July 2, 2011

Is This Thing On?

I'm sorry for the lack of updates in the past month, but I've had a hell of a time lately.

Kane almost died of heat stroke on the 21st of June. It was muggy, but not terribly hot, so I took him out at ~10am to avoid the noonday heat. I'm usually good about cutting him off as he's never known when to stop since he was a puppy, but that day I somehow missed the signs. The only suspicion I had, at first, that something wasn't right was when he didn't want to jump in the back of the car to go home. He gave me a look as if to say, "Um, no thanks. Too much effort," and laid down in front of it instead.

After persuading him to jump in, I made the fateful decision to turn right out of the drive instead of left. Left was the quicker way home, but Right took me past his vet's on the way home. I figured I'd keep an eye on him and if I noticed anything else odd, I'd stop at Dr M's and see what they thought. About halfway to the clinic, I checked on him in the backseat to see his big old mouth open the widest I'd ever seen it--I could almost see down into his throat, and he was drooling a little.

I might've broken the speed limit getting to Dr M's at that point. When I got there, they started by taking his temperature. After it reached 107.5 F and kept rising (normal dog temp is 101-102 F), Dr M ordered Kane in the back for a cooling bath. It was several minutes before she came back out and explained exactly what they were doing: continually rinsing him off with cool water and wrapping cool, wet towels around his head and neck to cool down the blood going to his head.

It wasn't until about 10 minutes after I'd arrived with Kane, when his temperature had lowered to 104 F that they brought him out, still wet, to see me. He was super-happy to see me and snuggled right up to me with a wagging tail. Later, I found out that Dr M had brought him out to check his reaction towards me because she was worried about brain damage and whether he was still all there. Since he didn't want to drink water, they were forced to give him an IV for a couple of hours and monitor his progress; at a severe heat stroke level, bodily systems and organs start shutting down, and she was worried about his kidney's failing. When I went back to pick him up, I was sent home with a 14-day supply of a probiotic supplement to support his digestive system and keep the bacteria in his gut happy (since that is the first system to go) and instructions for a bland diet the next day of hamburger and rice.

Three days later, on the 24th of July, Ellie died. This is still a loss I'm trying to muddle through. It was sudden and shocking, and has forever changed my life and my relationship with Kane.

In the face of this loss, I've taken to re-doubling my dedication towards Kane. I'd previously gotten his hips x-rayed because of worries of hip dysplasia (being backyard-bred, neither of his parents had hips tested, and his mother had been put down for them earlier in the year). Now that I know his hips and elbows are good, I'll be getting him into dog sports, with the hopes of titling him in Rally, maybe Obedience or Agility depending on how things go. I also want to try Dock Diving in a more "professional" environment since he already does an amateur version of it at the lake.

We've also been doing more doggy-fun activities, such as Bark at the Park (dogs are invited to a baseball game; Kane got to share a foot-long hotdog with me and schmooze with everyone there, both human and doggy) and Biggby @ the Point (free dog treats, professional photography, and coffee for us humans).

We were also going to walk in the local 4th of July parade, with his patriotic-themed "costume", until he came up lame after a playdate yesterday. I did get a good mini photo shoot out of it though. Here are a couple of the best shots (he refused to look at me for most of the shots, but he was a good sport!).

Kane is not impressed.

Show-dog style!
I just loved his grumpy expression in this one.


  1. Lots of hugs for you and Kane. Stay strong.

  2. I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts. What an absolutely horrible month you've had, I'm so sorry.

  3. Hi there. I know you have no idea who I am, but I have always followed your stories about Kane and Ellie on LJ's allthingsdog community. I am so heartbroken to hear about your loss and can only imagine the pain you are going through. You and Kane are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope things get easier for you.

    carelessrain on LJ

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about Ellie. Ginny and I are sending love and good vibes your way *hugs*

  5. I'm so sorry about Ellie. Do you mind if I ask how she died?

    Thank goodness Kane is okay. I'm your friend on LJ so if you ever need to talk go on ahead. Its artsandwords.

  6. i was just catching up on your blog and i'm so so so sorry to hear about ellie. i'm glad you've got kane around, i'm sure he's been a big help for your healing. *hugs*
    (this is realt_stea from LJ)