March 24, 2003 - August 6, 2013
I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy.
I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force you to stay.
Squishy was my best friend. He had a heart of gold. Squishy was a happy, trusting, and loyal friend. He was the best companion that anyone could hoped to have. We completed each other. Squishy was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) on July 6, 2013. Throughout the entire ordeal, Squishy never gave up. He always kept his smile on, gave me puppy hugs in the morning, and was just Squishy.
I was blessed to spend ten and a half years with my little man. Those ten and a half years, not one single day, I never took for granted spending time with my little man. Squishy was the type to dress up in his fancy little black and white tuxedo for his birthday, yellow ducky pajamas for bed time, brown Christmas sweater with white printed paw marks to make snowmen with me, or even his Hyannis plaid bow tie and would prance around cause he could.
Every night at bedtime I would tuck him in, placing his little blankie over him and tucking the little fella in, kissing him on the forehead and telling him "Goodnight". Those special moments that I spent with him I will forever miss.
The last few days we spent together were spent in a beautiful park laying under the stars relishing every moment spent together listening to Jack Johnson's Constellations and Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole's Somewhere Over the Rainbow among others. On the day when it was time to say "Goodbye", I lost a part of myself. As he slipped away, I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. We said our last Goodbyes to each other, but I know it is not forever. In time we will be together once again, but without the pain and suffering. I love you my little man, you can sleep now. Goodbye for now.
"Your collar is a rainbow's hue, your leash a shooting star, your boundaries are the Milky Way where you sparkle from afar."
What You Should Know
What is Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)?
Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a condition when your pet’s own immune system attacks its own red blood cells. The part of the immune system, that produces antibodies, begins to direct the antibodies against your pet’s own red blood cells. The red blood cells are coated with Y-shaped antibodies that mark them for removal or destruction. When too many red blood cells are destroyed your pet then is said to become anemic, they will feel weak and cold (Squishy experienced this). Since the red blood cells are being destroyed internally and not externally, you will notice that your pet will become yellow-tinged (jaundiced). Good indicators that this is happening, as well, is that you will notice that your pet’s urine will turn to brown or dark orange, this is due to large amounts of bilirubin (iron containing by-product of red blood cells destruction) being present in your pet’s liver. When red blood cells become old and inflexible, they are removed from circulation. The iron that they contain is recycled in the liver. If too many red blood cells are destroyed, the liver becomes overwhelmed with bilirubin (yellow pigment). When this occurs, bilirubin overflows out everywhere (skin, eyes, gums, and coloring the urine). This is known as Icterus (also called Jaundice).
Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a serious disease that is associated with a high mortality rate. With that said, if you find any indications of this disease immediately see your veterinarian now. Do not wait till tomorrow, do it now. Reason why I state “now” is because your pet may have 2-3 days of life left if not treated immediately. I was fortunate to extend Squishy’s life for an additional month (diagnosed on July 6, 2013) by taking medications of Predisone and Doxycycline. I’d like to state this, this disease can “just happen” with no apparent cause (certain conditions such as infections or cancer can trigger this response). It’s not yours or your pet’s fault. 60-75% IMHA cases state that there are no real apparent causes to why this happens. My veterinarian confirmed this, he stated it just happens. So, don’t beat yourself up over it. You and your pet did nothing wrong. Just enjoy as much time you and your pet have together. Cherish it.
Signs you should notice
IMHA can suddenly appear or may be gradual and progressive. The gradual and progressive symptoms happened to Squishy (when being treated for initial signs of dark orange/brown color of his urine)
- Urine becomes dark orange or brown
- Stool may show presence of blood
- Gums are pale/yellow-tinged, no longer pink
- Whites of the eyes become yellow-tinged
- Your pet becomes weak/lethargic
- Lost in interest of food
- Abdominal pain
- Fever may happen
Caring for your pet with IMHA
- Stay diligent on administrating your pet's prescription, do not miss prescribing dosages! If you miss the scheduled dosage, do not give additional medicine to "make up" missed dosage. Continue same dosage routine and notify your veterinarian of missed dosage.
- Watch for signs of infections, appetite loss, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and urinary incontinence. When your pet is on Predisone (a class of Corticosteroids) to treat IMHA, it suppresses the immune system, so they become more prone to infection.
- Keep them feed on a well-balanced diet, so they may receive the proper nutrition needed. Ask your veterinarian about recommended foods. Being on high doses of Predisone, in early stages of treatment, you will notice a huge increase in appetite and some weight gain in your pet.
- Limit your dog's activity until he recovers.
- DO NOT MISS A VETERINARIAN VISIT! Be sure to bring your pet to all scheduled visits and blood tests. I highly emphasize to stay on track with blood tests. The blood tests will tell your pet's progression through recovery. You will have frequent visits to the veterinarian. Expect every 3-4 day visits initially, then being tapered down to 1 visit per week. Your vet will start dosage in high levels, and later taper off as your pet's red blood count reaches normal.
- Expect to take your pet outside every 2-3 hours to urinate. Squish and I went through this, even in the late hours (12am, 3am, and 6am). I would continue to do this for Squishy, every day without hesitation, if it meant keeping Squish with me longer. :(
More information on IMHA
Squishy's Veterinarian (Lubbock, TX)
"Candles in memory of Squishy (March 24, 2003 - August 6, 2013)"
David you did Squishy proud with this beautiful tribute. Squishy was a man's best friend. I know you loved him a lot.
You were loved. You are missed. Your spirit continues to live on!
What a sweet tribute to Squishy. Thanks for sharing with us, David! We are thinking about you.
I know too well the pain of your loss. Pets are like our little people and we want the best for them. You gave him a perfect life and he loved you very much for it. He was a great dog and a best friend and he'll be with you in spirit forever.
You did such a wonderful job with this tribute page, David. He knows how much you loved him and how much he will be missed. I wonder if they have doggy clothing in heaven?
Squishy was a good companion and friend to all he knew. He will be missed.
Dogs are amazing creatures, and Squish was one of the special ones. Always there to greet you with a smile, quick to forgive, and not to mention a snazzy dresser. I know of the hurt that you are going through, may all the wonderful memories you've shared with Squish help you through this sad time. RIP Little Man
WHAT A SWEETIE,
God bless you little man and everyone you touched. To David, Squishy was so lucky to have you in his life, such a good guy!!!
I miss the best brother in the world! I keep looking for you so we can go on our walks. One day I will be able to join you for a walk again--you will never be replaced. I MISS YOU Arf Arf!! Your loving sister, Gabbie
Squish, watching wrestling will never be the same without you!