Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunshade's Ordeal - By mum

Last Wednesday (June 20th), I took Sunshade, my 12.5 yr old girl to the beach where she was doing what she loved to do....


During the last retrieve, she got out of the water, and became unresponsive. I carried her to the car and headed over to our vet. However, it was rush hour and we were pretty much stuck at a standstill in traffic. I turned to check on Sunshade and realized her breathing was more labored and her gum/tongue had gone purple. So I took a couple of short videos and sent it to my vet Janice's cell phone. She told me to go to a clinic nearest to where we were stuck in traffic.

This picture was taken at the clinic I found around where I was stuck in traffic. She still had sand on her nose.....

They put her on oxygen right away. We still had no idea what was wrong with her then. I was given a list of possibilities. Maybe she aspirated water,  had a small seizure, had the beginning stage of a heart failure , or maybe a bleed (she had a spleen nodule). 

We decided to transfer Sunshade to Can West, our local specialty clinic at around 9pm Wednesday evening.  They took a couple of hours to do the initial assessment. Below is what I posted on FB on early Thursday morning:

At around 11pm last night, the attending vet at the specialty clinic did an ultrasound on Sunshade's abdomen and saw fluids. He stuck a needle in and pulled out blood. So I had to make a decision to either:

1) do surgery right away to find bleeding source (most likely to be the spleen),
2) wait until tomorrow for the radiologist to come in to do a thorough ultrasound to see signs of spread and then decide course of action, or 
3) put her down. 

Sunshade's wonderful Auntie Janice (vet) was NOT on vacation this time, thankfully. She stayed with me on the phone, and talked to the attending vet. She also told me that she could open up her clinic right then and do a splenectomy on Sunshade, but she told me that she would be a little concern about the aftercare since her clinic isn't set up to do blood transfusions. Janice, who is a holistic vet, didn't think we should wait until tomorrow since Sunshade was having an active bleed. Option 3 was out of the question for both of us at this time. So they called in the surgeon and we went ahead with the surgery at around 12:30 am. Janice stayed on the phone with me the whole time. They found the source right away, her spleen.

Some of you may have read my posting before where I had mentioned that we found a small splenic nodule over 18 months ago. Due to its appearance (non-hemangiosarcoma/histiocytic sarcoma looking), two radiologists, an internal med specialist, and two of our vets, all felt that we should take a monitor and see approach. So since then, we had been ultrasounding her spleen every 3 months. The nodule had grown over the last 18 months, but at a very slow rate. The appearance remained un-hemangiosarcoma like. Due to the length of time for the nodule to had been around, radiologist and internist felt it was most likely benign (can grow), but I was told that benign growths can still rupture.

Before heading into surgery, the attending vet had told me that it could be other masses that the ultrasound missed before. Sunshade's last ultrasound was less than two months ago, and other than the nodule, everything else was normal. But I understood that cancer can grown and pop up very fast.

Midway through surgery, the attending vet came out to update me. There was a "split" in that nodule and that was where Sunshade was bleeding. He asked me if Sunshade "fell" by any chance, and she DID. At the beach, she fell a few retrieves before that last retrieve. Due to her toes catching the ground at times, she sometimes trips and stumbles. Today, while she was turning to go after the log I threw, she caught her toes and went splat hard. So it is reasonable to think that the fall had caused the split in the nodule. They suctioned out all the blood, cleaned her abdomen, and didn't see any other masses or sign of spread. So this is very good news, especially since we had been very hopeful that the slow growing nodule was benign (we still don't know, have to wait for pathology).

The surgery took less than an hour, which according to Janice was very speedy. Less time under anesthesia; the better for Sunshade's kidneys and everything else. Her heart rate was very high, which according to them was normal during an active bleed. Her pressure was low normal. Janice stayed with me on the phone until 2am, and then we were texting back and forth until around 7am, when she had to go into work again...

The attending vet did tell me that some dogs die after successful splenectomy, something about their clotting factor being all confused and they don't kick back into action, so Sunshade was still far from home free.

Sunshade was on an array of drugs. She was also on a heart monitor to monitor the heart arrhythmia, so she was covered in cords and tubes :-(

The surgical site......

Sunshade was still anemic from the blood loss and surgery so she needed to have blood transfusions. She was also on oxygen because of the anemia.... :-(

I brought her her Truman dale stuffy for comfort. She loves to throw him around when she's happy. 

Sunshade is home now, and she is slowly getting stronger and stronger everyday. We appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers everyone has been sending us. Thank you so much, it means so much to us.

A few angels took it upon themselves to set up a Fundraiser site to help raise money towards Sunshade's ginormous medical bill.... and the rest of the angels from this special community of dog owners on FB as well as the yahoo Airedale group started donating towards the fund. The site was launched less than 24 hours ago, and already, they have raised over the half way mark. 

I am all teary and absolutely amazed at the generosity people are showing towards me and my special girl. The way this group of individuals come together when an animal is in need has been nothing short of AMAZING. I have seen the miracles they were able to pull before, and I am seeing it now with my Sunshade girl. Some of the donations came from people who had just adopted rescues that required extensive medical work up, and from people who had just had to spend a lot on their own sick dogs, and yet, they found a way to give. 

