Tori and the MILK JUG
(well it's really a vinegar bottle but it's become known as a milk jug).
Read on to see how this very MILK JUG
played a role in saving her life!!
Many of you knew my dog Tori when I had her. I adopted her from the German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin. During the 2 years she lived with me, she was trained and she traveled with me many places including to the east coast to visit my family. After 2 years it became apparent that she would be happier as an only dog so I began the search for a perfect home. What I thought was a perfect home presented itself and she was placed her as a Psychiatric Service Dog with a woman who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Having suffered a lifetime of abuse, she was unable to go out in public by herself to do simple things like go to the grocery store or Shopko. We truly do take our lives for granted. I was told that before Tori, there were times in public that she would have a flashback, disassociate and end up in the psychiatric unit of the hospital. For 2 years, Tori was her strength and she was able to become part of a life that we take for granted.
Apparently Tori couldn't take the pressure and started to shut down. She was plagued with infections and simply decided that it was too stressful to go on. I'll never forget that rainy Sunday night in September that I received a call to "come get her" and finding a dog that was curled up in a ball in the corner of her living room, having no desire to interact, eat or probably even live. At my house she soon became a different dog. It didn't take her long to start getting back to her old self. Because I originally adopted her from the rescue, technically, she is their dog. We treated her for a urinary tract infection and thought it was cleared up. As time went on I realized it wasn't so she spent a day at the vet so they could really try to figure things out. When I picked her up the news wasn't good. My vet couldn't do anymore for her and his words were, "This is serious". She needs to see a specialist and surgery to remove folds of skin on her underside that are not allowing moisture to dry up resulting in continuing infections.
I did some research and the surgery at the Animal Referral Center is $1500 - $2000. The Rescue informed me that they could not afford the surgery and I was faced with the possibility of having to put her to sleep. I understand the limited resources and in a perfect world, the money would be there but it’s not a perfect world.
The next day I took her outside where she played like a puppy. (she’ll be 6 early next year) I took some pictures and posted them on her website. Tori-Tori I looked at those pictures and didn’t see a dog that should be put to sleep but rather one that should live. She doesn't deserve this... she has done so much good and essentially put her life on the line.
So, this is a plea. If we can get 200 people to donate $10 each, the surgery would be paid for. If this can be accomplished, she has a new home waiting for her where she will be cared for and be an only dog. All donations will go through the German Shepherd Rescue which is a tax deductible organization. You can pay online with a credit card but you MUST be SURE to note that it’s for Tori’s medical bills. Go to the home page and click the link where it says Tori Needs Help Also, donations can be made by check and mailed to
GSRAW Att. Tori's fund
PO Box 7354
Madison, WI 53707-7354
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tori thanks you!
Larsen, WI 54947
So I need a special home. You see.... I have a lot of life left in me. I'm not done here yet and I just hope that since I have helped so many people in my life, that someone will now return the favor. I probably can't be a therapy dog anymore - but who knows once I feel better! I'll never be a jogging companion, and small children that might bump me or push on me would not be good either. But I am a good companion. No - a great companion. And just because I'm not perfect anymore.... well.... I still deserve a chance.
I'm the nicest dog you'll ever meet. You know - even with all of the pain and all of the poking and prodding the last few days - I never once even thought of snapping at anyone and they didn't even have to think of muzzling me!
January and February have been a bit rough for Tori. She was plagued by more infection (bladder and anal) and then allergies. She was on several meds, was biting at herself to the point of bleeding and then she started dribbling and became incontinent. It seemed like one thing lead to another and I'm the worst in the world for reporting medical news so I just have to pass along what I know. She switched the food to something for allergies.... not the best available because of the $300/month price tag but a very good alternative. It appears to be difficult for her to get up and down which could be the DM. When I spoke to Merle, she mentioned repeated visits to the vet for the poor girl but she definitely has good days and bad days. Sometimes Merle said it seems like the good days are more than the bad and then it changes and seems reversed. At this time, her quality of life is ok but it seems to me that this girl is not going to have a long one. I remember reading at one time that if a dog makes it past 7, it is likely that they will last into old age but that 6 to 7 year time frame is a critical time. I guess it’s like people who lose a battle to cancer or something else that shortens their lives at 40 to 50 years old.
So, Merle had knee surgery during February with complications so the first few months of 2009 have been a struggle in their household. Hopefully, when the weather breaks (and aren't we all hoping for that to happen soon), the two of them will get out again to go on walks and play in the yard. Tori really likes to roll in the snow. Perhaps with the allergies it feels really good.
