CHOO CHOO, a 14 pound Pomeranian Mix, was 14 years old when she was released to the Shelter. The person releasing her had gotten CHOO CHOO from a family member with whom she had lived her entire life. The reason they put on the Surrender Form was “Given as unwanted gift.” (One can surmise that the life-time owner was elderly, and when they could no longer care for her, CHOO CHOO was given to a family member who really did not want her. And after 6 months they decided to call it quits.)
The Shelter ran blood and urine tests, and diagnosed CHOO CHOO with significant kidney disease. She also has an enlarged heart & murmur, and really horrid dental disease (very large crusts of tartar and severe gingivitis – all that bacteria continuously entering the bloodstream and headed to her heart and kidneys = why dental care is important to maintain especially in pre-disposed breeds.)
The hope with renal disease is to try and stabilize the kidneys with diet, medication, and sometimes fluids, and then to keep them functioning for as long as possible. But by the time renal disease becomes apparent, 70-80% of the total kidney function is already gone and not coming back, and ultimately the last 20% will also give way no matter what we do.
But CHOO CHOO doesn’t know she has all these major medical problems, and runs right along with ROXIE the Beagle (another ODH Final Refuge Dog) on our twice daily ventures. She has quickly learned our schedule, and jumps around if I am running late on getting out the door. CHOO CHOO does have difficulty going up any hills, so a stroller is pushed along with us so she can ride when necessary.
CHOO CHOO loves to go for car rides, and anywhere I go. Unless she is asleep, she follows me around the house and around the yard. She has figured out how to duck through the slow-close storm doors at the very last second, so I have to be sure they are closed if I want her to stay put. And I do not need as much help in the bathroom as she is willing to provide.
We’re not sure why, but she prefers to sleep on the floor under my desk rather than anywhere else in the house or on any of the dog beds. She also is not a lap dog (aren’t all small dogs supposed to be lap dogs ???) – when picked up, she will sit on my lap only briefly before jumping back down.
She’s a remarkable little dog and having all the fun she can for as long as she can as an Old Dog Haven Final Refuge Dog.
Update: After much too short a time (though longer than her health had led us to believe), Choo Choo’s body suddenly failed her and her foster mom had to say good-bye. Such a brave girl, we will always be grateful that she got to experience loving care, and lots of fun car rides before she had to leave us.