Happy Belated You’re Still Alive Day, Sarah!

In January, 2012, after a lengthy, year-long diagnostic process which started almost immediately after I scooped her up from the Westgate Mall parking lot and brought her home, Sarah was declared a hospice dog.

Sweet Sarah.
Sweet Sare Bear doesn’t deserve the problems she has.

At that vet visit, we discussed a treatment plan to keep Sarah as comfortable as possible for as long as we could.  The medications prescribed had multiple side effects.  If Sarah’s condition didn’t take her from us, those side effects would.

In that treatment plan discussion, the point of when to say when was brought up.  In order to keep her comfortable, the dosages of her medications would have to be incrementally increased from their already high starting point. Once we passed a certain dosage threshold, it would be time to say good-bye.  By that time, Sarah would be suffering from multiple health problems, none curable.  In January 2012, the vet said it would be 2 years or less.

Too much to live for!
Sare Bear has too much to live for!

It is now February 2015.  1 year past Sarah’s life expectancy, and she’s better than she ever was! Sarah has been off all of her meds since January 2014.  I can remember only 2 times in the last year when she’s needed Tramadol.  She still has her gimp, but she is able to walk longer, and over rougher terrain without pain, though we still stick to mainly level, non-rocky surfaces. In the last 6 or so months, she has even taken to playing with Slugger.

Butt scratches in Heaven couldn't possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad.  One more reason to stick around.
Butt scratches in Heaven couldn’t possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad. One more reason to stick around.

Getting Sarah off processed food, and designing her diet to her specific nutritional needs has been the key to making her new and improved, but it hasn’t cured her.  It’s only bought us more time by making Sarah healthier and better able to combat her physiological problems without pharmacological assistance.  There will come a day when Sarah will have to go back on her meds – of that there is no doubt – and the thresholds discussed 3 years ago will apply, but that’s a long way off now. That she is currently off of, and her system is healing, or has healed from the side effects of the drugs, says that we have reset the clock in a big way.

Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy.  I LOVE this picture!
Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy. I LOVE this picture!

Every day with Sarah is a treasure and we are the luckiest people in the world to call her family.

I sincerely feel bad for all of you who will never get to meet her in person. Just know, though she has never met you, she loves you!  She’s that kind of girl.

Heaven will just have to wait.  We need Sare Bear more.
Heaven will just have to wait. We need Sare Bear more.

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40 thoughts on “Happy Belated You’re Still Alive Day, Sarah!

  1. Oh she is a beautiful dog. Why not acupuncture foir her pain or a few drops of low dose TCB MEDICAL MJ. I’ve read reports that the stuff can help with the pain and all sorts of issues. Your dog looks like a youngster in those pictures. I think you need a holistic vet that does not give up. She is a gorgeous pit and I’m so glad that you found her. Many blessings to you, your husband and, your miracle pittie.

    1. We’ve actually managed to get control of Sarah’s pain through food. Her gimp is not pain related, but the gimping and the old neck injury caused the pain. Over the last year, that I can remember, she’s needed Tramadol twice; once when she cut her leg, and the second time for general pain. It appears the anecdotes are correct in that fresh food over processed does wonders for inflammation!

      1. Wonderful. I predict a long life for Sara. Do you have a recipe that you might care to share on your blog. One of my dogs is 12 yrs now and I refuse to put him on those awful pain meds. Those do more harm than good. I give him warm baths and massages with the hose of the vacuum cleaner. It stimulates circulation by gently pulling on the skin.

        ~yvonne

      2. I used to post recipes, then I met some people who were using them. Too many shortcuts that could cause problems down the line.

        My Sarah is 72 pounds. I was going to try her on 3 clams, twice a week to see if if gave her easier movement. She already gets a whole egg, every day, shell included. There is glucosamine in the membrane just inside the shell. Since your boy is 12, an egg a day certainly couldn’t hurt since he’s probably getting protein deficient.

      3. Please report on what you see if you try the clam or the egg. I am most curious about the clams. If they work, I guess I could get an outside person to do the Deed, (see a prior post from a few days ago re: my inability to steam a live creature).

      4. I wont be doing any steaming, I’ll have to cheat and use the bits of canned clams but I can certainly give my dog an entire raw egg that is from organic chickens. I will also cook some carrots and apples to add to his dog food. I’m not going to try cooking beef or chicken yet. I hate messing with meat since I don’t eat anything furred or feathered.

  2. We understand. Not only are we all glad to wake up alive in the morning, we went through Kyla where every day was a celebration. She didn’t live past her expected date, but we’re overjoyed that Sarah is doing well. We love you all.

    1. And stubbornness! I have a very difficult time accepting bad diagnoses. I’ll keep going to different vets until I hear what I want to hear (that there is actually a treatment) or until the overwhelming evidence says I’ve done all I can and there is no cure. I’ve got stories both ways.

  3. She’s a beautiful dog! So glad she’s doing well. Our pit bull blew out both back knees (then surgery) and now has terrible arthritis… It’s hard to know when the pain is too much…

    1. Perhaps you can succeed where we failed: The B vitamins are very important to nervous system health, and can help support a body with pain. Our experiment with clams, the highest source of B12 failed miserably when neither Crabby nor I could steam a live clam. Try it with your dog – not to ‘cure’ but maybe for better mobility?

