Three Months of Love

Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

sam2It was a very rainy day when Sammy, a little black Chihuahua arrived at Pets Alive Westchester by someone who found him at the nearby SAM’s Club parking lot (hence his very creative name). It was obvious he had been neglected by his owners. This old boy’s nails were growing into his paw pads, he had a large tumor just above his tail and he was severely overweight. We brought him right to the veterinarian to get him examined.

An echo-cardiogram showed that he had a level 4 heart murmur (you can only get up to a level 5) and he also had laryngeal paralysis (which prohibits the ability to breath and can interfere with eating). Unable to put him under anesthesia due to his heart condition we could not remove the tumor that was under his tail. Just a few days later it ruptured and was painlessly removed by the vet. We had him on medication to try to keep any infection from spreading through his body and continued with the medications for his heart and for the fluid surrounding it. Suspecting he may have Cushing’s Disease as well, which is too much cortisol being release from his glands, would only do more harm to his heart.

There are times when animals come to us in pretty bad shape like Sammy. For some animals we rely on Hospice Fosters to give them the home and love that they have been in need of for so long. Putting them in a kennel is not an option. They deserve in an environment that will enable them to enjoy their senior years. Sam came home with me to live the remainder of his life. In the few months that we had him as a part of our lives we saw him thrive and enjoy it to the fullest. This was a gift for us too and our dog Crockett (seen to the right with Sammy). Crockett and Sammy became quick buddies. Sam would follow him around our house and occasionally we’d find them laying next to each other. Sammy was enjoying a good life with his new family.

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After losing 12 lbs. his little legs still had a little trouble holding up his body weight but he would wobble around and even tried to run for his food when it was dinner time. Occasionally toppling over and like a turtle on his shell, his legs would wiggle to try to find ground again. I’d pick him up and get  him upright and he would continue on his path to where he was going. He didn’t let anything hold him back. It seemed that he even enjoyed walking around as he continued to lose weight. 

His Cushing’s Disease test did come back positive. Although, this was another ailment that he had on top of his other medical conditions, this was treatable and we would be starting him on medication as soon as possible to give him the best quality of life we could for this senior boy.

Everyone at Pets Alive Westchester loved this little guy. He was cared for both at home and at PAW. Sammy and I drove home from our day there. He loved riding in the car. He was in his doggie bed sitting next to me as I dove. He would close his eyes, lift his head with the sun shining down on his face and he would smile. He was such a sweet little guy. I was so happy to help him find happiness and contentment in life. He was loved and he knew it.

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That night though he suddenly began to show signs of distress. Struggling to breathe we rushed him to the emergency veterinary hospital. His heart was quite enlarged, he also had fluid on the right side of it. He received treatment throughout the night. The next day wasn’t any better. Barely able to breathe and in heart failure we had to make the decision to end his suffering. He had enough suffering during his years of neglect. We were glad we could give him the best 3 months he may have ever had.

It was time to let him go, to be free of this struggle he was enduring. Alone with Sam I rocked him in my arms as he laid his head on my chest. I told him how much we all loved him and what a good boy he was over and over. Gently stroking him as I cradled this wonderful boy, with my lips kissing the back of his head, he passed away without any pain. The tears rolled from my eyes and the pain at the moment was difficult, but I knew it was the last gift I could give to him. Thinking about what a great life we gave him the past three months and how much happiness he brought to our lives made me smile through the tears.

samThere will always be other Sammy’s out there that need someone to love them at the end stage of life which is why we developed a Hospice Foster program. As animals approach their senior years they are in need of the love and warmth of a home. To have an animal live the remainder of their days in a shelter environment is no way to leave this earth. If you would like to give this gift to an animal and be part of our Hospice Foster program please contact hospice@petsalivewest.org.

If you’d like to help by supporting our medical fund, which supports hospice animals, please donate below.



 

Filed in Animal Rescue, Uncategorized, Why we do this by Erin Guilshan on Jul 30, 2014.  There are 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Three Months of Love”

  1. Betsy Goodin Says:

    What a blessing you both were to each other. I live in Michigan but grew up in Valhalla. I remember the old shelter. I am friends w/ Josephine Hogan, who is a volunteer there and am kept updated a=on their fabulous work. You are a wonderful addition to their program. P.S. I also rescue the older guys (cats and dogs) Bless all their hearts!

  2. Baxter Martin Says:

    I remember meeting him once or twice when Erin brought him to the shelter with her. Thanks so much for giving him a great few months!

  3. WilliamMundy Says:

    Tears rolled down my cheeks as well while reading the story. Very emotional story and I can feel the bond between you two. I learn music, and my teacher has seven pets in her home, I have made personal bonds with them and I visit them now and then. She is a lovely lady, she never keeps her pets in pain and takes them to a veterinary clinic for a checkup. I liked the blog so much. May god bless his soul.

  4. Sahil Says:

    Ahh, I can understand the love that will developed between two of you. I also have a dog from last 6 months and I love him like crazy.

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