Beautiful Cyrus

We hope everyone had a great holiday season!

I received one of the most thoughtful and amazing gifts for Christmas. It totally embodied how we spent our year and it was truly touched both of us. Sandra, Anthony’s mom, painted this amazing picture of Cyrus and I on the day that I picked him up. So wonderful.unnamed

IMG_8381

Saying Goodbye

This morning my husband and I made the decision to put Cyrus down.

I’m going to back track to yesterday to tell the events leading up to our decision. Yesterday, Cyrus woke up like usual barking and making a fuss at 5 am. He ate a lot and actually went outside immediately on his own. Then he went back to sleep. This is what we had been waiting for; he was getting used to the routine of sleep, eat, and repeat. I came home at lunch time to check up on and feed him and got the delivery I was so excited about. A small security camera so we could watch him while we were away. I set it up and headed back to work. I don’t think this was very productive, because every 10 minutes I was checking to see if he was still asleep, making a mess, or in some sort of other trouble. He woke up once and wailed to be let out of his crate one time, but went back to sleep within 15 minutes.

  
   
 I came home and Cyrus seemed to be in good spirits as he ate, roamed the back yard, and went back to sleep. He then seemed to take a figurative step back. He started pacing towards the end of the night to no end. My husband gave me a break from Cyrus duty and helped watch him all night. I woke up, well rested, to the assumption that he slept the entire night. Not the case. Cyrus was up all night pacing and bumping into things. My husband was forced to move every single thing from the room to stop smashing his head. It seemed like his disorientation had gotten extremely worse. I sat down to try and call him to me and the sight I saw terrified me so deeply. His eyes were sunken into the back of his head which made it look like he had no eyeballs at all. **Disturbing pictures below**

   
   
Still in pajamas, I ran out of the door with him to LVC as fast as possible. Cyrus was so scared. He was blind, disoriented, and devastatingly terrified. He kept wailing like he was in pain and there was nothing I could do to comfort him. When I got to LVC, which they are amazing I might add, they rushed me back to a room for him. The vet came in and gave him an exam and told me she had never seen a dog with his eyes like this before. If you didn’t consider his eyes or weight it seemed like he was a healthy dog; his blood and exam looked really good. However, since the beginning we suspected he may have a brain tumor. His lack of vision and disorientation that I explained before mixed with this latest development definitely pointed in that direction. Our vet explained that she could refer us to a specialist where they could do a full neurological work up and it would be approximately $3,000. I wasn’t concerned about money as we got Cyrus knowing that a severe problem could be lurking beneath. However, the vet continued. She said a lot of the tests that specialists preformed required sedation, and that even if they did find a brain tumor Cyrus was so weak and frail that he would not survive either. Honestly, deep down I knew the decision we would have to make before I brought him into the office, but I wanted to exhaust every effort to make sure there was nothing we could do.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is so unbelievably out of it. His body knew to keep going and to still pace around the room. He kept getting stuck in places and was crying with I expect to be pain and fear. This was no way for him to live. When we made the decision to try and get Cyrus healthy we made this promise to ourselves; we would try everything we could to get him to live a healthy happy life; however, if he showed no signs of that, we would not keep him alive just for us. We vowed not to let our hearts be so selfish to put him through more than he could handle. I called Anthony and told him that we needed to let him go.

The vet got us a fluffy blanket and Cyrus finally started to smell who I was. It seemed like he was fighting as hard as he could to come back to us. He let me pet him, rub his ears and eyes, scratch his neck, and give him endless kisses. He finally stopped pacing and laid down. I knew Cyrus was ready even though we weren’t. The torturous detail that kept nagging at me was that he hadn’t eaten that morning. All the suffering of starvation and now he was going to go out on an empty stomach. I wasn’t having that bullshit. I got a bag of treats and it finally piqued his interest. I made him eat the whole damn thing. There was no way that this poor guy was going out hungry. Anthony showed up to be there for Cyrus and myself. He felt so guilty. He thought that this was a result of something that he did and that if he did something differently Cyrus would still be returning to life instead of death. I explained to him everything the vet told me and that this was probably brewing long before we got him. We did absolutely everything possible.

Cyrus had his head pressed into my chest and let me massage his ears and face. I truly believe, that despite all the pain and terror he was going through, he knew who we were. I told him all about how he was going to take a long nap and that when he woke next time he would be a bouncy troublesome puppy again. He could finally play with all the toys that he could only sniff before. He would never again have to go hungry or be scared. He could wrestle with all the puppies he wanted and get into so much trouble that no one would be angry. He was going to be comfortable and pain free at last.