      1. For me personally, synthetic (because there are no truly natural ones) supplements are not an option.

        The structure of the vitamin in whole food form is the only one that can fully (as opposed to partially in manufactured) be accepted by the receptors in the body.

        Additionally, most store bought vitamins are only parts of the actual vitamin. i.e. Vitamin C is sold as ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is only the outer shell of the vitamin, the antioxidant part, and has no real benefit for the body It doesn’t help fight off colds or anything else that Vitamin C is famous for. The humble orange is a more appropriate ‘supplement’ for anyone wanting more Vitamin C.

        The other problem is, even in it’s pure form, a vitamin taken as an isolate can not be properly absorbed. It’s missing other vitamins, minerals and compounds that are necessary for proper absorbsion and maximum function.

        In conclusion, the only way to get the entire vitamin, in a form most valuable to the body, complete with all the good stuff required to make it work, is to use whole foods and not isolated, manufactured vitamin supplements.

        But that’s just my humble opinion.

  4. What a great post! So happy Sarah is beating the odds. It is a shame everyone can’t meet her – it is clear she has so much cheer to share and happiness in her heart. Here’s to many more years of healthy and happiness, Sarah! Much love, The Scottie Mom.

    1. Actually, we took Sarah and Marcy out for a sunset walk this evening and were commenting on how nice it is that Sare Bear is leading the way and wandering off now. Before, she just followed. She feels soooo much better!

      1. It must be brilliant to see. I know you have switched to raw, but that’s not an option for me right now, are there any supplements you can recommend that helped Bd has really bad hips and I am desperate to try something to sort him out.

      2. Actually, we’re not feeding raw. It’s not the raw that worries me, it’s what happens to the raw before it gets to me. If the chain of custody were shorter, yes, I would feed raw. Until I find such a source, I cook.

        I don’t like synthetic supplements – or the purported ‘natural’ ones. I try to get the supporting nutrients from food. The B12 is supposed to work wonders for pain issues, ergo the clam attempt. If you can, give them a try. I was going to give 70 pound Sarah 3, twice a week.

        If not clams, organ meats are good sources of all B’s. just don’t overdo it on the liver lest you bring on a Vit A toxicity.

        If not clams or organ meats, try eggs. I give all my seniors, and Sarah an egg a day, shell and all. Bonus! The membrane on the inside of an egg shell has glucosamine in it.

        If the issue is a vegan lifestyle, manufactured is the only option you have. No manufactured supplement comes with any guarantee of contents.

      3. I knew you fed cooked – sorry I was using ‘raw’ to cover not produced by a big faceless corporation! I will try the egg thing – that’s brilliant! The reason my hands are so tied is that I share joint custody of Bd with my idiot ex and as technically Bd is his dog I can’t make the big changes to his diet cause the t*%t will do whatever he wants and feed whatever he wants. But something like adding a raw egg every day is a really simple addition which I can see me persuading him to do.

      4. When Gertie got her bad diagnoses in October, she was immediately converted to the home made. Since she’s a senior, she needs more protein than what is in my ‘general mix’. Egg was the easiest daily addition. Yes, I sincerely believe the food made her better, but the additional protein of the egg was a great extra boost.

        Raw eggs today are safer than 10 years ago, so technically I could feed raw every day, but there is an argument as to whether or not Avidin, a component in eggs which may sequester biotin, is heat stable. For that reason I feed boiled one day, raw the next.

        Play it safe: You soft boil when you have Bd, and let the ex feed raw. Pop it on the stove when you’re taking your morning shower and you are good to go by the time you dry off!

        In my case,

      5. I fed him a raw one last night. He tried to carry it into the lounge to eat it on my carpet! It was the funniest thing I have seen, he wasn’t sure but happily munched through most of it – he was covered in the end! I will alternate, thank you my wise friend!

  5. Oh, what a heart warming story, brought happy tears to my eyes. I have never met that sweet girl but I love her too and I love both of those pictures. Thank you so much for sharing this give her a hug for me and some nose kisses for Chancy and Baby Boy. Bless you for taking such good care of her and giving her so much love. We need more people in the world like you all.

    1. What a great blog! I’d put an about page on it somewhere to let people know where you are out of the shoot. I had to read through one of the bios to find out you work out of MCACC .

      I will be sharing your blog on the RAMR FB Page for the locals!

      1. Thank you so much! You really have no idea how much that means to me. I added an FAQ page that lists their location, do you think I should add it onto the homepage though to make it more obvious? I really appreciate your input!!

      2. Put it this way: I was fine looking at your page until I figured out you were in my territory! I’m not allowed to look at pages of local dogs needing homes.

        Exhibits: Emmi, Slugger, Vito – MCACC e-lists, Hector – MCACC long timer list, Sarah, Gracie, Franky, Gertie, Pablo, Morty, DASH! … we never let them make it to MCACC. My count is off by 2, Marcy, Angus and Willy don’t count….

        Anywho, posted you to my FB page, but I’m not allowed to visit you 😦

      3. Haha I totally understand. I’ve been fostering dogs for about two years now and the count is up to about 20 that I’ve saved from the MCACC e-list. It’s heartbreaking!! Thanks for the support though. 🙂

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