Our Ruth Girl

Our Ruth Girl
(She is 10 1/2 years old)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 19 - Our last day with Ruth

Although the early morning and afternoon were spent giving Ruth kisses, snuggles, and loving... it's 4:35 p.m. and it's been such a long day.

Yesterday, we made the hard hard decision to take Our Ruth Girl to the vet today as she was getting worse rather than better. We were on the way to her 3:00 appointment, and Dear Sweet Jesus answered our prayers and called her home at 2:40. My arms were wrapped around her and she knew she was safe where she was, and where she was going.

Thankfully, Bud had prepared a special place for her a couple of weeks ago, just in case. Like he said, we could always fill it back in when she got better. Her body is now resting next to Sara, her first/older sister, in the pecan orchard. But, I know they are playing together once again, along with others that she never met in this life such as Xena and other sisters/brother and cousins.... Sadie, Teka Sue, Tyrone Too, Greta, Ms. Willie, Bentley... the list goes on and on.

Our Ruth Girl is healthy again... and where she is, skunks don't smell!

May we all rejoice with the spirit of life that Our Ruth Girl brought to those who knew her, even if it was simply through this blog.

We are blessed.


Tribute to Our Ruth Girl

Thank you, sweet girl.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 18

After a good night's rest, our day has begun.

I changed out Ruth's bedding about 3:30 this morning, then again when I got up at 5:30. She's wanted bunches of water this morning, even lapping the tip of the bottle with her tongue.

She's sleeping again... Beth and Daddy are also still sleeping.

6:00 - Everyone's awake now ... Ruth has had bunches of water & Pedalyte this morning already! She also had a fingerful of plain peanut butter for her "Good Morning" snack when Beth had her "toothbrush".

Because she's been drinking so much water this morning, Bud leaned her up on her elbow and I placed her water bowl in front of her... she wouldn't even look down to get a drink on her own. She won't do anything except stare and pant while in this holding position. Once back down on her pillow, she laps up water out of the bottle beautifully.

I was able to smuch about 3 tablespoons worth of canned food in her mouth before she totally stopped cooperating. She would lick the "tasty" off my finger.

Again, today, she potties/drips continously, as if that muscle/body function is no longer working. Rather than any improvements, we are afraid Our Ruth Girl is slipping away from us further and further.

She refuses to eat anything. She rarely perks her ears up or tracks us anymore. Still no kisses. When we move her around, I can see in her eyes that she seems frightened. I can only imagine what's going through her mind. She does enjoy getting drinks of water! But, she won't from her water bowl, just out of the bottle.

Eighteen days ago our life drastically changed.

Bud & I made the hard decision to take her into the vet's office tomorrow afternoon and send her home to play with Sara and Sadie, our first two dobies that have gone before her.

Our Ruth Girl has been so good to us. Her body, however, is shutting down. We believe her mind is going too, or she's just so tired. She so doesn't deserve not to be able to run after squirrels, or rabbits, or chase the cattle away from the yard fence, or help Daddy and Beth feed the cattle, or hunt deer from the window, or protect us from Big Birds (buzzards and helicopters from Ft. Hood), the UPS truck, or other vehicles that come up to the house.

It took Our Ruth Girl a very long time to trust us after we saved her from that mean man at the puppy mill. She finally bonded with us totally, not allowing anyone else inside her world... except when Granny gave her crackers! But, even though she wouldn't let Granny or Papo touch her, she would on occasion gently, quickly, give Granny's empty hand a short kiss of thanks. Ruth's taken care of us for 10 years and 3 months. We've tried to take care of her, make her better, believing, hoping she would. But, we know in our hearts, it is time we let her go.

Tonight will be filled with tears, hugs, and kisses to Ruth's forehead while snuggling with her one last time, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to keep up with our journey. We appreciate and love all those who love Our Ruth Girl.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 17 - Monday - January 26, 2009

Ruth and I started our day at 4:30. Bud & Beth slept in the bedroom and came in about 5:15. Ruth stayed on the couch last night, me in my recliner. After replacing her bedding and giving her bunches of water swallows, I began a MS Word document pulling out info from this blog that shows what she physically could/couldn't do so far along our journey. It's been a roller coaster...

