probably the biggest day of Livy's life, it's the day
that I get to write the finally entry in her journal,
because today, Livy finally went home.
a wonderful application to adopt Livy just days after
she had her hip surgery. The young couple that submitted
the application was moving into a new home and planning
a wedding. They knew that Livy couldn't go home until
she was recovered and that worked out well for them
because they were moving into their home. So, they
anxiously awaited the day she could join them along with
their other senior girl, Oreo who is also a rescue.
I emailed or chatted with Kellie almost every day, she
was very knowledgeable about Livy and was obviously very
much in love with her. She had that 'wow' factor that we
want for all of our fosters.
the day is here, Kellie and Chris drove to town to meet
her. Kellie's first reaction was how beautiful Livy is,
she kept saying that over and over, did I mention the
'wow' factor? They brought their girl, Oreo with them
and we met at a neutral location so the girls could get
to know each other. Other than a couple of turned
up lips, usually by Livy, they seemed to do just fine
with each other.
signing all the paperwork and handing over large amounts
of medical records to Chris and Kellie, we loaded Livy
up in the car with Oreo. I can't describe the emotions I
was feeling as I watched her leave, on one hand, I was
ecstatic for her and crying tears of joy, another
minute, I was crying because she was gone, and then
other times I couldn't believe she'd made it this far,
she'd been with me 10 months. And I wasn't the only one
crying, Livy has really become very special to several
of us in the group, especially her 'Aunt Laura'.
awaited reports that she'd made the long trip home and
was settling in and it wasn't long before I started
getting wonderful updatess from Kellie. Livy was quickly
learning her way around her new house, settling in with
Oreo and on last report had learned to crawl up onto a
lap for some snuggle time.
been an inspiration to many people that have also
rescued dogs from shelters, only to find that they had
heartworms. All of these dogs either had or are
undergoing heartworm treatments. I heard of a couple
dogs, Coco and Phoebe, that didn't survive the
treatment. These are the ones that really break my
heart, their death was so senseless and could of been
prevented if their previous owners had only cared enough
to put them on an inexpensive once a month pill. I'd
like to thank everyone that offered me encouragement and
support and especially thank everyone that contributed
money to her care. This is one very special girl and my
life was forever enriched by her.
I hope that
Livy's story will convince other people to test their
dogs annually and keep them on heartworm prevention.
weeks of strict crate rest is up today, it's time to
start rehab. Since she's very unstable on the leg, I
decided we needed to start real slow. She does stand on
it, but if she walks on the slick floor, she falls and
we have to help her up. She doesn't know how to go slow.
So, we took
a long rubber mat and rolled it out so it goes from the
back door, passes in front of her crate and ends at her
beloved fish tank. Now she's going in and out of the
crate and she stands and talks to her fish. When she's
standing there, she's putting all of her weight on the
leg and forgets that she's doing it.
talking to the fish, she's been very bored....
has really become quiet the character, she goes from one
obsession to another, anything that moves is her motto.
Herding the fish in the aquarium has become her favorite
past time. But other things amuse her as well, the
television, feet moving under a blanket or Jack Russells
running around the yard. The later cost her dearly this
We've had a
lot of rain over the past few weeks in Austin and this
week there has been a lot of flooding in the area. Three
nights ago, Livy was going to herd the Jack Russells
when she slipped on the mud. She screamed and went down
and we knew immediately that she was seriously hurt.
We took her
to the emergency clinic and they confirmed our fear, she
had dislocated her left hip. She has dysplasia and
arthritis. When they did xrays the hip slipped back into
the socket. We hoped that rest would be all she needed
but the next morning when she came out of her crate, it
was already dislocated again.
So we took
her yesterday to Dr.
