Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We've received many cards from many people. Just one of the ways people have really reached out in support. We're so appreciative of all of you. This card came today and its too adorable not to share.

I believe this is a picture of Whiskey, and then below is Whiskey looking out the window. I will honestly treasure this forever.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rest In Peace

A friend sent me this poem yesterday and I had to share. It's perfect.

Author Unknown

When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see;
The sun will rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
Remembering how I'd lay my head
In your lap that special way.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me.
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And petted me with her hand.
She said my place was ready,
In Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But, as I turned to heel away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life I never thought
That I would have to die.
I had so much to live for,
So many sits and downs to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.

I thought about our lives together,
I know you must be sad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

Remember how I'd nudge your hand,
And poke you with my nose?
The frisbee I would gladly chase,
The bad guy, I'd "bark and hold".

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for awhile,
I'd wag my tail and kiss you,
Just so I could see you smile.

But, then I fully realized,
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Will take the place of me.
And when I thought of treats and toys,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you and when I did,
My dog-heart filled with sorrow.

But then I walked through Heaven's gate,
And felt so much at home;
As God looked down and smiled at me,
From His beautiful golden throne.
He said, "This is eternity,
And now we welcome you,
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
For you see, each days's the same day,
There's no longing for the past.
Now you have been so faithful,
So trusting, loyal and true;
Though there were times you did things,
You knew you shouldn't do.

But good dogs are forgiven,
And now at last you're free;
So won't you sit here by my side,
And wait right here with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart.
For every time you think of me,
I'm right there, in your heart.

Matt and I were able to just lay in bed all morning yesterday and reminisce about our boy. He was the center of our world. Everywhere we turn, a reminder of him pops up. His beds, his toys, his treats, food, dirty stuffed animals, water dish, etc... Definitely the most difficult thing I've been through yet. 

For those who want to know the details, Whiskey went into respiratory arrest early yesterday morning around 4. The doctor called and said he had to be intubated and had copious secretions in his lungs. As she was speaking to me, he went into cardiac arrest and required CPR. I told her to stop. I couldn't bear the idea of him getting CPR or being uncomfortable any longer. It wasn't necessary. He wasn't going to make it.

We immediately drove out to Kirkland to see him. It was incredibly heartbreaking to see him wheeled in on a table. He reminded me of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, when Aslan is lying on the concrete slab. He was at peace. He was so soft and warm. We just hugged and kissed him, and loved on our boy for the last time. My Mom reminded me that we were blessed in the end because he made the decision for us. We didn't have to say "let's put him down." For that I am thankful. 

I know some people are wondering what's all the fuss about? He's a dog. But so many of you know what it's like to have a pet, let alone lose a pet. He was one special dog. Sure he would bowl you over when you knocked on the door, or he might have almost bitten your child's hand off if it had food in it, or he'd even try to sit in your lap if you we're in our home, but he was so sweet adored by so many. He loved kids (he would've been the best big brother-dog and human alike). One of his favorite things was to lay in the front yard and watch the world go by, or play in the cul de sac with the neighborhood kids, following them around on their bikes. We rarely had to leash him, he just stayed within sight. Even on hikes, he would run ahead and then run back to make sure we were still coming. He loved to cuddle with us and follow me around the house as I cleaned, from one room to the other. He LOVED people, and people loved him. I could go on and on and on....

I said yesterday that Jesus probably wanted Whiskey as His buddy. Maybe. Wouldn't it be so cool to know...

These last two pics are from DogSmile Photography. They photographed Whiskey last year and produced some AMAZING photos. Please consider them if you ever want professional animal photos.

Whiskey River Baker 05/17/08-10/04/12

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whiskey River Baker

Whiskey River Baker

A couple of months ago, Whiskey was diagnosed with Masticatory Myositis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the muscle fibers in the jaw. We first noticed swelling in one of his eyelids, so much so that he could barely keep his eye open. After a day, we noticed he would also randomly yelp throughout the day, but was still otherwise normal. The vet thought he had been bit, stung, etc so we started him on some anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. The swelling instantly went down, but the yelping continued. Luckily, Matt is a diligent internet researcher and we self-diagnosed Whiskey with Masticatory Myositis. The vet agreed and wanted to start him on steroids right away. Problem is you can't have him on the steroids until the other anti-inflammatories are out of the system, 3-4 days. UGH. We stopped the meds, and his eye swelling came back instantly. I thought for sure he was going to go blind.

