We haven’t updated in a while because we have gone through a loss that we knew was coming but we were still thrown off by it. We did the research, prepared as much as we could, hired hospice during the last health scare, made judgement calls and enjoyed our time together as much as we could. And even with that, life sometimes sticks its middle finger up at you and says “But can you handle THIS?” Knowing what was going on with Ally internally, we opted to drive from Wyoming to Fort Collins CO to ensure we had access to in-home care rather than taking her to a vet if and when the time came. We were hoping for a month based on previous experience. We had 4 days, but they were a fun-filled few days. She left us while laying on her Star Wars blanket, surrounded by her toys she used to bring us. Her sisters and we surrounded her as she watched birds in the trees and passers-by. She knew that she was loved.
Ally defied all odds. She was diagnosed with Cushings Disease at the age of 10 (Cushings dogs average 3 years after diagnosis). She had pancreatitis 4 times. She had an internal bleed (perhaps it was the aspirin, perhaps it was the tumor that was inoperable). Couple that with petellar luxation surgeries and a torn ACL (which we couldn’t surgically fix due to her internal issues, but had laser treatments twice per week every week), boy her medical records were thick! Every vet who met her later in life was shocked at how happy and vibrant she was, despite the world of mess that was going on internally.
That’s how we want to focus on Ally’s life of 15 years. She was a maze of issues inside, but outside she was the most joy-filled dog. She was happy to be alive, and each day we imagined her saying “Today was the best day of my whole entire life.” People who met her were so sad to hear of her passing and that’s because once you met her, you wanted her in your life. Our entire extended family was very upset, because Ally was FAMILY. Ally ate off a food mat with a ton of words that basically described her life: Play. Pet Me. Lazy. Jump. Cuddle. Eat. Spoiled. Play. Snore. Treats. Love Me. Happy. Kisses. Sweet. Sleep. Love. Dream. Best Friend. This was Ally, through and through.
We wanted to provide her with the platform to exude that joy, and part of that was keeping her as pain-free and healthy as possible. With that, we wanted to say a special thanks to the vet practices that helped us along the way, whether it be during her crazy puppyhood or during her twilight years. These aren’t all the places Ally has been (with our travels and laser therapy sessions twice per week, the list wouldn’t ever end), but these are the places that left pawprints in our hearts with their extra care they showed our girl and us. They allowed us to focus on the joy while they took care of the health stuff, including being our crutch during her end. Thank you all.
Cary Veterinary Hospital – Cary, NC
West Chester Veterinary Medical Center – West Chester, PA
West Orange Veterinary – Winter Garden, FL
Village Vets – Decatur, GA
Dr. Lauren Cassady, Lap of Love – Atlanta, GA
Unita Animal Hospital – Fort Bridger, WY (note: this is where Ally met a horse, and heard it whinny!)
Home to Heaven – Fort Collins, CO
So while we knew it was coming, it’s an empty feeling not seeing this amazing dog all the time. The last time we had two animals was before we were married (17 years ago), and that only lasted six months before we got the third. Not only are we getting used to two pets but Ally was always with us, wanted to be a part of the action, always. Sommer and Piper are adjusting along with us. We miss her every single day.
With that, this is what we wrote on our personal facebook page.
To say we’re heartbroken doesn’t even begin to cover it. Ally came to us as a crazy lil puppy and left us as our best friend. This little dog was a miracle dog. She defied diagnosis after diagnosis and shocked every vet we met with her ability to live and making each day the best day of her whole entire life. We lived our lives together for the last eleven months on borrowed time. Our borrowed time ended today but not without 15 full years of joy and love.
Ally was the quirkiest dog who invited you into her home and with those big brown eyes, wanted you to feel as home as she did (showing you the toys she has, but would instruct you to not touch them). She was the hostess with the mostess and if you let her lick your face, she called it a success. Give her a comfy blanket and this dog could sleep every which way, anywhere, anytime, usually with a buried nose, snorting, eyes open and most likely with a kick to our ribs.
So little miracle quirky dog with the big soulful eyes, the one with puppy power, giver of puppy kisses, our Pebbles, Poopy Pants, Ally Puppy, you were our heart dog. Our hearts are broken but you were worth every single second of this heartbreak. Thank you for making us better human beings.