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Goodbye to my dear friends

January 22nd 2015 11:43 am
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Hello friends... I haven't been doing well these past couple of days. Pain from my paw is sapping all my energy, and doesn't let me eat. My humans have been keeping me company and encouraging me to walk a bit, they've even helped by carrying me down the stairs. So I'm trying my best, as I always do, because I know it makes them happy and I like being with them.

Mom & dad told me that to help me be free of pain, they would have to let me go. Where would I go? What happens to a dog when she dies? I don't know! it's not for a doggie to ponder these questions, I prefer to live in the moment. So as long as, in that final, eternal moment, my family, Mathias, mom & dad, are by my side, I will go in peace.

Keep me forever in your heart, because you were always in mine...



A quick message from Tallulah's humans.

A dog's battle with cancer is always different than a human's. When we got the diagnosis we knew it was just a matter of time. But within those boundaries, Tallulah fought valiantly, knowing that it was not about beating the disease, but about wrestling as many happy memories from it as possible.

So she did as she always had, lunging forward, tackling and enjoying life almost to the point of recklessness, with us along for the ride, also enjoying every moment. There were difficult times during these past few months, but her will to go on allowed and encouraged us to forge ahead together, as a family.

Eventually it was too much for even this seemingly invincible hound. The past few weeks she slowed down exponentially, reducing her walks and slowly losing most of her daily habits. The past couple of days she was even afraid to get up, only doing so in order to please us, since she knew we expected her to at least go outside and enjoy a few last moments outdoors.

Tallulah was euthanized yesterday, January 21st, at home, drifting away peacefully and surrounded by her family: mom, dad and Mathias. Only the certainty that it was the best thing to stop her suffering could somewhat offset the pain of her passing. The gaps her absence leaves in our home, our lives and our hearts are countless and some will never be filled again.

We always strive to learn something from dogs who are no longer with us, to honor their memory. But distilling Tallulah's legacy into a single sentence would not be possible. Beyond mere influence, she was a building block of our family, guided our decisions and our fate, and made both of us (and Mathias) who we are today. Her example of joy for life, bravery, love and loyalty, and also goofiness, stubbornness and bit of misplaced mischief, will always be present and guiding us in our hearts.

Thanks to all our friends in Dogster, who have shared our marvellous journey with Tallulah. Know that your support means the world to us; only people who have allowed dogs into their lives can appreciate the joy it brings, and the pain when they have to go, and your understanding makes it all a bit easier.

Regards and Love,

Mathias, Mom (Lucila) & Dad (Daniel)


An infection!

January 19th 2015 9:18 am
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Hello! I hope you've been doing great!

I'm still struggling with my health. After my last visit to the vet, I started peeing at home a lot again. My humans were quite concerned as they didn't know why I'd regressed. They thought it was because I'm losing a lot of muscle and that means my vertebrae become more unstable which is what causes my incontinence.

I could have told them that I felt more of an urge to pee as well as some itching, but I'm a brave girl and I don't tell :) So they finally figured out there may be something else when they realized my urine smelled of "freshly baked bread", which suggested some sort of yeast process (human medical mumbo jumbo). Sure enough, the vet said I had a major urinary infection. So now, after a week of antibiotics, I'm doing better and not peeing so much at home.

Still, the past couple of weeks have been very difficult. Despite all the meds I'm taking, my paw hurts a lot so I prefer not to walk. I do it because my humans insist but I'd prefer to just lie down all day. So with no exercise, I'm now very weak and can't stand up or walk a lot.

Also, all the food they bring me looks horrible so I prefer not to eat. I won't say no to a few yummy things like ground beef or treats, but my usual kibble is just too disgusting to me. This compounds my weakness and loss of weight.

A couple of days ago I just didn't feel like going for a walk. I have to go down some stairs to get out, and it was just too difficult and tiring. But the humans teamed up and carried me downstairs! how humiliating! But even if I don't like being carried up or down, it made things a bit easier.

Even walking is very difficult since my hind legs are now almost useless both from weakness and my old lumbar instability problem. But hey, I'm still trying! And I'm still happy to be with my family. And last night and today we enjoyed some fresh snow (which I love to eat), plus mild weather (because yeah, those days at -25C aren't enjoyable for me).

