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Nikki is Home Now

April 9, 2011

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Well, it’s been a week and a day since we had to say goodbye to Nikki. A lot has happened in that week, but I still think about her a lot. I really miss the fact that she’s not there to greet me and lick my face when I come through the door and miss looking over to see her lying on the floor as I work in the home office. The UPS and FedEx trucks now drive past the house unmolested. That just doesn’t seem right…

 

I picked up Nikki’s ashes and paw print from the vet this morning, put them in the backseat of the Avalanche and drove home with the back windows open. Sure did miss the barking.

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I was looking through all of the pictures that we have of Nikki and am really glad that we have as many as we do. I’m not sure what my favorite is, but I think if I had to choose it would either be this one:

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(Which was taken just prior to her Osteosarcoma diagnosis)

or this one:

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which shows her incredible spirit, and tells the world that she didn’t let the fact that she only had 3 legs stop her from doing anything she wanted to do.

 

One thing, however, is certain; Nikki will be missed but not forgotten, she had an incredible presence in life, and leaves us with her imprint. I’m actually not sure why I took the following picture when I did, but it was from one of the final snows we had this winter, and was taken right after I let Nikki out for the morning. I just felt it was a good picture and definitely shows the tacks that Nikki left behind.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY (or “Hoppy” I guess) to Nikki!

December 26, 2010

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Today is Nikki’s 9th birthday! It’s amazing to think that 1 year ago we were prepared for it to be her last. This week marks the week 1 year ago where we got all of the specialists involved to figure out what was wrong with her leg, and it was determined that she had an Osteosarcoma and it was advanced enough to where there was little hope. Obviously that “little” hope was all Nikki needed, because as you can see by the photo above, she’s become the 3-legged wonder dog.

During her last checkup with Dr. Friedly, he noticed that she is happy, healthy, well-adjusted and still cancer-free. The natural-regimen seems to be working well, and we are just supposed to continue on with her treatment plan with no changes. He scheduled us to come back in 6 months for a follow-up. (It really wasn’t all that long-ago that our trips to see the docs were measured sometimes in hours, so getting an appointment for follow-up set out 6 months is a bit of a victory!)

At home, Nikki has resumed all of her normal life. We take trips now and then to the front yard so that she can continue to ensure the integrity of her territory and of course she gets her rides now and then as well. About the only thing she can’t do is jump up on the couch. She’s made up for that though by laying up close to it and sticking her legs under. Adaptation is what it’s all about I guess.

Anyway, Nikki is doing great, and is celebrating her 9th birthday today!

Another Trip to CSU

For those that have been reading Nikki’s story, you know about her brother Buddy who we lost, and you also know about the new-found member of the family Tilley. Tilley is about a year and 9 months old and is a product of some pretty questionable breeding. We knew right away that we were going to have trouble with her hips later on, but we didn’t expect what happened..

Last Sunday, Tilley decided that she was going to stop eating. Up to that point everything was normal as could be, but she just decided that she wasn’t going to eat. We took her to see our regular vet at Banfield (actually it’s hard to call them the “regular” vet, since Dr. Pyne isn’t there anymore) and they kept her all day. Long story short, Tilley ended up spending the night in their emergency hospital and we transferred her to CSU on Monday. They decided to keep her for 4 nights, and determined that she has a few problems, the most prevalent is Addisons Disease. Addisons is an autoimmune disease that causes a host of blood problems, but it is treatable.. Tilley is home again and doing fine, and she’ll need once-monthly visits to the vet to check her for the rest of her life.

Mary and I are starting to wonder if we’re doing something wrong, or if it’s just a terrible coincidence that we end up rescuing these dogs that need so much treatment, but we’re very thankful that we have a world-class veterinary hospital in our back yard!

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I know I have already posted today . . .

March 28, 2010

But this picture just couldn’t be held… Sasha really does love Nikki..

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Saturday Morning

January 23, 2010

Last night was another good night. Nikki was a bit restless when we first went up the stairs, but she did settle down pretty quickly. She had been pretty mobile on her own throughout the day and evening, so I know she was tired. She woke up around 0330 and whined for a little while, but quickly went back to sleep.

