Monday I left on a whirlwind trip to California to pick up an old German Shepherd to be our hospice dog for the rest of her life.  She’d been dumped in a high-kill shelter at 12 years old.  That’s pretty much a death sentence and it was surprising that she was still there in a kennel after more than two weeks later.  So I made an impulsive decision, got on the internet and the horn, and arranged to have her pulled from the Lancaster shelter and boarded.

The bad news is that she died yesterday, just a few hours after we’d made it home.  We’re suspecting distemper, the symptoms fit, within hours she was down for the count.  From the beginning, she had neuro issues with apparent field cut when looking at something, leaning and circling,  and it increased, mostly her last day, with head tremors, motor issues as legs gave out, first rear then front legs, loss of appetite, fever, respiratory coughing, labored breathing, really gross nose gunk, and vet was talking about seizures and she may have had petit mal at home, had tremors for sure.  She had 108 temp when we got to the ER vet.  We gave her our best, but she went downhill so fast, and didn’t survive — she died moments after we got in the door at the emergency vet.

Here she is Thursday morning when I picked her up in CA:

And locked and loaded, here we go, heading to Minnesota:

Off we went, back to Minnesota. I HATE LAS VEGAS – construction on I-15 was such a mess:

A quick pit stop in Cedar, UT — easy to find her a cheezeburger, but not easy to find green grass in Cedar, Utah:

When we got further north, this white cloud appeared, I was wondering what on earth had blown up, and it turns out it was the “Poal Creek” fire, and as we went through Provo, I could see the flames and dark brown particulate matter hanging in the air, both of us were coughing and hacking through that, and the air was like that until the Wyoming border, where it was blowing north of our route:

Another surprise was the Echo reservoir, which was almost dry.  Back when I was driving, this was full of BIG boats cruising around, huge marina, a major tourist attraction.  Not any more.

And ready to hit the road again Friday morning in Wyoming — I was thrilled when she barked in the middle of the night, never knew a poop could be so thrilling (she hadn’t pooped yet, WHEW, glad to get that over with.  She appeared to be house/car trained, would bark to go.):

And checking out the depleted reservoir in Avoca, WY:

Here she is just after we got home:

I was so tired, haven’t been a truck driver in a long time and out of practice, and so right after we got in, I took a nap.  Alan made her a bed in the living room (that “Kenya bed” is 1/2 a futon!) and got a rotisserie chicken for her homecoming.  She wouldn’t eat.  When I got up two hours or less later, I came down the stairs and saw her, and it was clear she was dying.  WHAT?!?!  But there was no doubt.  We called the emergency vet and headed in.  She was dead 5 minutes, maybe 10, after we hit the door.  Distemper is suspected, it fits the symptoms she presented, the fastness of her decline, and the vet’s questions about seizures and her ultra-high temp and immediate shutdown and death.

And that’s how I want to remember her, a dear dog with a smile on her face… what a trip we had.  She died knowing she had arrived at home and was loved.  This post I’ll file in “Disasters.”


2 Responses to “Sake – our dog for just a while…”

  1. Alan Muller Says:

    I’m always proud of Carol,a very remarkable person, but this expedition to California to rescue an old doggie is exceptional even for her. Carol has a special feeling for old German Sheps. I hope the people who dumped her off at a shelter because they were “moving” somehow find out that someone wanted her enough to drive all the way from Minnesota….

  2. Joan Leslie Woodruff Says:

    I followed Carol’s journey from the beginning, and had hoped for a different ending. This was a journey of pure love. The journey read like a story, a book I could not put down, nor forget. Sake had a life and a history, and in her last weeks of life she was badly betrayed by the people she believed were her family. Until her Angel, Carol, showed up, and loved her so much, she passed in the arms of peace and kindness. Heart wrenching.

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