Our Sweet Little Girl, Zoey

(Note: It has taken me several days to be able to write this post.)

I am saddened to share with you that our sweet shih tzu, Zoey, has passed over the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven. Jack and I are both mourning her loss.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Zoey taken last Christmas.

It all began the last week or so before we left Austin, Texas. She had a little “spell” that later the vet called a small seizure late on the afternoon of Sat., April 4.

We found a vet that was still open. Because of COVID-19 we could not go in with her. 😞 (They did what they called “curb side” service. They come and get your pet and call you multiple times as you wait in your car to give you information and consult with you.) They took some blood and found out she had very high kidney numbers, a small heart murmur, and high blood pressure. This vet thought it might be a disease called leptospirosis and that IV fluids and IV antibiotics might take care of it. She suggested we go to Austin Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center (aka: doggie ICU hospital).

We immediately took Zoey to AVES. Again, we waited in the car while they did more blood work, an X-ray and an ultra sound. They told us her heart was slightly enlarged, it had a small murmur, she had high blood pressure, her kidney numbers were high, and her kidneys looked like the kidneys of a much older dog even though she was only five and a half years old. 😢 We left her at the hospital that night.

The next day, with the IV fluids, her kidney numbers were down slightly. We knew the leptospirosis test wouldn’t be back for 3-5 days. We decided to keep her in the hospital a little longer even though we were approaching the date to leave Texas and head back to Missouri.

All the people at AVES we’re so nice. While talking with one of vet technicians, I mentioned how hard it was just leaving our “baby” there for several days. She offered to email me some pictures of Zoey so we could see she was fine.

You can see where they shaved part of her left leg (on the right as you look at photo) and inserted the IV.

By the time she left the hospital, they had moved the IV to the other front leg.

AVES did an excellent job staying in touch with us. We got a phone call from the doctor 2-3 times a day. By the third day, her kidney numbers had come down enough that the doctor said we could travel back to Missouri if we gave her fluids under the skin (that was much easier to do than I imagined!), and we needed to have her kidney numbers tested again in 3-5 days. So, we picked her up from the hospital on the fourth day and headed for Missouri early the next morning.

After being in the hospital four days with NO contact, I don’t know who was more excited: Zoey or us!

Heading home – – FINALLY!

Home!! She looks like her front legs have a “poodle” cut!

We arrived in Springfield, MO (where Jack’s mom lives), late in the afternoon on Fri., April 10th. I googled “veterinarians near me” and randomly chose one. They, too, were doing curbside service and could give us an appointment on Monday morning.

Early Monday morning we headed to Healing Paws Veterinarian Clinic. Zoey’s kidney numbers had started coming back up by then, and this vet (who had read all the information from the Austin hospital and vets that I emailed to her on Friday) said the same things the other vets said. The leptospirosis test came back negative, so we now knew for sure that she had kidney disease which is most likely genetic. There was basically nothing we could do but make her comfortable and spend time with her. The vet said she might have a week or two or up to a month or more; she just didn’t know for sure. 😭

We took her home. We spent the next 11 days playing with Zoey, pampering her, and loving on her. She was being finicky about her dog food, so she got to eat people food which GREATLY excited her! We took her for long, slow walks and let her sniff and play as she desired. She even got to sleep in our bed! We really had a great time with her.

After a week, we started noticing more changes in her behavior and eating, so we made another vet appointment for Thursday, April 23rd (eleven days after the last appointment). Her kidney numbers had gone way up, and we knew she wasn’t feeling well because all she did was lay by us. We made another appointment for later that afternoon at the close of the vet’s office hours, to do what we knew we must. Then we took her home and spent the rest of the day making her happy.

OH! That sweet face!

Lots of cuddles.

Doing my tricks for mommy.

Waiting for more treats.

Sniff! Sniff! Hurry up mom! I smell something GOOD!!

Yummy! Real steak dinner.

Wow! Strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Now, I am ready for a little nap.

Of course, the nap has to be with daddy!

We went back to the vet at the appointed time. We stayed with her, talking and loving on her until the end. Talk about a HARD thing to do! It was SO worth it, though, because during this scary time, she KNEW we were there and that she was greatly loved by us!

The next day the vet office called us to make sure they had our mailing address correct. I asked why, and they said they had a card and a little gift for us. I told them we would just come by that afternoon and pick it up because we would be taking Zoey’s food, toys, collars, leashes, etc., to a nearby animal shelter.

When they brought the card and gift out, I got all teary-eyed. They had taken Zoey’s foot imprint and made a round ceramic-like ornament. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness and I wanted to hug the lady so bad, but couldn’t because of social distancing. I gave her an “air” hug and asked her to pass the hug along to the vet and the rest of the office personnel. As I was walking back to the car, I was taking another, closer look at the special gift in the ziplock bag. I suddenly bursted out crying because they had included some of her ponytail hair in a tiny container attached to the ornament!! Unknown to them, I had cried in the middle of the night when I woke up because I thought about her cute little ponytails and wished I had kept one. What a miraculous gift they had given me!

They even got all the colors of her hair in the tiny container!

Isn’t this the most precious gift the vet could have given us?! It will be just as cherished as she was.

This has been a difficult ordeal for us to go through. It is what it is. We have SO many good memories of our years with Zoey. She had a great life full of love, fun, and adventures. She has probably been to more states in the USA than the average person! We will miss her, but she will always be close to our hearts.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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