Anthony and I stayed with him through the sedation process through to when they took him out of the room. Cyrus’ last week, thanks to everyone who donated, was probably the best he’s had in years, maybe ever. He had unlimited food, comfy blankets, got to visit with another dog, and enjoy love from people, which he may have never known in his life.

Cyrus will stay with us forever. He has inspired us to create a non-profit called Saving Cyrus. We want to help dogs in extremely neglected states back to help and then re-home them to families that will love and spoil them rotten. We knew Cyrus was special from the beginning, but we just wish he would have been able to spread this work with us.

Again, thank you for all your emotional and financial support. We plan on updating this site once again when we get the non-profit started. In the mean time we will be healing with the help of our other mutts. 

  

Waking up to the fog 3/16/16

My 4am alarm wasn’t needed. Cyrus slept the entire way through the night and then some. Anthony tried to wake him at 7:30, but couldn’t get him up. I spent about 10 minutes trying to coax him out of his crate. He finally went out side and was extra wobbly and incoherent. After he did his business he came inside and refused to eat. My heart sank. The night before I was so excited that he went to sleep on his own and got a good night’s rest. Now he seemed worse than when we first got him. 

My supportive and understanding boss let me work from home in the morning. I let Cyrus pace his area like he normally does hoping that he would fully wake up and then want to eat. We even offered can food. He didn’t. He didn’t even recognize that I was in the room. At this point, I’m paranoid that I’ve traumatized him from the bath the previous day. I waited about 2 hours to see if he would eat or drink on his own and then finally decided to try and hand feed him. I scooped the can food on my finger and rubbed it in his lips and this finally got his attention. He would slowly lick it off my fingers. Every time I put the bowl back down he would lose interest. However, hand feeding him made him get the whole can down.

I put him back in his crate and he was out within minutes. I couldn’t help thinking that I made a horribly wrong decision by bathing him and stressed his system too badly. Now off to work…

…Cyrus is back! As soon as I got home he was up and waiting for me to let him out. He went right outside and did his business, came back in on his own, ate a whole bowl of dry food, and drank a ton of water. You cannot imagine my relief. I sat outside with him in the backyard for a while and let him wander. He then got a good 3 hour nap and woke up just in time for dinner. Cyrus was completely responsive now! He got his night time meds and tucked in for the night. He had his full appetite back and seemed to be back to our version of ‘normal’. That’s pretty much all we want for him: sleep, eat, drink, and repeat.


Spoke too soon 3/15/16

So… I spoke too soon. I got home and had a HUGE mess waiting for me. Not only did Cyrus make a nice race track again, but our other mutt, Elvis, had an fun time in his crate as well. Elvis has some prior health issues so I don’t think the two incidents are related. However, the process of thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing both areas and giving 2 dogs a bath took about 3 hours. Bright side is that I got my new cleaning kit together: utility boots, gloves, shop towels, and two beers downed before I started. Jeez, it was disgusting. I’ve had dogs and livestock my whole life, but man some messes are worse than others.

Cyrus hates me. Up until now we have not given him a bath. Why you ask? Our vet didn’t want to stress his system so they only rinsed the dead fleas off of him. However, now that he has had two shit storms I thought it was necessary. Do I want to stress him out? No. Do I want to let him stay coated in feces? No. I chose the bath. He acted like a drowning cat and it was so pathetic I almost cried while I was doing it; although, that may have been the beers. After I tortured him he went to sleep. 

  
My wonderful husband knew that I worked my ass off cleaning up so he bought me roses and my favorite beer. He knows the way to my heart.  If only he also brought home steak…

Cyrus woke up around dinner time and ate. This was actually pretty exciting because he didn’t eat at all around lunch time. I think the bath did freak him out pretty badly. He paced for an hour; I know that’s a surprise. Then I gave him his meds and he voluntary went into his crate and laid down to sleep with me in the room. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. It made me so happy. I have my alarm set at 4am to check on him so we don’t wake up to a ‘surprise’. 
  