Stephen Kerpsack for an evaluation. Because of the
type of dislocation he was able to set it and then he
hobbled her back legs to keep her stable. We were hoping
that 3 weeks of crate rest would be all she needed. I
took her back to
Windsor Park Vet Clinic for the day and by
afternoon, it was dislocated again and she'd had no
Kerpsack performed a FHO on the hip, he said she did
well in surgery and could go home tomorrow. She will
need 2 weeks of complete crate rest and then I will
begin her rehab to rebuild her hip muscles and teach her
to use the leg again. Once she completes her rehab,
she'll have a useable hip without the arthritic pain.
heartbroken over this all week, this girl is so special
to all of us, she has such a beautiful drive and spirit
and has weathered the storm, now she has another storm
to go thru. Please keep her in your hearts and prayers
over the next few weeks.
everything Livy has been thru, we can finally start
looking at other things that need to be done, things
that just weren't that important previously. So, last
week, I took her to the vet for a dental and to have
some lumps checked out. We also decided to xray her hips
to see the extent of her arthritis. The lumps checked
out as just cysts, but one of the lumps on her muzzle
was actually a cracked tooth that was absessed. She
actually had two cracked molars and by looking at her
teeth, this girl must of been a big chewer in her
younger days. The vet tried getting the two teeth out
but the roots were too deep. He did verify the arthritis
in the hips. But the big issue was if she could go under
anesthesia because of the stress on her heart, but no
problem! So, today, I took her to the dentist and he was
able to extract the two molars. He also did preliminary
blood work but said she had no problems in surgery, her
blood pressure was good and she woke up with no
day!!! She's got her clearance from the doctor. No more
treatments!!! Since she was negative for microfilaria at
the beginning, she won't have to get the treatment for
them, she simply needs to start heartworm preventative.
What a big deal that was, she got her first heartworm
pill. She'll also need to be tested for heartworms again
in 6 months and it won't be known for some time if she
has any lasting damage to her heart or lungs from the
heartworms. But one thing I know is that she has
exceeded all of our expectations at this point.
cleared her for adoption, I'm still in awe about that, I
never would believed back in November that she would of
made it this far. And best of all, she's done it with
flying colors. Way to go Livy!
Be sure and
check her out on the
It's now 3
weeks since Livy's 3rd heartworm treatment and she's
still feeling great and not coughing at all. She's been
amazing and she continues to get more outgoing and
dynamic every day. If I don't let her out of her crate
after she eats in the evening to go outside and watch
the other dogs, she really fusses at me. When I go
outside to pick up the yard, she follows me around and
talks to me. She's really a silly girl, very animated
and bouncy, but still behaving herself. She seems to
know the extent of what she's allowed to do, she doesn't
go up the stairs, which the cats appreciate, but she
does enjoy laying at the bottom of the stairs to try and
catch a glimpse of one. It will be 6 weeks from this
treatment on March 26 and then she'll receive a
different treatment for the microfilaria. Ten days later
and she's all done! I still can't believe she's come
this far and she's almost done. As an added bonus, no
coughing. The vet thought she might keep some of the
cough for the rest of her life because of the damage,
but so far, she's proving them wrong. Good girl Livy!
marks one week from Livy's 3rd heartworm treatment,
she's laying at my feet watching me. Actually, she's
laying in her open crate very close to me. She always
goes back to her crate, that's her place, even though
it's open, and the doors leading outside to the back
yard are open. She went out and did her business
and came right back in and went to her crate.
was a heavier treatment that usual, I was concerned that
the coughing might start back up, but so far, she's
doing really good and I haven't heard her cough once. I
think she's got to get through 10 days after treatment
before I can let my guard down on the coughing, but I'm
very impressed for now.
Livy off at
Windsor Park Vet Clinic today and as usual, she was
happy to be there. This is probably one of the best dogs
at going to the vet, she thinks it's a place to go see
friends, but most importantly, you can watch kitty cats
all day long!
