To all my new followers that are here for the ‘Uncovering Kindness ~ Project 52’… I’ll have to apologise that there won’t be one this week (I will try to catch up). Sorry!
This week, I am going to share a part of ‘my’ life with you. I hope thats ok!
When you welcome an animal into your life, it’s forever right? Wrong 😦 They very rarely outlive us… and that sucks, but when their life is cut into a 3rd of what they deserve… it sucks a million times over!
❤ Willis ❤
Born 21st April 2014
Stole our hearts
Left our world shattered to pieces, 31st March 2018
3yrs 11 mths young
Dear Willis, (Mate, Big Boy, Buddy, Big Fella)
Here… is ‘your’ story!
You came into our lives when we weren’t even looking. 2 yrs after Rebel ran the rainbow bridge you joined our tribe. Something about your little face just stole our hearts. We came to meet you and the rest was history. We brought you home and we love sharing our life with you! We had everything ready and everything that a new puppy needed, including a newborn photoshoot!
You sleep so much, so cuddly and soft! We just can’t put you down! You have stolen our hearts and we don’t think we could love anything anymore than we do you! We never get anything done anymore because you are just too stinking cute!
Although Ella is a little worried you may eat all the food, she quickly realised that you were here to keep her company also. She loves you and looks after you just like a big sister should. You love to play and challenge her to a good bout of tug-o-war! The toys… they never last more than 5 minutes, well that was until I found the blue indestructible staffy ball! That ball is your most favourite toy!
There is one other item that you have never managed to rip to shreds, that being a dingo tyre! Hours of enjoyment and slobber has been put into the attempts to rip it apart, unlike the bed that you decided wasn’t going to be ‘comfortable’ enough?
Lilli is your life and she loves you like her very best friend! You share everything together and you stay close when she is sick. The bond that you have with her is amazing and even though your tail whips her on the back of the legs when you are near, she knows that you just can’t contain the excitement you feel when you are with her. The licks and slobber that you continually smack upon everyones face is only showing the love you have to give!
Early morning workouts with me are so terribly hard for you ;p You know you aren’t allowed on the equipment but you can’t help but be involved. I always wonder how you don’t get your nose burnt on the treadmill as you lay so close just watching, waiting until I’m done.
Riding in the back of the ute is one of your most favourite things to do even though you refuse to jump up and need us to lift your heavy 38kg arse in! You always smile and try to snap the wind as it rushes past. You tried to catch it with such commitment that you snapped your harness and nearly jumped from the back. Since then, watching you ride on the back always gives me a heart attack! Double the clips and double the harness quality is in order ;p
Riding in the back, usually means the BEACH is coming! That long, never ending strip of sand, waves to be jumped and sticks to be chased! You love it all… you will run for hours!
Hose chasing is one of your specialities, we can not for one second think about watering the garden or hosing out the bin without you jumping and chasing the water! You chewed up the nozzle just waiting for it to spirt out that spray of ‘fun’! Bathing you is such an easy task these days!
Passing time on the grass in the sun is just what you do! Hanging out, just waiting for someone to give you a little attention!
We can no longer measure you by sitting on the coffee table as you have grown way to big for that!!!
For such a big excitable boy, you are amazingly gentle with the kids. I love that you love to play with them and get involved in their games even when they are yelling at you to ‘stop licking Willis!’
The ONLY time that you ever look ‘scary’ is when you know that your dinner is coming and you may just eat through the glass to get to it… because clearly you are starving! Food is one of the biggest highlights of your days! Life’s not worth living if there isn’t food involved, right? You love everything, not one bit fussy ;p
On the 26th September 2017, I heard ‘Dad (Adam)’ yelling from the back yard that there was something wrong, that you were choking, and couldn’t breathe…. It lasted what felt like forever. We rushed you to the vet in which time it had stopped. You had previously just been playing with your blue ball and we thought that you have been stung in the throat by an insect. You came home and everything was ‘normal’. Although I kept thinking that you were a little bit quieter, a little ‘different’.
3 weeks later, on the 18th of October, I called you up for breakfast, when you didn’t come my heart skipped a beat. I ran down the stairs to find you barely able to walk and looking at me like you needed help. I was scared, so scared. We got you to the vet and the only thing that stopped this episode was anti-seizure medication. You stayed in hospital over night until we picked you up the next morning and drove you to the specialist in Brisbane.
