In Loving Memory

Farewell, Gertie (11/30/06)

11/14/05 Update on Gertie!

Hi! My name is Gertie and I am a 6 year old, 8 pound, female Papillon mix. I ended up at an area shelter is horrendous condition - I was horribly matted, underweight, had a broken jaw and what the shelter veterinarian thought was a broken pelvis (a subsequent x-ray and examination resulted in a revised diagnosis regarding my knees). It was also discovered that I was heartworm positive. I've sure had a rough life - so rough in fact that everyone at the shelter, including the veterinarian, thought I was really old. It was even recommended that I not have heartworm treatment because they thought I would pass away of old age prior to the heartworm disease killing me. However, at the time of my spay, it was discovered that I had what appeared to be a uterus of a 6 year old dog - which was quite a shock to everyone! So it was decided that I just appeared on the outside to be older than I really was because of the hard life I had led. So, the recommendation changed - and it was decided heartworm treatment was needed! Is that a story or what? And I know you are wondering why in the WORLD my new SBRET friends agreed to take another heartworm positive dog into the program - knowing up FRONT that I had them. Well, first, I'm just so darn CUTE! But the second, and REAL reason they decided to get me was in honor of Lucky, who passed away the very day they rescued me. They wanted to honor his memory, and give another heartworm positive dog a chance at life. And lucky for me, that was me!

And yes, I'm just as sweet as I look. Despite the past life I have led, I am a very loving little girl. I love people, get along with dogs and cats, and am basically as sweet as can be. My new SBRET buddies could not believe how well adjusted I am. The shelter staff also fell in love with me, and they kept me several weeks trying to find someone to take me - and this is very unusual at major shelters. That should tell you how special and sweet I am. I am also gorgeous - just look at my pictures. Everyone's favorite picture of me is the one with my new buddy, Luana! Now THAT'S a glamour shot!

Update: On March 27th we took Gertie to our veterinarian for a thorough examination. In addition to the heartworms and the broken jaw, which we already knew she had, it was determined that she has luxating patella. Luxating patella is a condition in which the knee slips out of the socket. Both back knees are in poor condition, and are rated Grade 3 (the worst is Grade 4). As a result, if Gertie makes it through heartworm treatment, she will definitely have to have knee surgery - without this expensive surgery she may be unable to walk in the future. We will also have her jaw evaluated more fully in the future, pending the results of these other procedures. However, she will probably not need surgery on her jaw as she is eating fine and is in no pain. Our vet also discovered that Gertie has a genetic deformity of her left eye - it is smaller than the other and although the pupil reacts to light, it is doubtful that Gertie sees anything more than light and shadows in this eye. However, the other eye is absolutely normal, and you would never know that one eye does not function normally. I know this sounds like a lot of problems, but Gertie is not nearly as fragile as she looks! She actually plays with other dogs and will occasionally have a little running spree and play by herself. Of course after this she is tired and likes to relax with her buddies!

Gertie's most urgent need is the heartworm treatment that can save her life. As we have seen with poor Lucky, the treatment is risky, but is necessary to kill the worms and prolong her life. At the time of her initial examination Gertie was determined to be underweight and not well enough to undergo the treatment. However, as of the time of this update (May 5), Gertie has really gained a little TOO much weight and we would actually like her to lose a little prior to her heartworm treatment. We think that Gertie must have really gone hungry for a long time prior to coming into the program, and she will eat uncontrollably. So we are really having to watch her diet right now, but we anticipate that we will start her heartworm treatment soon. Please help us help Gertie and our other heartworm positive dogs in the program get a second chance at life! Donations in any amount bring us one step closer at getting them the heartworm treatment they need! Thanks so much!

Donations can be paid via check (send to: SBRET; P.O. Box 22482; Knoxville, TN 37933), PayPal

, or even paid directly to my veterinarian. Just ask my SBRET buddies for the vet info.

9/17/04 update: As a result of Gertie's enlarged heart and elevated bloodwork levels, we opted to do the slow heartworm treatment method. Gertie has had three treatments so far. The first treatment was a half treatment. After a month she had a second treatment - which is the normal full first treatment. We are on the third month - which means she had another treatment (normally the second treatment) - to kill the baby heartworms. In a couple of weeks we will give her a heartworm pill - then after a month she will be retested for heartworms - at which time she will hopefully be heartworm free.

