As winter sets in I am thinking of you Maggie….

Run!!!! Go Maggie!

It’s been a while since I have blogged on your blog, Maggie.  Today is a good day to do it.  It has been snowing all day..and it’s really piling up after several days of it.  This weather really makes me think of you…  How tough winters were for you but yet you still did love the “white stuff” being of Northern breed descent(that’s a guess on my part!)

Ice was especially tough in the winter.  HATED it when things would ice over.  We are still making our snow sled trails in the yard…although have scaled back some now because you aren’t here with us.

The first time I go on our winter trails across the road today will not be the same without you.  You LOVED those trails!  Loved digging for frozen deer poop, loved helping me clean the trails with your great stick demolishing expertise and loved seeing and sniffing out winter wildlife.

I still miss you greatly….I suspect that will NEVER change…..

foolish mags 2011
Nice stick Maggie!
Her favorite toy was a jolly ball…

Missing you Maggie!


Three Years, 7 Months and 24 Days….

Almost…she almost made it to her 4th Year Ampuversary.  3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days…

October 20th was her ampuversary date.  I remember when I first started her blog in December 2009, I was so paranoid about starting it, fearing it would jinx her and she wouldn’t be long on this Earth after amputation.

I once asked how long Maggie would have after amputation and I was told probably a year…well, she beat that all to hell, didn’t she!  Just couldn’t beat the kidney failure.

I want to share some video’s I may not have ever shared before.  To help those in their journey as a tripawd.  The good, the bad and everything in between.

It took from May 2009 to October 2009 to figure out exactly what was wrong.  The guess on what was wrong went from ACL injury, to psoas injury to finally cancer.

Vet #1:  diagnosed her as an ACL injury and suggested TPLO surgery.  Maggie was not put to sleep to check her knee, which I have learned since then, the dog can guard with their muscles holding the knee in place, so the dog really needs to be put to sleep to get a better diagosis on the knee vs. just watching her move and trying to get a “drawer sign” in her knee by palpation while she’s awake.  Her lameness was just a slight weight shift from the left to right side in the rear.

Vet #2: didn’t feel it was her knee but her psoas muscle that was the issue(groin).  Maggie got massage, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustment.  She improved DRAMATICALLY after this session.  After the good effects of that session wore off, I can’t recall the amount of time, might have been a month,  I had her worked on again by this same vet but the results weren’t as good the second time.

As many are aware, my sister Gina Snow, is a Vet Tech, and so she was my coach through all of this.  She, too, didn’t feel it was an ACL tear, agreeing with Vet #2. But as a “just in case mode”, I put her on conservative management(leash walks only) for 8 weeks.  If it were an ACL injury, there would be an improvement.  There was no improvement.  She got more and more lame.  No noticeable lumps or bumps on that leg just more lame as time went on.

Vet #3:  This vet put Maggie under to do the “drawer test” on her knee as he couldn’t get any real movement in her knee either that would prove it to be an ACL tear.  When she was asleep, her pain was so severe she was crying out as he manipulated her knee ASLEEP.  He aspirated her knee.  That result showed “old bloody fluid”.  So this vet, too, then bounced on the ACL injury wagon.  When I asked him if he would do the surgery, he said no because he said to me he was afraid what he’d find in there.  In hindsight, he knew, in my opinion, it wasn’t an ACL but more severe things going on.

Vet #4:  By this time, Maggie’s knee was diffusely swollen.  I was prepared before even seeing this vet to the fact that Maggie’s leg would most likely be amputated due to the fact my sister, diagnosed Maggie as having soft tissue cancer.  I failed to state earlier that Gina did x-ray Maggie, thinking she might have OSA.  There were no signs of bone cancer.  The signs all led to soft tissue sarcoma, according to Gina.  She was right.  Dr. Chris Miles did a biopsy and it came back as STS.  10 days later, we amputated her leg.

By the time September rolled around, she was really lame and showing muscle loss as shown in this video:

just a little “happy” of Maggie finding a tug toy.  Even though she was in a lot of pain due to her leg, she still wanted to play:

This video was just after her biopsy.  Her knee swelled up bad after the biopsy.  Soft tissue sarcoma was the diagnosis.  I slept on the futon laid flat with her as that was where she wanted to be.  She was on Gabapentin for pain and Tramadol.  Also, after her biopsy, she had a pain patch:

It wasn’t an easy road for us at the beginning.  But I found out after joining the “tripawd family” that most others have the same 2 week recovery from Hell.

This video might be disturbing to some people, as Maggie was just out of surgery and home for 4 days.  Talk about a ‘trying’ time.  Watching this brings back all those horrible 2 weeks from HELL in her recovery…but we got through it!

