Saturday, July 6, 2013


Dear girls,

yesterday was D-Day, aka Dental Day. You've had dentals before, but not for a few years, and not while your 10 and 11. Your teeth needed to be done, especially yours Heidi, because your little pink gums were actually separated from your bottom incisors, leaving a gap where bacteria and other things (food?) could get into. You also had a lot of plaque build up, where as Shelby, you had mostly staining. I wanted this to be your last time ever having to have anesthesia...I'm hoping. I'm hoping that you never need any more surgery, and never have an emergency (*knocking vigorously on wood*). But although your dentals went well, the day did not go as planned, and was not easy...for me anyways.

I used to work for the vet that I take you to. Everyone knows me, and knows you are my BABIES. I have been allowed certain "privileges" (for lack off a better term) in the past-I have demanded to be with you while you are "knocked down" (put under) until intubated, and been allowed to see you right when you were extubated and been allowed to stay while you wake up. I have been there for every single surgery you have had. Your MCT's, Heidis perianal adenoma removal, and all of your dentals. But apparently they had a problem with a former employee in the past few weeks and have a new hospital policy that no one but staff was allowed in any treatment areas. Now, I don't know if this means that all visits to inpatients have to be conducted in exam rooms (which will be a problem when its a busy Sunday for emergencies and all the rooms are filled, or when the patient is too sick to be removed from its cage) but I see big problems with this policy in the future.

This "new policy" was completely unexpected when I brought you in yesterday. At first, they said that it would be several hours before they even premedded you because there were patients in line ahead of you. So reluctantly, I left you there (to sit in a cage) while I went to moms house. I waited until about 11:45 when they called me and said to come back, because it was your turn. So I drove down and they paged the dental department.

They brought Shelby out first. You had just been premedded. At first you were excited to see me, but as the time dragged on, you became more and more sedate, and then looked very nauseous. You lay down on the bench, and eventually went into an uneasy sleep. Finally, the tech came out, with Heidi, to come get Shelby because they were ready for her. I said that I usually stay with you until you are intubated and the tech said "well, you'll have to discuss that with the Dr." and then left to go get her...WITH Shelby-I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye because I thought Id see her again very soon.

Unfortunately, the Dr. came out and had a long conversation with me about the hospitals policy changes, not because of the former employees behavior, but because it was for the "patients benefit". I immediately became upset and saw a panic attack coming on. I said that if that was the case, she might as well take Heidi out back and let her premed in comfort, in a cage with a bed. I left, went into my car, and immediately launched into the panic attack that I foresaw coming. I was crying hysterically, hyperventilating, and I vomited several times in the parking lot. I had medication IN me, but no meds ON me to take. When I finally calmed down enough to drive, I went back to moms house, worrying all the time that I was not there and you were scared and not knowing what was happening. I trust the Dr. and staff just fine, but I DONT trust anesthesia. Again, from all my experiences, including waking up during procedures, having a hard time waking up from others and being terrorized and terrified. I hated to think it was something you girls would have to go through.

I waited and waited. Finally at about 3ish, the Dr. called and said Shelby was done and had no issues...just as they thought, she just needed a simple cleaning. Then, at 4:20 she called again and said Heidi was done and did fine too, although she needed her 4 incisors to be pulled. You could both come home after 6. I waited and Mom came home with some dinner. I ate, gratefully, and chatted with her to pass the time uneasily. Finally I could go get you!

You came out, both a little dazed and looking the worse for wear, but you were both OK. I breathed a sigh off relief that I had been holding in all day, waiting to see you in person. I hugged and kissed you, put you into the car, and we went home. You ate some canned food (very hungrily), had your meds (tramadol) and then went to sleep. You were both on the bed at one point but Shelby left to find comfort on the couch. Heidi made it upside down, but got hot after a while and wanted off too. I made a bed in the living room for you, right under Shelby, and I left you to sleep. As for myself, I slept uneasily still upset about the days events.

When I woke up there was poop ALL OVER the kitchen. I didn't care who did it, or how messy it was. I'm just glad someone went. Since then, you guys have remained for the most part, tired. You've slept a lot, but were grateful for breakfast. Heidi, you especially have recouped very well! You get the bursts of energy that demands attention. You want to play, even though you're missing your front teeth and bark at me bossily. You guys are both doing great and I'm so happy and grateful that your OK. I hope you never have to go through any other procedures again. I hope this is it...I hope you stay healthy forever...

I love you always and with all my heart,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Another long absence...

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

so its been quite a while since I've written to you seems like forever; so many things have happened since the last time I wrote. My last post was in October of last year. So many changes...