Here, at the Queensland Veterinary Specialists they were so thorough, they tested you on everything and the last test was an MRI scan and a spinal fluid withdrawal. This would determine whether you had a brain tumour or meningitis, neither of which we wanted to hear. We left you there to have the operation that took over 3 hours. Our hearts were racing and I cried the whole time waiting for the phone-call that you had come out of surgery. The phone finally rang, NO tumour but the inflammation on his brain is ‘very significant and official results will be in late tomorrow.’
We came to visit you the next day, spending an hour with you laying on the floor, telling you that everything will be ok and we will go home soon.
Just after we left for you to rest a little more, you had a Grand Mal seizure and had to be on continuous watch in ICU from then on. Results came back later that day which confirmed what we already knew. The medication was started, you had a 50/50 chance of responding too it! This broke my heart, I didn’t understand how this may not be fixed! That you will possibly never be off the medication. That your life would completely change.
You were discharged on the 22nd of October and we got to come home, I was so unsure of what was to come. My tummy in knots because I know that you are so sick.
You are so unsteady on your feet and terribly tired all the time. We have to make sure that you can’t climb the stairs because you could hurt yourself. You drink so much water now and pee lots and lots. I want to help you to recover as quickly as possible so I rang the Natural Vets in the Sunshine Coast for alternative medications and options to help support you throughout this shitty place we are in and to get you better as quick as possible.
We start the supporting homeopathic/natural medications along with the ketogenic diet, which included ‘pulped’ vegetables, good quality meats, fats, organs, beans, turmeric and eggs. You are having 3 main meals per day with 2 snacks as you have lost 6 kilos and we need to fatten you up and give you back some strength. You are allowed to have treats that include chicken frames, pigs ears, liver, bananas, sardines, berry smoothies, roast sweet potato and pumpkin! You eat better than us right now ;p Meals are prepped and frozen every time ‘Dad’ has days off. Homeopathic drops are given 4 times per day, frankincense is rubbed on your neck and diffused for you!
7 days out of ICU and we are off for a check up at our local vet. Things look great ❤ I’m starting to believe that you are going to get better and come out the other side whipping your tail and licking everyone’s face!
Back at the vet for your 2 week check up and a blood test to make sure all your medication levels are in the right ‘area’! You nailed it!! My stomach is slowly starting to ‘unknot’ and I’m so excited that we are pulling through. You have started playing with your ball again and you told Dad in your staffy talk that you’d appreciate it if he could spray the hose in your direction. Your tail is even starting to wag again! The 3 week mark for the response to medication is just around the corner and I am so stinking proud of you! You are one tough cookie! A true fighter!
A medication drop of 1/4 tablet for 3 days and on the 15th of November, we are about to give you breakfast until we realise that you are frothing at the mouth, scared and twitching all over. I ring the vet on call and for circumstances out of our control, you seizured for 2 hours. My heart is pumping, tears screaming down my face and all we can do is sit with you and say its ok. I want so bad to stop it for you and make you better. Dad finally got to the vet and there is no time to speak. You are over heating and you need to be put on fluids and given an IV line. In hospital overnight once again and I can’t sleep. Terrified if you are going to be ok in the morning. We come to get you late the next afternoon and the damage that had been done yesterday was smacking me in the face. My heart sinks deep into my stomach and I can see all the work that we had done together slip away. “Time is limited, many cuddles and lots of love are in order”.
My alarm is set throughout the night every 2hrs to check on you. I do not leave the house for more than that either unless someone is able to pop in and make sure that you are ok. You are our life. Unfortunately, medication has increased to prevent further seizures happening for the next week. The medication that has to be given not only brings the inflammation down from the meningitis but also attacks the muscles that you have in your body. Your head just gets skinnier everyday I look at you. My heart breaks and I can’t wait to get you off the tablets. You still manage to come in and hang out while I do a work out each morning, although you sleep all the time, never bark, don’t play and rarely wag your tail. I’m sure you are living for the food!
