Sunday, May 25, 2014

Abby Lynn, My Farm Assistant

Always my shadow, she was always at my feet, "velcro"... what Pugs are known for. 

She could give the stink eye to the chickens, par excellance. 

She helped me in the garden regularly. 

And in the kitchen..... if there was food involved. 

She loved all the grands... but Paiton is going to be a dog whisperer, I think. 

She was Hannah's and Gertie's best friend. 

And they were all Daddy's Girls. 

And sometimes it was just nice for the sisters to sleep together. 

When we lost Addie Mae, Abby stepped in to become Hannah's eyes. 

And stepped in to make Kody and Kaycee feel at home last year, when they 
left their own mama. 

She loved her toys and even Wednesday, wanted to play tug of war for a while. 

And her sweet smile was still bright. 

And as late as last week, came with me to let the chickens out in the morning, after we had visited Dr. Scott. 

This week, she could not climb the steps to lay by me on the couch.  I didn't realize it until Wednesday night. 
Those are her little steps in the picture. 

About a month before we moved from the old place... Abby began to exhibit strange behavior.  She would begin to pant hard, and then shake her head violently... and proceed to rub her head and the side of her face on the floor, on the furniture, on the bedding, on the walls... and run in circles.  Sometimes this behavior lasted as long as three hours, and it was sickening to see her so agitated.  I took her to the Tongie vet, who pronounced that she had allergies and put her on prednisone.  
This did nothing to help her... and caused her to urinate even more constantly than she already was. 
She was thirsty... drinking copious amounts of water. 
We thought maybe she was picking up on the tension of the move... 
but, as the weeks went by, she became more and more agitated, mostly in the evening.  I would dread the beginning of the panting... because it indicated an episode's start.  She was unable to sleep with us any longer... because these fits would begin and she would circle the bed, rubbing her head on the covers, on us, while grunting and groaning violently. 

She lost almost 8 pounds.  

We moved... and the behavior worsened here... and became more and more prevalent. 
We had to keep her out of the bedroom at night, because something would trigger the behavior and set it off, and we never knew how long it would last.  Then, finally, we had to start crating her for her safety. 

We went to the vet... and thank heavens, I mentioned the copious drinking.  She was tested and found to have diabetes, but no matter how many times I mentioned the "fits"... no one was picking up on them. 
We began learning about canine diabetes, and we had a hard time learning to give the shots... it was unpleasant for me, and very unpleasant for Abby.  

Last week, the "fits" lengthened and came more frequently.  Abby was getting worn out, and so were we. 
We visited the vet on Monday, to let them know that I was having terrible trouble with the shots, and I needed re-education.  Dr. Scott gave Abby her shot, and me, a pep talk.  I was able to do the Monday night shot, and the two on Tuesday and Wednesday... but on Wednesday evening, Abby disappeared out the back door.  We could hear her in the dark... and she turned out to be under the back porch, 
dragging her face in a massive attack in the dirt. 

Wednesday night, Keith put her in bed with him in our spare bedroom, and she paced for a long time.  
Thursday morning... I took her into bed with me, and she could not get comfortable... she would lay... then sit up suddenly, and when I looked at her... she was staring blankly into space... unaware of her surroundings, I think. 

She had soiled both beds, being sick. 

 A little later, she went outside... and didn't come in.  I had a bad feeling... and went out there looking for her.  She was at the side of the house... where the patio is... just standing, legs locked... and staring at a bag of garden dirt.  She did not hear me coming and was startled when I talked softly by her.  I carried her in. 

A few minutes later, while Keith and I were talking... she crept out again, and began dragging her face in circles in the yard. 

I called the vet... ran out to let the chickens loose, and came back and put Abby into the car and went straight to the vet.  He drew blood from her leg... and the blood sugar reading was so high it didn't register on the meter. 

He asked to keep her to try to get her stable, and she was so lethargic by this time, I agreed. 

I was to get her at 5:30, as they have no one in the office all night. 

When I went to get her, the techs took me back to show her to me, and there she was in a cage, an
IV going into her, but still wagged a little when she saw me. 

The vet, Dr. Scott, talked to me at length, and agreed he did not know what was causing the blood sugar to go out of control.  I asked if it was time for her to be let go gently... and was told NO, it was a matter of stabilization. 

I talked about the head pushing again, and even had an article from the net to show him... but he said he thought it was the diabetes causing her to be so sick. 

When I took her to the car... I knew.  She was not our little healthy Abby... she was a dying Abby. 

