Monday, July 8, 2013

Sprite: 12-23-96 to 7-8-13 (Our Senior Dachshund Has Passed)

Sprite July 8, 2013
 July 8, 2013 5:50 p.m. EDT - Tonight we said goodbye to our oldest "boy," Sprite. Sprite was over 16 1/2 years old and has been in failing health for the last couple of years since we adopted him. 
   We made the decision today after Sprite experienced another rough night, the second in a month. Sprite has now joined Rob's puppy Buzz in doggy Heaven.
   For months Sprite's back legs would splay out behind him when he's eaten dinner. Today he didn't want breakfast, just 4 small bites of chicken, and treats.
  Sprite has had a bad heart murmur since we took him in as a foster dog. Last year he developed kidney failure. For the last 6 months he's only been able to hold his urine for 4-5 hours maximum, so we've put towels in the kitchen for him (and he used them). 
Sprite and Tom at the vet when we first got him Dec. 2010

 He was unable to walk around the neighborhood for over a year. I've had to carry him upstairs and downstairs for about a year, and outside and back inside for the last several months. His breathing was somewhat  labored over the last several days.
  He was blind in one eye, and only saw light and shadows with the other, and deaf in one ear. His quality of life was really not good, and we kept him comfortable.
  He loved his Pupperoni, though. and couldn't wait to get it at 8pm while we all went upstairs to watch TV to unwind.

Our thanks to Cozy Canine Camp and especially Mary Chick for making Sprite's life at daycare such a wonderful experience over the years. Family Vet Clinic in Gambrills has also been wonderful with all of his surgeries and getting him healthy since he arrived in Dec. 2010.
  Tonight, Dr. Christine Yates, and Vet Tech Eric, were amazing and patient with us and Sprite as we brought him in. They gave him a sedative and let him drift off over 40 minutes before it was time. Tom and I held onto him and told him it was okay to go. We are both a mess tonight.
   Thanks for your notes and Facebook messages and texts. I'm just not up for talking tonight. 
Sprite in 2010 with a growth on his neck
    When he came to us as a foster dog through Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue in early December 2010,  he was homeless. Sprite belonged to an elderly couple in Ohio. The wife passed in September  and the husband  passed in November 2010, leaving Sprite homeless (until the Rescue heard about him). Sprite wasn't housetrained and hadn't been a vet since 2006, and when we got him he had fleas, worms, we had to have 22 rotted teeth removed, get all his shots, blood tests, heartworm tests, neutering, and we had a large growth removed off his throat.   
  Sprite was obviously NEVER HUGGED, and NEVER HAD TOYS. When we got him he didn't know what a hug was, and Tom said Sprite was unaffectionate and he was right. It wasn't until Dec. 2013 that Sprite would come to me to get his head rubbed. He never played with toys, though. In 2011, Dr. Yates told us that because of his Heart Murmur, if he were to go to another home it would've killed him (the stress), so we ADOPTED SPRITE. 
 Story about his teeth removal:

May 11, 2011, Ed joins us for a dog walk- Sprite had to be carried the whole way
On Sunday night, July 8, I (Rob) took Sprite to the emergency vet. Sprite is just over 16 1\2 yrs old and has been dealing with kidney failure and a serious heart murmur for years.
Sprite was Finally Happy all healed in 2011!
  Just around 9:30 p.m. (before bedtime) his nose started bleeding a lot. I couldn't get it to stop and he kept licking it and sneezing blood. I was unsure if it's related to advanced kidney failure, and it wouldn't stop bleeding, so I took him to the vet
Franklin, Sprite and Dolly pose in 2012

hospital at 10:30 p.m.
  His breathing was labored, and they took him in the back rooms to try and quell the bleeding.   After 30-45 minutes at the ER they managed to stop the continuous bleeding, although he bled more when he came home.
  The emergency vet thought it could be a tumor, but would have to put him under to test him. His weak heart and kidneys can't handle that. He's only eating treats, and for the last couple of months,  I have usually carried him out to do his business, and then carry him back in. Although he did walk occasionally and once he found the strength in his weak back legs, he would walk a bit in the back yard (although mostly stop, stand and stare at the sky).


