Fitzgeral William, AKA Fitz, is a 4-year-old basset hound. He is a therapy dog who, once a week visits the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. His volunteer ours are 1 to 2 hours.
It’s been shown that interacting with a pet releases the chemical oxytocin, a beneficial hormone also known as the “feel-good hormone.” An infusion nurse at the center claims that the chemical helps decrease the patient’s heart rate, helps lower anxiety, and helps reduce feelings of depression. The nurse also claims that “When Fitz comes, it completely brightens the day of our patients and us as staff as well. It’s fantastic for everybody. People don’t want to be here. They don’t want to have cancer, they don’t want to be getting chemotherapy, we have the daunting task of giving people medication that makes them feel very sick and Fitz comes and makes them feel better.”
Way to go, Fitz. I bet you enjoy the petting as much as the patients are enjoying giving it to you.
Fitz and his slave, Molly Johnson, have been volunteering since November of 2016.
My full-blooded 11-year-old basset hound Carrie has mast-cell cancer. We chose to let her live out her days in comfort and dignity. We give her prednisone to slow down the tumor’s growth, anti-histamine pills twice a day to help her with the histamines the cancerous cells release, and antacids for stomach issues she may have digesting prednisone. I also feed her twice a day a grain-free dog food with a tiny bit of grain-free canned food to make it more appetizing. On top of it all, Carrie gets a midmorning or midday snack, which consists of a berry-type of fruit (in the photo I’m providing, she’s fed 1 strawberry and 6-10 blueberries), plain yogurt, and a raw egg. Carrie was given 3-months to live on November 2015. Today is January 3, 2016, and she’s quite healthy. I am hoping that my she will have many more birthdays to celebrate on April 15 (he birthdate). And I am hoping that my food choices for her and her younger brothers (the black-and-white dogs also in the photo) are responsible for her longevity.
In 1983, we brought home a tiny 8-week-old basset hound puppy. Six years later, we found a beautiful mixed-breed (part German shepherd-lab-golden mix). The dogs weren’t best friends, but didn’t hate each other either. The German shepherd mix never fussed when we took only the basset to the vet, except for one day. That day, the basset was taken to be euthanized. She was over 14 year old and suffering from kidney failure. How the German shepherd mix knew that her sister was leaving this world, we never know. But she was so distraught that she almost ran into the window trying to get out to be with her sister in her last moments.
Later on, we acquired a pack of 5. When one would be on death bed, there always was one or two who would keep guard by the sick dog’s bedside. So, when a question as to whether one should let two basset hounds be around a baby that was dying was posted in FB on a basset hound group I belonged to, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes. The family were worried that the basset hounds would be too stressed out. I knew from experience that the hounds would be an awesome source of comfort and the hounds would find comfort as well. Today, I found this article about them in yahoo:
Basset Hounds Wouldn’t Leave Dying Infant’s SideBy NICOLE PELLETIEREGood Morning America
A family’s two basset hounds refused to leave a dying child’s side after doctor’s informed her parents the devastating news that she wouldn’t survive.
“It was really nice,” mom Mary Hall of Deluth, Minnesota, told ABC News. “It brought us a lot of comfort to have them [there]. But by the end of the first day, you could see they were stressed out and depressed. Normally, they’re very happy-go-lucky. We knew they could sense there was something wrong.”
Nora Hall, 5 months old, died Monday after suffering a stroke April 6 and spending three weeks in the hospital.
The stroke had affected both sides of her brain, causing severe damage, her mother said..
The family dogs, 8-year-old Grumpy and Gracie, fell in love with Nora as soon as she arrived from the hospital, Hall said.
“Gracie, especially, took on the role as second mother,” she said. “Whenever Nora would cry, Gracie would run to see what was wrong. She was always, always by Nora and kissing her and making sure she was OK.”
As Nora’s days were sadly numbered, Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis asked Mary and John Hall whether they had any final wishes for their daughter.
“I asked, ‘If you could let us have our dogs [at the hospital], we’d really appreciate that,’” Hall recalled. “I didn’t want to go home and have them sniffing around for her and not knowing where she went. They lowered the bed so the dogs could lay with her and Gracie ran up and licked her [Nora].”
Hall said she is grateful for the hospital honoring the special exception of having Nora, Gracie and Grumpy together one last time.