I brought her home and put her in a bed in the kitchen, where she could see me. 

They had left the catheter in, and wrapped her leg with vet wrap, you just can't see it. 
She did not want anything to eat or drink... but was able to get out of this little bed and 
go out into the kitchen and lay on the cold tile. 

Pretty soon, she moved into the dark hallway, outside our bedroom door.  She could not drink... 
but was not being sick all over.  

I was told to give her ten units of insulin at 8... and I questioned this, because I had read you are not to give insulin on an empty stomach... but was told no, to give it.  

Keith was gone, and I was afraid to do it alone that night... and waited for him. 

When he got home... we gave the dose.  

She began to pant very hard... and was clearly in bad shape... but I realized at that point there was 
probably nothing we could do for her.  

I talked at length to friend Jill, a registered vet tech... and believe her body was shutting down, and she was not in pain.  I had seen my mother and sister go, you see. 

I need to go back here and tell you that the vet had struggled with the blood sugar all day... it was in the 500's.... (normal is a high of 160) and after coming down a way, it had shot back up as I picked her up. 

I was to bring her back into them on Friday morning at 7:30.  

She had wanted to be in her crate, and when I tried to bring her to the water bowl, she tottered into the crate.  It was dark and very quiet in the hallway where the crate was. 

I remembered what James Herriott had said... that quiet and dark was very beneficial to suffering animals... and would help them. 

At 2:15 AM, Keith checked on her, and she was alive, and raised her head a little, and her tail gave a wag, as it had when I said goodnight to her.  

At 5:30, he got up again, and went to check on her, and she was gone... already stiff.  

I did take her to the vet on Friday morning... they were shocked... Dr. Scott talked to me at length on the phone... and she will come back to us, cremated, to join Ranger and Gertie here.  

My friend Deb asked me to read Pugnacious P's blog... and I had forgotten... during this whole three months... about PDE.  Pug Dog Encephalitis.  

The neurological symptoms Abby was exhibiting could very well have been the onset of PDE. 

The vet explained to me on Friday morning that they are taught at vet school to look for ONE reason for an illness... but Thursday afternoon, he told me frankly that he and his partner had discussed it and realized there was something more going on with Abby than just the diabetes. On Friday, they were going to run extensive tests to try to find out what. 

I don't have to tell you all what this has done to us this weekend.  
With all the changes in the last three months in our lives... and now to lose our little girl... 
it has been very hard. 

I want to thank all of you who commented on my Facebook page... I am so grateful for all of the prayers and well wishes.  Our little doll's suffering is over... and it happened so fast that our heads are still spinning.  

It it was PDE... it would have been an almost impossible to handle disease... I admire any person who can handle it.  Maybe this was God's way of saving Abby from a life of pain and sickness... and Keith and me. 

In the eleven years we have been married, we have adopted seven dogs.  Four of those were pugs, who all died early deaths... Addie Mae after 3 years... she had had a major surgery the week after we adopted her... Hannah after having an eye removed and never coming back from it, suffering from glaucoma in both eyes... Gertie dropping dead, literally, on Christmas Eve of 2012, to what the vets assume was an aneurysm, at 3 years old... and Abby, at six, beginning to be sick in March and dying now at the end of May. 

We lost our min pin Oscar to a truck on the road... Ranger, to old age and disability, last November. 

From five dogs two years ago, we are down to Lilly Ann.  

She will be 8 this summer. 

There is a hitch in her walk now, and she gets up and down slowly. 

How we are treasuring our remaining time with her. 

Losing any dog is hard... losing sweet Abby Lynn has been 
especially hard.  
We will never know if she did have PDE... but there was definitely something nerological going on with her. 
I am still looking for her here in the house... and reaching down to touch her side as I sit at the computer. 

Our bed is emptier. 

I am so glad that some of you got to know her through this blog... she was a remarkable little girl. 

She was her Daddy's Special Girl. 


  1. Oh Mary Ann, I am so very sorry. I have been so busy for the past week or so, that I have not even been on FB. I loved reading about Abby Lynn. She was a darling girl. I know how much your heart is breaking. I am praying for comfort for you and your husband, my friend. Also sending you ((((HUGS))))) from northwest Missouri!

  2. Condolences on the passing of your beautiful companion.

  3. Oh no, I just dropped in to see if you had posted, and found this. I am so very sorry, it must be terribly hard for you. You called your pugs your angels, but I think you were theirs. Please remember that you gave them a life worth living, and no one could have loved them more. Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of little Abby.

