Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An Update on Tesla

We've had plans to put an update out on Tesla for the past few weeks, but every time we have a few free hours after work, all we want to do is climb in bed or snuggle on the couch with our little girl! We do appreciate all of you who have reached out to check in on her (and us!).


After her most recent vet trip, she seems in pretty good spirits and was physically doing really well. We took all the rules away...and boy did we see her little personality come out! No rules = bad dog (well...as bad as Tesla can be!). And while she's still out running Edison in the yard, we have definitely see her slow down a bit in some ways - the stairs have been really difficult - and think her kidneys are starting to slow from some bladder issues. But she continues to keep living her life and keeping us in good spirits!


The cardiac specialist recommended a Chinese herb called Yunnan Baiyo that is supposed to help decrease chance of tumor re-bleed which caused the initial heart failure. Additionally, since her original cancer lump, we've been supplementing her daily kibble with goat's milk, which is supposed to be helpful in reducing tumor size. Regardless of either of these medicinal purposes, Tesla LOVES eating her "cereal" each morning!


Unfortunately, Tesla had some marked difficulties over the weekend. Each morning upon waking, she had a really hard time getting up and moving - it seemed like she couldn't get her legs underneath her. My thoughts are that if her heart is slowing, it's less efficient at getting her blood circulating; so after long periods without movement (overnight), the blood isn't in places like her legs or her brain, causing her to wake up with limited feeling/movement in her feet and likely a "fogginess" in her head. Once she's up and moving, she seems to get going okay.


While she's showing signs of some struggle, she's in perfect spirits. She is so, so happy and has been SO playful. We know her days are numbered and likely coming to an end, but we're going to continue enjoying every evening like tonight with her laying at our feet snoring as loud as possible.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snuggle Sessions

I don't know if Tesla isn't feeling well and needs comforted, knows we need comforted, or knows her time is drawings to a close and is soaking up time with us like we are her, but she's been unusually snuggly the past few weeks.


She climbs up in bed at night, or jumps on the couch and spends hours there - definitely out of character.


She was much more like this when we first brought her home, but it was out of anxiety, which I don't feel from her now. It could be the result of less rules, of course, which have turned her into the cutest little monster. She's old enough and well-behaved enough (e.g. we've had these rules in place long enough) that she's not completely unchecked, but there is an extra pep in her step knowing she gets to do whatever the heck she wants.


Most of the time though, what she wants is to spend time with her humans and dog.


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Canine Love

Dog love is weird. I routinely say I have no idea why humans did this to themselves. They took a partnership of need (wolves in the wild) and created a species to be loved and share this world with. Let me explain.

When man began taking in the most docile of wild wolves and using them as warmth, protection, and hunting partners, they created the canis familiaris that we know and love today. Humans created these companions. The partners in this world that know the nuances in our voices, the sadness we're emitting, or the joy we feel when we look at them. We created them.

Because of this deep connection, the moment you begin loving a dog is also the moment you begin steeling yourself against their death. When you bring a dog into your life, you you start to prepare to say goodbye. It sounds morbid, but it's true. Most dogs won't outlive their owners - a burden we as humans carry in exchange for getting a decade or so of genuine love.


I think that loving a single dog makes it that much easier to fall in love again and again. Take Edi: had he been our first dog, it would have taken SO long to love him. But since we already had that love in our hearts, even though we didn't LIKE him at first, we loved Edi immediately.


Dog-love is an interesting thing - a human thing. It's a special love.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Second Round of Cheeseburgers

On Monday, I drove Tess out to the Heart to Heart Veterinary Cardiology Consultants at the Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center.


The office was beautiful and everyone was super nice. Tess had an exam with their cardiac specialist, Dr. Boddy; an EKG; and ultrasounds of her heart and abdomen.


Unfortunately, we received the news we were expecting - Tess has a tumor on her heart that likely bled causing the original pericardial effusion. She also has a tumor on her adrenal gland.

Any type of cancer possible in this situation (hemangiosarcoma, ectopic thyroid carcinoma, or lymphosarcoma) does not carry a good prognosis. In order to get a biopsy to determine the type, invasive surgery would be required - and we would be left with pretty crappy treatment options.

Saddened by this news, we began our trek home. Lucky for her, she has no idea her condition and is doing all the things she loves to do.



The tumor on her heart is likely to re-bleed, putting her back into heart failure. With this diagnosis, we know our time left with Tesla is short and valuable. We continue to soak up every second with her and will keep a close eye on her comfort in the days to come.


And of course, there will be more cheeseburgers!




Friday, March 3, 2017

Aging Gracefully

As Tess has gotten older, we take her out of her comfort zone less and less. She hates car rides and would prefer to hang at home with her people. With her general aging, and now with the unexpected news we received last week, we're even less likely to push those comfort limits. We spend a lot of time at home and around our neighborhood.


With a reactive dog, neighborhood walks can be tricky - they aren't the relaxing and leisurely activities of the past when we were a single dog home.



With all that, our blogging habits have changed. What we think is exciting and interesting just isn't in our routine anymore - and that's okay. But we still have stories to tell.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Rollercoaster Week

We came home last week to a very different Tesla. And while the symptoms weren't overwhelmingly worrisome, they definitely were cause for concern. She was not usually her spirited self - she was lethargic, aloof, and generally lifeless. She didn't run up the stairs to greet me, she walked with her head hung low, and immediately laid back down and fell asleep.



We contemplated going to the vet immediately, but didn't have any biological signs of distress. After a few minutes, my gut wasn't sitting right, so I decided to call the vet and ask them what types of symptoms they look for. After explaining the situation, they let me know they had an open appointment slot before closing if I wanted to bring her in.  I decided that a $40 appointment beat a much more expensive emergency visit if she worsened over night.

We told our vet the symptoms and he gave her a once over.  He noticed her heart sounded distant, so he took her back for some scans.  A few minutes later he came back somber, and I knew he had bad news.

Tesla appeared to have pericardial effusion which had led to cardiac tamponade - basically heart failure. Our little girl was dying and had mere weeks to live.

We were heartbroken. Devastated, we made our way home to make the most of her last days. First order of business...cheeseburgers - our tradition when we get not so great news.


The next few days consisted of Tesla's favorite thing - snuggling with her people at home. We have seen dogs with amazing bucket lists, but those things stress Tess. She hates car rides, the beach, and isn't a huge fan of the dog park. So we snuggled...


and snuggled...


ate tasty treats...


went on a Pack of Erie Dogs walk...


and snuggled some more.


Tess seemed to get better over the weekend, which we expected as her body compensated for the extra pressure in her heart.  Even with her increase in activity, the symptoms of heart failure started to show themselves through distention in her abdomen. We prepared to say goodbye to our favorite girl this weekend.



We went to our follow-up appointment on Monday expecting to get a better idea of how long we had left (days? weeks?). Our vet took Tess back to get another scan of her heart and came back with a befuddled, yet hopeful look. It seems like the pericardial effusion had disappeared! We celebrated with cheeseburgers -- apparently it works wonders for the heart!


Tess isn't out of the woods yet - we have a consultation with a cardiac specialist next week where we'll hopefully get a better idea of what caused the effusion and if there is risk of it coming back.

Send some extra good vibes our way this week!