Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Quiet Life...

I would like to introduce everyone to Sam's big sister, Cisco. She isn't a new dog to us; I've had her since she was a pup, and she is now almost 11 years old. If you all don't mind, I would like to share Sam's blog with her for just a bit.

Meet Cisco!

We haven't included her in Sam's blog before because Cisco leads a very quiet life. Where Sam is a prince among dogs, Cisco is a lady. When she was eight months old, she came down with Valley Fever, a fungal infection that occurs in desert regions. Everyone who has ever lived in a desert has had it and thought it was a common cold. Most of us can get over it, a few can't. Cisco was one that couldn't. One thing that was on her side was that we caught it early, although she was very sick.

I beat Valley Fever!

The next few months were terrible. In dogs, the leading cause of death from Valley Fever is starvation. Between the medicine and the illness, Cisco didn't feel like eating. I'd come home every evening and sit with her for hours trying to get her to eat just a little bit. She was super skinny and her fur fell out in clumps and what was left turned grey, but we were slowly winning.

One day I came home from work and noticed her eyes seemed funny and swollen. I rushed her to the vet and found out that a rare side effect from the valley fever medicine was cataracts. I also learned that Cisco was now cured of the Valley Fever! Cisco was just 15 months old. We brought her to a specialist who did lens replacement surgery on her. She was able to see for a few months before the new lenses failed and Cisco became blind.

This was a terrible learning curve for us! The first night I let her out for potty, she ran straight into a cholla cactus. I spent several hours with her in the tub, pulling needles from her head, ears, chest, front legs and underside. Since then, the bathtub is where she goes when things get really hard for her! It wasn't all bad, though. I could still walk her and by buying balls with bells in them, I could still play catch with her.


Things were starting to settle for us, until one day she had a severe seizure. Once again we rushed her to the vet. Dr. Kern prescribed her medicine, which helped to control the seizures, but she would still have them if things got too exciting. They would happen during walks, during baths, when too many people were around, the list went on and on. We slowly realized that I had to keep her quiet, which meant I didn't have a dog to hike with or play with. This is when we got Sam.

We'll save Sam's story for another day!

When Aaron and I married last year, we brought Sam to our house and tried to bring Cisco. The move was too hard on her. She was in unfamiliar surroundings and couldn't settle down. She fell in the pool and the larger gravel around the patio hurt her paws and she didn't want to walk on it. We made the decision that she should stay with Grandma. It wasn't too bad - we saw her twice a day when we went to feed horses!

...I get lots of treats when Mom and Dad come!

Right before Thanksgiving, a massive and aggressive tumor erupted on Cisco's leg. Her paw swelled to about three times its normal size and she was in pain. We brought her back to Dr. Kern and we were given antibiotics and pain medicine. The swelling had to go down! We finally reached a point where surgery could be done, and we brought Cisco in. Dr. Kern had to cut so much away that the wound couldn't be closed. We brought Cisco home and made her a comfy hospital bed!

I am a good patient, though!

Sunday she started vomiting. She couldn't hold anything down, even water. By Sunday evening we noticed she was tired and listless. We brought her back to the vet on Monday. We all assumed that the medicine was making her sick. Dr. Kern put her on fluids and kept her overnight. The next morning we talked to Dr. Kern and she told us she wanted Dr. Green to run an ultrasound on Cisco. The news that came back broke my heart. The tumor had spread. I left work and headed home (a two hour drive!). Aaron and I talked briefly about our options, but we went to the animal hospital fully aware this would be Cisco's last day.

Dr. Kern then gave me a wonderful early Christmas present. She couldn't save Cisco, but she could give us a few more precious months with her. She would be pain free and happy! It all depended on the next couple of days if she could be stabilized. I think I cried just as much at that news as I did with the previous news.

We get to bring our girl home today. We don't know how much longer we will have with her, it may be a few weeks or a few months, but we would like to include her in Sam's blog during this precious time.

Cisco and Sam, December 2009


  1. Oh I am so sorry to hear this news. What an amazing story of a tough lady (and mom too...). You have made all her days happy and secure in a world where her life might have been severely limited. She is just beautiful and has such a serene look, despite the illnesses she's suffered. I love all the pictures, but especially the ones with Sam. Thank you for telling us the extraordinary story of Cisco - we send her and Sam and all of their family very, very happy Holiday greetings.
    With so Much Love and Hugs xo

  2. Valley fever scares the bejeebers out of me. I'm so glad that she beat it!

    I'm also glad you get to spend more time with her. She looks very happy!

  3. I'm broken hearted reading about your girl :( I am glad you get some precious time with her to say good-bye. Give her some hugs and kisses from Farley's family, ok?

  4. If I could reach through the blogospehere to hug know that I would. BIG HUGE heart (and Mom's) just ache for all of you. We hope that you have some special moments in the next few weeks. We will both be thinking of you! - Abbey

  5. This is my first visit to your blog and I have big tears rolling down my cheeks...
    What a story and what a wonderful life you have given Cisco...
    Sending big hugs to Cisco, Sam and YOU,

  6. Ahhhhhh -

    What a beaWOOOOOtiful lady!

    Here's to happy HOWLidays with her!

