A Huge Mix of Emotions – DOG DAY!

This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. On Monday and Tuesday, I was struggling to sleep out of pure excitement and anxiety. This is because, on Wednesday afternoon, our beautiful Puppy arrived at our house. The following afternoon, we had some awful news about out darling Chippy and I was broken. The only thing keeping me going was our handsome new puppy.

Anthony’s birthday is in June, he’s always loved dogs (especially Buttons and Chippy). We’ve always discussed getting another dog, but Anthony was desperate for a German Shepard puppy, so he could raise it and train it. Buttons and Anthony are best friends, so I knew Anthony would want to train the puppy to be just like Buttons.

My friend Chloe and her in-laws, had a little mistake with their beautiful Belgian Shepards and Dudley, got Missy pregnant! As soon as I knew they were pregnant I was so excited! Belgian’s and German’s are very similar, but in general, Belgian’s have less inherited conditions due to less inbreeding. Dudley and Missy are both Kennel Club registered like Buttons and Chip, so I knew the pups came from good stock. One afternoon, I just happened to click onto Chloe’s social media and there they were! Photos of the pups had been posted and I immediately knew which one I liked the most!

Baby Tywin

Right then and there, I worked out the dates and realised that the pups would be ready about 3-4 weeks before Anthony’s birthday! What a result! I had done my research into German Shepards and I wasn’t prepared to invest money into a beautiful creature, to have it suffer from bad hips all its life. That would require extra money, but more importantly, surgery and a life of limited activity for the poor dog. I knew Anthony would love the pups I had found and contacted Chloe for all the details.

I’m really lucky to know Chloe and her family. Chloe had EDS, is a mother and a massive dog lady, just like me. We have much in common and I knew Chloe had jobs and qualifications in various elements of animal care. It’s been a privilege to know Chloe and watch he beautiful family grow, including seeing her gorgeous animals blossom and how they interacted with the children of the family so well.

After all the relevant questions, information and messages had been exchanged, it was established which pup I was getting. I knew from word go that we wanted a Stud and not a Bitch. Our family has all Studs and not all of them have been sterilised, so I knew it was smarter to get another male! We didn’t need another accident, I knew I would never be able to part with the puppies! Chloe’s husband offered to drop the pup to me, as I’m medically unfit to drive, which was so lovely of him. That also meant that the pup could get to his forever home a few days quicker than first expected!

So, as you can imagine I had so many sleepless nights! The whole family knew that I was buying Anthony this beautiful pup as an early birthday gift, everyone accept Anthony! So, Wednesday arrived, Anthony left to visit family for the day, he left roughly 20 minutes before Chloe and family arrived! After hours of chatting, catching up and settling the pup in, Chloe and family left, but I couldn’t wait any longer for Anthony to arrive home.

As Anthony walked through the door, the pup was sleeping in the doorway, directly opposite the front door. Anthony called out, asking if my friends were still here, to which I replied “No”. I picked up the pup, Anthony looked from me to the puppy and back again, his moth dropped open and he said, “What have you done?”. I smiled and said, “Happy early birthday Daddy!”. Anthony was shocked, literally for days! He gently slipped pup out of my arms, snuggled him closely and smothered him in love and kisses.

Tywin Lennard

We had ‘hypothetically’ discussed puppy names quite recently, so I had a good idea that he would be named after a Game Of Thrones Character. I had not seen Anthony so in love in a long time, it was such a wonderful, heart-warming sight to see. Anthony chose to name the puppy, Tywin Lennard. He is named after Tywin Lannister, Charles Dance’s character, who is the head of House Lannister, in Game Of Thrones.

As you can imagine, we were in this bubble of love. Our beautiful Tywin had reached his forever home, he was being loved, played with and snuggled beyond measure and I was really looking forward to Thursday afternoon, my mum was coming over to meet him. I had a maximum of 5 hours of broken sleep Wednesday evening/morning, as I was settling in Tywin. He was a little upset on his first night away from his mum and siblings, so I stayed with him, for comfort. By the time my mum arrived at midday, both of us were napping and didn’t hear her banging on the door!

Mum came in and we had a coffee and a chat. It was unusual for mum to be at mine without Buttons and Chippy, but because Tywin hadn’t been vaccinated yet, it wasn’t a good idea for them to meet straight away. That’s when Mum dropped the bombshell.