She got her
3rd HW treatment today, and instead of the light
treatment that she has gotten the last two times, this
will be a full treatment. She got one shot today and
tomorrow she'll get another one. If all goes well,
she'll go home on Wednesday. Then 6 weeks later, she'll
return for a treatment for the microfilaria and then she
will finally be heartworm free!!!
really worried about putting her back on strict crate
rest and leash, she's been getting a little taste of
freedom and I hated that I might have to take it away
from her. The good news is that as long as she's not
coughing, I don't have too. She'll need to be kept
quiet, in the crate when we're not home, and obviously
she can't run with the dogs. But, she can go outside and
hang out when it's a pretty day and she can follow
(herd) the dogs around when they're calm. She'll be
happy about that. Around the 10th day, she may go thru a
coughing spell as she gets rid of the dead worms, but a
day or two of confinement, we can deal with.
day for Livy. The weather was beautiful, it's hard to
believe it's not spring, so we've spent most of the
afternoon with the French doors open and Livy has been
able to go in and out. She loves laying in the sun, then
she comes back inside to check on me, then back out to
watch Chance, the resident Border Collie. This girl has
a very strong herding eye.
showed me that she absolutely can't be trusted with the
cats. She followed me upstairs at lunch and was able to
spend about 10 minutes keeping an eye on the cat as he
slept on the love seat. This provides her with a lot of
entertainment. That was fine until the cat decided to go
lay somewhere else. Livy was quick to respond, but the
floors are too slick and she couldn't get traction.
the afternoon, I had my dogs outside doing some
training. The entire time, Livy was in her crate
barking. It's a sure sign that she's feeling better, she
hears every little noise with my dogs, even if they're
upstairs and she's down. Her usual response is the bark.
Since I was training everyone, I thought she needed a
turn as well, so we went outside and worked on her sits,
downs and come. No doubt about it, this girl is very
for another heartworm treatment around the 10th, so it's
going to be hard to put her back on the strict rules,
but sure is fun to watch her enjoying life.
been a very special day for Livy! I haven't let her mix
with my dogs because I'm afraid they'll get her too
excited. But today, it's a beautiful day after lots of
rain and ice, and as an extra bonus, I had the day off.
Since my dogs have been enjoying basking in the sun and
they weren't running around and I was outside too, I
decided to let Livy come outside to lay in the sun.
She was so
happy, I let her stay out for probably about 20 minutes,
the sunshine, fresh air, birds chirping and all the
other sensations were heaven for her. She immediately
attached herself to the resident Border Collie and
watched every move he made. I really think if he'd
gotten up and ran, she would of quickly herded him. She
has a very strong eye. This is a vibrant girl and I'm
wondering about the handful I'm going to have once she's
back to 100 percent.
more talkative to me since I brought her back inside, I
suspect it's going to get harder to keep her down now,
especially since she's had a little taste of freedom. I
thought about that prior to taking her out, but it's a
real treat to let her enjoy being a Border Collie.
been doing really good and hardly ever coughs so when
the ice storms hit, I started giving her a little more
leaway. She is really serious about her routine, when I
put a leash on her, she heads to the door, goes out with
me and potties and drags me back to her crate. So, I
started letting her go outside by herself, with no other
dogs. She goes out, potties, doesn't run around and
heads right back to the door. I watch her the entire
time and when she comes back, I open the door and she
heads straight back to the crate.
husband knows I've started this routine, he's going to
try it. I'm upstairs and I suddenly realize I have
another dog in the kitchen with me. When he let Livy in,
he was expecting her to head to the crate, but she
outsmarted him, she took her opportunity, ran up the
stairs, and immediately found the cat on the windowsill
and was about a foot from him, staring intently and
wagging her tail. The cat wasn't the least bit concerned
and Livy was living her dream. When I showed her that I
had her food, she immediately followed me back to her
crate. She's pulled this with my husband twice now, he
must look like an easy pushover, because she hasn't
tried it with me. He's more cautious with her now, but
it was really cute to see her expression when she found
holding my breath, waiting for Livy to get past the
dreaded 5th day after treatment. It's come and gone and
she's had a couple extra days and she's still going
strong. And what's even better, she hasn't coughed at
all! I was worried that the treatment would make her
start coughing again as she shed the worms, but I don't
think I've heard any at all, plus she's not on any meds,
no antibiotics, no cough meds, just Rimadyl.
have a new past time though, she's very quick to bark if
I play with other dogs, if she hears the dogs get up or
she hears feeding time. I had to move her crate into a
room, she was barking too much at the cats and they were
starting to rebel.
picked Livy up from
Windsor Park Vet Clinic and talk about excited! She
was so glad to see me, but what was really fun was
watching the staff tell her goodbye. She got lots of
hugs and kisses. There's no doubt this girl is special!
