No, Hershey’s not in pain, but enjoying a roll in grass at Hillside Park – and amazing
he can still move around as he does at age 14 with arthritis. You’d hardly know it.
‘Hamburger Hershey’ knows when we’re approaching Burger King for a special
treat and he begins to ‘bark for burgers.’ Never fails. Smart dog! We love it! 10-27-18
More Adventures With Hershey – Discovering New Tips for A Healthy, Happy Life for Senior Dogs
But, that’s when Hershey bounded in the room with new-found energy as if to say, ‘Wait a minute, WHAT are you going to do to me?’
Two months ago Hershey was taken to the cardiac specialist for ‘final rights’ after scans showed an extremely enlarged heart with fluid leakage and a new cancerous tumor, kidney failure and more. Previously, Hershey had already had surgery earlier this year for laryngial paralysis after pneumonia and sarcoma cancer as well as serious ear problems. Hershey’s panting and coughing WERE so bad that we didn’t know if he’d survive the car ride to the vet. When we arrived, Doctor told us if it was his dog he would put him down as he brought in the euthanasia equipment to the waiting room where we would say our final goodbyes to our beloved 14 year old lab mix we’d had for eight years. Even with all his medical issues Hershey had nearly already achieved a full life expectancy for a lab, for which we were grateful as we tried to prepare to no longer have Hershey in our lives. We were just minutes from losing Hershey. We had lost Stormy dog nine years ago the same day cancer was discovered so we’d been through this . But, that’s when Hershey bounded in the room with new-found energy as if to say, ‘Wait a minute, what are you going to do to me?, at which time we reversed direction, deciding to give Hershey at least another day. And, we’re SO glad we did. It’s been a life-changer for both us and Hershey and a period during which we’ve had some of our best times ever together despite Hershey’s medical issues.
Two months in dog life is over a year for humans and somehow, some way, Hershey is still here and no longer panting and coughing. He is doing much better than two months ago despite his advanced heart condition, cancerous tumor, kidney failure and ???. Hershey continues to eat well and take walks two or three times a day, smiling all the way. How can this be?
Each new day we awake preparing for the worst (while hoping for the best) with the unknowing yet each new day dawns and here’s Hershey continuing to surprise and amaze.
If one believes there is a God this real life episode brings us ever closer to Him. (And this is not meant as a religious story by any means).
Definitely a lot of things have had to occur in concert to give us what have been wonderful bonus days with Hershey. But after losing many animals prematurely in the past, this has been a revelation.
Another roll or two at Turtle Creek/Ayers Park. A new popular Hershey tradition.
MOON and STARS ALIGNING
It’s been exactly two months yesterday that we came minutes from losing Hershey. These past two months, especially, have been such an amazing and fantastic time we just had to share it in these pages. Perhaps others can benefit from this experience as we and Hershey have as we share some of the TANGIBLE things that might give others with sick pets extra, quality time together – perhaps even a religious experience!
The first day after we brought Hershey home we were in sort of a holding pattern. We couldn’t help but watch the clock, expecting it to tick off the final minutes. Hershey continued to pant and cough, despite the assembly of some 10 pills for his heart and other issues we were giving him twice a day., Just getting the pills down him was some effort. Yet, Hershey still seemed to have his stubborn determination to fight on. He was still able to take his walks and eat enough to get by. One is always asked if there is enough ‘quality of life’ to make it worth it. And, there still seemed enough life quality we continued treating Hershey as we had before, not fretting in front of him. One must not show anxiety in front of a sick dog, or human for that matter, but rather some confidence. And that is what we did, continuing to give Hershey the best of whatever we knew. And that’s when things started really coming together.
‘WAKE UP CALL’ FROM HERSHEY’S REGULAR (OLD) VET
After actually getting through several days with Hershey still with us, we received a ‘miracle’ call from Hershey’s vet, who we had not seen or spoken with some time after Hershey began being treated for heart disease by a specialist.
‘Dr K’ along with ‘Dr B’ suggested there might be some things we could do for Hershey in his chronic condition to at least make him feel a little better. This came totally ‘out of the blue’ and unexpected. Still dubious, of course we agreed to bring Hershey in to his general vet, who retested Hershey and agreed with all the previous, serious medical issues.
