An update: My relationship with Orchid Good 

December 6, 2017 Published by
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On the phone, in emails and in person, the first thing my friends, many of you and my family ask is “How is Orchid?” So, I thought I would give you an update on my delicious pooch.

Last year, after a rabies shot, Orchid started to limp. This was the beginning of Orchid’s downward health spiral. This was the beginning of our 100% dedication to keep her with us as long as possible. I did most of the work. My husband gave me all of his support. He has been my partner throughout the whole ordeal. I know Orchid knows. I see it in her big black eyes as she looks at us as if to say, “Thank you for helping me.”

My dog’s diagnosis

I took her to the vet who suggested a pill for arthritis. He decided to check her liver and kidney enzymes before he prescribed the medication. After a liver biopsy, we were told Orchid had too much copper in her liver. The course of action I took to rid her body of copper was a diet without copper and six pills each day. Some of the pills had to be given with food and some without any food. I also investigated dog food brands and table foods without copper and finally sent all of Orchid’s records the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center’s nutrition department for evaluation. Taking into consideration her weight, the amount of copper in her liver and her breed, a diet of all table foods was prescribed for Orchid. The diet did not go over well with Orchid so I started my own search. There is only one brand that has a kibble made without copper, Royal Canin. The foods with the least amount of copper are turkey and chicken without the skin. My diet for Orchid is one cup of kibble, twice daily, mixed with a handful of diced chicken or turkey cooked on my stove top in a Teflon skillet.

The vet said her liver count would never be normal. 

Over the next several months Orchid underwent monthly blood tests to check her liver enzyme count and I was diligent about her diet and pills. One pill at 6 a.m. without food and an hour wait for her breakfast, three pills after she ate, and two pills before dinner. If we left town for a few days, her pills were divided up in special plastic baggies with the time written on each bag. I was dedicated and determined to help my pooch. Over the course of several months, her pills were brought down to four a day; the two at night were no longer needed. And, then, I got the shock of a lifetime: Orchid’s liver enzyme count was normal. Don’t bother bringing her back until May for another blood test. My little heart sang with joy.

Orchid’s ordeal is not over: ALS

Last May, I noticed Orchid dragging her foot on the leg she had the shot in. I heard her toenails on our wood floor. I took her to the vet. After many expensive tests we were told Orchid did not have a tumor on her spine, a slipped disc or fluid on her spine. The only possibility left was called Degenerative Myelopathy, which is similar in many ways to ALS. We sent her DNA to the University of Missouri for a diagnosis. Unfortunately for Orchid, she carried the gene. There is no cure. Orchid is a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier and she is stricken with a fatal disease that is more commonly found in German Shepherds, Welsh Corgis and boxers, among others. I cried for weeks. I mourned my pooch. I did not give up on her. We could not save her life, but we could lengthen her life and we are doing this with a vengeance. Acupuncture, physical therapy and salt water swimming classes began immediately. We bought her a little red Radio Flyer Wagon to pull her around, special leashes to help hold her up when she had to go to the bathroom. We stopped traveling. Orchid’s survival was first and foremost our number one priority. The vet told us she could live another three months. It has now been seven full months and and Orchid is with us, even traveling through O’Hare Airport in a wheelchair to make our flight to California.

Are we doing the right thing by keeping her with us?

We are definitely doing the right thing by not putting Orchid down. I would describe her as a child with polio. Her back legs, especially her leg that was inoculated, is numb and the other is partially numb. She cannot take walks, she drags herself half standing around our home or I help her with a strap I bought that holds up her back legs and she uses her front legs to walk. I take her from room to room with me because she needs socialization and the feeling of our love. Her appetite is huge, she drinks tons of water, wags her tail, loves her treats and of course is probably wondering why she can no longer run to greet us at the door. She barks when she hears strange sounds and cries if she needs my help.  Under no circumstances will we put Orchid Good down.

Life is difficult for us physically and emotionally and I know Orchid is not the happy pooch she once was.  But, my darlings, life is full of challenges and each of us must decide our limitations. We have decided our life without Orchid would be far worse than our life with her.

My relationship with my pooch is even closer.  We are glued at the hip and it feels wonderful. I look at her and I am filled with joy. And, so is my husband. And she looks up at us as if to say, “Thank you for your loving dedication.” I look at her often and say, “Thank you for making my heart sing.”