As many of my readers or followers on social media will know, our Chippy has been diagnosed with terminal mast cell cancer. He has spent the entirety of this year, so far being in and out of surgery to remove his tumours and re-stitch his huge wounds, 7 huge wounds which wouldn’t heal and kept getting infected. Chippy had to wear a high neck, surgical t-shirt while his wounds were recovering, he had a cone on his head and had extremely limited exercise.

Last week, Chip was finally able to stop wearing his t-shirt full time. I kept calling him Steve Jobs, as that’s who he reminded me of in his high neck t-shirt! However, roughly 4 weeks ago when we were all at my mums, Chippy had a vets appointment because he had blood in his urine. Anthony and I stayed at mums with Buttons and she took Chip to see his vet. It was good news, no cancer in his bladder, no viral or bacterial infections, absolutely no idea where or why he’s bleeding when urinating. We all joked and said, “Oh, he’s definitely Willow’s Dog, what with his joint problems, being a bit crazy and now his dodgy bladder!”.

The levels of blood in his urine decreased and it was during this time that Chippy’s wounds healed and his t-shirt came off. We all thought, it was brilliant! He was thriving, in no pain, no sign of fatigue and he was back to his usual happy self, exercise had increased and he showed no signs of not wanting food or drink! However, Chippy has always had the habit of doing one huge wee in one go. He will literally stand for 2 minutes solidly weeing and creating this large yellow puddle around himself! He’s always really proud after he’s had a big wee! Daft Boy!

The vets observed him doing this huge wee, out the back of their clinic and noticed he yet again had blood in his urine! They spoke to us and we assured them that, for Chippy this is normal for him to have this really long wee. They still wanted to investigate due to the blood, to see if he was born with some kind of abnormality in his urinary tract. Chippy doesn’t mark or scent like his big brother, Buttons. We just assumed because he is the younger of the two, not alpha male and an extremely submissive boy, that this might be the reason.

Chip was admitted for an exploration of his urinary tract, we were told that because he is such a good boy, he may not need sedation. That is why Mum had shown up at my house, so she could meet Tywin and update me on Chippy. Chippy LOVES the vets! They have him in on cat day. He is scared of cats and small dogs, he also absolutely HATES being in a cage, especially without his brother! So all the nurses let him sit in reception with them on cat day because he is such a lovely, well-behaved, but scared boy.

Mum got all call whilst at mine, saying that Chippy was ready to come home, he’d been a brave boy and could we collect him. We thought that it was good news, maybe he hadn’t had sedation? It was unexpected for us to pick him up so early. Buttons and Chippy, do not recover well from anaesthetic, so the fact that the vets had called mid afternoon is unheard of! But, it was not meant to be. He had in fact been sedated very quickly because they found a tumour the size of a large male fist on his kidneys. They had to take an emergency biopsy and advised that we should get the results within the week.

We are devastated! Chippy was coming on leaps and bounds. Please do not mistake me, we know he is going to die and maybe more quickly than his big brother, but to see how aggressive these tumours are, has broken our hearts. He had just fully recovered from one major surgery and literally within 6-7 days of that, it turns out he may need another big surgery, lose his kidney or his life!

Chippy Smith

24 hours after our lives changed forever, by welcoming Tywin to the family, it turns out that our darling Chippy, is much more poorly than we first knew. 1 second, I was so in love and the next, I’m bawling my eyes out and feeling like a hole had been punched through my chest. Tywin, has 100% kept me going these last 3-4 days, he has clearly come into our lives at the perfect time, to help us through. It makes me catch my breath thinking that he may never meet Chippy, or if he does, not have enough time to properly bond with him like he will Buttons. Even more so, I’m worried that losing Chippy will devastate Butty and make him suffer or lose the will to carry on. Just the mere thought of not having either Butty or Chippy, makes my head spin and my heart beat out of my chest.

For now, it is just a waiting game. So I will treasure the time we have left together and integrate Tywin, into the Wolfpack as much as possible. I’m trying not to think the worst, but right now I am just focusing all my energy onto settling Tywin in and stopping myself from breaking down every five minutes. Chippy turned 10 years old yesterday and went swimming with Buttons for the day, however, right now everything feels bitter sweet.

I love all my boys, so much so, that I cannot find words to describe it. Life without any one of them will be a massive loss to us all. This family has had more than its fair share of loss so far this year and upheaval over the last few years. We would really like a break universe!

(L) Buttons & (R) Chippy

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Ella Hollis

Trying to find normality amongst multiple chronic illnesses.

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