I know the last 2 posts have been about Jake, but I felt like writing a post that gave his story as a whole. . . .
Jake, is our 8-year old yellow Labrador Retriever. I got Jake in 2002, when he was just over a year old, from some clients that couldn't handle him. He was too much dog for them. I got him with the intention of re-homing him to the perfect home. He was a disaster. He stole things, ate my sister's 1st Generation iPod, barked madly in his crate and was an all around pain in the neck. I began training him just because he was going to live with me for a while and why not pedal a well-trained Lab rather than the Lab he was at the time?
After interviewing several prospects I decided he was too sweet and I was getting attached. The following year I had him certified through the Delta Society as a therapy dog. He was absolutely a dream. . . . he still is. He's so calm and laid back that he was accused of being "slow" at an event I him at. He was sweetly lying at my feet under my booth and a girl came up, petted him for quite a while and then looked up at my friend sitting with me, "Excuse me. Is this dog yours?" "No, he's my friend's, why?" "Is he slow or something?" I looked up and said, "Slow? Like Forrest Gump?" She wasn't smiling or laughing, she was quite serious. "Yeah, he just lies here." My friend retorted, "He's just well trained!"
Since then Jake has been a demo dog of mine and used in almost all of my aggression cases as he doesn't flinch at anything and is just an all-around perfect guy. If he was any sweeter he'd be pure sugar.
He's been a very healthy dog and has never been to the vet for any medical reason until last October when I decided to have a bulge on his side looked at. It was determined to be a mast cell tumor, the most common kind of tumor in dogs. The surgery was going to cost more than we had and so I held a fundraiser [online] for him and raised $1000 of the money. It was spectacular to get such a great response and the surgery took place on January 6, 2010. It was successful as was his recovery.
Then the last week in February he began acting funny one day and threw up his breakfast -- all of it -- and then his dinner. Then he began breathing rather heavily and I took him to a veterinary ER that evening. They took x-rays and discovered that his intestines were 3 x their normal size. The vet said it was some sort of obstruction and he'd try to see if he could pass it. With a night of fluids and some meds he still didn't pass it. The next day, February 25, 2010, they had to go in to remove it from his intestines. It was determined to be hardened fecal matter. Odd, but taken care of nonetheless.
He seemed okay but his recovery didn't seem as smooth as his previous one in January. He whined quite a lot and seemed to be in quite a bit more pain. He ate ok as I fed him some homemade boiled hamburger and rice for a couple of days. Then I fed him canned food with some dry food mixed in. I then added more dry and about 6 days after the surgery he threw up his breakfast again. I was really concerned but just kept an eye on him. He threw up dinner that night. I decided he couldn't handle the kibble and proceeded to just feed him canned food only. He seemed fine after that.
Then a few days later he threw up again and I called the vet, Dr. Franks at Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center, who performed his first surgery in January. She was so marvelous then and I felt more comfortable with her. She said to watch him and keep her posted. He was acting normally, and eating normally so I wasn't super concerned yet. A few days later, Tuesday, March 16th he threw up a huge amount of food throughout the day. I called Dr. Franks and she said she should look at him. I dropped him off on Wednesday morning and she said an x-ray showed that something was definitely going on. She wanted an ultrasound to get a better view and had another veterinarian that did sonograms do this. She called me later to tell me that the best way she could describe it is that his intestines are bunched up on one side of his body and that she's not sure what is going on but surgery was really the only way to see what is going on and to fix it.
So here we are, surgery #3 for Jake within a 90 day period. It can't be good for his 8-year old body. Moreover we don't have the money to take care of this surgery. We didn't [don't] have the funds to pay for his second surgery and we still are working out a payment plan with the vet for that. I didn't want to ask for help on his second surgery because I was too embarrassed and so many people were so incredibly gracious about helping with his first surgery, but I have to do another fundraiser now as we have no choice. So for anyone who is willing, able or maybe has ties with Oprah Whinfrey . . . please pass this along! We have received several donations already and we are eternally grateful beyond words. You can click on the ChipIn! button below to donate or you can visit the website here.