If only we could all behave like our pooches. So loving all the time, so kind all the time, so accepting all the time and, most important, so wise all the time.

Off to feed Orchid. It has been an hour since I gave her the pill she takes an hour before her breakfast of skinless chicken cubes, kibble without copper, water and kisses. Those kisses go on all day.

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38 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Honey….I took care of my 15 year old Australian Shepherd for 2 years as you are caring for Orchid now. He became deaf and the last 2 years with him were the most amazing experience for me. We learned how to communicate well in his silent world and our love got stronger every day. Your baby is a love of your life as was my boy to me. Big love to your and your family!

  • Elizabeth Ebner says:

    I have heard royal canine is the safest my self.
    She is worth it.
    Great news.

  • Kay Stringer says:

    One of my favorite quotes is”Dear Lord, please help me to be the person my dog thinks I am”. Another favorite is “Dogs are the only creatures who get to see the God they worship”. I am also devoted to my dogs especially my Siberian Husky who just appeared at my farm after my husband had died. I do feel she was sent to me. That was 14 years ago so she is around 14 and a half to 15 years old. Her name is Tallulah and she is a wonderful and constant friend who communicates with me in a myriad of ways. I love her unconditionally.

  • Eleanor Ford says:

    Bless you and Orchid…. this tugs at all our hearts…l she is alive because of your love and care!!!

  • Eleanor Ford says:

    Your devotion to sweet Orchid is the reason she still lives… bless you and your sweet husband….

  • Susan says:

    Dear Honey,
    We have had many rescue dogs, all well loved. When i was ten years old.my dog Priscilla was that special dog who always lives in my heart. I’m 66 years old now and still remember that deep connection.
    Your loving stories about Orchid bring back so many memories of my sweet Priscilla. You are lucky to have each other.

    My very best you and Orchid,
    Susan

  • Rosemary Laukka says:

    God bless you for the love and care of Orchid.

  • Sally says:

    Your dedication is remarkable

  • JulieJ says:

    Bless you Honey. We just lost our 14 year old rescue Border Collie. He held on as long as he could. I feel your pain during this difficult journey. Praying for you and your precious furbaby????

  • Nancy says:

    Susan
    What a beautiful love you and your Orchid share .
    In your writings I can feel the Love you have for your Orchid.
    It touches me to my soul .
    Bless you sweet lady .
    Nancy .

  • Joy says:

    Oh I am so grateful for your dedication to your sweet Orchid. I have a friend that does Reiki treatments on her pooch that is 17 years old. I’m not sure if it would help your baby, but I know it has helped her lovie. She is a reiki master massage therapist. Perhaps it might help your Orchid. It’s just a thought.
    Warmest Hugs,
    Joy Heartfield

  • Ann Alpert says:

    I’M so glad to get an update on ORCHID. I was wondering what was happening with her. So glad she is as happy as she can be.

  • Sharon says:

    I’m thrilled you made the decision to enhance Orchid’s life. I was in a similar situation with my six year old Sugar. Suddenly, Sugar couldn’t walk! After two weeks of enduring tests and care at a veterinarian hospital, Sugar was discharged with without a diagnosis and given only three months to live. However, dearest Sugar enjoyed quality life for the next ten years, living until sixteen! Yes, Honey, one never knows, so keep precious Orchid with you!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Did Sugar walk again? We are glad we decided to keep Orchid with us. Thank you for your comments. Warmly, Honey

  • Nicki says:

    I am so sorry about Orchid. This is a reason why I will not give Shyla an vaccination again . She couldn’t walk after the shot for a few hours. Now she has new a running nose once a day, she doesn’t have the energy she once had, and now we are fighting warts breaking out on her feet. The heavy metals in vaccinations are what do this. I found a website that states that most dogs don’t even need these routine shots, they just don’t have the money for research to prove this. There is a study going on and up until now they know that the rabies shot is at least good for 7 years. To have her teeth cleaned by the vet she’d have to have her shots so I am hoping to keep her teeth clean with her food. She now eats raw, she had lost her appetite but does like raw meat. I love dogs but I am thinking she will be my last dog since I cannot trust those vaccinations. Shyla is a Jack Russell and they give her the same vaccination as a doggy. I am so disappointed in our laws made to just sell more pharma. I am doing what I can for Shyla and hoping for the best. She is getting oils for her warts and I give her also some probiotics. For sure they are like our children because they are so loving and can’t take care of themselves. Sending Orchid lots of love.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You are right. The less vacinations, the better. Thank you for your comments. I am most appreciative. Happy holidays. Warmly, Honey

  • Lisa Rubin says:

    There is nothing like the relationship between a pet and their owner (no offense; maybe we’re the pet and the dog is the owner). Your picture speaks volumes. Orchid knows you are there for her.