  4. Hugs to you MaryAnn. Big hugs. It is so hard to lose animals -- and special dogs, especially.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss she will never be forgot

  6. I'm SO sorry that you lost your dear little friend. I know the feeling, but there's nothing I can say to make you feel better, unless it might be the implication of Ecclesiastes 3:21.

  7. I'm sorry Mary Ann...losing another friend I'm sure is so very hard! You were such good caregivers for her, and she had a wonderful life with you!

  8. I am in tears reading this and am so sorry for your loss. I do know how you are feeling as I've lost several beloved pets. I can only say what a great tribute you've given showing all the pictures and telling about her and the many happy times you shared with her too. Having those good memories will help. One of my sons mentioned yesterday that they were going to be getting a pug. If they do I hope I get some pictures to share with you. Hugs and love to you and Keith as I know you are so missing her.

  9. I am so sorry. We are never ready to let go. I have lost many dogs and know each one has a spot in your heart.

    Blessings and prayers for you during your grief.

  10. Oh my! I am in tears reading this. She truly had a wonderful life and knew how much she was loved. Keeping you and Keith in my prayers.

  11. We're so sad to read this. A sick pet is so hard on us--they can't tell us what is wrong. Run free and healthy, Abby. We're sending purrs and hugs.

  12. oh mary ann...i am so very sorry to hear this. you sure have had a tough go of it. losing our beloved pets is the worst. my thoughts are with you. joyce

  13. Again tears are flooding our hearts and eyes. You and Keith did everything possible to help Abby.
    And you gave Abby and all the other furrys a gift- and that was to feel love sometime in their life. Abby knew how much you loved her.
    She was there- helping you along the way as you found your new home. That is how she wanted it to be. She held on until she knew you and Keith were ready to start new memorys. But those new memories will also have her,.,, because she will now live in your hearts, and nothing can take that away,, and she does not hurt anymore.
    If she could say something to you- it would be to thank you for giving her a wonderful home full of love.
    Sending love and hugs
    tweedles and moms

  14. I am sorry for your loss...but you have to remember that you gave her a wonderfull life....and she will always be remembered.

  15. Mom Kim here-
    So many changes in so little time - good and bad changes/loss is so difficult. I am so sorry that Abby Lynn had to leave you and cross the Rainbow Bridge. I'm sure she knew she was loved and I know that you and Keith did all that is possible. It was good that she was home when she left - where she felt most loved. Sending prayers for peace and comfort and many hugs.

  16. Sending you hugs, Abby is now a special angel watching over you. She will always be in your heart
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  17. Mary Ann and Keith,

    Sending hugs to you both. I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of Abby Lynn. I know she was family (all animals are like family to me) and will be in your hearts.

  18. Mary Ann, I think all of us who have come to know and love you and your family long-distance through blog and email have and love animals, and know how much your hearts are hurting. I wish I could make it hurt less, but that probably means you would have loved less – and been loved less. What precious gifts dogs are from God.... That reminds me of a YouTube video and song that is powerful in its simple truth. I'm going to share it on my blog sometime, but I think you need it NOW:

  19. I loved her too Mary Ann. I'm so sorry.

    I know how much you both loved that little girl.

  20. I fink Mary Ann that your Abby need she was needed at the bridge to be wif her sisters, she has great plans for you when ever you are ready to listen to them. She will always and forever love you.
    stella rose

  21. I am so sorry for your loss! It sounds like she was a precious girl and will be missed!

    Love, Ellen & The Fab Five
    Zoe, Peyton, Webster, Liberty & Whitney

  22. Blessings and prayers for you and Keith, I know you both will
    miss Abby very much.

    I am so sorry.

    M : )

  23. Abby was lucky to have you for her family. Hope the great memories and pictures bring some comfort. <3

  24. I'm finally catching up with everyone and am so SO sorry to read this about Abby, Mary Ann. It is so tough to lose a beloved dog and it leaves a space in your heart. We have such a short time to love them on this Earth. All our best to you and Keith.

  25. Mary Ann, I am heartbroken after reading this, over two months after you lost precious Abby. I'm so sorry. I try to visit my old blog friends some but only realized today when I read about Lilly recovering from her surgery and good news there, that I had not seen Abby in the pictures. With a sinking heart I started searching back and finally found this. Oh, Mary Ann, I did love all your posts about Abby, she always touched me. I don't know if you'll even see a comment this old but I had to say I'm so sorry I didn't know about it when it happened. I know it must have been such a loss for both of you, and still is.

    Sending love to you,


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