Loving his new cave 3/15/16

Last night Cyrus started pacing again even with the anti-anxiety medication. We tried something new and put a crate in his room and covered it with a blanket. He went right in there and really seemed to like it. However, he still would not stop pacing. I then waited until he was in there on his own, threw a bunch of treats in, and shut the door. We wanted to try this to see if it would force him to relax. I know this was pretty risky because it could freak him out more, but we have to get him to rest. He started crying immediately. He just didn’t know what to do. We planned on waiting 5-10 minutes and if he didn’t relax we would let him back out. His howling was so depressing. Then out of nowhere he passed out within 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe he actually calmed down so quickly. 

   
After he was in there we reopened the door to make sure he knew it wasn’t a punishment. He was down for the night. 

This morning I woke up at 5am to him crying in his crate. It seemed he didn’t realize he could just walk back out since we left the door open. Thankfully, he went right outside and did his business. No mess for me this morning!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned how out of it Cyrus has been. When we first got him he barely knew we were there. He wouldn’t look directly at us or approach us. Slowly he seems to be coming out of the fog. He is more alert and is making ey contact. He is also coming to us when we call him which he definitely didn’t do before. However, it seems that he may be partially blind. He can see straight ahead but anything in his peripheral view sneaks up on him. He also bumps in to a lot of stationary things and trips over everything. Although I’m hopeful, I don’t know if Cyrus will ever be a ‘normal’ dog again. 

The vet called to check up on our guy. I told her about the vision and stressed he is still pacing even with the meds. She said there is still so much unknown about his medical condition that he may have a cyst or tumor in his brain. We are waiting a couple weeks to see if his function improves with gaining weight. On the good note…his blood panel came back normal! Can you believe it?!?! 

Getting him to relax 3/14/16

I woke up to a lovely (this is a dog page – so you have to be expecting poop to be involved) dog poop race track in his room. He paced right on through is poop over and over until it was a huge circular pattern. Fun for me! I cleaned him and the mess and fed him in a hurry and had to make it to a Dr. appointment of my own.

Anthony woke up and fed him more food and gave him his meds. After calling the vet, they prescribed some anti-anxiety medication to stop the pacing. It knocked him out within an hour. Thank you!!!! Now, he is up and ate a full dinner drank a lot of water and took his meds. Hopefully, this is a recipe that will result in a happy ending! We are not naive, just extremely hopeful!

IMG_8403

IMG_8394

 

Settling in 3/13/16

Anthony and I are both off on Sunday’s so we were excited to both spend some time with our new guy. Needless to say our other spoiled brats were jealous. Anthony’s mom came by to meet him and brought us breakfast and dinner. She knew we were going to be busy with our new ‘child’.

IMG_8389IMG_8390

It was pretty uneventful. We decided we were going to have to shove the pills down his throat because he refused to take it any other way. It hurt me to do this to him, but it’s obviously needed. He ate, paced and paced and paced some more, and then passed out. We were originally going to wait to introduce any of our other dogs until Cyrus was healthier. However, we agreed that it might be beneficial to introduce him to our other dog Roxy. She is the best behaved around new dogs and is predictable. We thought maybe the presence of another dog that would lie down and relax would do him some good. To be safe we put a muzzle on Cyrus and introduced them. Again, pretty uneventful. Cyrus sniffed her and acknowledged her, but very little else. He did stop pacing for a few minutes though and we got extremely hopeful. Then he started back up.

We were concerned because although he was eating so well and keeping it down, he was also burning all those calories. How was he ever going to gain weight with this routine?

IMG_8391IMG_8392

Picking him up 3/12/16

Saturday morning our Facebook post about adopting him started to spread. A friend from a rescue, called R.A.I.N., tried everything in her power to get him released early because he was so frail. Thankfully, as soon as OCAS opened, at 10 am that morning, I got the call to come pick him up. I flew out the door as fast as I could and calling every vet I knew on the way out. To my frustration, our regular vets were booked solid with emergencies. I finally got him an appointment at Longwood Veterinary Clinic.

I got to see this wonderful face.

IMG_8381

He knew exactly what to do when he saw my car. Even though he was so weak he hopped right up with his front legs and let me lift him the rest of the way up. That’s the part that makes me the angriest. He was someone’s pet at one point. Where the hell where they and what kind of people were they to discard this guy? Or, did they directly do this and then get tired of using him for bait? He didn’t get this way on his own – someone did this to him.