See you soon!


Happy new year!

January 8th 2015 10:11 am
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Hello! and happy new year. So yes, after all those medical adventures and mishaps, I'm still here, a few days after starting 2015 with my family, and about 2 months after turning 9 years old, which is quite respectable for a great dane.

Winter finally arrived and it's been pretty tough for me, since my bad paw is not very useful for support needed when walking on ice and snow. Also, since it hurts, I don't want to go on long walks, and my humans say that the lack of excercise has caused me to lose a lot of muscle mass and weight.

The last time I was at the vet, the scale said I lost 4kg, which is about 8% of my previous weight. Dad was surprised to see my collarbones showing, they had always been covered by a layer of muscle and other tissue!

Unfortunately my last treatment at the vet (another bone-strengthening treatment) didn't really work, so at this point mom & dad say the best thing to do is to try to reduce my pain with medication, since most of the remaining treatment options (amputation or chemotherapy) aren't really suitable for me.

I've been taking pain control medication, so with that I'm a bit more comfortable, and my humans have been watching me closely to see if I'm doing more or less OK.

So I'm still hanging in here! even if I'm in a bit of pain and a bit sad, I'd like to go out for a nice walk and squirrel-watching but my body is not up to it anymore. But I'm still happy to be with my family. And don't worry, my humans are watching me and will not let me suffer; and of course, I will tell them if I need help.

I'll try to post again soon to keep folks up to date!

P.S.: Dogster has a problem when trying to post comments, so if you'd like to reply or leave me a comment, you could try leaving a gift; there are usually free gifts that cost no zealies and can have a short message attached. It's not ideal, I know; I told my humans about this and they said they'd try to find an alternative.


Sandy Beach

January 6th 2015 6:33 am
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Here I am again! And though I'm posting this in January, I wanted to write about my September adventures.

September heralds the arrival of Fall, which is particularly nice up here, with all the changing colors and the return of cool weather (hot weather is murder for a dog like me!). It also means that winter will shortly follow. With that in mind, mom & dad said they'd take me for a car ride up to see the river. They thought I'd enjoy the river and it was good to do so while I'm still not so affected by osteosarcoma. Yay! they were right!

So in mid-september, they somehow got a car (I say somehow because I know we don't own a car, but sometimes mom & dad are sneaky and get ahold of a car, which I love to ride in!). They left Mathias with a pet sitter (don't worry, he loves staying home with the sitter!) and put me in the car for a long drive.

We drove for about 40 minutes and ended up in beautiful Hudson, across and up the river. They have this pretty nice place called "Sandy Beach", which is surrounded by a wild park. Unfortunately, it was raining that day! so the sky was grey and the weather was soggy. But fortunately, that meant there was literally nobody around! it was just us. And since we were well-prepared, with raincoats and boots and all that, we managed to enjoy the ride and visit to the beach.

On the way back, we even got to use a ferry! it took us from Hudson to Oka, on Montreal's north shore, from which we drove through a series of apple orchards, then across Laval back to Montreal and home. What a day! Mom & dad said it was great that I finally got to see the river up close (I even got my paws wet), and that it'd make for some fond memories of our time together. But of course, as a doggy, I was simply very happy to spend time with my humans and play in the water a bit.

about 3 weeks after that (mid-October), I started feeling a lot more pain in my paw. It was hurting so much that, when I was standing, I preferred not to put it down on the ground. When walking, I still have to use it for support, but I try to step quickly on it so it doesn't hurt. Because of this, the oncologist suggested something called "radiation therapy". It was a miserable affair for me, because dad drove me to the hospital, left me there, and they gave me something to sleep while they did the treatment. That sedation stuff leaves me in a bad shape, so after that I slept most of the afternoon and night. And oh the horror! the next day, the same thing happened again! Dad said that the treatment works like that, two days in a row. But it was like magic because a couple of days later I started feeling better and most of the pain was gone! So I was able to go for some more walks and keep enjoying the awesome Fall colors in my favorite park.

I'll be back with more stories tomorrow!