Two weeks later, Maggie finally was Maggie again!  I had to put music over my voice on this video as I was crying so much(happy tears).  She is laying actually where she is buried now under those pine trees….

I had thought a ramp into the house was a temporary thing but she used that the entire time…never was strong enough to do a lot of stairs.  Throw rugs on the hardwood floors were also down the entire time…she was very leary of slippery surfaces.  A “must have” piece of equipment with a tripawd is the Ruffwear harness – very helpful in steadying her and helping her up/down stairs when there were no ramps or on slippery floors.

In 2010, I started her PT work that was so necessary for any tripawd, in my opinion.

These video’s we made for blogs for the website:

Maggie was an agility dog prior to being amputated…so it was nice to let her do those things again, in a lower scale for her:

This video was about a month later from amputation….my happy girl!

and Barney came to Maine to visit from Maggie the Pug in California!

We will miss Maggie’s trail clearing skills!  She was a great trail groomer:

Winter was a pain in the butt with her being a tripawd…ICE! 🙁

I had waited for years for APDT Rally to come our way.  Unfortunately, it never came until Maggie was a tripawd.  She earned all three levels of APDT Rally titles and her Veterans title as a tripawd!  Sits were the hardest for her…she’d “run out of sits” toward the end of a course.  But what a trooper she was!

Maggie’s ‘boyfriend’ was Woodie.  Every once in a while I’d take her for a walk with him.

Yes, are you seeing a trend?  Maggie had a “thing” for sticks 🙂

and yes, she did do a little bit of agility now and then:

One of the biggest bummers about Maggie being a tripawd was the fact she could no longer go on long walks.  They were extremely short.  I’d say her longest walk was probably a mile.

So I got her a DoggyRide cart but she was NOT impressed with that!  She’d rather walk on her own three feet, thank you very much!  Plus, it really was too small for her, even though I got the largest one available.

Maggie was a very good “singer”…

This Veterans run in February 2011 APDT Rally makes me smile and tear up…

Another one that makes me smile…

And Maggie competed in Wag It Games…it was sooo perfect for her being in the Heart Dog Program(for disabled dogs) – this was Independent Skills class:

This was Maggie’s first time back in the kayak as a tripawd…she was spectacular as always!  Note she is wearing her “Super Star collar”(that will make sense later in this blog)

Wag It Games Camp in Freedom, NH.  Maggie was never a swimmer with four legs, let alone three…

This was Maggie’s 1st attempt at being on the BOSU domes!  My “agilecowdog” displaying her agileness!  I worked her on these and other PT items at least three days a week:

Yep!  Tripawds can roll over! 🙂

Winter 2012 – still showing that she is pretty strong at 12 years old!

Another one that makes me smile…she was still feeling her oats in October 2012:

Maggie in Novice Sniff It in Wag It Games.  This was to be her last trial.  She LOVED Sniff It:

Maggie’s 13th birthday…little did I know the kidney failure was looming in her…soon to be diagnosed in March:

Played around teaching Maggie Wag It Games DogBall – never finished it but she was pretty close 🙂

Mid August 2013.  Maggie’s kidney failure was progressing and had been all summer.  Her last blood value check I did was the first part of June and her creatinine number was at 5.4 then.  That put her in severe renal failure category.  I never did any more blood work on her after June.  There was no sense in it – just depressing numbers to look at.  The only thing that kept her going was daily subQ fluids and the Prednisone to keep her eating.  On this video, after I stopped recording, she wanted back in the Jeep.  Just too weak to want to walk farther.  Such a trooper:

Love you Maggie…

This bracelet was made by Rene at  It’s beautiful!  Notice the Super Star Maggie charm – with stars on the back like her collar in the video of her in the kayak.  The center charm Gina gave me on the day we put Maggie to rest.  Rene made the bracelet to match and fit Gina’s charm in the center.  I love this bracelet:



I hope this blog post shows there is life for a tripawd after amputation.  It is, of course, changed to suit the dog’s needs.  Some tripawds can go on much longer walks, for instance.  Maggie couldn’t.  It’s all case by case, in my opinion.  It’s a “crap shoot” when you decide to amputate.  How long will my dog survive afterwards?  Well, we have no crystal ball to tell us, unfortunately.  But I went with my “gut instinct” in that I knew Maggie had much more life to live!  I hope this blog helps others, as it helps me, even now after Maggie is gone…to heal from my grief of loosing her.

So there is Maggie’s 3 years, 7 months and 24 days as a tripawd in a nutshell.  She had a good life…a GRAND life for a GRAND dog!