The steroids were started and we began the weaning process, very important with steroids to wean slowly. The vet had given us a 3 week taper dose to start. With thorough researching, we felt like he needed months of steroids, not weeks. As we tapered down, we noticed some more eye swelling, this time the inner eyelid. Matt and I brought him in right away to a different vet we had been to before and really trusted with his care. They were extremely thorough and spent a lot of time with him. The vet even called an opthamologist to make sure we were doing everything we could for him. After all, he's only 4. We increased his steroids again and added an adjunct immunosuppressant to really get it under control. His eye and jaw got better within a couple of days. But then after about 3 weeks of slowly tapering the steroid down, he looked worse. He had difficulty moving and breathing and just seemed really sad.

They x-rayed his chest and abdomen and did some lab work  and diagnosed steroid-induced hepatopathy. (Of course he would get a terrible adverse effect from the steroids that I hate so much!) His liver is huge and his joints still hurt a lot. He has very little muscle tone left and has difficulty getting up to stand or lay down. Our biggest fear is that we will wean the prednisone down and he will get his initial myosotis back. I never thought he could be so sick beyond the myositis. My mind never went there

His breathing was rapid, he refused to come inside, and had severe fevers with a high WBC count, signifying some infection. He is now on antibiotics as well that are supposed to be liver-protective, and tramadol for pain control. We couldn't identify any specific infection. Our vet told us to be super diligent in watching him and prepared us with emergency vet info just in case (she was just as worried).

After a couple days though, he looked better, more relaxed and he even started to wag his tail again. We began to think he was really getting better. All of his lab work suggested his liver was liking the lower dose of prednisone (steroid) and his WBC count had improved. Matt and I continued to be paranoid about him though. He would occasionally have labored breathing and still preferred to be outside. Monday evening Matt carried him upstairs (still can't walk up stairs), and whiskey quickly laid on his little bed but looked more miserable than he had been. He kept shifting around and breathing way too fast. His temp was 103. We decided to bring him to Seattle Vet Specialists in Kirkland. This is where our vet told us to take him in an emergency. They were instantly concerned about his breathing as well and once inside, his temp was 104.7-a major increase from just an hour before. They decided to keep him overnight and do a liver ultrasound in the morning to check for any unseen cancers that we may have missed. Overnight I received a call saying he started coughing and looking worse. His oxygen saturation was 82% on room air (terrible) so they had to put little tubes into his nose to deliver oxygen. He still only has 91% saturation on 4L (not good). They also started IV fluids and stronger IV antibiotics.

Two days later, he still looks awful. He has his oxygen tubing stapled to his head (they have to in dogs bc it would just come off otherwise), an IV in his leg, and a soft cone around his neck. His breathing is still rapid (think constant panting). He hates laying in the bed they provided because he prefers the cold tile floor, which they luckily moved him to last night. He was so uncomfortable that he wouldn't lie down,  so he was constantly sitting up and shifting around.

According to the nurse and doctor this morning on the phone, his oxygen sats are a little worse, and he refused to eat. His respiratory rate and effort were a little better and they felt like he was a little more comfortable. Per our recommendations, they moved him to a playpen spot on the floor. Just some fencing around him with a couple of blankets that he still refuses to sleep on. At home when he had a fever he preferred the cold floor and being outside all the time. They also did a lymph node biopsy because some of his nodes felt "prominent". No results yet for that.

We visited him just now and he is very clearly more comfortable on the floor with a little more space (he's so spoiled sometimes-ha!). Fluids and oxygen and antibiotics are all still the same. He tried desperately to escape when we got there, trying to push Matt out of the way. No luck buddy. Matt fed him small pieces of chicken and he ate every last piece of it laying on his side. He loves having us feed him. He's done this at home a couple of times since he's been sick. We've literally spooned food into his mouth and he's happy. Strange. And spoiled rotten. But he matters to us. He even wagged his tail at us when we came in which was very encouraging. He has found out that he can more easily scratch at his nose beyond the soft cone collar if he lies down and smooshes it on the floor. Stinker. Luckily, the oxygen tubing hasn't been scratched out yet.

As of this morning, I was worried sick and so afraid. He is very sick. I've taken some time off of work just in case I get the call...but today is some slight encouragement. Still very, very sick.

Please keep our little family in your prayers. I am too weak right now for more heartbreak. People without animals don't understand fully, but he is my child. Matt and I love him more than anything.