The oncologist

January 4th 2015 6:46 pm
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Hello again! I'm still remembering all my adventures from 2014.

After my brush with death due to bloat (yeah, that lady and I just keep staring each other in the face) everything was fine for a few weeks. But one day, I felt this pang in my left wrist, so I yelped and lifted it in pain. Mom & dad checked it and said it was fine, maybe just a sprain.

The same thing happened about 2 weeks later, and every time, mom & dad would just force me to take it easy for a few days, saying it was probably just a sprain from my being so crazy.

But at some point, dad noticed the small lump growing on my wrist. See, I told you it was something real! and it hurts!

So naturally that earned me another trip to the vet. My usual vets weren't sure what it was, so they took some x-rays (which required wrestling and sedation, as usual - I don't like x-rays), and asked dad to take me to another specialist. This time it was an "oncologist", and for some reason when mom & dad learned about this, they got very concerned.

So some days later (this was in mid-August, 2014), we went to the pet hospital to see the oncologist. Dad left me there for a few hours while they gave me a medicine to strengthen my wrist bones and help with the pain. Later, mom & dad talked about what the oncologist said: the x-rays and exam indicated something called osteosarcoma, which destroys doggies' bones so the limb doesn't work anymore.

The oncologist gave us a series of possible treatments to help me, but said this can't really be cured; the only possibility for that would be removing my leg entirely (gasp!), but he said it wasn't really an option for me, given my history of back problems. In the end he said I could last about 6 months with good quality of life (which I take to mean chasing squirrels and eating yummy stuff).

Mom & dad were shocked and saddened by this; But hey, there's nothing to be sad about, right? it means I still get another 6 months with my humans. For a doggy with such a, shall we say, colorful medical history, every day with my family is a blessing; so I'm glad that mom & dad saw things my way and decided to enjoy what time we have together, and help me feel as good as possible.

I'll tell you more about my adventures soon!


Incontinence & Bloat

January 3rd 2015 5:14 pm
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Hello! I realized I haven't updated my journal in a while, but I'm still here!

I had an interesting year in 2014. After the crazy, cold and long 2013-2014 canadian winter, mom & dad took Mathias and I to the vet, for our yearly check-up. They were determined to get some answers regarding my incontinence, which was becoming a big problem. It's quite embarrassing, I'd wake up and find pee and poop on the bed, without remembering when I'd done that. I would even pee without noticing, even when awake during the afternoon. So it was uncomfortable and concerning.

The vets checked that there were no obvious problems and since there weren't, they recommended a specialist; a neurologist, since they believed the main cause could be neurological.

So off we went to see this neurologist lady who did a really complete exam on me. It was fun because she kept poking me in the face and doing funny things to my joints and spine. They also took some x-rays which wasn't so fun, so I wrestled a bit but in the end they did put me on the table and took those x-rays (yeah, it took 4 people to hold me down). In the end she said I was a bit stiff and sore from old age, as well as having some swelling of tissue around the base of my tail, and recommended some medication to help with the pain and reduce the chronic swelling. So we all left the clinic in high spirits because it looked like I'd finally get some relief from the incontinence issue. Yay!

Right after seeing the vet we went to a new park near the river (Mom says it's the St. Lawrence river). Mom & dad had planned a pic-nic to unwind after the stressful vet visit. It was a very hot June day, and after all the jostling at the vet, drinking a lot of water and eating some food, plus the overexertion and panting from the heat, I started feeling really bad and had a terrible tummyache. Of course mom & dad got worried and asked me what was wrong, but I couldn't answer because I was choking and in a lot of pain, and my belly felt like it was about to explode. Mom & dad touched my belly and said it felt like a balloon.

Eventually the humans managed to help me back in the car and drove like crazy back to the same pet hospital we'd been in, less than 2 hours ago! All the while I was in a lot of pain and complaining, though mom was keeping me company and soothing me.

During the trip I learned that mom & dad were afraid I had "bloat", which is very common in large doggies and can be fatal if not treated quickly. When we got to the hospital they gave me something to help me sleep, and when I woke up I no longer had that horrible pain in my tummy, though I did have a 20-centimeter incision with sutures. Man, I hate when they cut my tummy open!