Moose Point State Park June 2012

 Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on the snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

I am in the flowers that bloom.

I am in a quiet room.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there. I did not die.

– M.E. Frye


The Final Step…

….to saying goodbye to Maggie… Today was a beautiful day, weatherwise…so we buried Maggie’s ashes under her pine trees.  She spent a lot of time under those pine trees through the years…  From her younger days of breaking off dead branches and playing with the sticks and breaking them into tiny little pieces, to just hanging out under them for shade, to in her older years, eating the pine needles off the branches(I’ve been told they have Vit. B in them – maybe that was my first clue to her having kidney disease?)…  I thought it was fitting to lay her to rest under the pines…it’s peaceful there…I can go visit her in privacy and just sit with her, as I did today afterwards…

this photo taken this Spring - shortly after we found out she had CRF...
this photo taken this Spring – shortly after we found out she had CRF…under her pine trees..





….It was a difficult afternoon burying Maggie….stirred up all the emotions….the final deed being done…but she loved it under those pines…

…one more picture….I found this on my camera a week or so ago…one of the last one’s I took of Maggie…this was after I’d made the decision to put her to rest…her soul shines through in this photo…I think she was telling me she was okay with my decision…or so I hope.

I used to tell Maggie all the time…          

“Love you Maggie, love you very much”….



Maggie – January 2000 – August 24, 2013


Alone but together,

we walked this trail,

To you there was nothing

I could not tell

Walking in silence

engulfed in nature’s song

We shared so much

as we went along.

Kindred spirits,

friends for all time….

You and I,

we’re two of a kind.

Today, I put my girl down to rest her weary body…
This has been a huge struggle to decide to come to this day…
I had thought I would wait until she didn’t want to eat…
But really, when I thought about that, why would I want her to be so
sick that she could no longer enjoy what she had left – food…
Her mobility was very limited(due to anemia from CRF)
She was getting more fluids but now absorbing them faster –
the fluids were diluting her blood but she needed them to live
her breathing was heavy at times – especially after fluids…
I had thoughts of maybe she could hang on until her 14th birthday in January…
or her 4th year Ampuversary in October….
foolish thoughts…selfish thoughts…
what did that matter?…
Maggie deserved to go out with what remaining dignity she had…
I owed her that…
Last night, Gina had a conversation with a psychic (and animal communicator). I was surprised
Gina “spoke” to her as she’s not a true believer of that kind of ‘stuff’. The psychic asked Gina if she
had kids. “No, said Gina, only furry one’s”…then the psychic said she felt really weak and tired…
asked Gina if she had a big dog, like a Bernese Mtn. Dog…black and white dog…Gina said, “no, but my sister does”..
“I am putting her down tomorrow”. The psychic then said “GOOD!”…then apologized for it coming out like that..
She said “tell your sister, it’s time, the dog is ready…she is very weak and tired, she doesn’t care where, just that she’s ready”
I’ve had my second thoughts about putting Maggie down…she’d have a good day and I’d think I made the wrong decision..
but this was a true sign that it was the right decision..
When I told Maggie I was sorry,
she licked away my tears as if to say “it’s OK, I’m ready”…
Maggie got steak – cooked up just for her – she was a true carnivore – loved her meat…
I am thankful to my sister, Gina, for putting my girl to rest…
I didn’t want some strange vet doing it…Maggie loved & trusted Aunt Gina…
It has been a very long and emotional day…then to drive into the yard and no Maggie to come home to…
Empty. I feel very empty.
I know we made the right decision but wow, what a tough day…Maggie went very peacefully..laying in the sun
on her bed she inherited from Dilly after she passed on, enjoying her steak before she became sleepy..
Here’s to your life Maggie – what a ride we had…
Gina gave me this today..I have visions of Maggie running free with four legs again just as fast as she used around the yard - I called them her "greyhound laps"...
Gina gave me this today..I have visions of Maggie running free with four legs again just as fast as she used around the yard – I called them her “greyhound laps”…
Maggie, I love you...
Maggie, I love you…
One last visit with Gem..
One last visit with Gem..
Taking a break - Wildlife Refuge, Limestone, Maine October 2012
Taking a break – Wildlife Refuge, Limestone, Maine October 2012 – she walked her heart out and had a blast!