She willingly accepted her last PB covered Doxy this morning. But, she wouldn't have anything to do with the canned food. I smushed several chunks in her mouth, but she would spit it out. A very little amount pushed inside I could get the water in to wash it down. She would lick off my finger several squirts of the "tasty" supplement.

She's breathing more through her mouth today than other days, a shallow panting like action.

When Bud moved her from the couch to the pad, we put her in the Sphinx position with a folded pillow underneath her rib cage area. She held her own for at least 5 minutes! At one point, Bud gave her some water (via bottle) and it's the first time she would drink anything while in this position. She's resting now after a job well done!

We got her up on the ball again, this time she pooped!

I gave her more "tasty" squirts... she even licked them off my finger!

I tried giving her more food... she wouldn't swallow it w/o pouring water in her mouth.

2:45 ... we got her up on the ball again. She was doing well, at first, holding her head up, looking around (although dazed like) then her head dropped abruptly onto the ball. She couldn't hold her head up any longer. First time this has happened. But, she hasn't eaten hardly anything today... many squirts of "tasty" here and there... I'll try some peanut butter and see if she'll eat that after she rests for a while.

She licked off my finger the peanut butter covered Prednisone, then had a little more peanut butter. I smushed about 1/4 cup of canned food into her mouth, with her swallowing after each one. The last bite, she did lick off my finger. She eagerly licked the several squirts of the "tasty" off my finger.

She's been sleeping a lot today. More so than any day/night since this journey began. She also has been pottying a lot... not a full emptying of the bladder, but a drip now and then.

After I ate my usual half of a chicken pot pie, several times I finger-dabbed the leftover juice and Ruth licked it off my finger... at one point, she tried licking the plate, but just couldn't hold her head up off the pillow enough. I baked some chocolate chip cookies after supper and while Bud & I were eating a few, and Beth was in front of Bud getting her "usual" tiny bites, Ruth suddenly woke up from a sound sleep and looked around, her nose working overtime sniffing the air. I immediately knelt down by her and she actually took what I offered! This was the first time she'd crunch anything for days! I thought maybe leaning her up on her elbow would entice her to eat more (her tongue keeps hanging out toward which ever side she's laying on) so I got her ready for when Bud was down to his last cookie. She had no interest in the piece of cookie. In fact, whenever she sits up, or we have her in the Sphinx position, she stares off as if in a daze, or maybe she's dizzy and is trying to stay focused on one object.

Before turning her over, and settling her in for the night, we did the Sphinx again and put a pillow underneath her chest area rather than the ball. She managed to hold her head up this time the full 5 minutes, but her blank stare and her labored breathing returned.

No kisses today. We haven't gotten a kiss in several days now.

She's sleeping, like she's done for the most of the day today. Dear God, May she rest peacefully tonight.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 16 - Blessed by prayers

I woke up this morning filled with thankfulness knowing how much support, prayers, and encouragement Ruth, Beth, Bud & I are constantly receiving ... not only through this challenge, but everyday, all the time. In addition to G & P, my sister chats with me daily, throughout the day and evening, checking in on how Ruth is doing, and how we are holding up. She continually offers suggestions, thoughts, and prayers. Amy (Bud's daughter) and Leasa & Leslie, my nieces, chat/email as often as their busy schedules allow, but I know they constantly lift us all up in prayer. Robin and other friends call or email, "touching base" now and then to let us know they are praying for Ruth, and us. Even people I've not met, like Lexi's mom and Donna (a MySpace and Facebook friend) sends puppy prayers to Ruth all the time.

We are blessed.

Bud & Beth slept in the living room with Ruth & I last night. This Texas weather ... was 80+ degrees Friday, then never hit 40 yesterday... keeps us guessing what the next day/night will bring! I know the network's "weather person" guesses as well!

The morning Doxy. was given about 5:45. Ruth didn't like it getting smushed in her mouth too much! Her daddy had given her bunches of water while I was getting it ready, so she was all lubricated and tongue was in it's proper place... ready to lick, if she wanted! And, she did "want" for the second helping of plain peanut butter!