10/12/04 update: Gertie has completed 3 phases of her heartworm treatment: 1st Treatment ("half" treatment for adult worms), 2nd Treatment (full treatment for adult worms), and 3rd Treatment (treatment for "baby" worms). On October 3rd, Gertie was given a heartworm preventative tablet as directed by our veterinarian. In early November we will take Gertie back to the vet for a heartworm test, which will hopefully at this time be negative! Keep your fingers crossed!

4/26/05 update: Gertie has completed her heartworm treatment and seems to be feeling great. However, her limited mobility due to her bad knees is affecting her ability to enjoy life and run and play. We would love to have Gertie evaluated for knee surgery, and then begin the process of fundraising for that surgery. However, Gertie's lack of exercise, in addition to her love of food, has led to a significant weight gain. Because Gertie is being fostered in a multiple dog household, it is difficult for Gertie's foster mom to monitor her food intake as well as she should. Therefore, we would love to find Gertie a foster home with a smaller number of dogs, that could work on Gertie's diet plan. It is extremely important that we get Gertie to lose weight so she can ease the burden on her knees and improve her prognosis for recovery in the event we are able to get this crucial surgery for her. So, if you are interested in fostering Gertie, please contact SBRET.

11/14/05 update: Very Sad News

We have very sad news to report about our dear little Gertie. On Monday, 11/14, Gertie's foster mom noticed that she was breathing heavily and refused to eat. She immediately rushed Gertie to our vet, who took x-rays. Unfortunately, the x-rays showed that in addition to an enlarged heart, Gertie has lung cancer. It breaks our hearts that Gertie has made it through so much, including neglect and heartworms, only to be diagnosed with this incurable disease. For right now, Gertie has been put on several medications to ease her breathing. Currently these medications are working for Gertie, and she is back, for the most part, to her former self - lounging around and chowing down on her food - and as always, wagging her tail, showing joy at the slightest bit of attention. We will keep her comfortable at home as long as she is happy and appearing to still enjoy her life. The vet tells us she probably will not last long, but we are committed to making her last days her happiest. We will give her lots of love, and as much food as she wants! We have always worried about Gertie's weight and done the best we can to try to keep her weight down. However, at this point we are going to give her what makes her happy - and Gertie's two favorite things in life are attention of any sort and food - and both she will have. So, please keep Gertie in your thoughts and prayers. And for those of you who have kept up with Gertie, as she has been our long-term SBRET sweetheart, please try to feel comforted, as we try to comfort ourselves, with the fact that we did the best we could, and provided her with the heartworm treatment and other veterinary care she needed. And we promise you that when she is ready to make that journey to the Rainbow Bridge, we will be by her side, and she will know no fear or pain. But for right now she is with us, and again, we will strive to make these last few days or weeks the best that we can possibly provide.



Luana and Gertie

Gertie and Trista


Farewell, Gertie (11/30/06)

Sadly, on 11-28-06 little Miss Gertie went to the rainbow bridge. Gertie was with us from day one - we got her from a shelter on the day that our precious Lucky passed away due to complications of heartworms. We decided that in memory of Lucky we would rescue this poor little girl. She had a ton of problems (including heartworms), but we just knew that we had to save her.

Although Gertie made it through heartworm treatments and her broken jaw healed just fine, we soon discovered that little Gertie had other problems. She most likely had lung cancer. There wasn't much we could do about this, so we had her on medications to kept her comfortable. That was one year ago and miraculously she was still holding on to life. When she started to lose some hair, we took her back in to the vet. They determined that she may have Cushings disease but seemed OK at the time.

Gertie's foster dad informed me that she was eating well, but couldn't control her bowels very well. She was also having a hard time breathing. So on November 28th, we took her to the vet, knowing what was going to happen. Little Gertie put up a good fight for a long time, but was very tired at this point. We made the decision to let her go to the rainbow bridge to be with her mommy Karen.