A video of a happy time one month after her amputation – looking so strong!

and this video makes me smile with her “agileness” and her so happy!

her agility career – a highlight to both of us…such GREAT times…

She earned the following titles in agility from 2001-2008:


CPE titles: CL1,CL2-F,CL2-H,CL3-R

and the run the following Spring that finished her NATCH-S

and she did some APDT Rally Obedience as a Tripawd earning:

RL1, RL2, RL3,RLVX2 and

APDT Awards Of Excellence-LV, L1, L2, L3

and she competed in Wag It Games as a Tripawd earning:

WAG2S Heart Dog, WAG2O Heart Dog, WAG1SNIFF Heart Dog

Maggie was the inspiration for the “Heart Dog Program” in Wag It Games!

And of course, it wasn’t just about competing – when I watch these, it

makes me really realize how sick and weak she was at the end…

picture taken in Belfast, Maine – one of our favorite spots…
on top of Hedgehog Mountain, Portage, Maine – a much younger, four legged Mags


picture taken in Searsport, Maine
picture taken in Searsport, Maine


picture taken at my Dad's camp along the Umculcocus stream - Maggie was hunting squirrels :)
picture taken at my Dad’s camp along the Umcolcus stream – Maggie was hunting squirrels 🙂
Maggie showing her agileness in the weave poles - September 2005 in Westfield, MA
Maggie showing her agileness in the weave poles – September 2005 in Westfield, MA
Maggie was a beautiful jumper!
Maggie was a beautiful jumper!
this photo taken August 2013
this photo taken August 2013
look at my ears! aren't I cute? :)
Puppy time – look at my ears! aren’t I cute?
snowshoeing Feb 2009
snowshoeing Feb 2009
Norm - her "Papa" May 2011
Norm – her “Papa” May 2011 – ‘working for treats!’
Denny Pond - first time in a kayak since being a tripawd
Denny Pond – first time in a kayak since being a tripawd
Norm & Maggie - Denny Pond
Norm & Maggie – Denny Pond
my beautiful girl...
my beautiful girl…

Tried to do a few little “normal” things with Maggie this summer – her Dog Ball training was never finished…

My girl being as strong as she could be with her continued weakness due to the kidney disease…

I will go on, I’ll find the strength, life measures quality, not its length. One long embrace before you leave, share one last look, before I grieve. There are others, that much is true, but they be they, and they aren’t you.

And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought, will remember well all you’ve taught.

Your place I’ll hold, you will be missed, the coat I stroked, the nose I kissed,. And as you journey to your final rest, take with you this…..I loved you best.

Author Unknown

Tripawd Maggie t-shirt picture June 2010


My constant education with Maggie…

Wow…I have to say the education Maggie has taught me with first cancer and now

kidney disease is mind boggling to me.

Just a few things to blog about today….

A month or so ago, Maggie refused her food(again) – I had added a supplement in hopes

to help her gurgly stomach. I have read that kidney disease dogs have stomach issues,

which she is no exception, often having a very noisy stomach and also having episodes

of high respirations during these times of gurgly stomach. But after refusing her food, I

had to switch her food because even with NO powdered supplements in it, she was still

hesitant to eat it. So, I have yet to add back in her kidney support powders(Epakitin

and Renal Advanced) for fear of her not wanting to eat again. I have managed to get

back into the food eggshell powder as read that has no taste. Then, this week I decided

to add in Wholistic Pet Digest All powder after listening to her stomach gurgle just

WAY too much. That and some loose stools. The powder is very powerful in that I

only need to add 1/4 tsp. per cup, so figured I could add that with no issues of her not

wanting to eat her food. All’s well..she’s still eating and in fact, her stools have made

a complete turn around and the very next morning, was 100%. I am also listening to

a less gurgly stomach and I have also noticed since starting this she seems RAVENOUS

even more than normal(due to Pred). Well, I just read this on a

regarding digestive enzymes/probiotics for kidney dogs:

“Pets with kidney disease may have digestive problems. Digestive enzymes help
pets digest their food more easily. Breaking down nutrients is thought to help
decrease the workload on the kidneys. Probiotics are designed to help with
digestion and may be beneficial as an appetite stimulant.”

Well, well….isn’t that intesting! Appetite stimulant….hmmm….!!! New one to me

and it sure seems like Maggie is proving that to be true with her RAVENOUS way

of eating since I’ve been adding it!

Then, on this same website ( ) I went to order some subQ

fluids from them so I wouldn’t have to get at the vet’s office…and low and behold,

look what they say about IV fluid bags:

“Lactated Ringers comes in 2 different bags- the old style is PVC (Poly-vinyl
Chloride) and contains a chemical, plastic softener called DEHP. DEHP has been
linked to cancer and the FDA requires a written disclosure on products
containing DEHP. The new style of fluid bags are DEHP-Free, Hospira’s brand name
for these bags is VisIV.”