6:30 a.m. - Ruth got exercised good! While in the "Sphinx" position, we've been folding a pillow and putting it underneath her rib cage, the fold side underneath her armpits. This seems to help her naturally bend her arms. I'm on the butt end and keep her hind legs/feet in position evenly balanced and toes outstretched. Sometimes she's moved one or the other to readjust, but not often, and not much. Again, I offered her water bowl, but she didn't have any interest in lapping water. She's holding her head up nicely, and she pants (not heavy, just "normal") while in this position... while we scratch, massage, and rub her all over!

After Bud picked her up to change sides, and I readjusted the bedding underneath her, he placed her back down, then leaned her up on her elbow for a few minutes longer. She moving her head around, tracking with her ears and eyes, but she doesn't lift her head off the pillow unless something really gets her attention - or when she's looking for one of us! (We should be having kittens in six weeks with all the commotion going on outside on the porch all night long! Not to mention when Beth starts barking and carrying on and it's "something" like a "big bird" - aka buzzard!)

Ruth is not moving her legs on her own, except to stretch. It doesn't appear she's even trying to make the motions... it's like the spark plug in her brain is not firing correctly, or at all. The vet originally mentioned a neurological cause to her condition... maybe that's what is wrong with Our Ruth Girl, not Coonhound.

7:30 - we just finished a successful breakfast! Ruth had 1/3 cup of canned food and about 90% of it, she licked up off my finger!!!! She then got a couple of "tasty" squirts for dessert and I got a licked cleaned finger!

10:15 - Bud & I decided this time when we "Sphinxed" Ruth we would take my Pilate ball, deflate it some, and put it underneath her ribcage, rather than the towel. She was in this position for about 5 minutes, during which time, she never tried to use her hind legs, and she kept her front legs stretched out.

When Bud picked her up, to change sides, she started pooping!!! I managed to get a washed baby wipe and catch in time... it wasn't near a black as it has been. She didn't poop yesterday, so change in Prednisone dosage, and an increase in canned food may have helped tremendously in the poopy department.

Now, she's laying comfortably in her new position.

About 11:40 I tried giving her some cottage cheese... oh, she hates cottage cheese! I wasn't too found of it either until a few years ago, so I'm not pushing it on her. I then gave her about 1/8 cup of canned food (wanted to give more, but she just wasn't cooperating).

I've been doing more research and came across this article about the neurological aspect I've been trying to ignore. At my questioning, Bud reminded me today that was what the vet originally said was most likely wrong with Our Ruth Girl and that the vet didn't offer a positive prognosis.

When we Sphinxed Ruth a while ago, it seemed to cause labored breathing (more so than usual) so we didn't hold her in the position for long. Bless her heart, the muscles in her front legs are basically gone. We see her hip bones very distinctly, not much muscle back there as well. Since her paralysis began in the front and progressed (albeit rapidly) to the back, it's not surprising her front muscles have wasted so drastically.

I snuggled with Ruth and took a short nap this afternoon. Occasionally she would sniff my nose, but never offered me a kiss.

I leaned her up and got her elbow in place, but she couldn't hold that position on her own so I got up next to her, letting her lean her body against me. We sat like that for a while, until Bud & Beth came back in from the barn. I'm sure, she enjoyed being able to see them come through the door in an upright position.

About 5:00, we got Ruth on the ball again... literally! It went much better this time... practice makes perfect! I think Bud & I were better at it than she was!

THEN, after she rested for about 20 minutes, it was Peanut Butter Prednisone time! She licked it off my finger! THEN she ate about 1/3 cup of canned food!! THEN she licked about 5 squirts of the "tasty" off my finger!!!!

Bud has put her up on the couch, Beth's on the other end... like "usual" in our household. She'll stay up there until it's time to go to bed.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 15

Our day began about 5:30. We all slept pretty well... Bud & Beth in bed, me in the recliner, and Ruth on her pad on the floor in front of me.

Bless her heart, I didn't wake up until about 4:00 to check on her. Her bedding underneath her bottom was totally soaked. I changed it out, gave her a couple of drinks from the water bottle then I settled back on the recliner.

Beth woke me up, then Bud came in... morning treats were given... Beth had her "toothbrush" and Ruth had peanut butter covered Doxy (I will give the Prednisone tonight, since I believe it negatively effects her appetite) smushed in her open space, then she licked my finger just about clean! A few more swallows of water, then Bud & I took a break outside.

