I’d thought that I’d write a blog this weekend, and I’d thought it would probably be about Dart’s first agility trial in four months.
It’s Belle Cardigan’s blog instead.
Belle is now just past thirteen years old, and we’re suddenly–very suddenly–getting ready to say good-bye.
She’s seen a lot of changes in the past year; she’s now mostly blind and profoundly deaf, and I thought that explained some of the new behaviors that have crept in over the past couple of months. And maybe to some extent, it did. But suddenly other changes piled on in the course of the last week, and a visit to the vet quickly revealed the worst–the cancer that Belle has been hiding from us. Never mind her gorgeous coat or the fact that she looked so good on her Christmas Eve birthday that I thought I’d have years more with her.
Belle was a gift from writer/breeder friend Jennifer Roberson at Cheysuli Kennels, way back when I first moved to the Southwest. She was too small for conformation shows, but she grew into my first serious agility dog, and she marched through rally excellent and novice obedience with a steady stream of blue ribbons.
She was the first dog in this area to get a PAX (and that was the first PAX title that judge had given).
She was one of only 50 dogs to have a PAX2 at the time she earned hers.
When (in July of ’12) AKC instituted the more demanding PACH title, she earned her first PACH and very nearly her second; she was at that time #2 Lifetime Preferred Cardigan Corgi. When I retired her at the end of last year at the age of twelve, she was 100 speed points away from that PACH2 (and nearly a PACH3 with her double Qs).
This is all in spite of calcifying disk disease that struck when she was five years old and partially paralyzed her, a condition from which she was not expected to recover. Between five to ten years old, she sat out more trials than she ran because of flares, and then the calcification stabilized. (She continued to run agility at the vet’s behest; keeping her strong was the best thing I could have done for her.)
Belle is my princess dog. My tries so hard to be perfect you want to cry dog. My sweet, sweet little blue merle girl with the blue eye. Bellicious, Bellevator, BelleBelle, Miss B, Princess Belle.
I’m not sure how long we have. I know it’s not long enough. And so I am making a bucket list for her, the things I think she most wants from her world in these scant remaining days.
Pleasant afternoons of snoozing in the sun.
- Evenings of snoozing in the forbidden “trip me” spot RIGHT BESIDE MY FEET at the standing station.
- Nomming down extra coconut oil, fish oil, and big heapings of yummy meats. Her appetite is still fine, and she needs this tripled intake to maintain her otherwise rapidly falling weight.
- This includes Second Breakfast.
- Getting the office princess bed whenever she wants it, no matter who the boys think owns it (or what they think it’s called).
- Not worrying about piddling indoors because the office is now one giant incontinence pad.
- Many couch cuddles.
- Playtime with the mommy on the floor gently pinching her toes so she can pretend to FIERCELY BITE.
It’s a start.
Awww….poor Miss Belle.
We love them so much and it’s so hard to let them go. I wish Belle and you many super fine last days.
Sucks. And it’s never easy to say good bye no matter how long we have with them
((((hugs)))) to you, and more time with you, to Miss Belle. (It’s not even blurry screen virus; it’s a damn waterfall all these miles away.)
Oh, Doranna! I can’t see for crying — as you know, we lost our lovely Sunny Lady Dachs to cancer the end of October — and she had just had a clean bill of health in August, so I thought… I thought…! Even though she was 14 years, 7 months and 16 days old, it was too, too soon!
LDN might slow it. Something which helped with Sunny’s weight was a mix of 2 parts cottage cheese with one part flax oil, blended with a hand blender until smooth and the oil is incorporated well into the cheese. This mix is part of Dr. Johanna Budwig’s cancer protocol.
Homeopathic arnica worked better than any of the prescription pain relievers. Sunny was alert with it, and loved being on the ottoman by my computer. There was one other homeopathic which helped — I’ll try to look it up.
May you and Belle have the most beautiful of days together, for however long she chooses to stay!
May the bucket list be fulfilled.
Thank you all for coming to give Belle virtual pets and love. She’s in my office now, trying to decide if she wants to nap or smell her way around after a big snooze in the sun and a little amble around the small office porch. 8)
Marilyn, it was such a surprise for Sunny Dachs, that’s for sure….she did so well to make nearly 15 years! I confess, I had hoped the same for Belle until this came up.
My vet (and I) are basically of the “no carbs” protocol for cancer, but Belle is doing well on the increased oils. I should probably add a little pumpkin to her food to keep things moving for her.