So, I go look at my fluid bags I got from the vet(where I’ve been getting fluids since

April)….and guess what, my fluids have the DEHP in them!! Maybe it doesn’t matter

in the least, given the fact Maggie already has cancer but it’s BEYOND ME as to why

they even make the fluid bags with it?? Think of all the hospitals that I’m SURE use

that type(cheaper than the other without it). WTH!??!?! Ok, so had to vent for a minute..

So, I ordered 24 bags of the DEHP FREE fluids for Maggie. Which cost me .60 cents

LESS per bag AND free shipping vs. getting at the vet’s office(and having to drive 1 hour

one way to go get them).

Sooo… anyone else dealing with kidney disease ( or any other of the diseases they

carry meds for) I highly suggest ! They’ve given me an education

and have good prices.

So, just a few words about Maggie’s health as it stands right now. She seems to be

‘holding her own’ still. Weak and doesn’t do much for exercise – I try to give her a little

bit but it’s like a double edged sword – she’s so weak from her disease but the laying

around and doing nothing just makes her muscles all that more weak. Have upped

the daily fluids amount some in an effort to help with that weakness but I don’t see

much change yet. Her appetite is awesome at present – she’s eating Stella and Chewy’s

raw and Essex Cottage Farms Kidney diet mix cooked up with boneless meat/squash/

egg/oil added. She LOOOOOVES that at the present as that is the most recent addition.

Gina has switched her homeopathic remedy to Merc. Sol 30C, 2 times a day and that

seems to be helping Maggie as well.

Here’s a little video I took of her on Sunday…still showing some “spark” 🙂

Guess that’s all for now…

Tracy & Maggie


A quick update on Maggie…

Just a quick update on Maggie as my sister, Gina, came to see her yesterday.  I think

it’s been over a month since she saw her.  She said she was better than what she

thought she would be in the “mental” department and “with it”.  Physically, she is

weaker but if she didn’t know she had CRF, she would just figure it was typical

old dog stuff.

Maggie had a “big” afternoon(for her!).  She hung outside with us, was amongst us

trying to get treats from me, while we were playing on the Wag It Games obstacles

with the other two dogs.  I was in shock!  She really hasn’t done that in eons – usually

she just lays by the side and just watches us now.  Then, we did a little Sniff It session

with food search in the tents.  Maggie used to be, as her blog name says, AGILE. Well,

not so much anymore…she wrecked the course!  She didn’t hop in and out of the tents

with ease as she used to..  It was funny (but not really) but she had fun just the same!

Gimme’ food she says! 🙂

Um yeah, I couldn't get thru the tent window like I used to!  So just flopped down instead :)
Um yeah, I couldn’t get thru the tent window like I used to! So just flopped down instead 🙂
Ok, so Aunt Gina says I wrecked the course!  Upside down tent and I'm in a partially torn down tent - Oops!
Ok, so Aunt Gina says I wrecked the course! Upside down tent and I’m in a partially torn down tent – Oops!

“Then, the highlight of the afternoon!  A black dog came into MY yard and I finally

witnessed it!  Mom tells me it’s happened two other times but I’ve been holed up in the

garage and my hearing isn’t too good, so I’ve missed all the action!  But not this time!

Good thing Aunt Gina grabbed me by my waist ’cause I was gonna “get em’!  Yep!

I STILL got it in me to raise holy ole’ terror when a strange dog enters MY yard!”

Then later, I had Gina do Maggie’s fluids – she’s so good and fast with those needles!

Maggie, once again, never cringed or knew Gina put the needle into her!  Unfortunately,

I’m not that good and Maggie kinda ducks her head every time I poke her 🙁  Gina

said don’t make a ‘deal’ of it – as in I set Maggie up in a certain spot each time etc.

Maggie didn’t even realize what Gina was doing…  but maybe she would eventually, if

she did it more?  So Maggie will just have to keep putting up with me!

It was nice to see Maggie engaging in the afternoon with us!!  The “old Maggie”

reappeared for a while!  She seems no worse for wear this morning….so that’s a good

thing! 🙂

‘Til next time, Maggie keeps hoppin'(and sometimes floppin’)

Tracy & Maggie


Practicing being a wanna-be Vet…

I’d always wanted to be a vet when I was a kid. My dream to be one when I was a kid has sort of become reality with Maggie’s cancer, then amputation and now dealing with her kidney failure.

