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My Lab Mix, Raven (09/06/06 - 08/04/16)


Guest k9soul
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Guest k9soul

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Raven's story is rather a long one. It started, in a way, when she was 6 months old and developed a malignancy in her mouth.

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We lived in Minnesota then, and my vet was very concerned because oral cancers are often so aggressive. To make a long story short, he called in a surgical expert who had dealt with such things, and she had a wide excision of the tumor, taking a small portion of her lower jaw bone with it. For months I waited nervously to see if there was recurrence, but there wasn't. She was a little miracle pup, and she never had any major health issues again, until three months ago.

 

The past three months have been so very difficult. You see, at the end of April I was taking Raven in for surgery in the area where her cancer had been because there was exposed dead bone that had surfaced there and it was getting soft and food was getting stuck there. So with the same worry that all pet parents have, I took her in nervous about the surgery and waiting the day for it to be done and to bring her back home.

The surgery went well (and she had her teeth cleaned as well), and she came home that night. However, Raven seemed to have a really rough time recovering from what was really a pretty minor surgery. Her body was sore and weak and she seemed very slow to regain strength. Within a couple weeks she started standing oddly and limping when she first got up. Then she started yelping at times when she got up and stepped a certain way or if one of the other dogs bumped her. I took her in and after x-ray and exam the vet thought arthritis, so gave her a shot and pain meds and sent her home. But she really didn't seem to improve. I called in and we tried another pain medicine, but that didn't help either. Then one morning she was standing around panting and looking miserable and I saw her joints were very swollen. It was a Sunday but the vet met us at the office to see her. She had a fever. He did blood work, gave her a diuretic, pain shot, antibiotics, and a narcotic pain med. We went back Monday but the only thing her lab tests showed were elevated white count and elevated CK (infection and inflammation).

Within a few days the swelling in her joints went down, but she started losing muscle as well. I noticed muscle wasting in her face and her haunches. She was sluggish and reluctant to eat but that could have been the pain medications. I took her in again, and this time another vet saw her. I was suspicious of autoimmune disease, so she ran an ANA to test for canine lupus. A few days later she called to say the ANA was negative, but started her on gabapentin and prednisone. While her pain seemed to finally improve some, her muscle wasting was worsening and I researched more, finding something that seemed to match everything: Polymyositis. Even down to the elevated CK being a sign, and her muscle wasting, everything fit. I printed off some pages about it and took her back to the vet.

He felt at that point that she probably had a cancer along with perhaps the autoimmune disease. He spoke frankly that he didn't feel there was much hope, but that since she was still in good spirits he agreed that we would try immunosuppression levels of the steroids. He gave her another shot and high dose oral prednisone. Long story short, it worked. Her pain went away, she began regaining strength, she began to go on walks again. She gained back a bit of muscle and weight. It was like a miracle.

It lasted about a month. Then one day on a walk she started falling back and going slower and slower. I realized she was having problems again. It moved fast and within a couple days it was obvious she was relapsing. I took her back to the vet (where she again had fever) and we put her back on another burst of steroids. She improved again for perhaps about a week, and then started declining again. The decline was rapid. Her muscle wasting was severe. She began gagging while eating and drinking (I think her esophageal and laryngeal muscles were wasting). She panted a lot and her panting often sounded "wet" as if congested. I put her on canned food. I decided to take her in one last time and see if there was anything else at all we could try, but Wednesday night and Thursday she declined so rapidly and was obviously in so much misery, I realized it couldn't wait, and that she had fought long enough.

I called my vet, the one who had treated her through all this, and he said he could come to my house that night. So he did, and Raven passed peacefully in her own bed, held in my arms, with my voice telling her what a good girl she was as she slipped away.

I'll never know why this happened, if somehow the surgery triggered it.. I just know she was never the same after that day. I took a photo of her in the yard the day before she went in for that surgery:

 

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And one about a week before she passed:

 

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Only 3 months' difference :(

 

Her last photo, as we waited for the vet that night. She was tired. I see this and remember she was weary. She did not even bother to get up when the vet came in.

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And now I need to go cry some more.

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What a beautiful girl. I am so sorry. I lost one that quickly, too, and it is heart wrenching. Many hugs.

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Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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I am so sorry.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Guest k9soul

Ten is far too young, especially for a lab cross. So sorry for your loss of your beautiful girl.

 

She was so full of vigor and energy, all the way up to this spring. I always imagined her reaching 16 or so. All the more reason to treasure every day I guess. Nothing is assured :(.

 

Thank you everyone. She was such a GOOD girl. There was not a single person or dog she could not get along with. Even the pushiest or most anxious of dogs she seemed to have a calming effect on. She was incredibly kind and gentle, not the typical rambunctious wild lab that one often thinks of.

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Guest k9soul

I'd like to share a few of my favorite photos of Raven. Lord knows I have hundreds of them but these are some I've always especially loved from her youth.

 

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Thanks for letting me share my girl with you all.

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I am so very, very sorry :( :( :( she was a beautiful girl and you did everything you could for her. I'm so sorry she had to leave you :( :( :(:cry1

Kim and Bruce - with Rick (Rick Roufus 6/30/16) and missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (Lab) (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (Schipperke) (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (GSP) (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

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What a beautiful, beautiful girl. :cry1

My own heart dog was a lab greyhound mix (blackngreylabhound). Aren't they great?

 

Your Raven was just lovely and taken too soon. As some people say, some doggies are so wonderful, the angels want them for themselves.

:angelwings

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Missing my heart dog Liberty, the world's best blackngreylabhound

 

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What a wonderful soul to have shared your life with. Raven's baby pics :beatheart Raven's grown up pics :beatheart I am sorry you didn't get more time together. :grouphug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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You were such a good Momma for your girl. She knew you loved her so much. Now she is free of a body that was failing her. Keep her memories close in your heart. You will see her again. Hugs, from Jan, Luka and Carter.

You were such a good Momma for your girl. She knew you loved her so much. Now she is free of a body that was failing her. Keep her memories close in your heart. You will see her again. Hugs, from Jan, Luka and Carter.

You were such a good Momma for your girl. She knew you loved her so much. Now she is free of a body that was failing her. Keep her memories close in your heart. You will see her again. Hugs, from Jan, Luka and Carter.

You were such a good Momma for your girl. She knew you loved her so much. Now she is free of a body that was failing her. Keep her memories close in your heart. You will see her again. Hugs, from Jan, Luka and Carter.

You were such a good Momma for your girl. She knew you loved her so much. Now she is free of a body that was failing her. Keep her memories close in your heart. You will see her again. Hugs, from Jan, Luka and Carter.

Sorry for the repeats, I thought my phone froze.

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Godspeed, precious girl. Hugs to your person, who will miss you forever and ever.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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A beautiful baby grew up to be a special beautiful lady. You were blessed to have had her in your life.

Happy Trails Raven. My sincere condolences to those who are missing you so much.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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