dmswartzfager Posted July 22, 2013 Share Posted July 22, 2013 (edited) Symbra Louise joined us a few weeks after we lost Tyler. We were looking for a dog that could be a playmate for Wren, as Wren and Tyler had been the best of friends, and we were also looking for a dog that was having difficulty getting adopted. Symbra fit that bill, as she was very spooky and scared and had been in her foster home for several months, with her foster mom working very hard with her to get her to come out of her crate and go for walks. But once she was more comfortable, she started coming out of her shell and was reported to be quite playful with other greyhounds. So we brought her home at the end of November in 2006. We learned very quickly that we couldn’t have ceiling fans running, or indeed, any movement over her head sent her into a panic. Even years after we stopped using the ceiling fans, we’d still catch her glancing up warily at them. She was very cautious of Brian; less so of me, but she still spent a lot of time in her crate. It was during that time that we discovered she liked to collect toys and carry them into her crate. After a few months, we retired the crate. She still had a few places in the house she considered to be “safe” but she started spending more time with us, and eventually become downright demanding of our attention. An absent-minded quick scritch would be answered with a nose under the hand, flipping it up towards her back so we would resume the petting and pay more attention to her. She decided that “Dad” was okay and spent more and more time snuggled up with one of us. She added clothes and shoes to the list of items she would relocate, in addition to toys. More than once, we would have to go looking for shoes or slippers that were not where we had left them. If we were lucky, they were somewhere in the house. If we weren’t lucky, they were outside in the back yard, via the dog door. Symbra liked the dog door, and especially liked to use it to check out what was going on outside, before deciding if it was worth the effort to go completely through the door: She loved to play, and in particular, when I got home from work, she would grab a stuffie and do whirlies, and run throughout the house, asking me to chase her down and play a little tug with her. She also started barking joyfully upon our return... not every time, but definitely when she heard us coming and pranced impatiently by whichever door we were entering. She also liked to leap up onto the bed: http://youtu.be/Vpo35B9enf8 and romp with Wren while leaping onto the bed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VubTKWwDco She also liked to roach, and could be quite silly about accomplishing that. Her signal that she was about to roach was the paw over the ear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z21Qq2lB-uc Symbra was never particularly comfortable venturing out in public. Children especially made her very anxious, with their high-pitched squeals and sudden movements. However, she was a unique blend of curiosity and anxiety - she wanted to investigate, but she was afraid to do so, at least upon first encountering something new. The best way for strangers to engage Symbra was to give attention to Wren - Symbra then insisted on not being left out and would force her way to the front of the line. She decided that the van and the camper were safe places, and seemed to enjoy going for rides and going camping. We discovered only a few years ago that she really likes the water - but it had to be shallow and fairly calm, so she could lay down in the water. We started seeking out places on our trips that would allow us to find some water for her. Then on February 7th of 2012, Brian pointed out to me that Symbra was holding her right rear leg very straight and stiff as she was about to jump onto the couch. I thought that maybe it was just a muscle spasm, but when I got home the next day, I watched her whirlies very intently and detected a slight limp. I took her down to work, and in the course of positioning her on the x-ray table for a lateral view of her leg, the femur shattered. Given her anxiety away from home and at the vet’s, had we been given time to deal with the diagnosis of osteosarcoma, I might have pushed for the pain management option. However, it was broken, and the only options at that point were euthanasia or amputation. We took her to an emergency hospital for overnight pain management, and they were able to do the amputation the next day. She spent a few extra days in the hospital because she developed a cardiac arrhythmia a few hours after coming out of surgery, but when she got home, she was roached within the hour. Our very brave little girl recovered fantastically, and “survived” her chemo treatments, though I’m sure she was not thrilled to be at the vet’s all day. Whirlies upon our arrival home resumed within short order, and even jumps up onto the bed, even before her sutures were out. She amazed us with her determination and rock-hopping ability when we took a trip out to Shenandoah National Park last fall and hiked a few of the shorter trails with her and Wren. About two months ago, she started getting a little finicky about her food and I started getting worried. I thought perhaps she was not walking as well, but we attributed it to pain/arthritis from walking with only one rear leg for 17 months, and added some more pain medications to her many pills and supplements she was already taking. We then packed her and Wren up two Saturdays ago and drove up to the Adirondacks for a week long camping trip. She seemed to struggle a little bit with short hikes, but as soon as she realized we were heading back towards the van, she picked up the pace and kept me struggling to keep up with her. Monday evening, she rearranged herself on the couch in the camper and cried out as she lay down on her right side. I was able to localize the pain to her right shoulder, but given that she was settled, I didn’t want to disturb her any further at that time. As we were getting ready for bed and taking the girls out to potty, when Symbra stood up, we could see that she was holding her leg away from her body at a funny angle, and she was doing her best not to put weight on it. Of course, there are no emergency vets within a few hours of where we were staying, so it was a matter of finding an on-call vet that was available. In placing her in the van, it became obvious that Symbra was in a great deal of pain, and while I had been hoping against hope that it was simply a soft tissue injury, I became more certain that the leg was indeed broken, and the cancer had returned to destroy her leg. After dosing her with several Tramadol tablets, we traveled an hour to a vet in Plattsburgh, where she was released from her pain at around 1 am on Tuesday morning. I had told her earlier in the day, when we were walking back to the van after the second hike, that she was the bravest, smartest, silliest, strongest, most beautiful, amazing girl there ever was, and she was. This is the last picture I took of her on Monday, still quite wet from dunking herself in Middle Saranac Lake. Run free, baby girl. We love you and we’ll miss you always. Edited July 22, 2013 by dmswartzfager Quote Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH BrianRemembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14), Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19). 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