When we returned, we lifted Ruth up on her elbow and I sat next to her so she could lean against me. After giving her a chance to look around, Bud held her water bowl so she could get a drink. She didn't want anything to do with it. It seems like she's forgotten how to lap water. He gently moved her head so her nose touched the water, and did this three times without any results. Once we laid her back down, I gave her some water via the bottle and she swallowed nicely several times. So, she needed/wanted water, but wouldn't take it from the bowl.... this concerns me greatly.

Much to Ruth's dismay, she got about 1/3-1/2 cup worth of can food smushed in her mouth piece by piece. Many times she stopped swallowing, so I would give her a big drink of water. I would say she got at least a cup worth of water while eating breakfast! She never wanted to lick my finger, or take any bites of it off my finger. I then gave her a couple of squirts of the "tasty" supplement and she would lick my finger clean both times! At least, she's gotten more food in her today. Her poor muscles are just wasting away....

Again we did the "tuck 'n roll" helping Ruth hold in position for about 5 minutes before settling her on the opposite side. While in the hold position, I offered her bowl of water, again she refused to take a drink. She did swallow several good drinks I gave her from the bottle. She's not really alert today. She does track us, somewhat, but not with perky eyes or ears.

It is times like today that causes me to wonder if Coonhound Disease is really what is wrong... the vet has no clue... tests are "normal". She's not giving us any sign of improving, only fading slowly away from us.

About 10:00 I gave Ruth about 1.5 teaspoons of small curd cottage cheese... I can't tell you how thrilled she was of that - NOT! She did realize very quickly she couldn't spit it out very effectively, so would go ahead and swallow it! I've been laying next to her, snuggling, praying, and every so often, she'd sniff my nose, but wouldn't give me any kisses.

If kisses could heal, she would be "Supergirl" by now from the amount she's been receiving!

After a bedding change, we leaned her up on her elbow for a few minutes and balanced her as she worked on keeping her head up and looking around. While in this upright position, I gave her some "tasty" squirts, but she wouldn't lick my finger clean. She's back sleeping again on her pillow.

About 11:00, Ruth got "bicycled" then swapped to other side and a couple more swallows of water. Around 11:40, I noticed Ruth sniffing at the water bottle I had left propped next to her pad! I gave her some more water! Then, after a bedding change, she got another 1/4 cup of can food smushed into her mouth small pieces at a time. This time she swallowed, didn't lick my finger, but she did swallow each "serving" without me having to chase the bites with water!

It's 2:55... she got Sphinxed again and we also put a pillow up under her rib cage while she held it for a while. She now has complete new bedding, laying on the opposite side, has had several big drinks of water, and is sleeping peacefully.

About 4:00, Ruth ate another 1/4 cup of the can food (of course, we give her several drinks of water about every 20 minutes). At first, she licked it off my finger! Then, Bud got up and fussed with Beth and a treat for her, which totally distracted Ruth. So, the ole smush action finished the rest.

It was 6:00 when Ruth got her peanut butter covered Prednisone. She accepted it, smushed through her teeth! Then she got another 1/4 cup of the can food. This she didn't like tonight one bit! Maybe she had crunched up the Pred. (I understand it's bitter) and nothing was going to taste good. Bud mixed up some beef broth and put it in a water bottle for me to give Ruth... she seemed "pleasantly" surprised that it wasn't plain water! I will give her a "tasty" in a little while, after we eat our Venison chili dinner.

Granny wrote such a sweet comment about Our Ruth Girl. Thank you! Granny calls every morning around 7:00, then each evening about 5:00... anyway... but especially now to check on Ruth's progress. Papo calls Bud at around 11:30 every day... it's their time for "guy talk". I also received a phone call from MIL today! Bud talked with her while he was in town yesterday and told her about Ruth and that we would not be coming to Dallas next week for her birthday. Since she didn't get to talk to me, she called today to see how I was holding up and Ruth's status. That was a very nice gesture on her part, considering she, too, is bedridden.

