Please forgive me writing this, but I think it's my way of dealing with the grief. It's been a hard two weeks. Last night, we had to say good bye to our precious little girl. She would have turned 5 on New Years this year. It's far too short of a time. And the whole thing just doesn't seem fair.
We did our best to keep the little one healthy and happy. Vet check-ups, tooth brushing, exercise and a good diet. She was at a good weight with no issues. Multiple vets had remarked that her heart was surprisingly healthy. (I think they saw a lot of overweight corgis.) She had a need to chase all the discs, squirrels, bunnies and tennis balls. We tried to make sure that she had every opportunity to do so.
Two weeks ago, she started getting unsteady on her right hind leg and leaned a little to her left when running. We thought it was a limp and gave her some rest, much to her disappointment. When the first vet examined her, we wasn't correcting her back paw positioning. They suggested we see a neurologist for potential IVDD and put her on prednisone. For two days all I could do was look up IVDD and what it would mean for her future. The neurologist examined her, but didn't find anything worth worrying about except for pain in the knee. That afternoon she was examined by a surgeon and got x-rays. They found "looseness in the knee" and got switched off her prednisone to prepare for NSAID treatment, which should help with the inflammation that was making it hard to walk. Sunday she got those meds and it was a good day. She was evening using her right leg to scratch as normal.
But, she didn't get better. She started listing to her left side when walking and had trouble holding a potty position for very long. She had scary spells where she would go stiff, extend her head and scream softly to us. (I now know that those were probably mild seizures.) Monday night we took her to the emergency vet. They told us it was not her knee, but likely something in her neck or head. Only a neurological exam would tell us anything. She stayed there overnight.
Tuesday she got a second neurological exam. The doc couldn't believe she was the same dog from less than a week ago and scheduled an MRI and spinal tap to see what the problem was. Most likely, an infection in a dog her age. We'd discuss treatment when the results were in. They kept her in the office all day. The MRI took most of the day and at 7pm we went back for the results. It was most likely the worst prognosis we could get. Our little one had a massive cyst in her brain. It was herniating her cerebellum, the motor control center, and was positioned such that surgery would kill her. The doc implied that her outlook was not very good. We asked to take her home. Thank you doc for giving her that steroid shot. It gave us a little more time.
Tuesday night we began Corgi Thanksgiving, with all the treats and as much play as she could handle. (It wasn't much.) She slept well and Wednesday I took off work to be with her. It was a day of bacon and bananas, bully sticks and cuddles. She managed to sleep on both of us and joined us for one long morning walk. But even with steroids and pain killers, she got worse throughout the day. By evening, she couldn't stand to use the restroom. (The little one just held it in so as to not mess the home.) After trying to go out, we came back inside, hoping that she just needed a little longer for the meds to kick in. She got up and moved to a dark, corner in the living room. She slept.
She woke up screaming and disoriented. It was then that my husband and I made the call to the vets office. She tried to follow us around as we got dressed, but fell down near the sofa and had another stiffness spell (probably seizure). I held her in my arms the entire drive and visit to the little room the vet reserves for these occasions. She continued to have the spells, intermixed with her "golden ticket" (sliced gravlax) and banana pudding we had made for her. She leaned on me as she fell asleep and was finally able to relax and not be scared. I held her as she left this world. I will love her and miss her for the rest of my life.
We had always told her that we expected the full 14 years out of her. We didn't get it, but we did get the best little angel for nearly 5. She got all the Frisbee those little legs could handle. (And as many of you well know, corgis are little furry bullets.) She got long walks on trails and into town. All the usual haunts knew her and gave her special attention when she came in, including multiple stores. She had both human and dog friends. She went to a daycare center regularly (even when it was tight on the budget) because we knew she loved it and the owners loved her. For a tiny dog, she had a lot of "cows" to take care of and she certainly took care of us "cows." Through layoffs, unemployment, family health issues and even my grandfather-in-law passing, she made sure to herd us in the right direction.
I have no regrets about the life we gave her, only that I wanted to get her a brother that she could train in the ways of corgidom. Perhaps, someday soon, we will bring home a successor, because we have become corgi-people now.
We love you, Kaylee. Take care up there. Help Pom-pom keep the cattle in line. We'll see you again when the time is right. ::hugs and cuddles::
We're going to leave up her tumblr as a way of remembering her.