Saving Cody: An Introduction….

•November 4, 2010 • 12 Comments

My name is Michelle and Cody was my six year old Labrador Retriever (he was five when I started this blog and he was two weeks shy of seven when he crossed over). We live in a house with two other boys, an orange 15 year old cat named Jimi, and a 6 year old all black crazy cat named Albert. Since Cody passed I spent about four months dogless, but I could not handle it and I now have a “Black dog” named Oscar. I say Black dog because he is a rescue and a “Lab Mix” by default which basically means, they think he has Lab in him but really have no idea whatsoever.  I am completely outnumbered.

July 15, 2005 – June 29, 2012

This is the story, actually it started as a diary of sorts, a way to vent, that I had been keeping in another format on my computer. It is now an online diary/blog of our battle against Canine Lymphoma with Cody, since his diagnosis in mid-September 2010, and what is happening in our lives since he passed on. If you are not familiar with Blogs, the most recent posts are first, so page back to start from the beginning. I write here constantly, documenting his chemotherapy, diet, ups and downs,  the costs and the steps I took to, if not cure him, at least put up a fight like no other. It is a terrible prognosis. This disease spreads rapidly in dogs, they can be dead within weeks, and it is highly prevalent. The statistics are shocking. My boy was only five years old and I could not with good conscience just let him go. So this is our story. I hope this in some way helps other pet owners facing this long road.

As you may have seen in my previous posts, 2010 had been a year of Cancer for me. It started with a friend dying of brain cancer in January, an Uncle dying in May of Lung Cancer, my own terrifying battle all summer, my step sister fighting breast cancer and having a double mastectomy in August and chemo, and culminated in September with my boy and his diagnosis. As much as i felt down trodden and beaten… this is not something I was going to take sitting down. I have never fought so hard and i sleep well at night knowing I tried my hardest to keep him healthy, happy and alive, and I tried EVERYTHING. I made him a promise that I kept every day to the last…

As long as he stays the happy boy I know and love, I will keep fighting for him. But if he ever starts to suffer, becomes so sick that he is no longer enjoying his life, i will not prolong his agony for my benefit. I will let him go.

So this is our story….

 

Weaning…

•July 25, 2015 • 2 Comments

  As most of you know I had to put Oscar on Prozac for a while. His anxiety was dampening his quality of life making him unable to enjoy normal things like simply going for a walk. If we would see people he would tremble and try to run in the opposite direction. We have never been sure what triggered his fear of people, but at one point it was so bad that he was scared of the television. So last November we made a decision to try Prozac and expose him to various situations with a different mindset. It has essentially worked. He has been much better especially on walks and running into random people. But the biggest hurdle that we overcame was when people would come to visit the house. It used to be that he would bark and tremble with fear even 30 minutes after they were already in the house. Not only was this impossible to enjoy guests, but it made them very uncomfortable and him as well. Suffice it to say it was pretty bad.

Since November 1 he has been on Prozac. He gets 20 mg every morning and by December we were seeing a noticeable difference. Being that is the end of July now we want to wean him off of it. I don’t want him on medication for an extended period of time, thinking back to my situation with Cody. I do not want to give Oscar any reason to become ill later in life. Who knows what Prozac does to his insides? 

The protocol for weaning him is to start by giving him a pill every other day for two weeks, and then one pill two times a week for two weeks, and then stop altogether. We are now on the second leg of this. The last time he got a pill was Thursday morning and it is Saturday today. This is the first time he will go two days without a pill. Needless to say I am monitoring him like a hawk. I want to make sure that he doesn’t go through any weird withdrawal or have his anxiety come back full force. That is my worst fear. One of the things that is really important is that he is exercised every day to make sure that he’s nice and calm and quiet, and tired obviously. Only problem is it is raining this morning. 

Dammit.

  As soon as this rain stops I’m going to take him out and wear his butt out! There are times where I chase him around the house with the ball to wear him out if it’s too hot or raining, but that’s not necessarily good for this old body. I actually felt like I got a groin injury running around the house with him a few weeks ago. How pathetic is that? Ha ha!

So here we are on the last two weeks of Prozac. I will keep you all posted on how he does after he is off of it completely. I am hoping that his anxiety stays in check and he can still enjoy a good quality of life. We will be taking him on a mini vacation with us the first weekend in September for my birthday. He will be completely off the Prozac then, so that will be a very good test for us.

  All I care about is that he stays the sweet loving dog that he is. I know everyone says this about their own pets, but he truly is the most affectionate sweet boy there could possibly be. Cody was affectionate but not like this. Oscar seems dependent upon my attention and love. It’s totally sweet. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that animals don’t feel, understand, communicate and love. People who say that clearly do not have pets.

Of course I will keep you all posted. Have a great weekend and enjoy your special ones!
  

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy…

•July 15, 2015 • 2 Comments

Today is Cody’s birthday.  He would’ve been 10 years old today. It is hard to believe. I still think of him every single day not only looking at my foot and the tattoo of his paw on it, but the painting in my living room and his ashes below. All reminders of my sweet boy who was taken way too young in life.

So Happy Birthday my sweet boy…. I am thinking of you today and every day….

  

An Anniversary…

•June 29, 2015 • 3 Comments

IMG_7453It was three years ago today that I said goodbye to my sweet boy Cody. It never really gets any easier, it just is….

I have reminders of him all over my home and all around my life. As it should be….

This is a short post because it is not really something that should be celebrated in any way, just acknowledged for what it is. An anniversary I wish I never had…

He was the best…

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Rip Off!!!