Now the fun
really begins, I've got to keep her quiet and crated for
another month and I think it's just a matter of time
before she finally says enough is enough. I know we're
not out of the woods yet, but she's come so far, much
further than any of us expected. She is such a miracle,
I wonder if she knows that. I think we still have to
worry about the critical 5th day of treatment when she
really sheds the dead worms. I'm just happy she's
feeling so good, she's not coughing and she's no longer
on those nasty antibiotics that she hated so much.
to the clinic in 30 days for a recheck. I assume they'll
check for adult heartworms at that point and decide if
she needs another treatment to kill adults. If she
doesn't then she will still need a treatment to kill the
Livy off at the clinic today for her second HW
treatment. She's always excited to be there, it's almost
like a second home for her and she knows the entire
staff. There's also the added feature of the vet kitty
that she knows will be on the counter when she walks in.
I got a report later today that the treatment went well,
she didn't have the reaction to the shot that she had on
the first treatment. As usual, Dr. Paclik is fussing
over her and being very protective of his little charge.
I'm anxious to check on her tomorrow morning.
picked Livy up at the clinic yesterday, I couldn't
believe how much better she looked after not seeing her
4-5 days! Her coat is darker, her cough seems better,
and best of all, she's getting sillier. She can really
spin around on leash, and after she potties, she drops
to the ground and rolls over her her much loved tummy
rubs. Her blood test was also good, so we'll be able to
finally take her off all the antibiotics in a couple of
morning when I went downstairs to get her, the evil cat
was sitting right in front of her crate. When I opened
the crate door, I thought she might bolt out, but as
usual, she waited for me to leash her before coming out.
By this time, the cat has left, but when she came out of
the crate, she had the funniest look on her face, like
she couldn't believe what she'd been seeing and she
wanted to see if it was real.
On the 8th,
it will be one month from the first treatment, so I'll
probably take her to the clinic on the 9th for her
second treatment. She'll only get one shot instead of
two, the vet is using a slow kill method because of the
heavy infestation that she has.
Livy off at the clinic this morning because we're going
out of town until the 1st, and we knew she couldn't make
the trip. The staff at
Windsor Park Vet Clinic was excited to see her. It's
obvious that they have all gotten to know her and she's
special to them as well. The report from Dr. Paclik was
wonderful. He was very complementary on how much she's
improved, I think that he's even surprised that she's
done so well. That's because of him as far as I'm
concerned. It's possible that she'll get another
treatment but it will depend on her blood work, but I
suspect he'll wait until it's been a month. The doctor
commented that there's a stinker in there, I totally
agree. She's been the perfect patient, but the
personality is coming thru. Another surprise for me is
she has lost 7 lbs! I thought even with her being sick,
the low activity would prevent her from losing. That
should make her feel a little better as well, but at 50
lbs, she will still need to lose 10 more at least.
calling and checking on her, and I'll update her journal
if we have wireless service.
couple of days, Livy's coughing has been much better,
not as hard and only if she's excited. Plus it's getting
harder to keep her calm. A couple of days ago, Willie
came to stay here over the holidays. She was in her
crate when I brought him in, and she was barking with
excitement. I had never heard her bark before. She acted
like her old long lost friend was back. Willie must
remind her of someone because she's never met him
before, or maybe it's just that Willie gives off such
good vibes around other dogs. I finally took her out of
the crate just to meet him, I thought that might settle
her down, but it just made it worse, so back in the
crate she went. She's now totally into watching Willie
and my BC, Chance. They're both tri-colored males. I
can't take her outside with them anymore, she won't
potty if they're out there and even on a short leash,
she's trying to herd them. She goes into her low herding
stance because they're running around being silly. If
one of them gets near her on leash, she gives them a
herding nip. I really love seeing her feel so good, I
think I'm just now starting to see some of her true
personality come out.
