My Sweet Girl's Journey is Over
An over-zealous Giant Schnauzer. Very misunderstood. A courageous heart.
Her first owners had no business owning her. Husband, wife and 8 year old child with no experience. A Giant is extremely energetic. Too enthusiastic for most. Stubborn. Plain and simple, not for the faint of heart. They were afraid of her and put her out to foster after keeping her in the basement of their home for at least a year.
Her first foster home was also unprepared. They had owned Minis and thought it would be a piece of cake. They had her two weeks and cried for help.
We drove about 100 miles on February 10, 2007, to pick up this shaggy, beast of a dog. We both swore she must weigh at least 80 pounds from the look of her (an average female is between 50&60). Groomed up, a very slender 55 pounds. She was 14 months old. Her name was Amy we immediately renamed her (as we do all fosters), Bateesa, Teesa, for short.
We had a heck of time with this girl. We already owned two Giants and our intent was to foster her until the group found her a forever home.
First problem we encountered. She was a biter. I honestly believe she was mistreated as she only bit when you tried to restrain her. My first incident was when I opened the back door and reached for her collar to keep her in. She turned on me and bit me good. No blood. Never any blood for me, but I wore bruises up to my shoulders for months. She drew blood on Tina twice. It never felt aggressive, it always appeared to be self-preservation and fear.
We worked really hard with her. I learned patience I never knew I could find. I had no intent to ever give her up because as a biter, someone would have put her down. I knew there was a heart of gold in there if just given enough time to find it.
All her enthusiasm cost the family a lot. She would arbitrarily pick fights with Blu, our older female. We did eventually put her on meds to calm some of that down, but it was never completely gone. There was always an underlying current of stress that we just tried to manage.
Cosmo, our first rescue, and she became friends. They played and for the most part had a great time together and when she became too pushy with him, he would quickly put her in her place.
We did a few obedience courses and she did OK. She learned the commands and did just fine until someone looked at her. She was an all about me kinda dog. I want you to pay attention to me, like me, play with me, touch me, me, me, me. I truly wanted to get this girl into agility she could jump a 38 inch fence from standing still, but she was more focused on the people around her than the task at hand. She loved people. Probably too much she made a nuisance of herself. Could never harness all her spirit.
Her last day was September 2, 2013, Monday, Labor Day. She had gone to bed the night before upset with the thunderstorm, but otherwise was her usual self. I was up early, as always, and she was very subdued. Almost looked like she had been drugged. Her head would bob like she was about to fall asleep.
I knew something was wrong, but just was not sure what and it was a holiday. Hoped to be able to get her through the day and, if need be, to the vet the next morning.
I usually go to the barn to exercise by myself to exercise. It is me time and I just like being alone. Teesa always wanted to go and sometimes I would give in and take her. This morning I took her with me. Usually she bugs me, this time she crawled up on the chair and just watched. So very out of character.
She had not eaten breakfast that morning wanted nothing to do with eating. I made some butter bread and took her to the bedroom, got her up on the bed and we shared butter bread. Me a bite, her a bite.
Later we took a nap together. We slept with my hand on her rump for a little over an hour. I got up. Not long after that, I heard her get off the bed and it sounded more like a fall than a jump down. As I rounded the corner she banged into the wall and then the door and then went down.
Off to the vet. Our vet is the greatest. So much love and compassion. And best of all, very straight-forward. They told us they believed it was a mass on her spleen, but they were not prepared to do surgery and that we would have to take her either to the local ER or to Cornell University. She was bleeding into her belly. We opted for local as we have had some experience with them and we were not sure she could make the trip (about 3 hours) to Cornell.
The local ER is also a very caring and compassionate atmosphere. Also very straight-forward. They laid out the options.
1. Put her down now if you intend to not do surgery, as she will bleed out. (she never would have made the trip to Cornell)
2. Do surgery, remove the mass and the outcome is: 90+% that it is cancerous and she will have only about 2-4 months. Less than 10% that is it non-cancerous and all will be right with the world.
3. We opted for surgery. They sent us home and told us they would call.
They called about 90 minutes later and told us that she was still on the table, it was not good, they had finished surgery and were closing when she went into cardiac arrest and they had been massaging for 25 minutes. We told them to let her go. They had done all they could. Let her be at peace.
We went and brought my sweet girl home. She rests behind the arbor on the edge of the property. So far I have visited her every morning. Just have to pass by and say good morning.
Today, Cosmo and I did a driveway walk, something Teesa loved as I would take her down our mile driveway through the woods and unleashed her and she would run like the wind. I think Cosmo misses her as much as I do. He is pretty mopey. Sleeps a lot now. I also think Blu is pretty shameless and is not the least bit concerned about her absence(and I even understand that). Eli even joined in this tribute walk today, he followed us down and back, something he has never done.
I look back fondly at our last day. We shared some very special moments doing the little things we shared and that is all she was capable of at the time was little things, but I am so thankful to have taken the time to spend those precious moments, not knowing that it was her last day.
I am also so thankful that if it had to be, that it happened in her sleep and that we never had to make that final decision or watch her suffer.
Such a wonderful free spirit. Such a huge, loving, stout heart.
Life is calmer here in the house, but there truly is something missing. Missing in the house, but forever in my heart.
We gave this misunderstood foster the best life we could, she had a good life.
I love you Teesa, Beesa!