This is the second brick Patti bought during the last brick fundraiser - this time for friend C. I want to mention that today’s brick story is especially wonderful because it is the PERFECT introduction to my tomorrow’s post . That post is about two current foster dogs, one of which is a little puppy with one of the conditions described below. Bogart was very lucky to have the family he had. Read on.
Here is Bogart’s story, in C’s words:
Bogart was a handsome Chesapeake Bay Retriever! He was known by his owners and close friends as ‘the sweetest thing’. He had a number of medical conditions throughout his life, which is often the case with pure breeds. Soon after his 4th birthday, in November of 2000, he was diagnosed with severe inflammatory colitis, which was treated with medication. In April of the following year, he developed perianal fistulas, and was scheduled for surgery the following month. In the time between the diagnosis and the surgery, he lost weight and developed significant muscle atrophy, so the surgery was cancelled. At this time, he also started losing hair around his neck – all the way down to his skin – he was totally bald around his neck. This started a series of events – severe anemia, he stopped eating, his perianal fistulas became very inflamed – we thought we were losing him at a young age. We started to cook chicken and rice for him to coerce him to eat. One day we noticed his right leg was extremely swollen – he had developed edema. He eventually became so anemic, he required a blood transfusion.
Throughout all of this, Bogart was under the care of a wonderful vet – her dog actually donated the blood for Bogart’s transfusion. Bogart was hospitalized for about a week at this time (June 2001), and luckily the transfusion helped and he took a turn for the better. At this time, it was also determined that Bogart was hypothyroid. He started taking thyroid medicine, which made a huge difference. His hair grew back, he started eating again, and we thought we were on the road to a long-term recovery. However, in mid-July of 2001, he started vomiting almost every night. The vet administered a chest x-ray and diagnosed him with megaesophagus. Soon after, he was also diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis – a very difficult combination, as the normal procedure to correct the problem with his larynx was not desirable since the megaesophagus made him very susceptible to aspiration pneumonia. We build a stand for his food and water bowls, which forced him to eat and drink in an upright position – allowing the food to pass through his esophagus into his intestines and stomach. Though this helped, it did not solve the problem totally. (There is actually a special chair on the market now called the Bailey Chair for dogs with megaesophagus.) Bogart maintained a happy, positive spirit throughout it all. The technicians at the vet were amazed at how his tail would always wag through all of his tests and procedures.
From 2002-2006, Bogart had numerous bouts with pneumonia, but we were always able to manage his megaesophagus / laryngeal paralysis combination fairly well. We eventually switched to hand feeding him and holding his head and chest upright for a short time after he ate in order to increase the chances of his food reaching his stomach – this was very effective.
Bogart left us at 9½ years old in 2006. He was such a trooper through everything. He always maintained a puppy-like playfulness and had a tremendous spirit and will to live. He was an amazing dog and loved life – especially swimming! We remain grateful for the wonderful care he received through the years from his doctors and for the support and advice we received from them and from friends while caring for him. He made us smile every day and we will always miss him! He also taught us to live the best life we can with the cards that are handed us – a lesson we should all take to heart.