To all you angels,

It means the world to us that you are willing to go to this extent to help someone (most of you) had never met before... We are so grateful to have such a big loving, caring "family" behind us, especially during this difficult time. We truly feel privileged to be part of your life, even if it's a virtual one. Your friendship and good wishes mean just as much as any monetary donation, I hope you all know that. You have touched me deeply, and I know I would do the same for you if the situation were reversed.

Once I have more time, I will go thank each and everyone of you who has left your name on the donation page. Those of you who donated "anonymously", please know that you have helped us tremendously and we are so very grateful.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! ((Big Hugs)) to all...

Lastly, I know I'm the last person that should be asking for more from you, but I would really like it if you could continue to keep Sunshade in your prayers, and hopefully, the pathology on the spleen nodule will show it to be benign and not something more sinister......

A very humbled Elaine.... & Sunshade (who I'm sure has more than one guardian angels looking out for her)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I went to the apartment with mum today while she groomed. I have been spending a lot of time at the apartment nowadays.... and I just sleep my days away....

After today's grooming session, I told mum that I needed to go stretch my SuperLEGS!! So we went to UBC campus for a walk. Mum had to go mark in the middle of our walk, I found her a special tree, but she said that was no good. So picky! Anyway, so we went into Buchanan building so mum could go mark the toilet.

Buchanan building is where mum (and I) used to come for English lectures,

Mum and I started school there at the University of British Columbia in September 2001. Mum was not quite 18, and I was not quite 2. Because mum was raising me on her own, she felt guilty about leaving me home for long hours so she brought me to many of her lectures. The lecture hall in the following pictures are one of the smaller ones. I had attended some 3 hour lectures in lecture halls that held 600 people!! We would always sit in the back like illustrated in the pictures. 

Look at me flying down those steps!!

Now listen up kids, the SuperDALE is about to start the lecture on What to Feed a SuperDALE,

Ok, lecture is done!

Did you get all that my peer? 

Anyway..... moving on. This is where mum and I used to sit; all the way at the back so there was room for me, 

Either there or here. You see, I was born SuperPERFECT, so nobody ever knew I was there other than the people sitting in our immediate surrounding. The only time I ever made a noise was during a BORING, 3 hour long lecture; I sat up and gave out a loud yawn. People around us laughed hysterically because it was SO appropriate. What can I say, the lecture was THAT boring. People down below kept turning around to see what people in the back were laughing about. It was kinda funny. Nobuddy ratted me out though!

It sure was good revisiting the good old days. You know, the SuperDALE has a B.Sc too ;-)

Now, time to get moving, gotta go hit all the squirrelie hiding spots, not to mention, the garbage cans where rats like to hide!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer 2012 Beach Diary #4

When we got to Jericho beach today, I was a little disappointed.......

All the fun places were FENCED OFF....... I saw an opening in the fence and I asked mum (with my SuperEYES) if I could go in. She said noo.... it might be dangerous in there.

So we walked away to another area,

Only to find MORE fence..... (the mud was yummy to eat though!)

Finally, mum found me a beach access!!!!

Me & MY special Rockie

Me & MY special stickie,

(mum: I think it's time to retire my point and shoot camera..... the picture quality is terrible :-(  )

Monday, June 18, 2012

Where is WaldoDALE??

I'm sure you've all seen the Where's Waldo images such as this one correct?

Well, why don't you give this a shot.

Where is the WaldoDALE???

Here are some hints!


Did you spot me???

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Not so stinky!

This morning, I did some crow patrol,

Then mum she had to go to the apartment for grooming. I asked her who she was grooming and she told me a 9 month old dale stinky!!! (mum: a stinky is a puppy. A definition derived from Jaffa's arrival 5+ yrs ago.). I said I wanted to go home (I don't do stinkies!!!), but she told me to trust her, and that I would want to be there.........


 He's got LOVELIES!!! TWO of them to be exact!!! (mum: lovelies = testicles..... Sunshade has a thing for un-neutered males. Normally, she has no patience for pups/young dogs, especially the high energy dales!!)

This was our story,

(mum: it was hilarious to see Sunshade a little confused with Spencer who is still pretty much a puppy. He smelled good to her, and yet he acted like a stinky!!! She didn't know what to make of him!)

All of a sudden, I heard mum talking to Spencer. So I woke up to see what was going on, 

I soon realized what was going on. She was giving him MY treats that were on the counter....!!

NO WAY JOSE!!! I'm not THAT crazy about this half stinky yet!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday the 15th

This was how I spent the day. First, I spent about 4 hours at the apartment while mum groomed STINKY #2,

(mum: This is Jaffa's sister, Stella!!! I just LOVE this girl. She is the gentlest Airedale I know, and so very special to me. She and Jaffa are two peas in a pod, both so laid-back, so easy going. Excellent first time dog owner dogs. She is more sensitive than her brother though! SIGH... Jaffa!)

After mum was done with STINKY #2, we went to the University of British Columbia food court to get some foodables to eat. 

One problem though.... I realized..... 


However, I soon solved that problem.

Notice the similarity here?? I think I need to add this to the SuperDALE Breed post!!

After I finished eating, I went to do some weightlifting, (mum: picked another special rock :-))

And then some yoga exercises,

Boy that was exhausting!!

Once we got home, I ate din din, and then I went onto my SuperFORT for a well deserved snooze,

Keeping an eye on those pesky crowz,

This concludes a day in the life of the SuperDALE!