Buttercup was surrendered to a shelter but we have no idea “why.” The most obvious issue was her size – weighing in at 107#, but down to 102# when she came to Old Dog Haven (normal is probably around 80-85#.) The shelter was also concerned about a possible large mass in her abdomen, but with her excessive size it was difficult to determine just what was what.
The day after she arrived at her Final Refuge home, she went in for a complete veterinary workup. An ultrasound exam revealed NO abdominal mass, however she did have a severe (and very sore) skin infection along with urine scalding that was revealed when her tummy was clipped for the ultrasound. Additionally, she had a severe bladder infection. Treatment for everything began in earnest.
But the skin was stubborn, and new areas of infection were found under her thick coat. What turned out to be a Hair Follicle Tumor suddenly burst open and drained. And her ears would just never stay clean. So off she went to the dermatologist. He made recommendations for her skin and her tumor, and did a camera-assisted pressure washing of her ear canals. One ear canal was so constricted the opening was no bigger than a pencil lead !
Now the skin infection is healed up, and only needs occasional cleaning on her tummy to keep it under control. The ears are staying nice and clean, and eventually the dermatologist used laser surgery to remove the Hair Follicle Tumor.
Sasha is very well trained. She comes when called and she knows commands. She walks nicely on a leash and does not pull (which is a plus because at her size she would be hard to stop!) . She thoroughly enjoys her 3 brisk walks per day, and is down to 85 pounds which seems about right for her. Because she is so fluffy, and built like a brick, photographs do not portray just how fit she now is.
She gets along with everybody, wants to meet people and other dogs, and maintains a constant vigil for cats, crows, and squirrels. She loves to roll in the dirt that her housemate Fields provides when he excavates his sleeping holes in the back yard.
Update: Sasha’s Obituary
She was a BIG girl when she arrived, but with prescription diet and lots of exercise she got down to 80# – still a big fluffy girl, just much healthier. But then SASHA began to limp, so x-rays were taken. She had moderate to severe arthritis in both shoulder joints and both elbow joints – being so heavy for so long had already taken its toll. She was started on all the appropriate medications, and did very well.
Then I began looking for a new house. I found one, but all the time spent away looking, then pruning down and packing up, all the while driving to the new house to supervise work (eg a fence for the doggies) before we could actually move, stressed SASHA terribly. She began to chew on her front legs, and then began to chew on the house. Putting her in a crate just left us with a demolished crate. So I started taking her everywhere with me – I never left her alone (although she would sit in the car while I went in the grocery store, but I was really quick about it.) I began to worry what I was going to do when the weather got too hot for being in the car.
I was afraid she would disintegrate too much and never be able to make the move to our new home. But SASHA did make the move – and she loved it – especially the yard and all the new places to go for walkies. I still kept her with me 24/7, but slowly she became more of her old independent self again, began sleeping out in the sun while I was in the house, and one day I went to the grocery store with out her and everything was fine.
Just when I thought life was finally all better for SASHA, she started to slow down and limp again. It became more painful for her to walk down-slope. We added weekly injections to her regime, and the improvement was remarkable. But now I knew that eventually her mobility, made painful by the severe arthritis in her front legs, was eventually going to be her undoing – there wasn’t anything else “wrong” with her, and she was only 10 years old.
And slowly, gradually, I could see that day looming on the horizon. Walkies became shorter and slower, the pavement became too hard so we walked only on lawn or in the park, we avoided going down any slopes. When she started occasionally laying down mid-walk, and then woke up one night panting in pain, it was time to send her over the Rainbow Bridge. Because of Old Dog Haven, SASHA received all the medical care she needed to keep her happy and mobile for the final 15 months of her life.