Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Highs and Lows

The last 3 weeks have been both terrible and wonderful in the lives of our dogs.
Just prior to Easter saw the start of the roller coaster as out beautiful goldie Tammy stopped eating. When a retriever stops eating it is an immediate cause for concern so we rushed her to the local vet. At first we suspected a blockage as the dogs had been in the bin the night before and there had been some chop bones in there. However when she still wasn't eating 2 days later we took her back and discovered she had high calcium levels. A retest confirmed the worst and we raced off to Perth Veterinary Specialist to speak to their oncologist. They wonderfully stayed open late for us and took her in for a night of IV treatment and scans. We had been prepared for the worst (lymphoma) so were much relieved when they discovered a parathyroid problem - a problem that could be fixed with surgery!! She was prescribed calcium treatment,  and after another couple of nights in emergency later in the week while they got the right drug, we took her home to rest and gather strength for surgery.
Thinking everything was going well we returned for her checkup only to have a swollen lymph node discovered in her neck which would require tests before surgery could take place.
Then it got REALLY bad... the dreaded word - lymphoma :( Instead of surgery Tammy was admitted for more tests including a bone marrow test which was to provide the diagnosis we dreaded - Tammy has Leukaemia. Pretty much the worst diagnosis we could have gotten.
DEVASTATED - doesn't even come close to how we are feeling. Tammy has had one dose of Chemo and today we return to make decisions on what path we want to take from here. Sadly there are no options that will give us long with her and there have been plenty of tears shed.
Tams has been Graeme's faithful companion for nearly 10 years and they share a very special bond. They have competed in both Obedience and Agility together with her Agility career sadly cut short by a couple of dodgy knees (I really wish I could have seen her compete). Whilst she has only been 'my' dog for a short time we have also developed a special bond - she is our 'brat dog' full of mischief and fun - the only dog I have ever know to break her tail by wagging it too hard!! Last week we were due to become registered as a Therapy Dog team - our special thing to do together, and in 2 weeks we were going to take on the challenge of Rally-O, she would have been brilliant at both.
For now we are enjoying every day that we have with her. I am lucky to have been on holidays so we have been taking trips to the park together and yesterday we went for a walk with all of Tammy's doggy friends to Nedlands foreshore. Tammy was so happy to be out, rolling in the beach sand, swimming and playing with her friends. It was a special time for all of us. I think she is loving some of the special privileges - specially cooked TammyTooStew for meals, carrying her squeaky ball everywhere with her and best of all - being allowed to rip apart soft toys without getting in trouble!! She will always be our special brat dog who we love to bits :)

On to the highs
With such an emotional couple of weeks we really hadn't focused as much as we probably should have on the State Trials last weekend - and in the morning trial it showed! Between 2 of us and 4 dogs we didn't have a single pass. We came painfully close in a number of runs, but close doesn't get you into finals. The afternoon trial was a different story. Selby was soooo close again in Open Jumping and then went on to have 3 amazing runs and make finals in Excellent Jumping, Excellent Agility AND Open Agility, Maverick made the Open Jumping final and Cade the Novice Agility final (gaining his title in the process)
Sadly we divert briefly back to the lows - Amos unfortunately had an accident during the week and dislocated his knee. Although he had a good attempt in the morning trial he pulled up sore and had to withdraw from the rest of the States and will now be rested for at least the next month :(
Sunday saw the finals and a VERY nervous handler. Excellent Agility was up first and Selby backed up her performance from Saturday with a lovely run to finish in FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!! I have a STATE CHAMPION!!!!!!!
Open Agility was also a great run but unfortunately I lost contact with her out of a tunnel and we missed a jump - my fault entirely. Was pretty cool to be up against 'the big kids' in a final and we did finish in 8th place which I'm really happy with.
Final run for Selby - Excellent Jumping. Another fantastic clear run :))))) This time second place to the incredibly fast Liryk and Megan.
No luck for Mav or Cade but was still amazing to have 3 of our dogs in finals.
My little puppy is a State Champion and State Runner-Up but the BEST part of the weekend by far - Tammy was able to be with us for both days, wagging her tail and carrying her ball everywhere she went :)

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