    Tank woo fur sharing her
    Saving her


  7. So sorry to read this news.
    Cisco is a beautiful girl.Thanks for sharing her story with us.
    Happy Holidays.

  8. What a heart-wrenching story. Cisco is quite a tough lady to endure all she has--as are you all. And what a beautiful face she has. That smile must have been cultivated by all the love she's received.

    Thank you for sharing her with us. We look forward to reading more about Cisco and Sam.

    Happy Holidays!


  9. Oh! Our hearts are heavy for this super sweetie, that has endured so much. Yet, we are smiling for the precious time you will have with beautiful Cisco. What a love! And, Sam too! The photos of Cisco and Sam portray those tender moments. So glad you shared her story.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose and mom

  10. My God.
    I don't know if I'll be able to write that much... I'm crying like a baby,,, gosh, it just breaks my heart. It reminds me of Spencer, of Honey... such an amount of pain isn't it?

    We are so proud of you, Cisco! You are the sweetest thing!

    You'll be having a wonderful Christmas with Sam and your hoomans... that love you so much!

    Thank you so much for sharing. You have a house full of love!

  11. Cisco is an amazing dog with a strong will to live. Thanks for sharing her story and enjoy every moment with her. Excuse me while I grab the kleenexes.... (weeping)

  12. We are so sorry to hear about Cisco's troubles, but it touches our heart how much you have given her through the years, a dog that many would have given up on long ago. We hope she feels well enough for you all to have a nice Christmas, and that she is comfortable and able to enjoy it with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Tucker and Daisy

  13. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sweety...
    You're soooooooooooooooo beautiful and cute.....
    Why life is so hard sometime????
    Sure you had a very very hard life...with tons of problems...but you was a strong girl....and you won tons of battles...
    We're proud of you!!
    And you had close to you a wonderful family!!!!
    We and mommy are crying like a baby...
    Cisco looks sooooooooooo serene and happy close to Sam.....despite the illness she's suffered....that's because you gave her tons of love and happy time with all of you!!!!!
    We're very very glad you could spend more time with her!!!!
    Sure those days will be very very precious for all of you!!!!
    We'll keep her and you in our hearts and prayers!!!!
    Please....give her tons of hugs and sweet kisses from us and our mommy and dad!!!
    Have a wonderful Christmas dear dear Cisco!!!

  14. Wow what a story! Poor baby all of her life!! We are so glad she can be with you and we would like to send her some quiet hugs and kisses ok? Have a Happy Holiday with special thoughts of Cisco! Hugs Joey and Kealani

  15. Thanks for sharing Cisco's story. She is a beautiful girl.
    I know you are enjoying every minute with her.
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  16. How very sad - we hope you have a lot more time with Cisco. What a beautiful story you told of your life with Cisco.

    Cisco, we welcome you to the blog - we hope to hear more about you as the days go by. As Sam may know, we lost our sweet Dakota to cancer this year and Phantom has also had a very aggressive form of cancer removed from his leg, so we so understand how your family feels.

    Sam, we also wanted to thank you for visiting so many of our posts today - how kind of you to do that.

    We send our wishes to all of you to enjoy your holidays together to the fullest.

    Hugs, Thunder, Phantom, and Mom Kathie

  17. i am so sorry to hear this news!!! I am crying! But what an amazing mom you are to your sweet girl!!!! I'm so glad you were able to bring her home!!! Cherish these last few months!! i'm so glad you have them!!!

    Velcro and mom Penny

  18. My theory of grief...for what it is worth...

    Grief is not the same as sadness or depression.
    Grief is love.
    In fact grief is the strongest form of love we can feel on this earthly plane...which is why it hurts so much.
    How lucky we are to have experienced that deep, delicious pain of love with our beloved four legged children.
    You have been wonderful parents to your beautiful girl.
    My heart weeps with you.

  19. Snif snif! I am so broken hearted over your news!! What a sweet lady even after all of her health issues!
    Best of wishes with this precious time together!
    Owned by Raider

  20. I am so sad to hear about sweet Cisco's illness. I'm sure her last days will be the happiest with her family.

    Please give her a kiss on her nose for us.

    Love, Kimba & family.

  21. Oh what a very sad story.. We are so glad that you do get a little more time with her to spoil her rotten.. Our heart goes out to you.....

    Big Sloppy Kisses
    Gus, Louie and Callie

  22. sending our love to Cisco and you over this difficult time, these photos are precious and I'm so glad you treasure her so much. She's truly loved. I'm just so sorry to hear she's had so much difficulty all her life but you made the best of it for her.

  23. You are PAWSOME dog parents. Thank you for all the love and care you have given to Cisco. Cherish your moments...

  24. Hi again!! We know we already left a comment a few days ago, but stopped by to send Sam and Cisco some super warm big hugs for the holidays!!! You bring smiles to our faces, looking at yours!
    Seasons greetings and Happy New Year.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose and mom

  25. Our momma's heart is breaking and her eyes are leaking and she is cuddling Cisco really and readdy lots. We are sending many and many tender thoughts her way for a pain-free life until she decides she wants to go to heaven. God bless her and may angels surround her...

  26. cisco is a lovely girl, shes so pretty.
    im so sorry to hear this news that she has to go through so much, and its so nice of u doing yr best to help her.

    we'll pray for her and yr family as well.

    thank you for sharing with us this wonderful story.

    love, snowie

  27. Merry Merry Christmas ! And Happy Happy New Year !

  28. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.