September is here…finally. But having said this, summer seemed unusually short this year. This is in part due to the usually long monsoon season that lasted until mid July. Things started cooling off by the last week of August, and now it pretty much rains everyday so the weather has been quite cool. I’m not too keen on hot weather, especially hot and humid weather which is common in Japan, so this for me is a welcomed change.
Around this time last year, we had planned to take a trip to Mikazuki onsen, because Haru had been wanting to take an overnight trip somewhere. But unfortunately, with both Princess and Jenna (our beloved but aging westies) had both fallen ill, we had to cancel our trips which had deeply disappointed Haru to the point where she was wishing away their existence.
Although we kind of found a work around to Princess’s ailment, and that was to basically keep her GI (glucose index) in check by feeding her high glucose foods (which we still do to this day), Jenna was another story. She had lost her ability to walk, and eventually she was no longer able stand or even move at all. The vets told us it would be a minor miracle is she even survives until the end of the year, let alone ever walk again.
Fast forward one year, and $3000 in vet bills later, and not only is Jenna still alive despite the death sentence our vets handed down to her last year, she is alive and walking again. As a matter of fact she is even running again. She isn’t in perfect condition of course, she still walks with a slight limp, and she is still unable to walk up steps, but she is able to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom by herself which is far more important. This “minor miracle” baffled all of the vets at the animal hospital. They told us that if they hadn’t seen it for themselves -if they hadn’t seen the condition she was in last year, and the condition she is in now, they would not have believed it was possible. She had a slipped vertebrae which takes a very long time to heal even for younger healthier dogs -and sometimes they don’t heal at all, so owners often put their dogs to sleep. She has Cushing Syndrome caused by a possible inoperable tumor in her brain. And she has arthritis in her hind quarters, which the vets said was probably causing her a lot of pain. She had a long laundry list of health issues, none of which was going to get better because she was too old to recover -so said the vets.
Despite the vets advising us to seriously consider putting her to sleep, I made the very difficult decision not to listen. I decided that the line would be drawn if one of two things happened: 1. She loses her appetite and no longer has the desire to eat, or 2. She is in so much pain that its not worth keeping her alive. Jenna never lost her appetite. As a matter of fact, if anything her appetite was bigger than ever, often out eating Princess. She never seemed to be in pain either. We would pick her up and move her about pretty freely and she never yelped or tried to bite us, or do anything that indicted she was in any sort of pain. So as long as she had the will and the strength to live, and as long as we could afford to keep her alive, I was willing to keep her alive. And less than six months later, she was walking again.
So, one year later, we are going to try to take our trip again. We are confident that both dogs are healthy enough to travel, although we’ll need to monitor Princess’s diet carefully to make sure that she doesn’t go into a hypoglycemic seizure. we’ve been pretty good at being able to catch her before she goes into a full seizure, and the quick fix is to give her some vanilla ice cream coated with powdered sugar which has a very high glucose index. We’re not even worried about Jenna. She is pretty healthy and a trip away from the house would do her good.