•June 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

It has been a really long time since I have written here. Only because there’s not very much going on news wise with Oscar. He is still on Prozac and still doing well. I think it has really started to take an effect just recently where we noticed a big difference in his acceptance of people, and his personality. But one of the things that prompted me to write today was regarding Prozac.

Any of you who have been reading my blog for the last few years know that I absolutely love my veterinarian. He was wonderful all through Cody’s illness, he was wonderful when it was time to say goodbye to Cody. I will forever love Dr. Butzer for that. But an interesting thing has occurred since Oscar has been on Prozac. I can’t blame doc, but I can certainly blame the facility. I don’t know who is making his business decisions for him but I disagree with them. Let me explain.

Oscar started out with Prozac on November 4. He had been on it for a month and when I went to get a refill instead of the $30 that it cost in November it was $45. Then in January it was $50. Then in March it went to $85 for 30 pills of 20 mg Prozac. I was absolutely floored and ask them what was going on. They said that the price of the drug was up right now and there was nothing they could do about it. In April it was $87, same answer. So for the next refill I just called and asked them the price and they said it was $92. So I asked them for a prescription. Just a piece of paper. I wanted to shop it around.

I went over to my local grocery store Publix pharmacy and ask them how much 30 pills of 20 mg Prozac cost. Are you ready?

They said the exact same prescription cost $11 without insurance. WithOUT insurance!!!!

I got the prescription filled there and asked the girl why on earth would Clint Moore (which is right down the street ) would charge me so much and she just laughed and said “because they can”. She said so many people come in with prescriptions for their animals because Clint Moore’s prices are so out of hand. 

So my message here today is just a public service announcement that just because your vet says your dog needs a prescription, and they carry it, does not mean you have to buy it from them. Any pharmacy will fill a prescription from the vet. You just have to ask. 

On a lighter note we are dog sitting once again for a 10 month old Labrador named Max. He is adorable. Oscar and Max are good buddies and are having a blast together. Having a Labrador in the house makes me miss Cody even more and want another one. Shhhhh…  Don’t tell my hubby… ;)

   
    

A Tough Controversial Decision…

•January 27, 2015 • 5 Comments

IMG_1466I have been struggling with this decision for quite some time. My cat Jimi is over 15 years old. I got him at a point in my life where I was single, and moving around the country quite a bit. Very nomadic. He has been with me through low points and high points in my life and career, and always been a good companion and a truly sweet cat. And now as he ages I feel like I owe it to him to give him some true happiness and pay back all the love he has given me over the many years.

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You see, Jimi has been having seizures, and at one point along time ago he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Although I have never seen any sign of that at all and do not really believe that vet. No other vet has been able to detect the signs of that in him. I also know that seizures are common in older cats. He has had a couple, one particularly bad one where I was home alone just recently and he seized and fell over. It lasted for over two minutes and he pooped himself. I think this one caused some damage. He just doesn’t seem the same. He sometimes walks in circles and screams for no reason, but there are some times of lucidity because he does come when called and acts relatively the same at times. As I said, moments of clarity.

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He is definitely showing signs of aging. He no longer grooms himself very well and has mats underneath his belly which he will not let me brush in anyway. He has never liked to be brushed past his head but he used to take care of himself and now he does not. He has basically given up covering anything in the litter box which doesn’t really matter for number one, but number two is pretty awful for everyone. There are times when he starts to sneeze, clearly something is blooming right now here in Florida because my husband is sneezing like crazy as well, but he sneezes so much that he almost falls over and obviously gets dizzy from it. His legs do not work like they used to and he is relatively unsteady. And frail.

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It is really sad to watch. But this is what you sign up for with animals, as well as people. You care for them regardless of their health or age and you try to make the best of it for them as best you can.

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And so enter my controversial tough decision. I have mentioned this before but the little cat in my household, Albert, tortures the shit out of not only Jimi, but the dog as well. After going away on vacation for two weeks it was very obvious that this was no vacation for Jimi. And being home and working from the house I am watching how much Albert tortures everyone. It is awful. He hides whenever Jimi goes to use the litter box and when Jimi is on his way out Albert jumps him. Albert is constantly swatting at his tail and his hind legs, and fighting with him over everything. This is no way to age gracefully.

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So I have decided to allow Jimi to go outside onto the pool deck and sit in the sun, and roam around the backyard. When I first got Jimi he was an indoor and outdoor cat. But since I moved to Florida I have kept him indoors exclusively, for fear of him falling in a canal, getting hit by a car, or getting eaten by something. But when I think about what he really desires, it is always just to lay in the sun and eat some plants and roam around and look at the sky. Isn’t that really what we all want? Just some peace?

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So rather than having him get tortured until he so sick we have to put him down, I am allowing him a last hoorah in the sun. He is basically outside for most of the day, at least when it’s sunny and warm. He spends the night inside with all of us of course.

I have truly grappled with this decision. I know that he could get sick outside, but he’s already sick. There’s not much I can do for him to make him feel any better, so why not allow him to enjoy whatever time he has left? And he is enjoying it tremendously. He has always been a very loud purrer (I just made up that word), kind of like a purr machine. And all he does outside is purr loudly. And drink from the pool as well. Even though there is a dish with clean water out there.

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He is happy and it makes me happy to see him this way. Am I a bad person for allowing him outside? I of course know all of the statistics regarding outdoor cats, but at this point I think no more damage could possibly be done. But who knows?

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I welcome any feedback and thoughts, comments. Even though it is my decision and I have already gone with it, I am still wrestling with it. I love him too much to allow him to be tortured for the remainder of his short life.

What would you do?

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