Saturday, December 18, 2010

A hero's passing - rest in peace my dear friend

It is with great sadness I learned of the passing of fellow animal advocate, rescuer and friend Marjorie Banks. Marj was a pillar of strength in the rescue community who will be sorely missed. True to her passion Marj's voice for homeless pets remained vocal right up to her last breathe. Rest in peace my dear friend - you are the best.

"God saw u getting tired and a cure was not to be. So he put his arms around u & whispered come with me. With tearful eyes, we watched and saw u pass away. Although we love u dearly, we could not make u stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest.. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hey you, can you help me carry the stone?

Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?

Hey you, dont help them to bury the light
Don't give in without a fight.

Hey you, out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone
Would you touch me?
Hey you, with you ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out
Would you touch me?

Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I'm coming home.

But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.

Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you're told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?

Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Whiter Shade of Pale

Zoe Monster & Bam Bam
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels cross the sky

I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
the room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away


So it was said later
as the mirror told it's tale

That his face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see
I wandered through my playing cards

Maggie Dawg

as the mirror told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
and would not let her be

although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed

Ellie Mae

And so it was that later
as the mirror told it's tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

Rest in Peace my sweet friends - you left your mark deep inside my heart with a whiter shade of pale.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mulligan's Travels

A very sad and painful Mulligan 
 Today is a day of celebration for our Mulligan.  It was four years ago that we "adopted" Mulligan from the Walton County Shelter.  Mulligan's determination to survive was a journey full of ruts and misery.  His journey started as he dragged his crippled body down a lonely deserted road in rural county.

I stumbled on Mulligan when visiting the shelter to pick up a beagle.  Since he was picked up as a stray the shelter was required to hold him the standard period.  Otherwise, he would have been euthanized to end his suffering.  Since the shelter wouldn't release him early in case "his owner showed up to reclaim him" all I could do was put a hold on him and wait.

Not everyone agreed that rescue was an option for this boy.  Obviously, adopting out a crippled dog would be "complicated" but adoption was the furthest thing on my mind as I made that choice.  My intention was to see if I could help this poor dog and if not at least offer him the dignity of being there while he drifted away.

I named him Mulligan because after all he had been through he deserved a "second shot".  Once we got Mulligan home I took him to three vets for an evaluation.  All three reached the same conclusion - he would never walk again, he was suffering and the only option was to end that suffering. 

As I pondered my dwindling options I wrote a story about Mulligan's woeful story and an angel appeared.  A complete stranger located thousands of miles away offered to pay for an examination and any treatment at the Universitry of Georgia to see what options we might still have.

With that Mulligan and I began our travels to seek out help.  Everyone at the teaching hospital fell in love with Mulligan.  Our options were limited with the only possible solution coming from performing an MRI and if the problem could be located to immediately operate to repair his damaged disk.  During his exam Mulloiagn was non-ambulatory, had a body condition score of 1/5 (quite thin) with numerous open wounds resulting from dragging his hind-quarters.  He had severe muscle atrophy on his rear muscles related to the paralysis.  To add to his troubles Mulligan was also heartworm positive.

With little or no rear limbs and tail (which were present during his initail exam) the decision was made to proceed immediately with the MRI.  Still, since there wasn't any medical information on how long Mulligan had been "down" his prognosis still remained guarded.  Mulligan's MRI was done on December 20th, only a few short days before Christmas.  I went home and prayed for a Christmas miracle.

Mulligan's myelogram revealed a compressed lesion to the spinal cord.  Holes were drilled in his spinal cord to allow the swelling to decompress.  With all the discouraging news I had recieved this seemed to be the glimmer of hope for Mulligan's recovery. After all, even if he couldn't walk if he wasn't in pain we could deal with that.

The numerous notes on Mulligan's prognosis and aftercare we marked with one final comment from staff - it read "Mulligan is a such a sweet dog.  Thank you for entrusting us with his care.  This sweet boy had one the hearts of everyone he met.

They told me Mulligan would be at the hospital for several days and we wouldn't really know much till then.  I joined a support group called DisabledDogs on yahoo and started researching everything I needed to know about owning a crippled dog and I waited.   Visiting Mulligan the next day raised my spirits.  He came through the surgery and was happy to see a familar face.  Now, all we had to do was wait.

I would drive that 50 mile trip to visit Mulligan every morning.  On the third day - just two days before Christmas we got the greatest present ever - Mulligan was coming home.

I'll always remember that holiday season as being special.  Our boy survived and his future was now in my hands.  The doctor who tended Mulligan gave me instructions on doing a physical therapy session on Mulligan that involved moving both of Mulligan's rear legs in a bicycle motion.  We had to do this twice a day for fifteen minutes.  Mulligan hated his therapy - he would scoot his body away every time in an effort to escape. 

Meanwhile, his life was started to be more normal as we outfitted him with a cart and his wagon.  After initailly resisting his cart he quickly became a zoom racer which seemed to pick up his spirits.  He was able to be a dog again even following the other hounds around the yard.  The cart also returned his dignity in that he was no longer having to deficate on himself.  With all the extra care Mulligan need we became REALLY close. 

Mulligan in his wagon
Mulligan had stumbled on the one person he could finally trust.  I found a hound with a huge heart who seemed willing to forget his horrible travels.

It would be several weeks and there was little change.  Each morning I would wheel his cart up to his cage and ask him if he wanted to go out.  He usually respnded by scooting over to his cart and off we would go.  This morning would be different.  Mulligan looked at me with agleam in his eye and walked right past me to the door.  I looked, shocked by what I had seen and told him "well, I guess we don't need this anymore" - his miracle was complete.

Over the years, Mulligan has developed into a delightful hound.  His favorite past time was "hunting down and killing" his stuffed bunny.  He was so funny, he would drag his bunny everywhere only to drop it on the floor and start barking at it.  It was a joy to see a dog who had suffered through so much sudden;y become so well adjusted.

Mulligan and  his buddy Toby
Mulligan in fairly good health considering where he came from.  He is about eight to ten years old  now anbd has survived his surgery and heartworm treatment.  Earlier this spring he went down a second time.  Out came the cart as we tried once again to work through this issue.  Since I had already decided to keep Mulligan whether he was able to walk or not this time his illness wasn't as devastating. 

Mulligan was given steroid injections in an attempt to reduce this swelling on his spinal cord.  A few days later he started walking again.  He seemed to have dodged another bullet and went back to his normal activities.  A few weeks ago I noticed he seemed to be more sensative on his hind quarters again raising more concerns.  On Saturday his condition worsened once again, he stopped using one of his hind legs and was walking on only three legs.  I gave his a cocktail of predisone, baby aspirin and pain killer in an attempt to slow down any infection he might have.  Twenty four hours later he was back to walking on all fours again.

While the future for Mulligan is complicated by his poor geneitcs we have learned to take each day one at a time.  I'll be taking him back to the U of G soon for a follow up exam to see what type of medications, diet or other supplements might provide us the bext possible outcome.

Life will give you trials that only make you stronger.  Mulligan has provided me with an insight on never giving up even when facing tremendous hurdles.  I wouldn't trade those experiences for all ther riches in the world - we have our miracle boy and today's his day.