Jan. 2019: Around Christmas I started noticing that Isis (my dog) had been drinking a lot more water than usual. I noticed her backbone sticking out more. But I wasn't sure if it was because she's getting older (almost 11) and the fact she's missing a hind leg? I wasn't sure. I also noticed the barn cat had tape worm. So I grabbed him a dewormer, then I picked up one for Isis, too. This did not help with her thirst or her backbone.
Jan 22: To the vet. We had a blood test done, wondering if maybe she had diabetes. Teeth are good, heart is good, kidneys are good. It's her liver. That's not good. We tried 10 days of antibiotics, incase it was an infection of her liver. During those days, she decided she didn't want to finish eating her meals (she loves her food), has a hard time getting her back leg under her, belly started to swell, can't do the steps anymore. Still drinks a lot, poop looks good, doesn't urinate excessively. We bought a high quality canned food to mix into her dry food, which seems to help.
Christmas Eve vs Jan 22 at the vet. She looks fairly normal, except looking back at Christmas pictures, we realized how bony she looks here.
Feb 5: Back to the vet. Belly is huge. I had to put down more mats so she can get around. The vet wants to do X-rays. X-rays show an enlarged liver and possibly her spleen. And a whole belly filled with fluid. Can't see anything else. They took a sample from her belly. The fluid is not clear, but blood-tinged and full of cells. They made a slide and am now waiting to hear what the cells are. They're thinking cancer. She mentioned trying diuretics to help with the fluid and supplements to help her liver, but instead of just guessing and giving her a bunch of stuff she doesn't need, we're waiting for the results. I know she's uncomfortable, so here's hoping we have answers soon.
At the vet on Feb. 5, hoping for answers, but none were given.
Feb. 8: So I called the vet myself after not hearing anything. The vet had said they hadn't seen any cancer cells in the slide. But there is blood and pus in her belly. She said I could try antibiotics again, if I thought they had helped (they did not). She said they only two things she can think of that would be wrong would be cancer or a tear in a bowel somewhere, but neither of those things are adding up. So we can try an ultrasound, and exploratory surgery, a liver biopsy, or take another sample of stomach fluid and have it sent to the lab for testing. I stopped on my way home from work and got some diuretics to see if we can't get some of the fluid off her belly and make her feel more comfortable. So far, it doesn't seem to be working.
Feb 16. Took her back to the vet, as I had decided to do another fluid sample, as the only other option I was considering was the ultrasound and I would have had to take time off work to drive to the city and it would have cost $400. Monday is a holiday, so they won't be able to send the sample off until Tuesday, hoping to have an answer by Thursday.
Feb. 23: Results are back. Still no answers. The lab says either a tumor (still no sign of cancer cells), or a walled off abscess. They suggest a CT scan, but there isn't anyone around who has one. An ultrasound probably wouldn't give us any more answers. I can tell she is now very dehydrated, drinking excessively, not really interested in food. She's very uncomfortable and can't get around due to carrying the extra weight with less muscles on a single back leg. Her leg is also swollen. She's breaking my heart. We could do an exploratory and try to fix what's wrong or make her comfortable. She said I could try antibiotics again, anti-inflammatories, and steroids. I've got the weekend to think it over.
We’ve made out decisions. I will call the vet tomorrow and have her euthanized. Friday will be the day. My heart is broken and I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next few weeks.
That’s right. I love “pit bulls”. I put that in quotations because pitbull isn’t a breed. It’s a generalization of appearance. Stocky bodies, blocky heads, short fur. One of the most common breeds to be called a pitbull is the American Staffordshire Terrier. I also happen to have one.
Her name is Isis. And before you ask, she’s a 9 year old rescue dog and named after the Egyptian Goddess.
I can tell you two things. 1: that she is an amazing dog. And 2: that I am a responsible pet owner and if she weren’t good with people, I wouldn’t take her into stores and public parks. But I do, because she is. She loves kids. And food. And balls. And food.
