Hershey’s Second Life A Lesson in Caring and Sharing – and Savoring Every Moment Creatively

hAPPY hERSHEY after teriyaki chicken rice bowl at Jack in Box

HAPPY HERSHEY after completing teriyaki chicken rice bowl at Jack in Box Concord

…as we awaited Hershey’s arrival from the back room so we could say our last, tearful goodbyes, something remarkable happened.  Hershey BOUNDED IN with the energy

of a puppy. He was smiling to see us and I began to wonder to myself if this was the same dog who would be put to rest in the next minutes.  But , before that fully registered for

me, Mindy put into words the same thoughts I was having…

 

TURNING THE HALF EMPTY

GLASS INTO A FULL ONE for

OLDER, SICK(?) DOG

(or, Hershey Making the Full Bowls of Food Disappear)

 (Follow Up to “Hershey Bounces Back 5 Minutes Before Almost Being  Euthenased’)

  • Anal Sac Cancer
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute congestive heart failure
  • Severely enlarged heart and hemangic carsonoma tumor

 

Hershey Making the Full Plate of Food Disappear

Hershey Making the 3 Full Plates of Food Disappear

Maybe it’s more like FIVE LIVES so far, but it was August 27, 2018, after another night of deep coughing and heavy panting, that led us to

the pet emergency once more for what we thought would be Hershey’s last day.  Hershey would often get very excited with manic spells late at night –doggy sundowners? -but  this one was

the worst we had seen and we weren’t sure Hershey would even survive  the coughing attacks before we got him to the vet. It was so bad-and the xrays showed that the heart

had grown to the point it was now leaking fluids -that we decided to leave Hershey overnight – what was left of the night, er, morning – after which Dr N would be in and give us an update.

 

When I did get that call only hours after we had left the vet, around 8:30 am  -Mindy slept through the call to her after a long night up – Dr N told me what we kind of expected.

While Hershey was not yet in full cardiac failure it was only a step, or perhaps a day away.  When we came back that morning to meet with Dr. he told us it would probably only be a matter of one or two or three days left for Hershey.  ‘It could be one day, or maybe two or three.’ He said if it was his dog he would probably put him down.  And, after months and even years of every kind of medical issue you could imagine, we figured we’d had our fair time with Hershey and didn’t want to be too greedy. Doctor Knows Best.  At least it wouldn’t be a shock as with MIndys last dog, Stormy

who we put down the same day he was discovered to have full blown cancer spread throughout his body.  We were very sad but resigned as Doctor brought in the implements to complete the euthanasia  treatment on Hershey.

 

Then, as we awaited Hershey’s arrival from the back room so we could say our last, tearful goodbyes, something remarkable happened.  Hershey BOUNDED IN with the energy

of a puppy. He was smiling to see us and I began to wonder to myself if this was the same dog who would be put to rest in the next minutes.  But , before that fully registered for

me, Mindy put into words the same thoughts I was having,

 

‘ This dog is not ready to go. Look at him smiling and happy. I can’t put him down yet.’

And, as a card carrying member of the full life extension movement,as it were, I agreed, wholeheartedly.

Perhaps, others would have gone the easier, quicker route of putting down a dog who only has a day or two left while not wanting the dog to start being in greater pain.  And that’s not to

make judgments.  Perhaps that’s why Dr suggested the euthenasia at this point after having had dealt with many clients and their pets and seen what others had opted for. But, then, maybe Dr.

just didn’t REALLY KNOW Hershey.  Hershey is,

unlike many dogs, one with a strong disposition and real will to live, as are MIndy  and myself as guardians. We’d want to have every chance for ourselves as would we would want for our

furry friends. Perhaps there’s no  right answer for everyone, but there was only ONE ANSWER for us. And that was to give  Hershey at least a chance. After all, we’d seen this before with him, \

just when you think it might be over, HE’S BACK, even if  only for another day or two.

 

And, we’re so glad we did give him a chance because that chance has turned into TWO WEEKS and counting . Just today,  when I came by Mindy’s to take Hershey out for a walk and lunch

while MIndy was busy with a cilent, he was up on the bed(!) sleeping comfortably.  Incredible to see him still able to jump up on the high bed.

In two weeks, Hershey had hardly regressed. He’s still eating well and walking and enjoying our , now, nightly adventures!

 

LAZY DOG after three bowl dinner of chicken steak rice and veggies

LAZY DOG after three bowl dinner of chicken steak rice and veggies

‘HAMBURGER HERSHEY’ to ‘HOLLYWOOD HERSHEY’

First it was ‘Hamburger Hershey’ when we noticed how much he enjoyed going out to the drive-thru to get a healthy hamburger at Burger King or a teriyaki chicken and rice bowl at Jack  in the Box .  Like a teenager bored every night at home, Hershey thrives getting out and we started honoring that desire and have been enjoying these  nightly – and daytime – outings ourselves.

