Keepsake's Northern Treasure
(CH Teaberry Lane Royl Tycoon ROM x CH Cataway's Bright Promise CD)
Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)
December 26, 1992 - May 18, 2006
Sarah truly one-of-a-kind best friend!
I have grown up with and had canine companions all my life. I still remember seeing baby pictures of myself learning to walk at seven months old, holding onto a Boston Terrier to keep my balance. Over the years some of my dogs were very special, but none of them approached the closeness and love my wife and I experienced with our Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) Sarah. From the first time we saw her at five weeks old, running and playing with the adult Shelties as if she were one herself, we realized her spirit and grit was something very special. Sarah grew up to be more special than we had ever imagined, she filled our lives with fun, love, and devotion. To us she was far more than "just" a pet or a dog; she was truly family and our best friend.
While we had Sarah we also had two other Shelties: Amy, her sister from the same litter, and Austin, a male. In addition, we had a cat and at times several other "foster dogs." Sarah, being the alpha female, made it her responsibility to run the house and kept everyone happy, including my wife and myself. She "adopted" our cat as her own, cleaning his ears, playing with him, and sleeping with him at night, even though he was seven years older. Sarah taught our other Shelties how to play and enjoy living in our house. Austin, who joined our family four years ago as a youngster, immediately learned who was the boss of the house and followed her everywhere, knowing that whatever Sarah did was always fun and good for him. Since her passing we can tell that he misses her most of all of our fur kids, and he still looks for her.
Sarah was incredibly smart and could learn anything after a matter of minutes and a few demonstrations. She loved to play more than anything else, and was very good at it. Since I play racquetball, and the balls were always available, it immediately became her game of choice. She would chase and retrieve a racquetball any where at anytime. To get me to throw the ball she would set it inside the snow shovel if I was shoveling snow, in a hole if I was digging somewhere in the yard, or she would just set it down and poke it with her nose to roll it to me until I threw it again. Another game she loved to play was pulling at anything you or any fur kid would be willing to hold onto or try to keep from her. She was so tenacious at it that you could pick her up three feet in the air and she would never let go. She would drag Austin all over the house even though he was much younger and bigger (by 10 pounds).
I gave her the nickname "Miss Sportster" because of her athleticism. She was much faster than the rest of her siblings. Often I saw her catch a racquetball in mid-air like a football player catching a pass in full stride and then land on her feet after a somersault. Whenever she thought I might take her out to play she would follow me all over the house and lay next to me until we did. Our backyard abutted a forest and Sarah loved to walk in the woods with me without a leash. She would always stay within eyesight, and all I had to do was call her name once and she would come right back and touch me with her nose.
She learned the four main commands (sit, down, come, and stay) in just a few days, and better than any other fur kid I have known. I could put her in a "sit stay" while throwing a racquetball and she would not move until I said, "free." Even if the ball had stopped rolling 300 feet away she would wait until she heard my "free" command before retrieving it for another throw. Sarah and Amy had gotten so good at it that I could put them in "sit stays" and release them individually by name. Once when Sarah was only a year old and outside with me I heard sirens up the hill at my neighbor's house. I put her in a "sit stay" and ran up there to discover that my neighbor had a heart attack. Forty-five minutes later I realized I had forgotten about Sarah and when I ran back to my house I discovered her sitting in the exact same spot I had left her still in her "sit stay".
One of Sarah's tremendous gifts to mankind was her love in going to the hospital to visit the sick. I would take her to a hospital a few towns over and she immediately took on the role of head nurse. The hospital staff was amazed at how well she took to the patients, immediately becoming their best friend, and instinctively gravitating to the sickest patients. I will never forget the time Sarah went over to an elderly woman in a wheel chair and would not leave her side. After some friendly time together the woman began speaking to Sarah, and the nurses told me that this was the first time that woman had spoken in over a month. Another time there was a male patient in his fifties with a terminal brain tumor. Sarah insisted on getting in bed with him and they fell asleep together. Later he pleaded with me to let him take Sarah for a walk in his wheelchair. Sarah took to these patients, strangers, with great compassion and caring. "Miss Sportster" had just become the most caring nurse in the hospital and the most gentle, loving companion to every patient she approached, choosing those that needed her attention the most.