Ruth got "tuck 'n rolled" a couple more times... she even licked the "tasty" off my finger!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 14

Everyone slept well last night! I changed Ruth's padding about 2:00, then when I got up at 6:00. She's thirsty this morning! I gave her bunches of water swallows before her peanut butter/meds (PBM) "treat" and then bunches afterwards! At first she wasn't all that excited, about the PBM, but then she licked my finger clean!!!

It promises to be a great day!

We put Ruth in the Sphinx position about 7:25 and she held it for another 5 minutes, pushing against one of her hind legs to reposition herself! But, then she was too pooped to eat. I tried smushing food (her normal dry food soaked in the water/oil mixture made from hamburger meat sprinkled with garlic powder - one of her favorite spices!) in between her teeth, only to have her spit it out. Even after a water chaser! I will try again about 9:00, after she's rested some.

More squirts of the "tasty" ... basically that's all she'll eat, and even cleans my finger! Her daddy is going to town today and will get other goodies for us to try... cottage cheese ... more supplement ... can food for our senior girl ... low sodium beef broth ... as long as she doesn't stop swallowing (a trick she's learn that will make me stop trying to feed her), I'll keep putting it in her mouth!

I just sat Ruth up on her elbows. She held it for a few minutes while I scratched all the places I could reach! She did sniff my nose, but didn't offer a kiss. We haven't gotten kisses in a couple of days now. But, we have perky eyes and ears!

It's almost 11:00... Ruth has had almost 2 cups of water today, numerous squirts of "tasty", a finger full of plain (no meds) creamy peanut butter, and several failed attempts at dry yet moist girl food w/olive oil on the side.

Ruth sat up (with my help, of course) for about 15 minutes... the majority of the time, she balanced on her own!

Just a note: I've been using a type of baby wipe that is alcohol free and is non-flushable (since we are on a septic tank system, not a good thing!) Anyhoo, they wash/dry up beautifully, so I use them instead of paper towels when needing to wipe up my mess when feeding Ruth or water drippings off her pillow!

A little after noon, I was propping Ruth up on her elbow and got a KISS! She balanced on her own for a little while... baby steps!

It's been a busy afternoon! Bud got home with Ruth's goodies and she got about 1/4 cup worth of can food... I had to smush it in, then chase with water, but I got it down her! She had some "tasty" for dessert, along with bunches more water.

We also took her outside for a few minutes... got her in the Sphinx position again and she held her back legs tight against her sides. Bud had one more step before reentering the house and she started pottying like a waterfall! Fortunately, I've learned to walk along with them carrying a towel underneath the critical area. Once we had her settled back down on her pad, she got more water... refilling that bladder!

Throughout the afternoon she received more water, a couple of changes in bedding, placed in the sphinx position, then, Bud and I took a nap in our respective recliners!

For dinner, Ruth had another 1/4 cup of can food... a couple of times she even licked it off my finger or cleaned up the spilled chunks off the towel underneath her head! But, for the most part, it got smushed in that faithful open space, then chased with water. Again, she got some "tasty" for dessert and licked my finger clean!

I'm hoping, by decreasing the Prednisone to one time a day, her appetite will return. Sometimes, it's like she forgets she can lick/lap her food. And, she seems to fall asleep, or maybe her way of trying to ignore me.... I may not give tomorrow morning's dosage, and wait until tomorrow night... start giving her at night may also help her appetite for the day.

We put Ruth on her back a couple of times tonight and gave her lots of scratches and exercised her legs by stretching and bicycling. Then she got another 1/4 cup of can food... this time she licked the food off my fingers!!!! Although Pednisone can cause excessive appetite, it apparently has worked the opposite in Ruth. I believe, after a full week of taking Prednisone, we would not be experiencing such a loss of appetite as we've seen in Ruth.

Well, we "Sphinxed" her one more time for the day. She started out with outstretched forearms, but then relaxed and rested on her elbows. After she made a minor adjustment of her hind right leg, she held her own for over 5 minutes! Now she is resting, seemingly comfortably, after getting several more swallows of water after such a great workout.

I am blessed to have had another day with Ruth. I continually pray that God helps me/us help Our Ruth Girl.


This is our baby girl, Beth

This is our baby girl, Beth
(She is 9 1/2 years old)