The family snapped photos of the touching goodbyes and posted them on Facebook.
“She was just a really happy baby,” Hall said. “Before we went into the hospital, she’d just start laughing. She was happy all the time.”
A few weeks ago, I lost my companion. He died in my arms. Then, as he was part of an open adoption, and, as his family is Buddhists, we witnessed his memorial service at a Buddhist temple. His soul was released to find another body. I wished him a human body that would love animals as much as he was loved. Many animals are neglected, abused, and unloved. We need more advocates and more humans who love and respect others as they would want to be loved and respected themselves.
Dudley’s soul’s release was my release to find another dog in need of a home to be loved and to be cherished. I will never forget Dudley, as I have not forgotten my four-legged family members who were there before he joined our family:
- Tzippy (my first beagle and my first dog),
- Ginger (my first basset),
- Cinnamon (my stray dog),
- Cori (my basset after Ginger died),
- Basil (my first foster, my first foster failure, and my first adoptee),
- Zack (my bagle (beagle-basset mix),
- Cocoa (our mutt from the Island of St. Maarten),
- Brie (our first cat),
- Cammie (our white cat who loved to terrorize our dogs),
- Bailey and Dudley (our fist bonded pair and our first open adoption case).
No, you never forget them. The new arrivals just mend your heart. They give that piece of their heart that fits into the hole the previous pet left.
So, this time, after Dudley left us, how did I mend my broken heart? Well, I adopted two bonded brothers from BROOD. They are 11-mothn-old bassaniels (basset-spaniel mixes). They make me smile again. But more importantly, they make my Carrie happy again. Introduction took literally 2 seconds. I placed the pups behind a gate in a room. Carrie came in, sniffed them while her tail was wagging so fast. We let the pups out and within seconds the three of them were running in our yard together. And that’s when my broken heart was really mended. It was mended when I saw my old, soon to be 11 year old, sick with cancer dog perk up and play happily with her kind.
I intended to write about my adventures with two dogs with cancer. Today, I’m just pouring my sadness to you.
One of my dogs who had cancer (Dudley) died. He died on New Year’s Day in my arms while we were driving to the vet to euthanize him. He was a great dog. He had an annoying and demanding bark, but he didn’t’ have a mean bone on his body. He got along with everyone. He was my Velcro dog (so is Carrie, by the way). Everywhere I went, he was there with me.
Now, my other dog, who also suffers from cancer, is a single dog for the first time since she came to live with us 2005 when she was she was 9 weeks old. For the first time since 1990, I have a single dog and not a pack.
I’ll never forget Dudley’s last struggle for air and how limp and relaxed he felt when he died. It took me a few minutes to realize that he was gone. At first, I just thought that he was struggling because he wasn’t comfortable. He had so many tumors and many were so big. Then when he relaxed, I thought that he found a comfortable spot in my arms. But, actually, he was gone.
I hope that there is a Bridge, and I hope he met with Bailey, the dog that preceded him in death. Dudley and Bailey were adopted together. They were a bonded pair that I heard through BROOD. We had a open adoption with their former “slaves.” Their former slaves and us became friends and consider ourselves family.
Life and Sorrow Is for the Living
Life goes on for the living. But there’s definitely a big difference, and we feel that his presence is gone. The house is quieter. There are no demanding barks for food. I now have to look at the clock to make sure I don’t miss the 5 p.m. meal. He never let me forget it. Carrie is quieter. She doesn’t demand. Dudley, on the other hand, was on my heels at 4:30 p.m., reminding me to not forgetto give them food.
And Dogs Mourn,Too
But let’s not forget that the surviving dog is also mourning. Carrie is morose. Her snout is longer, and looks unhappier than most of the time (bassets always look sad). Yesterday, when I called out for food, she barked and ran in every room, looking for and calling Dudley to come and eat.
Also, the finality came to me at yesterday’s 5 p.m. feeding. Every day, just before each meal, each dog got their own medications for their illness. I covered the meds in peanut butter. One dog got the right hand “treat,” the other dog got the left hand treat. Yesterday, only one hand was needed. I cried. I missed him.
Also, every day, after the meds were distributed, I would pick their bowls to insert their meals. Yesterday, I absently picked Dudley’s bowl as well.