It turns out I did get bloat, my stomach and tubes were all twisted around each other and that's what was causing the pain. The vets said it was good that mom & dad brought me there so quickly; there was no serious damage, and although I had some post-surgical complications, which required me to stay in the hospital for a couple of extra days, in the end it all was ok. I came back home feeling terrible and had to take it easy for about 2 weeks, but my tummy healed well. And hey, the medication that the neurologist prescribed ended up working just fine! now my incontinence problem is almost entirely gone and I don't have the embarrassment of wetting the bed so frequently.


Dogster community NOT going away?

February 17th 2014 10:01 am
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Hello friends! I just read this:

It looks like Dogster is not going away after all! Anyway, as they say in the article, it's not all set in stone yet, but let's see what happens.



Goodbye dogster!

January 27th 2014 9:22 am
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We were really sad to learn that Dogster's community section, where we've kept our blogs for a long time (Tallulah is 8, and started her page when she was less than a year old) is closing down. Now, as dogs, we can only speculate as to the reasons. Dogster was a place where we could express ourselves to like-minded doggies (and their humans), and that was an important part of our dog-lives.

Hugely important events, such as the adoption of Aullido and Mathias, as well as devastating ones, like the passing of Aullido and Bela, as well as Talluhah's near-death experiences, were much better when shared with our friends, who gave us tremendous support and were always there to share our joy and ease our burdens.

We now "scramble" to collect contact information for our friends, knowing that friendships will endure and we will keep in touch. So let's leave it at that; social networks may come and go, but friendships will last, so let this be a "see you over there", rather than a "goodbye"!. Be seeing you!

P.S. We'll still check our paw mail in the coming weeks, so if you'd like to stay in touch with us, let us know so we can share contact details.

- Tallulah & Mathias & Family


Cozy Christmas!

December 25th 2013 11:52 am
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Hello! Winter finally came and we've been having a lot of fun playing in the snow and dealing with seasonal storms. I'm a big dog, but when I step in a snow bank and sink to the chest, I know it's really been snowing a lot.

Another thing that's happening is that I'm finding it harder to deal with the snow, the exercise and the cold. My humans have noticed I get really cranky when it's very cold and I have to go out (hey, you'd be cranky too if you had to go out on -20 degree cold!). Also, when I come back home I am very tired and sleep a lot. But hey, it's just that I'm not that young anymore; I'm doing my best to keep up. At least the humans realize that and try to keep my walks short. Still, it's so nice outside that I forget about the cold sometimes and want to stay there playing with snow and chasing squirrels!

Anyway, have a great holiday season and a good new year, hope to be reading about y'all here soon! Cheers!


Tallulah's new clothes

June 21st 2013 1:07 pm
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Hey all! So the months of April and May are usually quite rainy; so are the autumn months, September and October. Since us doggies need to go out rain or shine (or snow!), it's always a challenge for the humans to find ways to keep us comfortable and dry on those rainy walks.

I used to not mind the rain, when I was younger I liked going out on the rain and running in puddles. I don't think my humans liked it very much! But now I'm older and I'm not so fond of the rain anymore. I get all wet and cold and I just want to go back home.

Due to my size, it's usually hard to find good rainwear for me. I've been made to wear a human jacket, but since it has the arms at the sides (not both pointing down, who designed these crazy humans?) it wasn't a good fit. I've also been known to wear (oh the shame) a giant plastic trash bag, which my humans affectionately call my "derelicte". I don't like it because it's very noisy and gets in my way while walking.

Luckily for me, my humans decided to splurge and bought spiffy new rain slickers from Chilly Dogs for Mathias and myself.

After a gruesome measurement-taking session, these were ordered online and promptly arrived via mail. I got an orange one that looks great! They have good coverage of our backs, sides and belly, though our paws, legs and heads still get a bit wet. Still, mom & dad say it's easier to dry 25% of a dog than an entire, wet dog! and we're much happier since we don't get so wet and cold.

And of course, as a girl, I always like getting and showing off my new clothes :)

See ya'll!

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