If you're reading this update, you're probably aware of the fiasco that ensued after I announced we had taken in a 3 year old Mastiff named Titan. I posted this on FB like everyone else does when they get a new dog and opened up a huge can of worms when it turned out that one of our followers was his previous owner who took offense to the post and even went so far as to tell me I had stolen the dog.
That being said, I will say that I feel his previous owners loved him and provided for him as best as they could. And like me, they acquired him under not the best of conditions. From his medical records I know they gave him a much needed surgery last November and he was up to date on his shots.
Talking with his previous vet I know that he was eating good quality food and even though his current skin condition isn't the best, I was told it's a hell of a lot better than it used to be. I'll never know why they brought him in to be euthanized on April 5th, but they loved him enough to allow the vet the opportunity to re-home him.
Now I'm going to leave his past in the past and tell his story from when I came into the picture.
We were called the morning of April 6th and asked if taking on another dog would be something we would be open to. We have a 13 year old Mastiff/Boxer mix that we have to take into consideration. Once we felt we could be respectful of her final days (however many they may be) we felt good in our decision to go meet him and see if we could help him out. Here is the first time we saw him.
It was clear within the first 3 minutes of meeting him that there was an issue with his ability to pee. No matter how many times he tries - only droplets come out.
We brought him home and he 'asked' to go outside every 60-90 minutes. My husband Dave and I set our alarm and would take turns getting up with him.
On his 3rd day home I was out in the yard with him for 35 minutes and he tried to pee 13 different times. Poor guy.
We had his records transferred to our vet and made an appointment to get him seen so we could figure out what the issue was. I knew he had a history of bladder stones and I wanted to see if they had returned.
We went to the vet on Thursday April 11 (my birthday) and explained that he's eating ok, drinking well but needs to be let outside every 60-90 minutes around the clock. They did an urinalysis and an ultrasound and was told that they did not see any stones but he did have a bladder infection, an enlarged prostate with 3 cysts. He also has a tumor on his tail bone, allergies and an ear infection. They felt that his urinary issues were due to his enlarged prostate.
We were given a plethora of meds and a follow-up appointment for 4 weeks. So now we have a game plan and I was happy at the hope that we could get this sweet boy back on track.
We were told that the meds would increase his thirst and would prompt him to want to go outside more often. They weren't kidding. Once the meds started to get into his system his needing to go outside reduced down to every 20 minutes. Every. Twenty. Minutes. I won't lie, it was exhausting.
Because we don't have a fenced in yard we took him everywhere with us to make sure he could go potty. If we went to eat, he was with us and we would take him potty before we went into the restaurant and again just before the meal arrived. As inconvenient as it was, we were hoping it wasn't forever and that we were going to get to the bottom of this and come out on the other side.
By day 4 on meds he was able to prolong going out to every 2-3 hours. He seemed to be more comfortable and was starting to sleep more. All good signs.
Things were proceeding in the right direction until this past Friday. Early Friday morning he suddenly lost the ability to pee. No matter how much he tried, nothing. Not even a drop.
We called the vet at 8 am and were told they could fit us in at 1:40. We hung the phone up, packed up both dogs and headed out.
We dropped Vega off at our neighbors. BTW - We have the best neighbors and best community anyone could ask for.
We decided to go ahead and take Titan to the vet 4 hours early because he was so uncomfortable we wanted him available the moment they could squeeze him into their schedule.
We drove the hour and a half to the vet and got him checked in. Because of his inability to void his bladder they worked him in pretty quickly and catheterized him to give him some relief. Once they catheterized him he laid down and went to sleep. Poor boy.
Over the course of the day, they did blood work and gave him another ultrasound which we were hoping would give us the reasons as to the cause of his issues.
But the ultrasound did not give any answers and only left us with 3 options.
- Take him to Syracuse where they will hospitalize him and keep him until a radiologist can examine him on Monday. The ballpark cost for this option is $7,000-$9,000.
- Take him to Cornell University where they will hospitalize him until at least Saturday but he'll be able to see a radiologist Saturday morning. The ballpark cost for this option is $5,000-$6,000.
- Euthanize him. The ballpark cost for this option is just under $500 which includes the ultrasound, catheterization, blood work etc that they had already done that day.
The moment they mention euthanization, my husband broke down in tears. Not quiet little tears but big manly GI Joe tears. He said he couldn't do it. He said he knew we really didn't have that kind of money but he believed there had to be some way we could figure something out so that Titan didn't have to die due to lack of money.
If Titan's quality of life is compromised then that's one thing, but it's not fair to have to consider putting an animal down especially when you don't really know what the issue or prognosis is.
What does he have? What is causing this? Is it cureable? Can he recover? Can he lead a healthy life?
We felt we owed it to Titan and to ourselves to find the answers to these questions before we made ANY decisions.
Through tears we listened as the vet told us about a finance service for animals that can help in such circumstances and asked if we would like to apply. We said we did and they approved us for $4,000. (I'm telling you this so you know it's available if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.)
Because he was unable to pee, bringing him home was not an option. He had to be somewhere that could catheterize him and keep him comfortable until he could be seen by a radiologist.
So off to Cornell we went.
Titan wasn't really drinking and had refused to eat so we decided to stop at McDonalds to see if some plain hamburgers would do the trick. They mistakenly put ketchup on the burgers, but at this point I didn't care.
We finally get to Cornell and get him checked in. They did an initial assessment and discussed all the possible outcomes both good and bad from this stay. Before they would take him we had to pay $3,000.
On one hand it's the craziest thing I've ever heard. On the other hand I understand and maybe it's better this way because there are no financial surprises.
We sat there and took in the fact that between all the trips to the vet, the special food, gas to and from all these places and the down payment we just paid to Cornell we had invested about $4,300 invested in a dog we've had for 13 days.
Yes I can see how this may be a bit crazy, but my question is: Is his life less important because he's a dog?
I think one of the awesome things about being human is our ability to show compassion and provide help to those who are in no position to pay us back regardless of how many feet they walk around on.
Many times people only want to give when they have excess. It's easy to give the left overs of what you have. I'd like to encourage people to find a way to give even when it's not convenient.
Give when it's out of your way and when you'll never get credit or acknowledged for it. Give because you're in the position to and sometimes it may be the very reason why you're in that position in the first place.
It's never the wrong time to do the right thing.
We decided that even if this doesn't turn out well and he doesn't make it through all this, We have to know we did our best. We have to know that we offered him the opportunity to be his best self.
It's OK when things don't work out as planned but it's not ok to not even try. So we're trying.
By this point it's after 9 at night. We've been up with Titan since 5am. Our day included driving an hour and a half to get to the Vet, then an emotional 5 hours there before driving another two and a half hours more to Cornell. We are beyond tired.
Once they took him back for the night we decided to drive another hour and a half back to Syracuse to stay with a friend for the night. That way if they needed us back at Cornell on Saturday we'd be fairly close but if they were going to keep him for the weekend, we'd be closer to home.
UPDATE: Cornell called us Saturday morning to inform us that he indeed has bladder stones that aren't easily seen by ultrasound, They will do surgery on him Monday morning. They said they will need to keep him another 2 days after surgery but that he is expected to make a full recovery.
And with that we drove home.
We are currently in the process of moving. This move has been in the planning for a little while and will be a blog for another day but for now we can continue packing and know that we'll be bringing our healthy boy home soon to live a good life.
Love To All,
Per follower request, the link below is a donation page and PayPal info for anyone who would like to help out. We're giving an ADK necklace with paw print away to anyone who donates $50 or more. Thank you!
RESCUED IS MY FAVORITE BREED