NEW PLAN FOR A RENEWED, HEALTHIER, HAPPIER HERSHEY
We’d never found a soft bed that Hershey really liked to lay on , but with Dr B’s suggestion we actually found one that gave Hershey some new-found sleep quality after he had seemed to be happy to sleep on the floor/carpet for years. Warm clothing also seemed to add to his comfort – and Hershey didn’t mind wearing it. (No those aren’t meant to be Halloween clothes you see in the videos, above.) Then there were more REAL SOLUTIONS that actually resulted in empirical displays of improvement by Hershey.
We had recently learned of a new food on the market called ‘Just for Dogs,‘ which we had been trying out on Hershey after discovering it at a pet fair. It was somewhat expensive but seemed worth it, having top quality, REAL food along with oils and supplements for the skin, coat and joints. The human-grade food seemed to even taste good to Hershey, especially if mixed with chunks of chicken or meat. There was also an omega oil supplement we add to the food, which seems to help. Hershey’s back legs , which had been failing, suddenly seemed to be doing better! Even, more, Dr B shared that Just for Dogs had a stronger, prescription food, ‘Neoplasia’ diet, which included more of the oils and supplements. Like we said, everything was coming together all of a sudden. Here , we had known about Just for Dogs but not the Neoplasia and we were only using the food as a ‘topper’ on top of Hershey’s usual meal of freshly cooked chicken over rice and/or premium dog food. Now, it’s almost exclusively the Just for You diets for which we are seeing REAL RESULTS.
So, Just for Dogs became the base for Hershey’s daily meals, in which we combined both the Neoplasia diet along with ‘Skin and Joint’ diet and some other flavors on occasion. Then, the doctor recommended a couple of ‘sub-q’ fluids’ to be administered by syringe to help with arthritis and other issues. While the latter was something many wouldn’t tackle, we had done it before, applying syringe to fatty area in the nape of the neck as we’d done with previous pets and this was yet one more thing that seems to have added to Hershey’s improved quality of life.
In doing some research we also discovered something called ‘Turkey Tail’ oil (or capsule) as well as CDB, a hemp derivative which has calming and soothing effects for sick animals (and humans) in discomfort.
Can’t imagine with all this that we missed anything that could help Hershey. So, the combination of these foods, meds and supplements along with Hershey’s strong determination and lots of TLC have no doubt been major contributors to Hershey’s improvement. Unfortunately, there’s no way of curing heart disease or advanced cancer, especially when surgery is not an option, but these things can definitely help bring comfort along with some life extension – and we believe that is what has happened with Hershey. But, add a large helping of faith and the Man Upstairs (and this is coming from a heretofore non- religious person. We don’t know what else can explain this incredible life extension beyond all odds.
So for ‘ye of little faith ‘ and hope, when you have a sick and/or older animal don’t give up! With modern medicine and supplements and foods – and faith. We are fortunate to be living in a time when there are more things out there to help. Even 10 or 20 years ago, much of these foods, meds and supplements didn’t exist. Good luck. Take it from someone who’s been there. These things can work – and will with some effort on the guardians’ part. Then, there are other intangibles that may kick in ,too, to compliment the medical science and diet. There’s little explanation but we’re not going to question this wonderful thing.
This is not meant to be a commercial but helpful tips for others , like ourselves, who may think they have run out of options in helping their beloved pets. Sadly, some may say early goodbyes to their pets for supposed lack of time or money, while others may not KNOW that options DO exist to help their sick pets – perhaps options of which even some vets may not be aware. For this we share and hope this article may be of help . Also, sometimes it’s good to consult a second vet/opinion. We nearly made the mistake of not following up with our original vet and relying on a specialist perhaps outside his expertise – one who may be a great surgeon but not well versed in certain meds and supplements. But then there may have been something beyond reason that gave us at least some of this extra time with Hershey. Maybe this is beyond medical knowledge and even science.
THINGS WE LEARN FROM HERSHEY:
- Hershey is loyal to a fault and ready to go for a walk nearly anytime of day – even if his stubborn streak makes him want to detour us on a new adventure – which, if we go along with, can often be very rewarding! Just have to make sure Hershey doesn’t over do it and we get stuck somewhere too tired to make it back. Fortunately, that’s only happened once and we were able to get a ride.