Recently, Maggie didn’t like one of the supplements I put in her food…refusing to eat it. Up until that time, she’s been eating anything and everything I’ve put in front of her. So I stopped the supplement(it was Perfect Form by Honest Kitchen as it has slippery elm in it and I read it’s good for CRF dogs) but she was still leary of the food, so I switched her food from Urban Wolf to Stella and Chewy’s and canned(Wellness or Royal Canin kidney food) giving half of each per meal. I also stopped all powdered supplements in her food. So she’s only getting her Prednisone and a new supplement Gina wanted me to try by PURE, called Kidney Support Formula. Here is the link if anyone may need it: . I haven’t dared put any powders back in her food, so not to turn her off food again. For a week now, she’s been eating GREAT and her energy has actually improved wandering around the yard farther and farther.

I went away on Friday and would call Norm daily to see how Maggie was. She was GREAT. Eating great, energy great, he did her subQ fluids as needed and her supplements with no issues at all. I get home last night about 7:00. She’s outside and I can see her laying down under the deck. She sees me drive in and comes to greet me. But what I saw when I opened the door was not a very good eye..she was shivering a TINY bit, which I thought might be just anxious to see me. But as time went on a bit, the shivering got worse. I decided to do her fluids and see if that would help. Then I fed her. She only ate half her meal and that was with me hand feeding it.

I contacted my trusty sister, Gina, and she said take her temperature(I don’t know why I hadn’t yet as this has been an issue on several occasions with the shivering/panting being a sign of fever). Her gums were tacky, I did check that. Her temp. was 104.2. Yup, fever….which causes her not to eat and the shivering/panting. Gina said to dose with one dose of Belladonna 200C homeopathic remedy. Take temp. again half hour later and it’s now 104.6 – still up. Dose again with another dose of Belladonna 200C. An hour later, temp still up at 104.5. I was to quit dosing at three doses. I gave her more fluids doubling up the amount to 600 ml’s vs 300 ml’s. She did drink some for me too.

She seemed to settle down some on her shivering and panting some…I checked her periodically through the night and she was resting comfortably and no more shivering. Up at 6:00 a.m. and rechecked her temp before she got up. DOWN to 100.6 – normal temp for her.

She ate her breakfast with the gusto she has been and got her kidney supplement and Prednisone in pill pockets. She even ate her Omega 3 capsule not wrapped in anything.

Why did she spike a fever? Gina thinks dehydration. I’m going to increase her fluids daily. I was giving 200 at the start of this diagnosis, then I upped her to 250 daily and before I left for the weekend, I had upped her to 300 daily. I will give her another big dose today – maybe morning and night dose as I’m home for the day… We may be adding Phosphorus 30C to her today as she has a bit of a cough now and then…

She’s resting now comfortably….

This is as close as it gets for me to being a Vet. I think I’m OK with that.

Love you Maggie…

‘Til next time,

Tracy & Maggie

It’s a hot one for Maggie…

From constant rain and cool temperatures to now high 80’s and humid and Maggie is NOT impressed with the heat. Never has liked it but really hard on her now. I haven’t done any recent blood work on her – there really isn’t much point in doing any more IMO. I’m doing the best that I can for her: daily subQ fluids, low phosphorus foods – eating three times a day to keep phosphorus levels as low as I can get them. She’s eating more now than she has most of her adult life. I may increase it more…she’s eating about a cup more food now since kidney disease. It’s hard work being sick. Even though she is basically getting no exercise but to go out to the bathroom and putter around now and again, she still needs more food. I’m still giving her a multitude of supplements for her kidneys: Renal Advanced Powder(replaced Azodyl), Epakitin, Standard Process Renafood, Cataplex B and Catalyn, GreenMin, ground eggshell and also the ole’ faithful, that keeps her eating – PREDNISONE. I’d say Maggie’s highlights in a day ARE eating. A lot of kidney dogs can’t say the same, sad to say 🙁 I know Pred. is hard on her kidneys but if it weren’t for that, she wouldn’t be here now for me to write this. Since shortly after her CRF diagnosis, I stopped giving her the daily homeopathic remedies for her cancer, after having been giving them daily since December 2009. Now, she is on a daily remedy, Calcarea Carbonica 200C and three cell salts – Nat Mur, Bioplasma and Calc. Phos. These are all for the CRF diagnosis & have helped her(for instance, she rarely has shiver ‘fits’ which are related to the disease). Here’s a few photo’s and video’s I’ve taken today and last weekend… She is really weak so when you see her looking really spry in a video, it’s because she is driven by FOOD – otherwise, she lays around A LOT….especially due to this heat. She doesn’t have much gumption to motor along for very far. I did take her for a walk the other night…probably 100 feet in one direction and then turned around(she didn’t want to) but on the way back had to take a bit of break as she was loosing strength in her rear leg to keep going..

