Jan 8, 2015

Sheva’s Struggle | A Boxer with Mega-Esophagus

When you wake up in the morning to single digit temperatures with a very sick dog, there’s little to motivate you to go take pretty pictures. My day literally consisted of photographing my dog with my iPhone, sitting at a desk learning about Anatomy, and being extremely sappy thinking about old times. Winter-time-blues are coming on strong.

This is going to be a gloomy blog post, so be prepared. I don’t want to say sad, because it could be worse. Just very down. It’s also a very personal post about one of the nearest souls to my heart.

Sheva, my 11 year old boxer, is doing pretty terrible. She had an episode back in October that made her entire body tense. Her spine was in the formation of a “C” and if you bent her out of it, she’d bounce right back to that dang “C.” I’ve never hated a letter so much in my life.

The only explanation our (amazing) veterinarian could give us was that she possibly had a seizure that we weren’t aware of and these were the repercussions of it. He gave her a steroid shot and the next evening, she was up, walking around, wagging her tail and loving life.

This went on for a couple of months. She was so happy and I was so happy for her. Then right before Christmas, things went downhill again. She had tremors and her eyes shook violently. Within a couple days, she was back to almost-normal. We found out she has a disease that effects her esophagus. At this point, she couldn’t swallow on her own. When she would, her esophageal muscles wouldn’t work properly because they’re swollen, so the food wouldn’t make it to her stomach. PLUS, she couldn’t burp. Dogs need to burp just like humans. I know first-hand how awful it is to not be able to burp, I’ve never been able to… so that alone makes me feel so so so bad for her.

My dad made her his own rendition of a Bailey’s Chair. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was either, but it’s amazing and it’s been amazing for her. The gravity from her sitting up pulls her food to her stomach so she can digest it properly. This changed her life… for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, she went downhill again. Her head started bobbing almost like she’s lost control of her muscles. We found out she has a pretty terrible ear infection that’s most likely affecting her balance. Yesterday, it was only worse. She could still walk and use the restroom but this was the first time it became difficult for her to eat so as of now (with permission from the vet,) she’s eating eggs and rice. She’s loving it.

Today, she can hardly walk. When she stands up and wags that beautiful little tail of hers and starts to come to me, she stumbles and falls. She’s losing muscle control and I don’t know what to make of it. Her doctor, our amazing veterinarian, hopes that things turn around when she finishes her ear medication. I see her will to live but I know she misses walking on the hardwood floor and coming to my bedroom. I know she misses being able to jump on the couch in the guest room to sleep and get away from everyone — she’s an old woman… she loves her space. It’s just hard. Vet says she’s not suffering right now and she’s completely comfortable, so I have peace with that. If she gets better, will it only be months before it happens again? If she doesn’t get better, I know I don’t do well with doggy-deaths.

I took a few photos of her today on my iPhone, because I know my days with her are limited. Not only that, but my father has been a phenomenal caretaker. He’s so impressive and I’m so happy that Sheva has him during these last moments of her life to hold her up, pet her, love on her, spoon feed her, and be her best friend. 

If you pray, please pray for her. <3

“Always be hopeful.”

To top it off, a year ago today I was soaking up the sun on my way to Jamaica. 

W I N T E R B L U E S .

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