Tori has adjusted to her new life and how do I know? When talking with Marilyn right before I lost Teddy, we spoke with Tori and she said that she's content in her new home and loves the people there. Merle told me that she has claimed the window seat and is quite comfortable looking out and waiting for her to get home from work or her son to get home from school. They have a huge front window looking out the front to the street and I can see how it would keep her occupied.
I sure do miss her and hope to get to visit soon. When I do .. there will be another report... until then... keep Tori in your prayers…I think she needs them.
January 8, 2009 – Tori seems SO comfortable in her new home. I’m amazed at how she gets along with the cats and the visiting dog. Her birthday party was great – well documented on her Birthday Page. There have been updated posted in December and now January and it seems like a monthly update would be the thing to do. It is SO evident that Merle and her son love Tori very much and there couldn’t have been a more perfect home for her….activity but not too much activity, people but not too many people and someone who has the medical background to understand Tori’s conditions and care for her. This post will be the end of this log and the next updates will be in the sidebar in a separate post! I’m all smiles…
December 8, 2008 - I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since she went to her new home. Her soft crate was her comfort place for a few days but it didn't take her long to gradually start settling down in other places. Friday, November 30th, she had her first appointment with the vet in Madison and started a 10 day regiment of a daily shot of gentamycin for treatment of the pseudomonas infecton of her vulva. This type of infection I'm told is resistant to most medications and we were VERY fortunate to have a wonderful person donate enough gentamycin which would have cost hundreds of dollars for her treatment. This condition must be cleared up before any other procedure is discussed. Hip x-rays showed moderate hip dysplasia and also a chip fracture on her right leg which may or may not have to be corrected in the future. It was also discussed that DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) may be the cause of her rear end weakness but the only way to find out more would be with an MRI, myelogram or a spinal tap which would be very invasive and costly. NEVERTHELESS... I'm thrilled that she's in competent hands and that the resources are available to pay for her procedures. The rescue will hold all the money donated to her specifically for her care and medical bills! Things are really looking UP for Tori! .
November 28, 2008 - noon - We've settled into our old routine....feels good. Reports on Tori are good. Merle takes her for walks morning and night. Had some tummy problems but that's no surprise.... pumpkin cures everything! The miracle food for dogs. Vet appointment this afternoon in Madison....details later..
November 27, 2008 - 8am - I wake up... what's this 8am and ARI is on my bed with me. WOW that hasn't happened in months! Kobie and Olivia are walking through the bedroom and come up on the bed and it's QUIET!! WOW... I remember again why she needed to go to a new home! All the competition with the other dogs was stressful to her and therefore everyone else was stressed. All is good... Tori is an only dog again! And this time, she will be the one cared for rather than the other way around!!
November 26, 2008 - 10pm - My house is unusually quiet. It's pleasant actually. I explained to the pack that Tori is in another home now. They still look for her. Olivia and Kobie are doing a quiet happy dance. Teddy is thinking "thank god she's gone" but continues to check out each corner hesitantly. Brita must be thinking who will run the fence line with her. And Ari... well... my guess it that he's thinking "what...ever". We head to bed and again it is unusually peaceful - no barking from the crate that she was in next to my bed when she spotted Kobie or Teddy in the doorway. No Olivia slinking next to my bed so she can curl up on the floor out of sight of the witch (her thoughts not mine). Teddy actually gets on my bed for the first time in months. NOW, I remember why she needed to go to a new home. There is peace in the homestead again....
November 26, 2008 - 8PM - Update by phone: Everything going well. She plopped herself on her soft crate before it was open. She continues to eat anything that's handed to her. (Please note that I encouraged Merle to hand feed her what would normally be fed from a dish at first to help with the bonding process which is what I've done each time a new dog came into my household.) The cats are making friends and she's fine. I didn't know since I don't think she's been around cats at all. I miss her...
November 26, 2008 - 12 noon - It's like sending a child to college I suppose ...what shall I send along? ...what will make her comfortable? .....what might she need that isn't there right now? ....toys ....bed ...food ...more toys ...vitamins ......meds .....outdoor toys .....leashes ......collars .....books for new mom .....vet records ....her winter jacket ....oh... ....have I forgotten anything? Two big boxes so we load up the van and off to the McDonalds in Beaver Dam which we figure is halfway to Madison. I planned to arrive early so we would have some time together to share a double cheeseburger and fries... Tori had the cheeseburger, I had the fries... well ok.. she did have some of the fries also. New mom arrives and Tori happily takes MORE treats from her and willingly goes in the back seat of her car for more treats. (a question was later asked - does she fill up and say "No thank you, I'm full now, save the treats for later" .....nooo... the answer is noooo... feed her and she'll eat!) Some pictures are taken and I get in my van sobbing... (you know if you've been there) I drive home.
