November 1, 2002 – March 11, 2010

In Loving Memory
From your Mom, Debbie Perry

September 10, 2009

I was determined I was not going to fall in love with the 2 fosters that were on their way to me. After all, I had two dogs already. So I steeled my heart and prepared to meet them for the first time.

The volunteer, who was so wonderful to drive them all the way to me pulled up in my driveway. She got out of the car and opened the back door. Two wiggly waggly bodies bounded out of the car. Oh my goodness! One, a red rough, was so fat that she ‘rolled’ like an English Bulldog when she walked…or should I say ‘when she waddled’. The other, a cute belge, reminded me of a little unkempt street urchin with her mop of hair.

These two sweet dogs had been pulled from a puppy mill auction in West Virginia almost 10 months before. They were rescued by a wonderful man from Japanese Chin rescue who was now sending them to the care of NBGR. The now fat one had been starved and so neglected that she had to have an emergency spay and dental. I imagine over the past 10 months, the rescue lovingly overcompensated a little at dinner time.

As the official foster for these two orphans, I set out to give them fitting names. The red rough had been named Gretta and the other, London. I finally decided on Rosie and Daisy. Not exactly fancy, but they fit.

Rosie’s friend, Daisy (after being groomed)

Throughout the next 4 months, we worked on housebreaking and getting the weight off Rosie. She went from almost 25 pounds down to 18. She was feeling great and was even running and jumping up to greet me. The constant panting was gone. She was such a happy girl.

Then came the question. “Are you ready to list the dogs on the website, so they can be adopted?” Um…well…let me work on their housebreaking a little more first…

Sometime in December I officially adopted Rosie and Daisy.

January came and I noticed Rosie’s gums were a little pale and she seemed a little weak. Once, she even laid down on the cold cement when we were out on the patio as if she just couldn’t stand any longer. I took her to my Vet. She had only 1/3 of her red blood cells.

We started Rosie on a course of antibiotics and prednisone. She continued to decline. After a few days, I took her back to the Vet. A normal red blood count is 35-55. Rosie’s is now 8. I left there and rushed her to the ER. My Vet notified them that we were on our way. Upon our arrival, they were ready for her and took her back to critical care. It seemed I waited forever for them to come back. Her count was down to 5. She had stopped breathing. Just as they were about to intubate her she started breathing on her own again. She is now on oxygen and needs an immediate blood transfusion in order to survive.

I was about to learn more about Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) than I ever wanted to know.

Rosie spent 6 nights in critical care. Her doctor was a specialist in Veterinary Internal Medicine. Her blood count was constantly monitored. She was given 2 transfusions while there and tons of medications. We even tried several new meds, but her blood count would always slowly decline after each transfusion. A bone marrow aspirate indicated there was no cancer, it was basically her own immune system killing off her cells. There was nothing left to do but to continue the meds and hope they started to work. I brought her home.

Getting a blood transfusion

One thing that will always remind me of Rosie is snow. She just loved to eat the stuff. And soon after I brought her home there were predictions of a record-breaking snowstorm on the way. So while most people were stocking up on milk and toilet paper, Rosie was stocking up on red blood cells with another transfusion. It was a good thing we did because we were soon buried under 3 feet of the stuff!

Eventually, I changed Rosie over to my regular Vet. I continued her on her meds and over the next few weeks gave her 3 more blood transfusions, 6 in all. Each time she would perk right up and you would never know you were looking at a very sick dog. My heart was breaking because I finally had to accept that she was not going to survive this. None of the numerous medications could stop the destruction caused by her immune system. But as long as she was responding to the transfusions, I had to keep going. How could I let her go when she was enjoying life – and her baked chicken. But with each transfusion, her time was getting shorter. Her blood cells were being destroyed faster. And the risk of a reaction to a transfusion, increasing.

On the morning of March 11th Rosie was having a hard time breathing. She had had a transfusion the day before, so this was not a good sign. She improved a little during the day, but it was not at all like after the other transfusions. I knew the day I had been dreading….what I had been prolonging…had come.

Rosie and I spent the day together. The absolute center of my attention. Her appetite still good so she had as much of her favorites as she wanted. She was only 7 years old, but was a wise, ‘old soul’. As I watched her I found it hard to believe she had only been with me 6 months. We had become inseparable. She wanted me in her sight always and had become my little shadow.

My daughter came later that day to take us to the Vet. Only someone who has loved and lost a dog will know what that ride is like. At 6:20pm I held my sweet Rosie close and whispered how much I loved her, and what a good girl she is. She fell asleep quietly and peacefully in my arms…and my tears fell on her face.

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.