I thought arnica was for recent/acute injuries, but I’ve heard really good things about it and hadn’t considered it for this use. I should go hunt some up! I’ve wanted to have it on hand anyway. Thanks!
Doranna, we tried a number of prescription meds on Sunny Lady and they all knocked her out. She was so groggy and unhappy, and she fought taking the next dose, yet it was plain that without something, she was in pain. And she was the dog who never complained!
The Arnica solved that. And I’ve remembered the other remedy recommended for her by my vet was Thuja. We basically alternated doses — Arnica mid morning and bedtime and Thuja early morning and dinner. As things progressed, we sometimes did them more frequently.
Pumpkin is good for keeping things moving. Also consider cooked and pureed zucchini — being a summer squash, it is lower in carbs than the pumpkin, which is a winter squash.
Once again, sending love to a beautiful, short-legged Lady!
Much appreciated! I’ll check out the thuja, and will put zucchini on the list. 8)
Both the vet and I have decided that once Belle is in enough pain to tell me about it, it’s time to make the decision. As you experienced, pain management drugs bring their own issues, and that will especially be the case with a little dog already wobbly on her legs and at risk for blockages. However, although I know arnica is not good for long term use, this isn’t a long-term situation…and I think I can offer her relief from some underlying discomfort this way. It’s already on the way…
Belle Baby. I remember bringing her into the world on Christmas Eve 1999. I remember, too, how Doranna fell in love with her, though I planned to keep Miss Belle. When Doranna moved into the guest house in Flagstaff, I presented her with Belle as a “house-warming present.” I knew she’d have a special home, and I knew she had the chops for agility.
Belle more than lived up to that prediction. And then some! I watched as Doranna carefully nursed her bouts of calcification flares, and smiled as Belle came through every time.
It’s just not fair that she should be taken before time when she has worked so hard to accomplish all she’s accomplished, and to beat spinal problems repeatedly. I can only assume that she’s meant to be a little blue merle angel across the Bridge, soon to play with Kacey and her uncle, Jean-Luc.
I am so grateful to Doranna for allowing Belle to be . . . well . . . the Belleness. The Belevator–a name she got when, outdoors, she leaped up to look in the door’s window, and all we could see were ears.
Love you, sweet girl.
Who could not fall in love with her, I ask? 8)
Belle also flew home with me to NYS and back again while I packed up my belongings for the big move. She was, of course, perfectly behaved.
Belle at that back door window, which was high enough so it was hard to believe we could see her at all: EARS pause EARS pause EARS pause…
Belle has been blessed with your love for all of these years. Belle will remain with you forever, in your heart, the leaves, the wind, the glint on snow.
My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Debbie, that’s beautiful–thank you!
Linda, thanks–I appreciate it. (Missed you at this past trial–hope you were off having fun with nationals!)
I’m so sorry to hear this. Wishing Miss Belle comfort & cuddles in her final days. Hugs for Doranna.
Doranna, no, not a long term situation. But if she can be comfortable, that counts. I’ve had Dachshunds for 43 years, and had never had to make That Decision for any of them. Sunny refused to give up. She was determined, somehow, to beat that d@mned cancer. And I finally told Harry that if she was with us come morning, we had to let her go. It wasn’t fair to her to make her stay. And then I petted her, and told her it was okay, if she wanted to go on ahead, it was all right. A couple hours later, her breathing slowed… and stopped. She was my girl to the last, sparing me the decision she knew I feared I wasn’t strong enough to make. She was never a champion in the eyes of the AKC, but she was a true Dachshund, in mind, in heart, in spirit. The thuja and the arnica made a major difference in how her last days went.
Doranna, there are never any words. I know you writers think so but for this words are never enough.
Jinnie, thank you! And of course you’re right. It’s a lesson I have to relearn every so often, but sometimes words just don’t do it.
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl. I feel honored to have met her and seen her run agility with you. May she enjoy all of her bucket list items and may she forever live painless and free!!
Aww, thanks for coming to read for Miss Belle, Polly. I’m glad to see you here!
Doranna, I’m a little behind and just saw this. I am so sorry to hear about Belle’s failing heath, and hope the “bucket list” makes her last days happy. No matter how long we have with them, it’s never, ever long enough. Give the Belle a little soft scritch from me.
Thanks, Karen. I’ll do that. 8)
Truly beautiful am so very sorry