A month has passed since the last update so here are some notes I’ve patched together from the information I’ve received from Merle.
(From a conversation about hydrotherapy) I have been thinking about hydrotherapy, but up until now, her infection has kept it on the back burner. it came to me that the UW vet school (one mile from me) is likely to have a hydrotherapy pool if the sub-specialize in orthopedic/neurological surgery/rehab. The infection was the thing for the time-being, so things look different now. My vet was quite adamant that Tori's knee was not as severe as she first thought, having had the chance to examine it while Tori was sedated. in addition, the neurological signs on awake examination were pretty strong, if not completely conclusive, in the absence of an extensive work-up (MRI, myelogram, etc). Claudia's partner independently came to the same conclusion a couple days later when we saw her on-call. On top of all this, I don't think the dead of (snowy,cold) winter is a good time to rehab from ortho surgery I do think hydrotherapy will do nothing but help Tori, no matter what her diagnoses are.
In regard to her diet for DM, it's pretty much as described in the 'vetmed' link you sent me. I use fresh, organic garlic and penzy's mustard and ginger, brewer's yeast from whole foods and I just started glucosamine/chondroitin from the health food store. I have been using up my own B-complex tabs, vitamin E caps and selenium. I give her (cooked in olive oil) edamame, carrots, apples, spinach, broccoli, brown rice added to 1/2 "wellness" senior dry food and 1/2 "natural planet organics' adult dry food. The antioxidants are important in human diet as well as dogs' and have been recommended to my friend with MS, the human disease comparable to DM. i throw in organic egg now and then, just because it's neat to watch Tori eat a hard-boiled egg whole and because i think eggs improve skin and coat, as well as carry all those fat-soluble vitamins. I just got a new canned food, which I have been using for treats and to bury her pills in called Merrick Mediterranean banquet. At $2.10/can after Sam's discount, I will probably limit her to 1/2 to 1 can per day. It's a veritable California cuisine in a can, but i am going to have to get the ingredient amounts from the sales rep. I have not looked into the more expensive supplements described in the link. I’ll l pursue that further if we hit a step-down or roadblock in Tori's progress.
I let tori do as much as she pleases, exercise-wise. interestingly, she seems to be more active an alternating days, resting on in-between days. Some days, she is all about playing and she has days when she is obviously hurting. She lets me know what she wants, and seems to want to push herself with more activity on days when she's capable of doing so. I do watch for over-doing, but the weather takes care of a lot of that, too. Her personality has come out the last week or so; she is so much more alpha than omega now, and I'm glad she is not just trying to please all the time. She backs off when we're firm and loves a good challenge, especially targeting, as we discussed. I think it makes her think without demanding a lot of physical exertion. On good days, she is really into tugging and also splashing in the snow, running around like a puppy. she initiates play, even taking out her tugs and toys.
I am able to occasionally get a look and a spritz (H2o2) at her vulva area, which is clean and dry and NOT the least bit smelly anymore. i took off her lampshade this week, as it's been quite a while since I've seen her lick her bottom or bother the spot on her L hip(which has healed up completely). Tori and the cats have entered into a non-aggression pact, largely ignoring each other, but are not above a friendly nose-to-nose now and then. She has developed a taste for catnip mice, which come out looking pretty much the same as they went in. The cats and I are working on a containment plan for the various cat toys which are embedded into our household. until that gets perfected, i figure cleaning up after Tori's visits to the backyard will continue to be fairly interesting. The cat litter pan problem has been solved, you'll be happy to know (I certainly am). I’m sure Tori still misses you, but i think she is finding more things about her new life pretty cool, too like the dog-next-door, Calvin (a rescued Samoyed). Their initial meetings have gone well,and she looks for him every time she goes out, often going up to his front door to peer in at him when he's not in the yard. The plan is to walk the dogs together as weather allows, and allow them to visit together in our yards, if all works out well. Tori got along fine when Steve, the rat terrier came to visit. Steve stays with us often when his family is away. Tori is letting me groom her pretty thoroughly, making me think her bottom is feeling no pain. She is much less on her guard about many things, now that I'm not giving her shots every day. she sleeps just outside my door at night, to date declining my invitation into my room. Everyone we meet responds so positively to her and she always responds in kind. She is definitely a people magnet. If her physical condition can be managed effectively, I would like to see her return to part-time work as a therapy dog. I can even get our mailman to give her a great personal reference!
So much for this report… thanks to Merle for being way more detailed about explaining than I could ever be!