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Big Dogs Rule

At Peace

February 28th 2008 11:52 pm
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Tonight the beautiful Sheba went to the Rainbow Bridge at approximately 7:30pm. She was in so much pain due to her brain tumor and her foot, and last night she told me it was time to let her go. She was barking incessantly (and she is not a barker at all, especially since getting sick), trembling, having seizures and going to the bathroom all over herself because she couldn't walk. She was so discontent, and I wanted her to be happy and at peace at last. I made arrangements with her vet to come over this evening, as we'd talked about when she first became ill. I absolutely did not want her life to end in the ER, after all she went through there with her seizures. I wanted her at home with me, feeling comfortable, and we were so lucky because that is exactly what happened.

Today she continued to be very agitated and in pain, but she enjoyed eating all kinds of special treats (after three pieces of chicken last night): doggie pate for breakfast courtesy of Dogster designer and wonderful friend Yuko, a cheeseburger for lunch, and a big steak and a block of truffle cheese for dinner. I spent the day hugging her, brushing her and telling her how much I love her and how thankful I am that she found me. We also spent some time on our back deck in the sun on a clear, warm California day.

About thirty minutes before the vet arrived, Sheba went into my bedroom and got into her giant bed. This was an amazing thing, because I had envisioned her being put to rest there, but she never gets in that bed. She prefers her smaller beds, which she has in each room of our house, but she crawled into that particular bed and relaxed for the first time in a long time. It was like she just knew what was happening, where to go and what to do. I stayed there with her, holding her and talking to her, until the vet arrived. He gave me a big hug when he came in; he has come to know us really well over the past few months and has been a huge support.

Sheba did not even look at him or react when he came in and started administering the drugs. She was just ready to go. She was entirely calm and did not have any of the reactions he warned me that she might. She just went to sleep as I cradled her head and kissed her, amidst candles and white roses.

When it was over, I spent a long time with her, admiring how completely peaceful she looked. I had many pets growing up and saw many of them pass away, but it was never like this. Sheba died tonight with so much dignity, surrounded by so much love. Seeing her sleeping was a great reminder of how much she has been suffering and how much she deserved to be able to rest, pain-free, at last. She is still in her bed now, appreciating all the warm thoughts from the Dogster community members who gave us so many pawresents and sent so many pmails today. Her body is curled up and sprinkled with rose petals. She truly was my flower.

I am taking her to be cremated tomorrow morning. I plan to spread some of her ashes at the beach, where she loved to go, and keep the rest.

For me, there will never be another dog like Sheba. She truly was my best friend, and never acted like a dog or thought she was one. She was a passionate, cranky, loving, demanding, soft, lazy, grunty, snuffly, cuddly beast who changed me forever, and I will miss her every single day for the rest of my life.

Sheba's life began badly. She was neglected and abandoned. I have spent the past eight years of her life (minus one when I was in London for work and she lived with her loving grandpawrents in TX) trying to make up for that very undeserved start, treating her as she always should have been treated. She never fully got over that initial drama, understandably, but she led a very big life, moving from DC to NYC to SF and always being with me. We grew up together and experienced so much.

I will sing the Sheba song once more in her memory. It was composed years ago by yours truly and sung to her many times in my terrible singing voice.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy,
And you are grey.

You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my doggie away.

To Sheba, love of my life... to Dogster... and to all dogs... I love you.




Please Send More Paw Power

February 27th 2008 3:59 pm
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I have felt very lethargic and shaky for the past few days, though I haven't had a seizure since Saturday. However, I hurt my front paw, and it has swollen to twice the normal size. My mom thinks I slipped while pacing around while she was at work. I am becoming less coordinated, and the floors get wet when I have accidents.

I am now on painkillers and anti-inflammatories. The vet says it's just a sprain, best case scenario, but it could be worse. A broken foot would be horrible for me right now, with all my pacing.

My foot is in a lot of pain, and we are unhappy. I bet I'll get a special dinner tonight, at least.


Feeling Better, Thanks to the Power of the Paw!

February 18th 2008 8:54 pm
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After a tumultuous time last week, I am feeling better again. I am still here, people! I know it is all due to everyone's well wishes and my Dog of the Day status.

My seizures increased dramatically, but the vet was able to find a solution that is working for now: no more steroids and an increase in the anti-convulsants I've been taking for the past six weeks. I have been sleeping better most nights, and I had zero seizures all weekend. Paws up!

One very strange thing that has happened is that I no longer seem to feel threatened. I guess it's all the meds. I let the landlord's dog come into my apartment and eat my food this weekend without a care, and I was attacked by a barking Chihuahua named Eddie and barely reacted. I am mellow these days...

I was even able to go to the park on Saturday and hike around a little and see beautiful views of San Francisco. Not to mention, I got a never-before-allowed hamburger for Valentine's Day (don't tell!).


We Love You

February 13th 2008 1:48 am
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Here is a note from my Mom:

I have owed everyone an update for quite a while. As you can imagine, the vast majority of my time has been devoted to making sure Sheba is comfortable. Thank you all for making my dear girl, the puppopotamus, Dog of the Day and sending her so many happy thoughts. We give special thanks to Sally/Sassy, Hazel Lucy, the Roo Crew, the Nebraska Pack and and all the amazing Dogster/Catster folks who have looked after us during this hard time. I can't tell you how much it has meant to us to feel your love and care.

When Sheba has had a difficult day, I can log into Dogster, read your messages and feel so much love from all of you. You have made me cry and feel thankful countless times. And when she is having seizures and pacing and peeing everywhere, I feel I have a vast support network of people who know and understand.

Sheba's vet also told me today that I should feel lucky, and he is right. I have always felt very blessed that she has been with me this long. She has lived longer than most mastiffs can or should, and she has hung in there for me, because she knows somehow, I think, that I am not ready to let my best friend go. The wonder-vet pointed out that her brain tumor has only affected her housetraining--she pees and poops inside constantly, and I am constantly mopping and cleaning--but not her mobility or recognition of me. She still knows and loves me, and that is the most I could ever ask for, especially after thinking she'd never make it home from the ER back in December.

I moved to San Francisco a little less than a year ago. I'd had had a busy career on the East Coast since I adopted Sheba and wanted a better life for us. I wanted to be in a place in my life where I could love my job, spend time with my dog, work hard and be happy, and I found all of that at Dogster. I wish you could all work with us at HQ and have the same experience!

In short, Sheba is still hanging in there. She has her good days and bad days, but she is still with me and loves eating (more than ever with all the meds!), going for short walks, etc. I have had many conversations with her vet, pet experts, etc. We have a plan in place for her peaceful ending. I will keep you in the loop, and I love each and every one of you for giving us your support.

More soon!



January 25th 2008 2:55 pm
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Check out this fantastic quote from the AKC Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Standard description:

"The absence of massiveness is to be so severely penalized as to eliminate from competition."


We also like this:

"Disqualifications: Absence of wrinkles and folds. "


I Have a Brain Tumor

December 19th 2007 12:23 pm
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I've been diagnosed with an inoperable brain mass after having multiple seizures over the past few days. I was released from the ER last night and am now at home, taking medicine to shrink the tumor and stop the seizures, but I am unable to stand and go outside. Please keep me in your thoughts. I may not have much time left.

Thanks to everyone at Dogster for the moment of silence this morning on behalf of me and the other sick office dogs, La Luce and Griffin.


I Am 10 Years Old Today!

November 15th 2007 3:20 pm
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This is an amazing feat for a Neo. I am still alive and kickin' at 10!

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Sheba (RIP, Beautiful One)


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