We went wild strawberry picking this morning and the girls came for the ride…Maggie doesn’t even attempt to stand anymore in a vehicle…but here she is out for a little stroll to stretch her legs 🙂



Updated: July 7th:

We went to Fish Lake for a kayak but Maggie is just too weak to get her into the kayak. I’m sure she’d lay there just fine but what if I tipped over and she went in the water? I don’t have a life preserver for her, so decided it wasn’t a good idea to chance it.

Thought I would add this video on to this blog so I can show you a clearer view of Maggie’s health as it is now. As I said, she is very weak and this shows it in 32 seconds…

And this is her just a little bit later moving better waiting for her hot dog!…

and a couple photo’s from today:



When back at home, she was determined to do a few Wag It Games obstacles for TREATS! So she willingly did a send out to a jump(the bar set at 4″), did two hoops(ground level) and did the Bang It board tipping with front feet. She was doing so great but it sure didn’t last long – she was getting weak in the hind end and I could see her front leg quiver some too. 🙁 And I had thought about video taping her but canned that idea after that – time to rest Maggie…

To say that Maggie is strong willed in MIND is an understatement! Her body, however, is just really showing its toll 🙁

‘Til next time, Maggie keeps on hoppin’….

Tracy & Maggie


An update to Maggie’s kidney disease….

Last blood work I had done on Maggie was May 3rd.  At that time, she’d been on prednisone for 1 week, with the “maybe” she had atypical Addison’s.  Her BUN didn’t improve(got worse) but her eating improved DRAMATICALLY(I can safely say she wouldn’t still be here if not for Prednisone to help with her appetite), so we kept her on it and also on a thought that maybe with more time on the Prednisone, maybe she would prove that maybe she did have Atypical Addison’s. Well, she doesn’t.  It IS CRF – chronic renal failure – kidney disease for sure now.

My sister, Gina,  was up the past few days and one of the missions was to draw another blood sample on Maggie to retest her numbers.  The results are this: Short story, she’s “holding her own”, in Gina’s words.

The rundown:

* We can now drop her Prednisone some(based on her appetite) as her adrenals don’t need it – her appetite will tell us when enough is needed.

* The other positive, other than the great desire to eat, is that since being on Prednisone, her WBC has now gone into the normal range.  She has had LIFELONG low WBC.

* Her electrolyte ratio is normal at 28% – proving no Addison’s.

* Her HCT(anemia) number has improved from 31.9% to now 35.9%.

* Her ALB/GLOB(protein) number has improved from 1% to 3.3%.

That says that the support I’m giving her with supplements(Epakitin, Azodyl, Renafood) and a good diet(raw beef/buffalo with Urban Wolf premix adjusted for kidney disease dog), is working for these two values.

Now the bad news:

* Her PHOSPHORUS has gone from 7.2 to 8.5

So based on that, I will tweak her Urban Wolf premix diet even more, per the company that makes it, by adding more pumpkin or squash or sweet potato(doubling the amount).  I have read that by dropping the phosphorus in the dog’s diet doesn’t increase her lifespan but just makes her ‘feel better’.  So I will adjust the diet some to help that…even though she could literally eat a whole cow with her raging appetite right now, due to the Prednisone!  I read so much about kidney disease dogs having poor appetite’s and Maggie WAS one of them but not since Prednisone.  Sure wish other owners would take the plunge and do the Prednisone too…I know how stressful it is when the dog won’t eat… 🙁  Maybe it wouldn’t be a good option if you had a young dog that had CRF but at Maggie’s age, I think it’s the best thing I could of done for her.(and I’m NOT a drug fan at all).

* Her CREA has gone from 4.8 to 5.4.

From the Merck Veterinary manual, this means she has “Stage IV Kidney disease with

Creatinine Greater than 5.0 (mg/dl)”

* Her BUN is off the bloodwork’s reference range, last one was over 130 mg/dl and range is supposed to be 7-27

Gina said to continue with the daily 250 ml’s of fluids.  I had hoped I could skip a day but can’t.  Her total protein is where it needs to be at 7.2, so it proves that she is getting the correct amount of daily fluids…but don’t drop it.

So I got a break last night and Gina did Maggie’s fluids…man, is she quick and good with a needle! 🙂  Maggie never felt a thing…never even knew it hit her!  And she showed me to warm the fluids and fill the bulb on the line, which I wasn’t doing nor was I shown how to do from the vet’s office.