What Dogs Will to Us
Sadly, dogs leave very few properties when they leave: a bowl, a collar, a leash, a bed, etc. However, they also leave a big empty hole in your heart.
I went through so many losses in the 33 years of dog loving and dog rescuing. Nonetheless, I go ahead and open my heart to break again and again. There’s always a needy dog waiting for your love. My heart has an empty hole. A new dog, will come and fill that hole by giving a piece of his or her heart. It’s just like this saying:
Dogs will us their heart. One day, my heart will be all dog, and I’ll be so proud!
I currently live with two basset hounds. Living with Bassets hound is nothing new for me. I have been sharing my home with the breed for over 30 years. In the past 30 years, I’ve lived with about 8 bassets (and many other mixed breeds, as well). I’ve had single, as well as packs of dogs. So, I encountered all sorts of health problems. This time, I have something new to conquer. I now have two bassets suffering with cancer. I did have two dogs that were euthanized because they were suffering with the final and debilitating stages of cancer. But their cancer was discovered late and there was no longer time for life. This time, my dogs are terminal, but still having time to live out a little bit longer with their disease. I will try to describe our journey together.
Meet Dudley. He’s soon 12 years old. He’s his adopted. We have an open-adoption arrangement with his former family. It’s a win–win arrangement. Dudley and his family get to see his each other fairly often. We get so see his puppy pictures and get to know his temperament. And, to boot, a great friendship developed among the humans.
In June 2015, Dudley was diagnosed with lymphoma. His illness started with various blood tests demonstrating anemia and an enlarged spleen. When his spleen was removed, it was a bloody mess and weighed 4 pounds. The lab work came back positive for cancer. Dudley was extremely sick after his surgery. It took him 2 weeks to recover. He had no interest in food, water, and life. Lucky for all of us, on the day we were going to have him euthanized, he perked up. In fact, he was wheeled into the ER hospital for euthanasia, and on the way to the building from the car, his sweet face perked up. He was not ready to go to the Bridge. He received care in the hospital, and 24 hours later he came home to slowly recover.
We chose not to administer chemotherapy. He was so sick just with the surgery. We didn’t want to add more to his misery. We currently give him prednisone for comfort and some homeopathy medicine. We figured that at this stage of his life, it can’t do him much harm. In October, we were told, he didn’t have much longer to go. It would be a matter of a few weeks. Today it’s December 14. He’s still here. We are blessed.
Carrie—Mast Cell Tumor
Meet Carrie. Carrie came to live with us when she was 9 weeks old. Her father was of champion lines. Carrie was going to be trained to be a therapy dog. Life intervened, and she remained a pet. One day, in October 2015, my daughter noticed a hard growth on Carrie’s genitalia. As Carrie loves to sleep outside near the bushes where we had a nest for wasps, we thought that she may have been stung by them and was having an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, once she was checked out by the veterinarian, she was diagnosed with mastocytoma (mast cell tumor). According to PetMD
Mast cells are cells that reside in the connective tissues, especially those vessels and nerves that are closest to the external surfaces (e.g., skin, lungs, nose, mouth). Their primary functions include defense against parasitic infestations, tissue repair, and the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). They are also associated with allergic reactions, since they contain several types of dark granules made up of various chemicals, including histamine and heparin, serving biologically to modify immune reactions and inflammation. Mast cells are derived from the bone marrow, and can be found in various tissues throughout the body.
We chose not to do any surgery on Carrie because the procedure would be from her vaginal area to her thigh, across her belly button, down back to her vagina. The recuperation period was 2 weeks. (Horrors of what Dudley went through crossed our mind). She was given 6 months to live without any intervention, 10 months with surgery only, 14–18 months with surgery and chemotherapy. She was not going to be comfortable during the process. I’m not even discussing the cost ($10,000), which we were willing to meet had she been promised a better outcome and better conditions.
Currently, Carrie is on prednisone. We take each day one at time.
Next entry will be how dogs on steroids behave.
Wrangler knew the rules: He was not to go up on the new bed. But on September 8, 2015. Wrangler kept breaking the rules. Finnaly, his owner woke up annoyed, only to find that there was some crackling and smoke coming from the attic. Wrangler saved his family’s life. How about that! It’s rare to see a basset in this position. You, go Wrangler.