Back to the
emotional rollercoaster. Last night, her cough seemed a
little harder, a little louder, but I wasn't too
worried. She was eating good, taking her meds and being
silly when I got her out. I also knew she would be
spending today at the clinic. Laura was impressed when
she saw her, on the outside, she looks a lot better, her
coat is getting better and her face is bright. But I got
a call soon afterwards that she is still running a fever
even though she's on two antibiotics, plus her blood
tests showed that there is still an infection. The
theory is that she has small hemorrhages in her lungs
from passing off the dead heartworms. So, she's still on
two antibiotics, one of them is different. She's excited
to be home, but she's not eating her food with her meds
in it, so I might have to force them. It's just a little
reminder that she still is not out of the woods and has
a long way to go.
silliness has kicked in, she must be feeling better.
Yesterday, I got her out of the crate and tried to take
her outside to potty but she kept circling and wanting
to go back in the house. I took her in, put her up and a
little later tried it again. This time, she seemed
intent on looking under a chair that is in her room
first. That's when it clicked, she's looking for the
cat! I showed her it's not there and we went outside and
took care of business.
I got home from work, I let the other dogs out the back
door and decided to take her to the front to avoid the
excitement. I showed her that the cat wasn't under the
chair and we headed out. She circled and paced. Any time
she moves like that, she starts to cough, so I took her
back inside. She looked like she wanted to check under
the chair again. I decided to let her, but instead, she
went into the crate next to the chair. Now, this is not
her crate, but the Jack Russell's crate. Needless to
say, this 57 lb BC didn't fit very good in this crate
but she seemed intent on staying. I finally convinced
her to come out and I took her outside where she circled
some more. I took her back to her crate, put her up for
a few minutes, took her back outside and mission
not seeing Livy for several days, I cannot believe how
much better she looks! Granted, she still a little
ragamuffin, but her face is brighter, there's life in
her eyes, her tail is wagging and even more unbelievable
to me, her coat color is a little richer. She was very
happy to see me when I got to the clinic, sure doesn't
take them long to bond to someone new.
very restricted, but she's being a little trooper, her
crate is situated so that she can see me when I'm in my
sewing studio and she seems very content to lay there
and watch the world go by. I take her out to potty, she
does her business and is ready to head right back to the
crate. She's such an obedient little Border Collie! I
suspect she'll be stir crazy soon, but for now, I'm glad
she's so willing to rest. She continues to cough, but
only if she moves, and she's not on cough meds. The
cough is also not the racking cough that she was
suffering from prior to the heartworm treatment, so as
far as the cough, she's much better. Tomorrow, we'll add
arthritis meds to her regimen because on top of
everything else, she seems to have hip dysplasia.
She's been eating good since she got home, but I know
some days she might not. The clinic sent her home with a
lot of special tasty foods for the days when she doesn't
have a good appetite.
to have her home, but even better to see her wagging her
got the call I've been waiting for, Livy will go home
tomorrow!!! She's still coughing, especially if she
moves. She'll have strict orders about being in the
crate and going outside on leash. It will be even more
important to keep her quiet than it is for most dogs in
heartworm treatment, but I'm up for it.
to Dr. Michael J. Paclik at
Windsor Park Vet Clinic. Livy would not have made it
this far without their compassion and devotion to her
care. Dr. Paclik and everyone on his staff have taken a
special interest in her, and they have gone that extra
the big day, it's day five, the day we have not only
dreaded, but wanted to get to. I'm so excited she's made
it this far. But, the report from the vet is even more
promising. Not only is she perkier, she's eating and
best of all, she's very intrigued over the clinic cats.
We joked that she'll be a handful soon and will be hard
to keep quiet in a crate. I can only hope this is so, I
will love every day of it.
hoping this is not the calm before the storm.
the vet twice a day now. Every day she makes it gives us
more hope. The vet is quick to remind me that the fifth
day after treatment is the critical day. It's when she
starts passing the dead worms. In the mornings, I slip
into the clinic and peek at her around the corner. They
don't want her to see me for fear she'll get excited.