I have lost count on the amount of times I have asked myself if we are doing the right thing by you! I have also lost count on the amount of times people ask me ‘why?’ or I get the look of ‘don’t you think its time?’ Each day I look at you and beat myself up not knowing what the ‘right’ thing is. I have been assured by 3 different vets that you are NOT in pain. Although I could never really know if you are. You never act like you are hurting. There are highlights and glimmers of hope some days! How can we take you and ‘end your life’ when you come running around the corner for your food, slightly wag your tail at me or have a very short play with the hose!? How can I? People keep telling me ‘you’ll just know when the time is right.’
Australia day and from the back yard I hear Dad yell out, something is happening again. This time it’s completely different, you look like you are ‘there’, that you know what is happening but your legs are starting to give out. You yelp in pain (the most I’ve heard from you in months). Dad pushes your stomach and you seem to come ‘good’. Apparently you had a chicken frame lodged in your tummy, but the vet can not be entirely sure to rule out a ‘seizure’ as such. I can be sure that I have definitely gained a few extra wrinkles and possibly some grey hair though.
This vet visit also uncovered that your liver is enlarged and starting to struggle with the medications. This is not good and the medication needs to be drastically reduced if there is any chance of healing the liver and not having your body give up! If we drop the medication, the results could end up in seizures! There is only one option! Decrease the meds as quickly and safely as we can and hope for the meningitis to be under control or gone!! We have come this far and we are not giving up! The Natural Vets are sending some more homeopathic drops to support the liver also. I’m not going to lie, we have so many bad days, some ‘ok’ days and some very fleeting good days. We live for those good days and on many other days I want to lay there and cry for you to just be better!
We have made the call that if this doesn’t work and you are not clear of your illness and the seizures return, then we will let you rest! Medication has now dropped to the lowest its ever been and you are doing great! It does however still have to come lower. You are still showing signs of organ damage, your skin is starting to get irritated (also caused by the medication) and your eyes are sore and infected.
This last drop in March, I have noticed a change. You fell over and scared me half to death and then it happened, you got scared and started panicking and running in circles, panting hard, and not knowing what was happening. It only lasted a small while, but my heart was instantly crushed. I knew this was it. We couldn’t let you fight anymore.
And….. you know what? Today as I sit here typing this blog about you and how much you meant to us, I still can’t bare to think that we made the ‘right’ decision. I did not once feel like you wanted to give up! I did NOT ‘just know’ when the time was right like many said. I could have easily taken you home on Saturday and kept on fighting. I let my gut override my heart for the first time since you have been sick. I only did it because I would absolutely hate myself if I was not there when you had another episode.
My heart is sitting so deep in my chest that it actually hurts to breath. My throat is constricted and feels like it is about to close up. My eyes are burning balls of fire and blur. We did absolutely everything that we possibly could and yet I feel like it was not enough, I feel like we gave up on you! Many people thought that we were stupid to try so much, so hard for so long. Many people said that they would never have done such a thing and thats ok because you were ours and not theirs. We loved you like you were our child and I would never have given up on a child without a dogfight!
I know that the pain will eventually ease but that will take a very long time. You were pretty much our every waking moment over the last 6 months and I will never regret any single second from the moment we called you our own. Ella has not left your bed since you left and she is missing you just as much as we are.
We will never stop loving you big guy! We are so sorry that we gave up the fight and we hope you know how much we love you ❤ We will miss your happy smiling face, your whipping tail, mouth full of slobber, licking tongue and most of all your unconditional never ending love!
Much Love ❤
Mum, Dad and Lilli ❤
Before I let Willis continue on his journey to another lifetime, I want some people to know how grateful he is that they were in his life towards the very end!
The team at Queensland Veterinary Specialists in Stafford Heights.
Henry and the staff at The Natural Vets in Forrest Glen.
Harbour City Veterinary Clinic in Gladstone. A massive Thank you to Phil and Rebecca that have been with him from the very first ‘episode’ and right til the last seconds of his life. You guys and the vet nursing staff have been nothing short of amazing over the last 6 months. A special mention to Bec for your continued support and dedication to help find every way possible, with no questions asked to make him better and for not giving up on him until we were ready. We can never thank you enough!
My Family for always checking in on him whenever we needed you too and never complaining!
Over and out buddy! Fly high!