By the way, the family lost all their possessions in the fire. If you can find it in your heart to contribute to replace some of their possessions, please click on this link:
HAVE YOU SEEN ME?
MY NAME IS CHICO.
Although this blog was created originally for basset-related posts, I have deviated many times from posting just about bassets. I’ve posted about cruelty to animals, sweet cat stories, the plight of wild animals, and sweet penguins. Today, I’m deviating even further. I want to ask that my readers would open up their hearts to the plight of a human being.
CeliaSue and Cici
Pet blogger and professional writer CeliaSue and her dog Cici, have written about dogs, pet travel and pit bulls for more than seven years now. CeliaSue put herself through college and worked hard all of her life starting at age 13 when she was the neighborhood babysitter. She grew up middle class and over the years, supported herself with several jobs and projects simultaneously. She achieved her dream of becoming a newspaper reporter and editor and even traveled around the world and interviewed celebrities and best-selling authors. Her life was beyond her expectations until her 50’s when she became very ill with fibromyalgia. And still with the help of a good friend, she relieved most of her painful symptoms (98% over a few years).
She has written numerous times about the former Michael Vick dogs, Patrick (the starved pit-bull dog), Susie (the pit-bull mix that was beaten and set on fire) and many others. She has contributed much and spent many hours doing this labor of love (her blog) for the pit bull and dog loving community with little pay. She has given free publicity to many who have received tangible rewards (sales and media coverage).
Now, she and her dog Cici really need a helping paw UP. They’ve been living in a terrible situation with a hoarder landlord for the past four years. He routinely threatens, harasses, calls her names and lies. He torments CeliaSue by telling her the dog is hurt or run over. She has had to call the police on him several times. And she has had lawyers write letters asking him to cease and desist from his lewd and bullying behaviors.
He has now retaliated upon CeliaSue for the last police phone call by sending her a 30-day notice (even though by law, she deserves a 60 day notice and it is also illegal for him to retaliate. She was sticking up for her rights). He has even declared that he cannot wait for her to be without her dog and to be sleeping on the street. He laughs and laughs at her plight.
No one deserves to be living under these stressful conditions but she is without a car and living on Social Security retirement and food stamps now. She planned to work into her 70’s and 80s like her parents. It took her two years of being hungry ALL the time to finally apply for food stamps. (She never ever thought she would have to depend upon the government for anything). Now, she lives below the poverty line. She cannot afford to pay $650 a month or more for rent plus utilities and come up with first, last and deposit. Her family has gone to the Great Beyond.
Celia is worried about her health and her dog’s well being. She is approaching 65 years old and has osteoarthritis. One night, she was coughing and could not breathe and the landlord would not even extend the courtesy of giving her some water. He called her names and told her that he wanted her to die.
Why is this man so cruel? He drinks. He is dr jekyll and mr hyde and you never know which one is going to surface. And he thought that by having her as a roommate, he’d get a roommate with benefits. CeliaSue established from the beginning that benefits would not be part of the deal. He has become more and more abusive over time.
CeliaSue’s dog is in danger as well. This creep has opened the gate and left the dog to roam the streets. How can one live under such intolerable conditions? Well when you go from making $35,000+ a year to less than $7,000, I guess you endure a lot. But there’s hope for CeliaSue. She still dreams of helping other women her age (and women over 50 years old who are homeless). She has found out that some cities have created tiny house villages for people to live in. However, these homes cost between $7,000 and $13,000 (with wheels). There’s another less expensive choice for now: A used RV. It only costs $1,500.00. There is a place she could park it (off ground). She and her dog would be safe.
Have I mentioned that Cici is a pit-bull mix? If CeliaSue ends up in the streets, Cici would be facing going to a shelter, and we all know what happens to pit bulls in shelters—they are the first one killed. Despite the fact that Cici is a very affectionate dog, she more than likely would not survive, not an 8-year-old pit-bull mix.
How to Help
So, can you look into your heart and help a fellow human being and prevent a dog from going into a shelter. A small donation, any amount will help a destitute woman, soon to be 65 years old, with health issues (osteoarthritis) and suffering with chronic pain. Let us make her golden years without stress. Please click here and help out.