  • Violet says:

    Honey you are doing exactly what we did for our ShihTzu, Garth. He had many issues and we did everything within our power to make him happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, we lost him on October 19, 2017. Yes, our hearts are broken and we are still grieving. At times we can laugh at some of the things he did and definitely recall all of the trips he made with us to Maine and our frequent Pocono trips. This will be our first Christmas without him and it won’t be the same at all…..he loved to lay under the tree on the skirt and have his picture taken. Keep working with Orchid…..you are doing a fabulous job and yes, she does know you are trying to help her. Their eyes say what their mouths cannot., Bless her and you.

  • Dawn says:

    My sympathy and compassion are with you. I know what it is to have a beloved pet as a family member.

  • De De Collins says:

    Honey,
    ,Your dedication and love for Orchid is amazing. Our animals bring so much love to our lives. As you stated they know so much but cannot speak, but give us so much love.
    My husband and I recently went through a challenge with our cat Abby. Her left eye was damaged somehow and it was awful. We took her to the vet who had to remove the eye. It was so sad but she endured the “collar” and healed and seems just as inquisitive and sweet with only one eye!
    I look forward to your musings, and I wish only the best for Orchid.
    Dede

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Thank you for enjoying my musings. My daughter, Jenny, had a cat Max who fell off her lani and had to have one of his legs amputated. He lived for 15 more years and he was happy. I am glad Abby recovered. She will be fine. Happy Holiday. Warmly, Honey

  • maureen scicchitano says:

    I love what you are doing to help Orchid what a beautiful dog and a beautiful human owner best of luck, stick with it Orchid

  • Gillian says:

    I think one of the hardest things to measure is when we should have our furry friends put down to save them pain. My vet said that my furry friend would tell me when he was ready by not eating or disappearing.and he did. He departed in May unfortunately when I was away travelling but the vet was prepared and had my consent. I Still see him in the shadows and expect him to come and meet me.. However it has given me a great deal of freedom. You will know when the time is right

  • Marilyn says:

    You are doing the right thing! Orchid is not in pain and has your love and dedication.

  • Akaisha Kaderli says:

    I am so sorry for Orchid, and I hope she is not suffering. Your devotion to her is like a spiritual path.

    I am wishing you all the very best..

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      She is in no pain. Her back legs are almost entirely numb. She is like a child who has polio.So, she is alert, eats well, sleeps well and wags her waggy tail. Thank you for caring. Happy Holidays.Warmly, Honey

  • Ann Alpert says:

    HONEY; Please continue to give us updates on ORCHID. I look forward to hearing about her. YOU AND SHELDON ARE WONDERFUL PET PARENTS!
    ANN ALPERT

  • Susan Thogmartin says:

    Our 12 and 1/2 year old border collie passed away this week. He had lymphoma. It is comforting to read about your care and devotion to your Orchid. Our pets add so much to our lives!

  • Mary says:

    Blessings for your beautiful furry friend! We has a similar situation years ago and caring for him was worth it…he felt how much he was loved! Did you know teflon is a poison that especially animals are sensitive to, you may consider replacing it with another pan, perhaps iron or glass.. It’s poisonous especially to animals.

  • Sheila Smith says:

    I did the same thing for my 19 year old American Eskimo, Sno Flake! The vet would say ” the right thing to do” and I would say” I think the right thing to do is keep her alive”! I did, for two years carrying her in and out of the house. When she no longer would eat I knew the time was right. It’s such a hard thing to go through. I wish you much luck with your precious Orchid..

  • Julie says:

    I am a new follower of yours and so touched by this story, Honey. Sweet Orchid is so blessed to have you! Keeping you all in my prayers.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Thank you so much, Julie. She is our labor of love. I really believe she knows this. Thank you for following me on HG. I am most appreciative. Warmly, Honey

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