In 1997, I was personally in a very bad place. I moved back in with my parents, had no job, no life and felt like I had nothing worth living for. I was pretty depressed. For my birthday that year, my Mom acquired a puppy in Alabama with the help of my sister. I had always wanted a dog and this was an adorable JRT puppy. How could I feel down with that wriggly little body and that puppy breath... I named her Shannon.
When she was about 3 I noticed that she had occasional 'episodes' during the night, when she would act oddly. My first reaction was that she had hurt herself, but it eventually became clear that these were seizures. I discussed them with my vet, but as they weren't frequent, we opted not to medicate.
This past summer, the seizures were becoming more frequent and they seemed to be worse. I decided to try an anti-seizure medication. After an initial adjustment period, this seemed to work wonderfully and Shannon has been seizure free ever since.
Because the medication can cause some side effects, she must go in for occasional tests to make sure that her liver and other body functions are doing well.
This past week I received the devastating news that Shannon has early stage kidney disease. This is not curable. She is only 7 years old. Emotionally, I have been all over the place. On the positive side, because of the epilepsy, we caught this earlier than most people do and with treatment she may live for quite some time with the disease. On the negative side, I know that I won't have my best friend for the 18 years I could hope for with her breed. When Shannon came into my life, I was dealing with kidney disease in my elderly cat (another reason I was so down). That cat wasted away to nothing. But he was 14 when he was diagnosed and 19 when we had to let him go. He also had a myriad of other health issues due to his age and while it is always sad to lose a pet, he lived a long life.
Since then I have learned a lot. Shannon has always received the best diet and I have done my best not to expose her to toxins as cancer is so common in dogs. I have kept up with all the latest research on health and training. No cheap supermarket food for her.
It just isn't fair.