Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Tribute To Jack, Our Australian Shepherd. He Lost His Last Battle





It has been a few weeks since I have posted a blog. I took time off to grieve and rest.  If you have read some of my other blogs, Jack was our Australian Shepherd. He was a beloved part of our family for 6 years. We adopted him as a save dog already ill with Dysplasia and chronic ear problems.  When we got Jack, he could hardly walk. I had worked with Dysplasia before so I was pretty confident I could help him. As an herbalist, I found natural products to deal with both problems.  He did exceptionally well using alternative medicines.

Jack did well with  with a good quality of life until February when he had his first seizure out of the blue. We consulted a vet who told us he was not in good enough shape to give him the standard therapy of drugs. The vets here were not into alternative therapies. They advised us to put him down.  Drugs are advised when the dog is young and is good condition other than seizures. Jack was not a young dog. The alternative therapy for his Dysplasia was not a cure but only slowed down the eventual progression of the disease. It bought time for Jack. At this time, alternative treatments had given him 6 more years with a good quality of life. We took him home to think about it. 

My husband and I talked about it and it was decided to try him on alternative medicine first to see if we could find the answer to his seizures. I researched the subject for a week. There were dogs who were on alternative medicine for seizures that were doing well.  He was then put on a program including supplements and dog food that was grain free and very expensive. Until April 23rd he only was having a seizure every two weeks or so and seemed to be pulling out of them in good shape....so there was time for the program to work.  He went through most of April without a seizure, so we felt we were winning the fight for his life.

Then on the morning of the 23rd he suffered through another seizure at around 9 am in the morning.  I went through the regimen indicated to try and prevent another one. He came out of it well. With each seizure, it sets up a program in the dog's brain for more seizures. If they have seizures too close together, called cluster seizures, it fries their brain. The brain has no time to recoup between seizures and it damages the brain. So it is important to prevent another seizure within a 24 hour period. I watched him throughout the day. At 8 pm that night, I gave him supplements that calm the brain down, helping to prevent the night seizures.  Seizures are more frequent at night when they have been sleeping. Seizures can have more than 20 causes. Most of the time, vets never find out for sure.  I have since talked to owners who spent thousands of dollars with no answers and little success after drug treatment. 

Then that night beginning at 12 midnight, he endured seizure after seizure....cluster seizures. Nothing that was advised worked.  At 8 am he had another one, a terrible one on the kitchen floor. He hit his head on the hard floor. I had been outside feeding the chickens and come back in after the seizure had already started.  I could do nothing but try and slide padding under his head.  When he came out of the seizure, he was out of it, weakened, and compromised.  The number of seizures all at once had fried his brain.  The seizures had left him in an awful condition.

We took him into the vet after the 8 AM seizure who is many miles away. My husband had to get permission from his job to help me take him in.  It took help to get him into the car. He was hurting and barely able to walk. The vet said there was nothing to do but put him to sleep.  He was in bad shape after the night of seizures.  So we made one of the hardest decisions in years, to put jack down.  We stayed there as they administered the lethal injection. He was gone in seconds being so weak to begin with. It was a quiet death after a horrible assault from the seizures.  After he was buried, we took the plastic off the floors protecting the carpet from the body fluids that happen during a seizure. The house had looked like we were painting for weeks. The problem with seizures is that from one minute to the next, you have no idea when they will start. There are a few signs such as agitation but the actual seizure can be hours away. All we could do was cry. I felt I had failed him this time, even though we had given him the best shot at stopping them.  We had done our best but it was not good enough.

I think when you are a healer, losing a patient is much worse.  Through the years, I have saved a majority of the animals that got sick. I have lost only a couple. I have worked through distemper and Parvo years ago. Jack had 6 years of quality life through alternative therapies that treated his Dysplasia and ear infections. We were told each time there was nothing they could do, so put him down.  This time I lost the battle to save him.

Our other dog refused to eat for two weeks.  We were all grieved.  He was such an awesome dog who waited at the gait for my husband to come home every night.  He slept at the foot of our bed.  He was the watch dog and the leader of the two. Pringles, our Laso, has been lost without Jack.  Losing Jack tore our hearts out.  Seeing my husband and our other little dog so distraught tore my heart up.  I have not been able to write since it happened.  I know some of you wrote me, asking what happened with Jack. I believe in writing the truth.  This time we lost the battle.   Alternative medicine, no matter how good, cannot always work. It did work for 6 years.  There is also a time for animals and people to go.  I do believe that dogs go to heaven.  What would heaven be without our animals.  It was his time to go.

He was an awesome Aussie.

Here is a comfort story sent to me...author unknown. I know many of you have lost a dog or cat that you loved.  If you have never read this, it is beautiful. I did not write it but am sharing it with you my readers. There are several versions of this piece but this one seemed to give me the most peace.

The Rainbow Bridge

Author unknown

Just this side of heaven in a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. Just this side of Rainbow Bridge, there are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who were ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent and his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly he begins to run from the group flying over the green grass, his legs carying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted. When you and your friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous rreunion; never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head; and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart..


Jack was an awesome dog and will be waiting at the gate for us someday.  Rest is peace Jack....
You were so loved.   Pringles wants you to know he misses you too.  He is eating now because he has figured out he has to be the strong one now protecting the house.  He doesn't know quite what to do with no one to steal his food when he isn't watching....but he is learning. Healing of the heart takes time for both humans and animals.  

Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin

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