We slept in until 0730 this morning (WOO HOO!) and then started the whole morning ritual. I took Nikki down the stairs and outside (We have 2 sets of stairs she has to navigate, from the bedroom to the main level, and then from the deck to the ground) and at this point I just let go of the sling at the bottom of the stairs outside, and she “runs” off to do her business.. She is still a bit unsteady on that remaining hind leg, but I know it will get better for her.

We got back inside the house and the dogs got their treats and breakfast, then Mary and I sat here in the office to go through email, facebook, etc….

You can see in the third picture below that the bruising is already disappearing on Nikki’s wound. I think this is due in part to the fact that Mary has been occasionally icing the area per Dr. Pynes recommendation.

Sasha and Buddy have been doing just great with Nikki (We weren’t so much worried about Buddy, but Sasha was a wildcard. She’s crazy, and as full of energy as you might expect for a 1 year old Rottie) and the dogs are all simply laying together in the front entry way watching the goings-on in the neighborhood.

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Mary and I are going to go out today and buy a ramp. We both drive SUVs and Nikki loves to ride, so rather than try and struggle to get her in the vehicle (we have an Appt. on Monday to see Dr. Pyne) we’re just going to get a ramp..

I’ll post an update this evening, and maybe try and get some video of Nikki out in the yard today.


Nikki is Officially a Tripawd!

January 19, 2010

Wow!

We got the call that we could pick Nikki up around 7:15pm.. We had a pretty intense, but quick snowstorm here this afternoon and the roads were icy, so we had to take it very easy.. I was having a difficult time driving just because all I could think about was getting Nikki home….

Well, we got to Banfield and met with Dr. Pyne. She spent a lot of time explaining to us how the surgery really couldn’t have gone better, and how she was sending the leg out for pathology on the cancer, but that it just looked like everything was caught in time and we should be relieved about that.. Then she started explaining about how no matter how many pictures of 3-legged dogs we looked at, and no matter how many people we’ve talked to about it, when you see your baby come out of the room you’re just not going to be prepared… Well, she was SO right…… I was convinced that we did the wrong thing just as soon as I heard her crying and saw her being carried through the door…… I know that’s the wrong thing to feel, but it’s very hard to look at what we’ve done to her. (yeah, I know, it will all be better soon, and we should remember that we saved her life)

Anyway, here’s a picture of Nikki on the cart ready to get loaded into the Tahoe:

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And here she is on the bed in the front room, where we’re going to spend the night:

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I suspect it’s going to be a long night, but the great thing about that is now that we’re done with this part, this is just the first night in many, many, many more……

Thanks again for everyone’s comments and messages. They are really appreciated, and while I don’t take the time to respond to each of them, please know that both Mary and I really do appreciate all the support we’ve gotten here.


The importance of a health maintenance plan

January 15, 2010

I certainly don’t want this post to be perceived as an advertisement, but one thing that has been on my mind as we start this journey is that I am very thankful for the care that Nikki has received up to this point.

When Nikki was a puppy we enrolled her in a “puppy plan” from Banfield (Banfield is a national veterinary center here in the States, they have locations inside many PetSmart stores, but also have stand-alone centers) and kept her on that for her first year. Then we let it slide…

Early last year we decided to get Nikki back on a health plan, mainly because we were taking her in for normal vaccination boosters and noticed the money we’d save.

I honestly believe that decision saved Nikki’s life! (Yes, I know we’re just now starting this journey, but I don’t think Nikki would be with us today if we hadn’t caught this in time) and I know it’s saved us a LOT of money, which certainly reduces the stress that one feels at this time.

So, if you’re reading this and your pet is not on a health-maintenance plan, look into one NOW!

You can read about the plan we have Nikki on here: http://www.banfield.net/optimum-wellness-plans-adults

I highly recommend Banfield. They truly care about the animals that they serve, and are not afraid to send you to experts when the problem is beyond them.