Anthony’s work was right around the corner and I waited until his lunch break so he could finally meet our latest addition. Although Cyrus was passed out in the backseat by now Anthony’s face crumpled as soon as he saw him. Who can blame him? It’s much, much, more difficult to see it in person than from a picture. I got the idea from a friend to start a GoFundMe page and Anthony set it up that afternoon. I then left my very sad and emotional husband at work, to take Cyrus to his vet appointment.

IMG_8382

IMG_8383The vet had to muzzle him and carry him to the exam room. The wonderful staff immediately went into action, getting him fluids, taking blood, urine and x-rays. The vet explained to me that they needed to start ruling things out. They are sending out an extensive blood panel, but they also did an in lab panel. This surprisingly showed his kidney, liver, and glucose levels were all normal. Thankfully, he was heartworm negative and the vet put him on Sentinel immediately to keep it that way. For the most part his x-rays looked normal. There is some unknown mass in his abdomen that we are still waiting to figure out. The vet explained that since Cyrus was so emaciated he didn’t have the layer of fat that helps x-rays become clearer. She offered that they send it out to a radiologist. After some consideration, I told her to hold off. My goal was to stabilize him for the moment and if he hung in there, we could retake the x-rays in a couple weeks and then send them out. Hopefully, he will have a little more fat and muscle on him to help the clarity. They also explained (it gets gross here – skip to the next paragraph if you need to) that he had ruptured anal glands. Essentially, the glands had nowhere to secrete so they literally popped through his skin. That is what the blood was coming from. They said it would heal itself with antibiotics-shocker. I’m sure any vet reading this is cringing at my lame explanation, but that is how I understood it.

After 3 hours I left with a full goodie bag: antibiotics, pain medication, stool-firming medicine, flea meds, dry puppy food, and canned puppy food. I finally got Cyrus home, to his private room away from our other mutts, and to my pleasant surprise he had a great appetite. Some dogs that are this skinny refuse to eat, but not this guy. Thank God! After a full meal and being poked and prodded at the vet for hours I expected him to crash from exhaustion. That’s when I noticed some strange behavior. At first I thought it was just curiosity and then realized it was obsessive. He walked around our yard in circles. I tried to get him to lie down and rest, but he just walked and walked for hours. I couldn’t believe this frail guy had so much energy. After my husband got home from work, Cyrus finally laid down to get some much needed sleep.

IMG_8385

When he woke we tried to give him his medication. Nope! He was not having it. Nothing we did: pill pockets, slipping it in wet canned food, putting the pill pockets in his food to disguise it, putting it in peanut butter, would work. We were torn between forcing him to take it by shoving it down his throat and breaching the little trust we gained that day. We decided to feed him some more and then wait until morning. He paced again for hours before he decided to finally sleep.

Astonishingly, we had already raised $200 towards his $795 vet bill. Thank you so much everyone!

Meeting Cyrus 3/11/16

My husband and I came across a Facebook post about a severely emaciated pitbull, by the name of Cyrus, at Orange County Animal Services. Immediately, both our hearts broke after seeing his picture. You could see every one of his ribs sticking out and his head was sunken in. Essentially, Cyrus was a walking skeleton. My husband and I made a decision to go get him within minutes of seeing him

I left work and went straight to OCAS, where I found Cyrus in the isolation building. The tech that brought him out to meet me had to coax him every step of the way to make it outside. He was extremely weak and clumsy footed. She began to tell me the only part of the story they knew. A good citizen called OCAS about an emaciated and disoriented dog wandering in and out of road. Apparently, he then made it to a retention area, which he paced in circles until he eventually fell in the pond. The OCAS worker had to go in and save him from drowning as there was no way he would find his way out on his own.

After hearing this small bit of terror this guy went through in only one day, I knew we had to help him. This poor dog was covered in fleas, feces, and dried blood. He had these huge sunken eyes that were sometimes disturbingly vacant. However, despite all of that, he was sweet and gentle. He let you approach him and pet him for as long as you wanted. Even though he didn’t have the energy you could tell he wanted to play with the balls and Frisbee’s strewn about.

The administrator explained to me that they were not optimistic about his outcome. They told me he could have anything from tumors and cancer to god knows only what other underlying conditions. Regardless, I filled out an application and paid a whopping $5 for his adoption. I also begged for them to let me take him that night. I knew the sooner we could get him to the vet the better. OCAS estimated that he be released on Monday. Instead of going home with Cyrus that night, I went home with the sick feeling he wouldn’t make it until then.