16 Pound Family Addition

Happy belated Christmas!

I hope everyone is able to enjoy these next few days with family and of course a few cookies and egg nog. I’ve already had my fair share of Royal Dansk cookies, and I have no shame about it. They’re just another one of those Christmas staples I look forward to each year. A few other staples (more so traditions,) I look forward to is driving around looking at Christmas lights, and opening one present on Christmas Eve.
Jason and I have started a few new traditions since we’ve been together, and started a new one this year… Christmas Eve Thai food dinner. Jason came up with it last week and I was game! We already knew of a great Thai place, mentioned here, that has just about the best Thai food I’ve ever tasted. Franklin-4504

We’ve also kept up our tradition of cutting down our own tree since we had such a blast doing it last year. We’ve noticed that a fresh cut tree stays fresh way longer than one from a tree lot. Believe it or not, it’s also way cheaper (at least where we live it’s cheaper)!

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Oh, and there is one thing that was different this year, I guess you could say a new “addition”,  and that would be this little face right here.

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His name’s Franklin and we adopted him about a month ago after searching FOREVER for a dog that would fit well into our lives. He’s an adult Dachshund mix and that was about all we knew about him when we adopted the little fella. We had been told that he was  a really sweet dog thats good with dogs, people, and cats, and is looking for a loving home. WIN WIN WIN, just what we’ve been looking for. We never considered a Dachshund mix, and had really been leaning towards a larger dog, a Vizsla or Brittany Spaniel to be exact, but we found they also came with Ferrari sized price tags. So when we came across Franklin we filled out an application and were on our way to pick him up just two days later.

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The first two weeks with Franklin were tough, he paced around the house for hours, would press his head into random pieces of furniture, had no energy, and had funky eating preferences.  He was so odd that we actually talked to our vet about his behavior, to which we were told that it may just be his personality.  Then, we were sitting there one night and noticed he was a little more lethargic than usual. We decided to take him for a walk to see if he would snap out of it before going into panic mode. We told ourselves, “don’t worry yet, he’s been a really odd dog since day one, maybe this is just Franklin being Franklin”. But he also had trouble standing up and could no longer use the stairs without falling over. Thats when we decided it was better to be safe than sorry and get him to the emergency vet as soon as possible. I think we both knew there was something more amiss than just a few odd ball behaviors.

The next few hours were full of tears from both Jason and I. We had been handed a $500 vet bill and very little hope. The vet told us that he thinks Franklin has a Liver Shunt. This is something that dogs can be born with, but issues may not surface until a few years down the road. The shunt prevents the body from processing protein, and leads to a build up of toxins. A few common symptoms are neurological problems such as: head pressing, pacing, unresponsiveness, and starring. Hmmm, sounds just like Franklin. But the cost to confirm a shunt ran about $1000, then there would be a surgery that costs thousands more dollars and may not even fix the problem. We were given only two options; more testing followed by surgery, or euthanasia.

We were not at all prepared to make such a heavy decision.  His life was literally in our hands and knowing this was completely left up to us to decide in a matter of minutes was too much for me to handle. I shut down and couldn’t bear to think about our little pup never getting a chance at a happy doggie life. All I could think about was how we rescued him from a cold shelter and became attached to him in a matter of just two weeks. I’m usually the one in our relationship that takes care of setting appointments and asking all the right questions, but Jason completely took over and even more so, comforted me while going through the same emotions I was. He suggested I call my Mom or Dad while he  called his Mom, not only for support and justification in whichever decision we choose, but also for a parents guidance. I guess no matter how old you get, having your parents advice can always help make things easier.

During our conversation, my Dad found positive information online about other dogs with shunts who’ve gotten better using homeopathic medication (without surgery). Then at some point while I was on the phone, the vet decided to tell Jason about one other option that may help confirm a shunt. Oh, and it costs less than $200! Seriously, why didn’t you tell us this two hours ago? The test was a Bile Acid test that would need to be done by our vet the next day.  If the results leaned towards the shunt we could try to treat it with homeopathic medications and a specialized diet. So thats what we did…

After receiving the results suggesting a shunt was causing his problems, we immediately started two medications and a very strict low protein diet. Franklin seems to be doing well on his new regimen. He will be on medication and a special diet for the duration of his life, but so far this has given us a happy, spunky, alert dog. Our vet said this routine may or may not work forever because the problem is not cured, it’s only being controlled. She also wouldn’t recommend surgery due to the high cost, chance of it failing, and ongoing success of other dogs treated only with medication. Were not sure why the first vet we expressed our concerns to kept telling us his behavior was probably just his personality, or why we weren’t given the option of the Bile Acid test right off the bat at the emergency vet, but we are grateful Franklin is still with us. He has turned out to be quite the expensive pup, but it beats the alternative of having to make a very difficult decision.

So that’s Franklins story, now please bear with me as I bombard you with more puppy pictures.

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I hope everyone had a great Christmas and are on your way to a Happy New Year too! I’ve already broken into the bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider I had on hand, so lets hope I can pick up a new one before the big countdown.  Oh, and if you stuck with me throughout this entirely too long post, I applaud you and thank you:)

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