Following is a post I wrote for the UK TRIP Blog - that involves a medical emergency with Sprite while we were on vacation. This was a serious issue, so we knew this was coming. 

UK Trip #19: A Doggone Emergency 

The last thing that anyone wants to hear on a trip is that there's an emergency back home. When we were in our second night in Scotland, that's the message we received on a slip of paper under our door. We just finished taking the "Witchery Tour" of the city and got back to the room at 10:30 p.m. local time to find that note. The note said "Please call your mother as soon as possible."
Sprite, a screaming Dolly, and Franklin with Santa:2012
  We immediately assumed it was a note requesting for us to call Tom's Mom, who was the emergency contact for our dogs (who were all in boarding). We had never put Sprite in boarding before, and he's 16 1/2 years old, and has kidney failure and heart problems, so we didn't know how he'd fare. Of course, we also thought that something may have happened to my (Rob's) mother, who is 86 years old.
SEVERAL UNANSWERED CALLS -   We talked to the front desk who said we could call the U.S. directly for a very minimal amount, so we tried calling Tom's mom, my mom, the dog's kennel, and couldn't get through to anyone.Our great travel agent, Anne Marie Clark of Across the Pond Tours was on the phone when we tried calling. So, Rob ran down the stairs to the business center and emailed the kennel and Tom's mom. By this time, it was 11 p.m. local time (7 p.m. Eastern Time/U.S.).
Dressed for winter
ACROSS THE POND TRAVEL COMES THROUGH -   When (I (Rob) returned to the room, Anne Marie from Across the Pond Tours called us! She told us that Sprite was hospitalized but is okay and is recovering. I can't say how WONDERFUL Across the Pond Tours is with customer service. Anne Marie called us to make sure we knew what was happening. That was such a comfort to us.  I went back to the business center, and Mary from Cozy Canine Camp emailed me and told me Sprite wasn't eating and was dehydrated, and had diarrhea and was vomiting, so they took him to the vet, got him re-hydrated and got him settled down. Later they hand-fed him and he was resting and recovering. We talked with Tom's mom and told her to let the kennel get Sprite well before she takes him out. Tom's mom picked him and the other three dogs up the afternoon of the day we came home, and Sprite was back to better health - but that was only temporary as we found out.

Tom found this helpful advice on line that hit every chord about little Sprite (and may help others):
When It's Time
Sprite in 2011
There comes a point in a dog's life when it is time to say goodbye. We would love to hang on to our best friend forever, but we know that is not going to happen. Your dog, though he may be ravaged by blindness, deafness, illness and other disorders, still looks like your dog. He is still warm and furry and his tail still wags when you pet him. Your memory of what he once was may fill in the details of a dog that is no longer there. He may not be suffering, but he is no longer fulfilled. It does not matter that he still looks and feels like your dog, because the dog you knew has departed.
Many of us take a long time to reach this conclusion and it's understandable. Any decision to put a dog to sleep is difficult, feels premature, and is often tainted with guilt. Perhaps you feel your dog has brought you years and years of pleasure, and now you owe it to him to comfort and sustain him for as long as he is willing to carry on. Again, this is a perfectly understandable and completely rational thought from a human perspective. Consider everything I have written here about how it looks from the dog's perspective.
Once your dog's heath slips off the edge, nature has no intention of restoring him. His senses have dulled. His mobility, as he knew it, has gone. He struggles to orient himself. He may be in pain, or so diminished by pain medication that he cannot do any of the things he once loved to do. The feedback he receives from you is laced with pity. He cannot do his job. He cannot even do normal body functions correctly. Worst of all, none of this makes any sense to him. The kindest, most loving act you can do at this point is to gently help him find everlasting peace.

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next