- To appreciate the LITTLE THINGS – like the smells of grass, flowers and plants in a park
- We all need a purpose in life, such as work, and Hershey always seems to have his agenda together. He knows pretty much what he wants and when he wants it, whether it be lunch or dinner, his walks or playing fetch – yes, he still does that and get’s rewarded, too. There’s something behind those barks, such as ‘Give me some more attention. Let’s play! ” And we do! No ignoring Hershey.
- ENTHUSIASM PLUS! Wish some of my human friends showed half as much! And, yes, dogs can smile. Hershey is among the best and when he does we know that he’s happy! It’s infectious and brightens our day.
- Variety is the Spice of Life for Hershey as with many of us: Hershey will let you know if you take him on the same walk too many times. Last time, Oct 23, he took an interesting deviation which turned out to be a fun walk around the high school we never took before. Yes, dogs can get bored – at least Hershey – if you don’t keep things spiced up!
SOME HERSHEY HIGHLIGHTS
- Amazing to see that Hershey, bad legs and all, can still JUMP UP ON THE BED – amazing to find him there slumbering most afternoons when I come by. And after he focuses his aging eyes and notices I’m there , he jumps off the bed ‘rarin to go wherever we’re going!
- Discovering new ways to get Hershey to eat when he’s not ready can be a rewarding challenge. Whether it be a little help from Jack at the Box with his teriyaki rice and chicken bowl or Hershey’s Hamburger at Burger KIng (they’re grilled, not fried. But now he’s eating less fast food and more of his new Just for Dogs healthy diet with some sliced chicken thrown in.
- Adventures in the Park. There are now probably 5 or 6 favorite parks we rotate for walks, with Markham our favorite. Often the walks are followed by a visit to Jack or BK before coming home and relaxing on the back patio
- They don’t call him ‘Hollywood Hershey’ for nothing… He likes the night life, just like his mom and dad, venturing out to some favorite late night spots like Lazy Dog or Skipolini’s. Often we’re the last ones having a nice, quiet evening out. Fun! (They have special doggie menus, too!
Remember, IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER
I believe a ball player once said ‘IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER’. It’s really hard to believe we’ve been so fortunate. After having had many premature losses in the past-both humans and pets-this has been a real blessing we are savoring by the minute. Call me crazy to spend 4-6 hours a day with Hershey. Fortunately, I can do it- so what if my sleep gets down to four hours some days – but even if I had to work full time I would find a way. This has been an amazing ride. To have Hershey with us two months longer than ever expected – and in good enough health we can all enjoy this time together – and not in the doggie hospital. We still can’t believe it. Not one to attach the world’ miracle’ to things, this would seem beyond a miracle. Each new day we just are surprised as ever and , feeling bless, rather than question it telling Hershey, LET’S GO! OFF TO THE PARK!
Pets don’t think ‘sick’ like some people. Most pets will keep on keeping on if they get need medical , dietary and TLC support. If your pet is still eating and acting relatively normal, why would they or their people want to give up on them? Even if it’s only a day or two, as we thought would be the case with Hershey. Every day is precious.
(We hope others can benefit from our experiences. Don’t ever say ‘it’s over before it’s over.’ Hershey nearly lost out on at least two months of life and we nearly lost two months we’ll never forget. With a lot of TLC, a good diet and supplements and some modern medicine you , too, can enjoy your ‘sick’ or older dog or cat or pet for longer than you might have thought. We always that that they had this down to a science and pretty well knew when one’s time was up, yet there may be some things beyond reason allowing for this – spiritual or otherwise. So, instead of trying to figure out how long this good thing will last we’ll just keep enjoying. Even if it was over tomorrow, we’d be grateful but, yes, a little greed doesn’t hurt. Makes us want to do those extra things that are probably helping out. We are lucky to be living in a time of advances. So, why not take advantage and ride the wave. Was it Casey Stengal or Yogi Berra who gave us these watchwords that we’ll keep in the front of our minds, ‘IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER.’ God bless Hershey and all of your favorite furry friends who might enjoy extra days, too. It’s nice to be able to write these words while Hershey is still with us. Hey, gotta run. OFF TO THE PARK WITH HERSHEY.