We haven’t updated much on Callie since she came to be with us in late June 2018. We were living upstairs of the shop while our house was renovated and had decided not to foster until we were back home. But we got the call about Callie and couldn’t say no.
She was having severe panic attacks at the shelter and was hurting herself trying to get out of the kennels overnight. She lost a few teeth to chewing on the bars and had a sprained paw. Callie went to one other foster first but when left in a crate for a half hour while the foster mom tried to grocery shop, Callie dismantled the crate and further injured herself. We were asked if we could meet her and consider fostering because the shelter knew our fosters come to work and rarely are left alone.
Callie’s first 48 hours with us were horrible. Both for her and us. Callie was panicked by the traffic on Wall Street and we could barely get her to cross a street to get to residential areas for walks. That first Sunday was a stormy one and Callie could not be consoled. She was overstimulated by the number of people rain brings into town and what we did not know then was that she was deathly afraid of rain. The lightest sound of drops on a window would cause her to shake and pant. Tom ended up carrying her to the apartment that Sunday and Jessica ran the shop solo.
But things got better. Callie adapted somewhat to traffic. She started to trust us. We learned her triggers (text message dings were one of them) and learned how to help her through her anxiety. Her medication kicked in and allowed her brain to quiet a bit.
We never got to a point we could leave her alone for any stretch of time, but she would stay calm waiting inside a vehicle. With an extra set of keys and a little more gas money for AC, we were able to run errands and do most of our normal activities with Callie as our sidekick.
When we adopted Timber in September, we seriously considered adopting Callie as well. The biggest thing that held us back is that we knew she disliked being at the shop. If she could find another family that could truly be with her day and night without subjecting her to a public work space, she deserved to find that family.
We moved back home at the beginning of November and that was a great time for Callie. She had to get used to a TV (we hadn’t had one in the apartment), but she really loved being out of town and having so many extra rooms with beds. Also having a “day off” with one of us at home was so much more relaxing for her than being cooped up in the apartment.
The only thing Callie disliked during this time was the fact we did not let her walk for miles at a time. She was older and even though her paw healed, she would limp easily. She also tired quickly but somehow never put it together that we’d have to walk back the same amount of distance we walked forward.
Callie was never a great eater. There were a lot of good reasons – like her poor teeth – to believe she was just being picky. But by December we were concerned that she was going to lose too much weight while we tried out different diets. She went to the vet for a check up. There were some elevated protein levels that did not look good but nothing concrete was found. A round of steroids made her feel better and made her eat more.
After the holidays, concern over her health prompted a second vet visit. This time tests were conclusive that she had kidney disease. Many dogs can manage the disease for months or even years, but this is usually when the disease is caught on routine checkups versus a dog brought in with symptoms.
We adjusted our thoughts on her care and pampered her as best we could. It was a tough situation for both us and the shelter to be in. We, and Callie, were very lucky that we were trusted to know what was best for her.
After a week of even worse eating and two days of refusing medications, Callie had a seizure on Sunday February 17th. She was at home with Jessica who has been a caretaker for a cat prone to seizures. Jessica kept Callie from trying to stand back up after her first fall, helped Callie vomit safely afterwards, and stayed by her side for the rest of the day.
In some ways, Callie did not look like the seizure affected her much. But she would not eat even the most tempting human foods. She refused medications. And while she could walk, she could not tell herself to walk. She would stand up from resting and then stay standing until one of us either nudged her to walk or nudged her to sit back down.
And she looked horribly, horribly sleepy, sad, and confused. Talking about incidents over the prior month, we now believe this was not her first seizure. The time she “ran away” across the lake at night during a snow storm. The time we heard her bumping around at night in a room she doesn’t sleep in.
While it felt like a quick decision to help her leave this world, we know it was right for Callie. If she kept refusing food and medication, not only would the end come soon but her mind would quickly revert to a scared, panicked one. We decided she should not have to suffer through more crippling anxiety on top of her physical ailments.
She passed while both of us cradled her head, rubbed her neck, and told her what a good dog she was.
She was. She was a very good dog.