When people come up to me, they tell me what a beautiful dog she is. Sometimes they ask if they can pet her. Then they ask what kind of dog she is. If they’re already petting her and seen comfortable, I’ll tell them she’s a pitbull. And they’re like, “Oh!” Sometimes they’re like, “Okay!” And they’ll pet her a little more. And sometimes they’ll tell me that their daughter/son has one, too. If they seem nervous before they even pet her, I’ll tell them she’s an AmStaff, because most people don’t know what that is. Does that seem counterproductive to trying to advocate the breed? Maybe, but I don’t want to scare someone off before they know her. I don’t want them to make assumptions. Again, a lot of people have no idea what an AmStaff or American Staffordshire Terrier is. So I tell them that so they aren’t concerned about what she may do, or I tell them pitbull so they’re not confused on breed. I try to gauge people before deciding on my answer. I do know that some people are more knowledgeable about dog breeds, and sometimes I will say AmStaff and they’ll go “oh, a pitbull!” And then continue to tell me how beautiful she is. Since getting my dog, several of my friends have gone out to get themselves a “pitbull” or mix.
I love taking her out and letting people meet her.
One of my coworkers has a mix and I’ve heard her try to explain to people why she wanted her dog before they even meet her. I hear “why would you want dog like that?” And she’s left to defend her choice. Which is sad. You should never have to defend your choice of dog breed. I’m not a fan of small dogs. I figure if you want a small dog, why wouldn’t you just get a cat? But it was their decision, not mine. Their choice, not mine. And I don’t ask why. It’s not my business.
Every once in a while someone will disagree with the choice and then try to make up for it by saying “Oh it’s all in how they’re raised!” NO, it’s not. A lot of dogs in shelters or rescues weren’t “raised right”. And mine wasn’t. She was tied to a tree for 2 years. With her mouth shut from a muzzle (because she yips when she’s tied, so we don’t do that) That’s not being raised right. And once they hit shelters or rescues, so you think they’ll will get adopted out of they have aggression issues? Surely not, if the shelter has any morals.
These breeds are extremely forgiving. And that’s what makes them so great. Do you know one of the main factors that makes them not great? Poor breeding. Backyard beeeders. People who don’t care about the lineage, the health, the disposition of the dogs they are breeding. Just out to make a quick buck. And inbreeding is a big factor, too. And that goes for every breed out there, not just “pitbulls”.
Why does it seem like there are more “pitbull” attacks in the news? Because most people don’t have any idea what breed it actually is. AmStaffs, American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Boxers, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers and several other breeds and mixes there of, appear to have similar features. So they automatically become “a pitbull”. There are several other “aggressive” breeds out there, but you don’t see state or province wide bans on ex. huskies. BSL is not the answer.
Did you know that “pitbulls” tank higher in temperament testing than retrievers? And that “pitbulls” were actually nicknamed the “nanny dog” for how well they were with kids? I’m not telling you to leave your baby home alone with your dog, no matter what the breed.
Here’s a link: www.google.ca/amp/dogtime.com/dog-health/general/1220-american-pit-bull-terrier-temperament-dog-bites/amp
It’s always good to use precautions around any dog you aren’t familiar with. Always ask before you pet someone’s dog. And teach your kids respect, dogs aren’t meant to be ridden or have their lips pulled. A dog can only take so much, and why risk your child?
And if you own a dog, know your dog. Don’t put your dog in a situation where someone, or your dog, could get hurt. You know what they’re comfortable with, don’t put them in a situation they’re not. Not long ago I was at work and there was a greyhound hanging its head out of a truck window. I went out to see another dog, one I was familiar with, and I must have gotten too close to the greyhound, because It lunged and snapped at me. My first thought was “Why would you allow your dog to hang out a window of your vehicle, if he dog is aggressive, or protective of the vehicle, unattended?” And then I thought, “ What if I were a child and thought I could pet it?” Not to mention that this dog was in this truck alone for several hours, it would have been best just to leave the dog at home.
In closing, these dogs cannot speak for themselves, so we must do it for them. And I will.