Maggie’s episodes of shivering at times are two different things…sometimes she shivers due to anxious for food and other times she shivers because she is cold…so I throw a blanket over her and she warms up and all is well 🙂

Gina also scaled(cleaned) Maggie’s teeth.  Maggie has always had squeaky clean sparkly teeth her whole life but wow, not now with a ‘disease’.  She has gotten really dirty the past several months.  We can’t put Maggie to sleep to do her teeth nor was it necessary!  Maggie was soooo patient and Gina did an awesome job cleaning her teeth.  Now, back to spraying her mouth with Leba III spray 2 times a day and wetting a paper towel and put some calendula mixed in water and rinsing her mouth to keep bacteria down.

Gina’s elderly JRT, Gem, came to visit as well.  Maggie & Gem(12 years) go “way back” and have done lots of traveling and competing in agility back in their prime.  Gem has always had such a “liking” for her Cousin Maggie.(the elder at 13+).  We have many fond memories of competing in agility with the two of them…them our Novice dogs and us Novice handlers….what fun we have had through their careers in agility and all the miles we ran up and down the New England states with the two of them…Gina snapped this cool photo of them this morning~


Maggie & Gem - old buddies....
Maggie & Gem – old buddies….

So, that’s our update ~ we are to keep on what we’re doing with a bit of tweaking of her diet and a bit of tweaking of the Prednisone.

Maggie’s leading the way in this path……I will continue to be “Nurse Tracy” to Miss Maggie! 🙂

’til next time, Maggie says keep on’ hoppin’, even if a tad slower these days…

Tracy & Maggie

Update on Maggie the Wonder Dog!

Just a little update on how Maggie is doing…last update was that her kidney values were getting worse and we were keeping her on Prednisone even though it appears as though she doesn’t have “Atypical Addisons”…two reasons…and the biggest she has improved DRAMATICALLY in her appetite since being on it. The other reason is maybe, just maybe it might still be Atypical Addisons(therefore she would NEED the Pred)…we’ll find out after the next round of blood work that we’ll do next month. Maybe there just wasn’t enough time(1 week) in between starting the Pred and the blood work to help? Who knows but what I DO know is her eating has improved 110%…so much so, we have backed her off a bit on the Pred. After the next check, maybe we’ll drop her even more or maybe move to other treatments for her such as Chinese herbs for her kidneys and a natural coritisone for appetite stimulant. We’ll see…

In the meantime, I am VERY much enjoying watching her eat these days! What a relief to be able to get food into her and not hold my breath to see if she might eat or not. I can now count on the fact she will eat AND I can get good foods into her to help with her kidney disease. One of her all time favorites is raw beef…which happens to be one of the lower phosphorus meats and also may be helping with her anemia. With that, she gets premixes such as Urban Wolf or Honest Kitchen Preference or Wysong Call of the Wild. She also gets raw buffalo rotating with the beef but seems to prefer beef.

Still doing daily subQ fluids – from 200-300 mls per day. She’s such a good patient for me and most times very patient with me! She is still getting Standard Process Renafood, Azodyl and Epakitin for her kidneys…and hopefully those may be helping with her BUN and CREA numbers now that she’s eating better and I can get them into her better.

I know Pred isn’t the “typical” treatment at all for kidney disease BUT it sure does help in the eating department! We’ll see if we keep her on it as time goes on…

Today, we took her for a ride in the woods and a cookout. She got a hot dog – not a “kidney friendly” food BUT it was a beef hot dog without nitrates! Does that count? Maggie thinks it does…hey, it was beef, she says! 🙂 And cheese too…yum!

Most times she looks pretty darn good to me and her coat is improving and her weight better. I don’t want her to get too heavy, though, due to three-legged-ness… She has lost quite a bit of muscling so now I have not only have to help her up the ramp(which has been like that for a LONG time) but now I have to help her down as well…not strong enough to hold herself most times without mis-stepping. Her breath is quite bad at times(kidneys) and her nose gets dry, so I put a cream on it but, all in all, given the fact she’s 13+ years old, only 3 legs due to cancer and has kidney disease…I’d say she’s not doing too badly right now! You, Miss Maggie, are one tough dog!


Happy girl waiting for her hot dog!


Papa, PLEAZE hurry up with my hot dog!


Oh it smells sooo good! Gimme now!

I think her movement is pretty darn good in this video..especially after having stood up most of the time in the Jeep for miles before stopping… her hearing is getting worse…often times, she has to be looking at me to respond to hand movements rather than voice…(or maybe it’s that selective hearing thing?)

Well..that’s all I can update on Maggie right now…until the next blood work…

‘Til then, Maggie says she’ll keep on hoppin’!

Tracy & Maggie