But, I have to see her, I'm always afraid it's my last
time. Today she at least looked a little brighter in the
face than she did yesterday. She ate a little and
another big change, she started grooming herself!
to call to see if she made it through the night, but
it's obvious that this one is a fighter. Her spirit is
putting up a fight, but her body is failing her. Her
prognosis continues to be bad. The coughing is still
tearing her apart, despite the IV meds.
called this afternoon, the vet has decided to give her a
heartworm treatment as a last report. She was dying so
the treatment which would most likely kill her, was her
only chance of survival. The heartworms were clogging
her heart so badly, she wouldn't of made it another day.
Another option for relieving a dog with this bad of a
heartworm load is to go in surgically thru the jugular
vein and pull the heartworms out. She couldn't survive
anesthesia and risky surgery, so a treatment was her
This past week has been
a roller coaster ride, Livy continues to go downhill.
Her heartworms are very advanced and she's had them a
long time. Her heart and lungs are damaged, her lungs
are full of fluid, she has a fever, her breathing is
labored and she coughs horribly. She is too sick to
treat the heartworms at this point.
And she's still getting worse. Last night, she quit
eating, had a fever and her tongue was getting blue. She
would walk about 5 feet and lay down. Yet, another
nightly call to the vet. He told me to give her an
aspirin to help bring the fever down a little and also
thin her blood. We talked about the possibility of going
to the ER but after the aspirin kicked in, she finally
ate and drank a little bit. Her coughing was still
relentless, even with the codeine, so she was returned
to the clinic today. The vet determined that she needed
to be admitted to the hospital so he could aggressively
treat her with IV fluids and meds.
As I left her, I thought I might not see her again. All
I can think of at this point is that at least she knows
she is loved and she is no longer in a shelter or on the
cold streets. I have no doubt that she would of died
within a couple of days if she had not been found on
Last night was a
sleepless night for everyone. Livy coughed violently all
night long. The coughs were racking her body. Another
call to the vet, and since the cough was getting so bad,
she was given Lasix for the fluid on her heart and also
a codeine cough medicine.
Since bringing Livy
home, she has steadily gone downhill, she's getting
weaker and her coughing is getting much worse. I
returned once again with her to the vet and she was
given another steroid shot.
stray time was up at the shelter so I picked her up as
soon as the shelter opened and took her immediately to
the vet so that he could check her out. We normally do
heartworm tests, vax, fecal and microchip, but because
of her condition, we also did a full geriatric blood
panel and thyroid test.
day I received the call that I was so worried about.
Livy had advanced heartworm disease. She was in no
condition to start treatment yet. Her breathing was
labored, she had a fever and she was coughing. She was
given a steroid shot and sent home with a full regimen
of drugs, antibiotics and steroids.
very happy to be in a warm home with a soft bed. She was
already crate trained and housebroken so I couldn't help
but wonder why she was an outside dog. I had to convince
her that she really got to come into the house. She was
getting along great with my dogs, had mild interest in
the cats and was a quiet girl. She was going to fit
Thanksgiving day, Livy was found by a good Samaritan in
Austin, she was panting and very disoriented. She was
taking to an emergency clinic and radiographs were taken
of her chest. She was running a fever and apparently had
an infection, but even worse, the radiographs showed a
lot of congestion in her lungs. Her coat was faded, thin
and very matted, but because she was overweight, she was
being fed and was most likely an outside only dog.
emergency clinic prescribed antibiotics for her fever,
and since she was a stray, she was then transported to
the city shelter. The staff hoped that someone was
looking for her, she wasn't going to last long at the
shelter, and was in no shape for the adoption program.
Rescue, Tx was contacted in hopes that we could take
her, otherwise, she would have to be euthanized.
when I met her, my heart was touched, she didn't seem to
be nearly as old as she looked. At times, she would just
lay down, it took all of her energy to stand. I knew
right away that she wasn't a young puppy that so many
people look for when adopting, but she had a lot of love
to give and deserved to be treated with more respect. I
knew she would be a project, we would have to get her
well, get a new coat and take off the excess weight, all
of this would take time and money. So I agreed to take
her if her owners didn't reclaim her.