let her outside and when she was going to the bathroom, she squealed in pain, so we took her to her to her regular vet and they did more tests and thought she had a blockage in her stomach then referred us to yet another vet, Southlake Animal Emergency Hospital. We took her there, they took more xrays and tests and said she had a tumor. We thought they were full of it! How could we get 3 different diagnoses?
Unfortunately, Southlake was right, it was a tumor and they recommended emergency exploratory surgery. We agreed and waited for the news. During the surgery, the vet came in and told us they had her opened up and it did not look good and that a tumor had grown so big that it burst her intestine, and that her bowels were septic and said she would most likely not survive. They recommended we have her put to sleep, that there was nothing to be done, but we asked if she had any chance of survival at all. They said she had a 10% chance. We asked if they did the surgery and if she survived would she be in pain. They said they could make her comfortable. We decided to let them try. We just said, "Do the best you can, please."
The vet walked out and we cried our eyes out thinking we would never see her again. We thought this was the end, but our Kelsey girl had other plans.
An hour or two later (felt like forever so I can't remember really) the vet came in and said she made it through but that it wasn't over. She said she might not survive the night. Kelsey had to stay in doggie ICU, but we asked if we could check on her later that night.
When we went back that night and asked if we could see her, they said they don't normally do that with a dog that sick but they said Kelsey was awake and they actually let us take her out in the front yard for a walk! IT WAS AMAZING! I can't describe the joy we felt! She was wobbly but she was walking! We hated when we had to take her back inside and leave her again but our little brown girl was alive!
She was in ICU for a week, and there were times when we visited her that she looked pretty bad, we thought we would still lose her. We visited her 3 times a day even though we had to go to work. We happily got up at 5am just to go see our girl, then drove as far as we had to to see her during lunch then again in the evenings, sometimes twice in the evening.
The day we finally got to take her home was March, 13, 2011. I will never forget the date or that day. She recovered pretty quickly for someone who had gone through as much as she did.
So we got 3 more wonderful years with our girl and did everything we could for her. We fed her a cancer diet consisting of fresh salmon, buffalo and organic chicken, as much organic as we could. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, red cabbage, parsley. We took her to a holistic vet, Dr. Shawn at Paws and Claws in Plano who prescribed several holistic supplements and talked to us about our options: chemo, radiation, holistic medicine, etc. and told us it was all up to us and he wouldn't tell us what we needed to do. He doesn't offer chemo but he offered stem-cell therapy as well as AutoSanguine therapy. We opted to do both of those therapies as well as the holistic Chinese medicine instead of chemo. We did talk to a chemo doctor a couple of times but we decided to use that as a last resort.
She got ultrasounds every 3 to 4 months. We did extensive research on other natural cancer fighters such as Immunocal and AveMar also known as AveUltra. We read Dr. Shawn's cancer book as well as 3 other cancer books. Anytime we wanted to try adding an additional supplement, we would ask Dr. Shawn and he would research it for information and let us know if it was safe to try and it usually was.
In August, 2012, she had to have another surgery since the ultrasound picked up on something but they weren't sure how bad it was. We did this surgery at Paws and Claws and the surgeon was a stomach specialist. They opened her up and told us there was a walnut-sized tumor partially attached to her intestine. Here we go again. It didn't look good, but he said he would do the best he could but the surgeon was not very positive. Dr. Shawn was more positive which really helped us through and again our girl pulled through. Her recovery this time was not as smooth but she still made it.
After her second recovery, she still had such a zest for life! Riding in the car, going to the park, going to doggie daycare which was only 3 blocks from my work, going to dog parks, chasing squirrels, hogging the bed until her daddy was practically hanging off the edge of the bed but refused to make her move! She would sometimes get in my spot and steal my pillow so I would just curl at the end of the bed and fit in where I could so she wouldn't have to move...we were glad to do anything to make her cozy. We would call her our Kozy Kelsey.
So on February 16, 2014, after a wonderful day at the park and pigging out on her chicken dinner, Kelsey couldn't get settled in bed. After waiting almost an hour, we rushed her to the Southlake emergency vet and they took xrays. They were gone a long time and we did not have a good feeling. They came back and showed us a mass by her heart, one in her bowel and one by her bladder and some other small areas. We decided to have them also do an ultrasound and have an internal vet look at them. We had to go home without our girl. We couldn't believe she was in pain so suddenly after having such a good day.
Later we got to take her home and she was comfortable for awhile since they had her on pain meds, but 6 hours later she started whining, so we gave her a pain pill. That lasted about an hour and she was whining again. We hated taking her back but she was in pain.
We went home again and waited for a call from a surgeon. When we got the call, it was the same doctor who operated on Kelsey in March of 2011 and she said the ultrasound showed a small mass on her lung, a big mass in her bowel, one by her bladder, one by her heart and lots of small ones throughout her abdomen too numerous to count. She said the first surgery in 2011 was hard enough since she had to piece her intestines back together, but that doing surgery this time with all the masses that she had inside her would not be good. I couldn't believe it after all the ultrasounds we had had, but the technology at Southlake might have made it easier to see more details.
My husband and I went back and forth, back and forth, what should we do, but ultimately we knew she was in pain. She was such a tough dog going through everything she had gone through with hardly a whine, for her to whine the way she was now, she had to be in more pain than we could imagine. We make the heart-wrenching decision to let her go to sleep in our arms, at least she would not die alone without us on an operating table.
Beyond the Rainbow helped us say goodbye to our baby peacefully. It was not easy, I felt like I was betraying her, but the most important thing we wanted was for her to be out of pain. We decided that we would rather us be in pain having to let her go, than for her to suffer anymore.
We love you our sweet angel and can't wait for the day when we can hold your sweet little brown body in our arms again and give you kisses and run and play with you like you did all your life, even as you got older and sicker. It was an honor to be your mommy and daddy and we thank God so much that he decided to let us have 2 more chances with you so we could have more time to love you. You are gone from our arms, but not from our hearts until that wonderful, magical day we can see you again.
Our Beloved Kelsey.