Friday, June 6, 2008

Abbey - The Best Dog Ever

Abbey in Florida for the winter of 2007-08

On Tuesday morning, May 27th, the unthinkable happened. Abbey, our Yorkie and constant companion since 2004, passed away suddenly. She had been in excellent health, had seen her vet in April when we were in Colorado, and had no known health issues.

The previous Friday night, she had trouble sleeping. Every 15 seconds or so, she would jump up, turn a half circle, then lie down again. No yelping or whining - she was just fidgety. As she had never displayed this type of behavior before, we took her to a local vet in Newport, WA, on Saturday. After a thorough examination, he could find nothing wrong. He gave us some medication for her in case she displayed further symptoms, and we went home. We had a dinner social at the clubhouse that evening. Donna went back to the rig early, as she didn't want to leave Abbey alone. Abbey lied on her, and her breathing seemed labored. About 11:00pm, we headed off to bed, and she seemed to be feeling better.

On Sunday and Monday, Abbey was back to her old self. No breathing problems, and her activity level was normal. The three of us went for a few walks, and she even went for a bike ride with me. Monday, during the night, she became restless again. She was not fidgety like the previous Friday night, but she just couldn't seem to get comfortable.

At about 7:45am, I took her out to the living room, and closed the bedroom door, so that Donna could sleep in a bit. She seemed OK, and lied in my lap resting. Suddenly, at 8:30am, she sat up, and wanted to be put down. I set her on the floor, she walked around for a few seconds, then yelped and collapsed. Donna rushed in as I picked her up - and then she was gone.

Over the next two days, we called our vet in Colorado, and Donna carefully went over all of the symptoms and behavior that Abbey had been displaying. Doctor Kathy then consulted references, and spoke to her husband, who used to be an EMT. The breathing problems, coupled with the discomfort, and the sudden seizure are consistent with a blood clot - first in the lungs, then moving to the brain. Rare in dogs, there is no way for a vet to diagnose this with any certainty, and no treatment could be prescribed even if a clot had been diagnosed.

Abbey was destined to be with us. After our Shih-Tzu, Sasha, passed in 2004, we began looking for another dog. I was traveling a lot with work, and Donna wanted a companion to keep her company while I was away. We had decided on a Yorkie, and began looking at breeders. In Colorado, the waiting list from a breeder was at least a year out. We found a website, (Yorkshire Terrier Club of America), and began looking a breeders in other states. We had acquired our first 5th wheel, and had planned a month-long vacation that would take us through many of the western states and Canada. Donna began talking to a breeder in Livermore, CA, who also took in rescues. Donna had already decided that our new dog's name would be Abbey. The breeder mentioned that she had a young female, who had been brought to her by a family with 4 kids under the age of seven. She had renamed her Abbey. Donna knew at that instant that this was to be our dog. A few weeks later we visited the breeder, and saw this 11 month old, 3-1/2 pound puppy, running happily around in the breeders back yard. It was instant love!

Is that Tillamook cheese you're cutting?

Cuddling with Mom in Atlanta

Cuddling with me in Colorado

Donna often referred to Abbey as a person in a dog-suit. Although she couldn't talk, she could communicate to us very clearly what she wanted. Abbey was a cuddler - and a lap dog (unless it was hot!). She was also very social, and got along well with all people, all dogs, and even some cats. If you met her you knew - she had a personality that was better than many people! Abbey just couldn't figure out squirrels - those were on her list of things to bark at. She loved walks and bike rides with me.

Getting ready for a bike ride

It has been very difficult for us to accept Abbey's passing. She would have been 5 years old on August 1, and Yorkies typically live until around 15 years. She was with us before we made the decision to full-time RV, and was a big part of the reason we committed to this lifestyle. We celebrate her life every day, and relive the joy she brought to us. Rest well, our Abbey.

1 comment:

  1. Rod and Donna,

    I was so very sad to hear of Abbey's passing. Having a Yorkie myself I know how much personality and love fills those tiny bodies. Please know that you are our thoughts.

    Rebecca and Diva
    (Nancy's daughter and grand-dog)


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