As you have seen, Mom and Auntie Ginny are packing. Mom has decided to file for bankruptcy and give up our little cottage on the river. You see, Mom has a lot of medical problems and cannot work right now. Although we did get some good news last week when I found out that I was fully approved for disability, it is not enough to keep our little family and house afloat. We will be going back to live with "other mumma" (grandma) and although I know it will be stressful, it is the best thing for us right now. Mom needs to get on a better financial track, and be able to care for you both the way you need to be cared for.

This includes having your teeth cleaned this Friday. I know you girls don't like to go to the vet, and you definitely don't like to be under anesthesia, but it is the best thing for you right now. Lets get this done one last time, so we can take out any problem teeth (Heidi, I'm talking to you) and lets get those babies pearly white so you never have to do this again. Hopefully this will be your last surgeries!!

That reminds me...of one of the events that took place earlier this year. Heidi, do you remember when I was grooming you and I found a lump near your bum? Remember how upset I got? I thought for sure you had your cancer come back; either another MCT or worse, a dreaded adenocarcinoma. Although we biopsied it with a needle and it came back good, I wouldn't have felt right about leaving it there...not with the potential of it really being something serious, or something that could grow and affect your way of life: moving, pooping, etc. So I decided to let you go under the knife yet again, and have this lump removed. Luckily the report on the FULL biopsy came back as a benign adenoma...and we should have no more problems from here on out.

And speaking of problems, Shelby, I believe that the last post was about your eye...anyone wanting to know what happened can rest assured that her corneal scratch healed fully with eye surgery for this girl!

Something else that was GREAT that happened, was our last job. Our DREAM job. A job where I could work with you every day AND get to help people. I was hired as an Animal Facilitated Therapist at a group of regional rehab facilities here in the New England area. Our job was to work with patients and their occupational, speech or physical therapists. Your job was to make the patient feel more at ease and forget the fact that they were scared, or hurt, or in pain...forget that they were doing therapy at all. You both EXCELLED at it...and I have to say, I thought I did too. But Moms anxiety reared its ugly head, and after 3 months, I went to my review and was told I had too many absences; they let us go. I wonder whether or not I could have kept working at that job. Most of my anxieties revolved around seeing you both age; seeing you get slower, or refuse to work because of fatigue. I now look back and understand that we were ALL out of shape, because Mom had spent the past year almost in the dreaded deep hole of depression, and we rarely got out. I would panic when I saw these signs, or worry about seeing them before we would even leave for work. I panicked so much that I immediately thought of getting another dog, to train to do your job (because I expected to be there long term) so you could take a break...have someone waiting in the wings. And that's where Norah comes in...

I found Norah on a puppy/planned litters website for Shiloh Shepherds. I didn't want another sheltie at this time, and was having German Shepherd lust. But I didn't want the typical "no off switch" GSD that had too much energy for me. I wanted a calm, smart working dog...that was big. So, remembering my experiences with the Shiloh breed from working at the vet, that's the breed I gravitated to. Norah came up from Florida and we picked her up from NJ (where her sisters parents lived and drove her to) on 3/17. By April, I could tell something was wrong. It turned out Norah had severe hip dysplasia and would need surgery on both hips. Unfortunately, I could not come up with the money to afford the surgery and rehab...I had to make the heartbreaking and gut-wrenching decision to re-home her...oddly enough with the people from NJ who had brought her up. I LOVED her. I thought she was going to be my next great dog, but fate stepped in, and severed our bond. I think about her every day, and know that YOU know that; I know because you see me still have crying fits and panic attacks when I think about her. I'm sorry I lose sight of you two, right in front of me, and being grateful that I still have you. But its like giving up a baby...a baby I will never see grow up; a baby who has issues that I couldn't take care of or fix. It not only feels like a failure, but a devastating loss filled with immeasurable grief.

But I am working on that grief, and with your help, along with "other mumma" and Auntie Ginny, I'm slowly getting through it. I'm trying to focus more on YOU two now, and realizing that you are my future and at this age, you need to be cared for, even more than before. Heidi, today is your 11th birthday...your considered by some to be an "old lady"!! But I tell people don't let that white on her face fool you...she is still as quick, smart, brilliant and playful as ever...and so is her sister, who is only 7 mos younger! You two give me a reason to get up every day, and are forcing me to get out and socialize. Id like to get you back into agility, even just open practice, so you can have some fun again and keep yourselves young =0) And of course, it wouldn't hurt me to get some more exercise!!

So that's where we've been the past 6 mos, and I will try my damnedest to not let another 6 mos go by before I write to you again. I expect many more adventures for us; especially this year and the year ahead. Get ready girls...Mom may not be 100%, but I'm trying...and I know you'll be right there by my side helping me get back to where I was...

I love you both SO much,
Happy 11th birthday Heidi,
Love Mom