We’ve managed to find a number of spots where we can get Hershey – and ourselves – a fairly nutritious meal, while enjoying the late summer East Bay Area evenings, and afternoons – thus,

the new moniker ‘Hollywood Hershey’ for his desire to hit the town evenings. Prior to this, we had been quite rambunctious staying at home but we were trying to be cautious, so not as to

overdo it . But, as the doctor said, ‘Keep Him Happy.’  After all, at this point a little extra salt isn’t going to make a big difference or a greasy burger (though Burger King and IN and OUT are pr

pretty good about keeping the grease quotient down, we’ve found.

 

Frankly, it’s become a bit more of a challenge to get Hershey to eat and take his pills, so these restaurants have been a real BOON for Hershey and us. Another good reason to go there – plus l

leave the cooking to them.

 

LAZY DOG, Concord and other Locations

we thought we’d share with you some of our favorite night spots we go with Hershey, giving them some attention so other dog lovers who may go through similar rough times, like us, can

get some ideas to, perhaps, bring some joy to their older dog – and their own- lives.  Lazy Dog is one of four or five key restaurants we’ve been taking Hershey since August 27.  It’s convenient

to us, the food is good – they even make a chicken or  steak with rice and veggie dish that Hershey loves better than our own cooking. Last night they gave us some extra thick slices of chicken

with which we could wrap Hershey’s pills in. Hershey gets his own water bowl ,too.  And Hershey seems to love the attention of others, many who bring their own dogs to the outdoor heated

with large , round fire pit in the middle.

 

SKIPOLINI’S PIZZA we learned about thru my business.  While the downtown Concord location stopped allowing dogs after our first visit – was it us?- We discovered the Clayton, CA location

much nicer with better food. Imagine dining with your favorite dog under a giant redwood with stars twinkling above.  That’s where we first learned about wrapping pills in giant slices of

chicken and mozzarella. Yes,  one has to be a little creative with an older dog who can become picky about eating. Hershey is also SMART and has learned to spit out the pills if we don’t do

things just right. Seems like every week we have to come up with new ideas to ‘fool’ him. By the way , Hershey has been taking about 10 pills/pieces – 4 large ones – twice a day for the past few

months. Whatever works – and it has been working, as long as the guardian stays one step ahead of the ‘boss,’ We’ve been through peanut butter, hamburger,  etc.  Just a matter of finding the

right ‘disguise’ for the right night.  LIver sausage worked like a charm the other night but made him sick and throw up…  Then there are the frozen turkey meat balls from Trader Joes that

worked for one meal, But, the thick cut chicken slices , for now, seem to be the best pill camouflage.  Pill Pockets? Don’t even ask. Hershey turned a blind eye on those long ago.

At Skipolini’s enjoying sliced chicken and calibreze salad

 

 

 

The DEAD FISH

 

New discovery of beautiful back garden patio for dining at wonderful ‘Dead Fish’ (except for that name).. Greatest undiscovered gem where you can take your dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we’ve been getting Hershey out of the house most every night, we’ haven’t seen any reoccurance of the ‘sundowners’. If you want my opinion, it WASN’T even sundowners but just a happy still-energetic dog who wanted to get out and have some fun and food!

Funny,  we also have met many along our Travels with Hershey and no one even guesses Hershey has any illness. Yes, the ocassional ‘Foxtale headress’ throws some off  but nothing else. Hershey has not even had any accidents along the way and has been well-mannered unlike his earlier days. It’s been a joy and made what could have been – and was –  difficult before when keeping Hershey in at night even before the more serious issues came up has now become a nightly highlight for all of us.  Sure, can get a little expensive, but well worth it.  Hopefully, these tips may be of value to other older dogs and their people.

 

This last two weeks and into the future experience is NOT for the faint of heart. While it’s a wonderful thing to have Hershey around each extra day, it’s also knowing the inevitable is not far off- could be tomorrow.  But, living life to the fullest seems to be the best antidote rather than NOT living life and just sitting around the house worrying.  The more time spent with Hershey doing fun things actually helps our peace of mind and probably Hershey’s too. Just ‘Keep him happy’ and that seems to have done wonders to now.

 

The amazing thing, thru it all, Hershey has actually lived out a full life in terms of numbers most Labs live. Nearly 14 , Hershey, despite all his medical issues , will have survived through it all while giving us all we could as for. And. he’s still  going strong for a 14  -year-old with twice daily walks, eating well and smiling all the way.  Wish I  could do as well when I reach 98 in human years

 

 

AWAITING HIS BRUNCH AT DEAD FISH, CROCKETT CA

SMILING HERSHEY AWAITING HIS BRUNCH AT DEAD FISH, CROCKETT CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed part one >>>

Hershey Bounces Back 5 Minutes Before Almost Being  Euthenised

 



SPOIL YOUR DOG with BARK BOX

– You May Never Get Another Chance

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