Sarah understood human emotions better than any fur kid I knew, and she was uncanny about knowing when to use them. She knew when to act sad or when to act happy, when to be quiet or when to "yell," when to pout or when to cheer, and when to back off or when to be next to you. That warm feeling at your feet while watching your favorite TV show, was always Sarah. That warm feeling above your head when you awoke in the morning was always Sarah.
In our journey through life God gave us a wonderful companion and best friend that always loved and was there for us. The comfort and love Sarah provided was immeasurable and will remain with us the rest of our life. We thank God for the gift of Sarah.
Sarah's medication and shot history prior to cancer
At the end of March she was given Frontline Plus (23-44lbs). This was applied in the spring and fall when ticks were active.
Each April she had heart worm and Lyme disease tests. She was then started on Interceptor (26-50lbs) each month through December.
After learning more about the shots she was getting we changed her Canine Distemper Combo (four items) to every three years instead of each year in April 2001.
Last Rabies Booster (every three years): February 2006 - required by law
Last Lyme shot: October 2004
Last Canine Distemper Combo (four items every three years): April 2004
Last CBC/Profile: January 2006
Last Needle Aspirate of Tumor on Left Leg (benign): February 2006
Last Heartworm/Lyme/Ehrlichia Snap Test: May 2005
Last Fecal Exam: May 2005
Physical Condition in May 2005: Weight 26.3 lbs, height 16 inches at the shoulders, very healthy and active
Up to this time in her life she was a very healthy dog. The one exception was when she got her annual Canine Distemper combo (four items) booster shots she would have a very bad reaction and was lethargic and sick for several days afterwards. Had we known then that we were potentially poisoning her immune system and that later it could lead to cancer, we would have certainly limited these shots. After most of the following visits to the vet, Sarah would still try to play and do all the things she had done all her life. She had the heart and spirit of a champion and would fight off her discomfort to play and enjoy the rest of the family.
8/02/05 Bad cough for the first time in her life treated with Phytomucil 2oz
8/26/05 UT infection Urinalysis treated with Clavomox 250 mg (It was not positive this was cancer related, but I have a strong feeling it was caused by her distorted immune system.)
9/13/05 UT infection Urinalysis treated with Clavomox 250 mg
10/17/05 UT infection Urinalysis, Culture, Sensitivity, and Cysto treated with Clavomox 250 mg
1/30/06 Cough returns CBC/Profile (results were good) treated with Phytomucil 2oz (shows first signs of fatigue on long walks)
2/15/06 Cough/Lung/Fever X-RAYS, Needle Aspirate on leg, Cytology treated with Trimeth /Sulfa 480 mg (mass or shadowing was found on lung not clear, may be fluid)
3/28/06 Cough/Lung/Fever X-RAYS, Additional X-RAYS in April treated with Trimeth /Sulfa 960 mg (second mass found on lung) X-RAYS sent to a radiologist (from April on diminished appetite and pants frequently)
5/05/06 Cough/Lung Rechecked and referred to Cancer Specialty Hospital
5/09/06 Lung and heart area now involved Ultrasound, Blood test, PCV, CBC, Chemistry Panel, Catheterization, Oxymorphone, Diazepam, Oxygen Therapy, Propofol, Fine Needle Aspirate Ultrasound Guided, Cytology, Culture-Anaerob/Aerob., Baytril 136 mg, Hydrocodone 5 mg
5/09/06 Sarah has stopped eating altogether (tried everything to get her to eat) and she can only rest on one side do to the discomfort from the tumors on the lung pressing on the heart, her condition is worsening rapidly
5/11/06 the test results are terrible Cancer Disseminated Histiocytic Sarcoma or Malignant Hisitocytosis they want us in the next day to discuss these results
5/12/06 another exam shows the tumors are growing rapidly and have moved her heart 2.5 inches, we discuss Chemotherapy and other options with the Doctor/owner of the Cancer Specialty Hospital the prognosis is poor for treatment of this type of cancer and not recommended, her condition is extremely poor now
5/16/06 we had to make one of the hardest decisions in our lives, Sarah's discomfort and quality of life have become major issues
5/18/06 Sarah was euthanized in my arms. She knew why we were there and fought it with her usual strong spirit. I have never had a friend like Sarah truly one-of-a-kind best friend!
Be sure to seek the advice of your veterinarian about any question you may have
regarding your pet's health and behavior.
No diagnosis can be done without a veterinarian actually seeing and examining the patient.
DOG OWNERS SHOULD REPORT ALL CASES OF HISTIO TO THE BREEDER AND THE BREED CLUB!