A Dog’s Life: Tiki

ADogsLife TikiDeb D’Andrea, Nederland.  Many of you may remember I wrote an article about my dog Tiki last year and her struggles with life. Tiki started to lose the ability to walk around Halloween; then after seeing a neurology specialist and having an MRI, Tiki somehow began to walk again, only to lose the ability to walk Thanksgiving weekend. We returned to the neurology specialist who did more tests and was eventually at a loss, saying that Tiki would never walk again.

Not knowing what I or Tiki were facing and hearing that news, I talked to several colleagues who highly recommended Dr. Lane of VRCC/Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology in Englewood. I consider Dr. Lane to be the best and most professional neurosurgeon in the State of Colorado—or in the United States, for that matter—who is supported by an amazing neurological team. He took one look at Tiki and gave us hope, but he also shared the reality that surgery may not be an option.  He needed to do another MRI.

On December 10th at 7 a.m., Tiki, Bear, and I arrived at the hospital. Tiki was completely unable to walk and I gently placed her on a sled covered with warm blankets to slide her in over the snow-covered parking lot with Bear by her side. We didn’t wait long before they came and got Tiki, placing her on a gurney covered by a comfy thick blanket.  Into the MRI she went.

Bear and I made ourselves comfortable and camped out in the waiting area to hear the news.  Dr. Lane called around 8AM and said he could see the tumor and was bringing Tiki right into surgery. Bear and I waited, curled up on the waiting room floor.

Tiki came out of surgery about 90 minutes later and Dr. Lane shared that he felt good about how it went but we had to wait for Tiki to recover from the drugs before really knowing.  The tumor had been located at the base of her skull, where her brain and spinal cord connect. This tumor had been blocking the electrical signal which allows her brain to communicate to her body.  Dr. Lane also said the tumor had been crawling down her spine, slowly working further into her system.

I called several times a day for updates and was able to see Tiki on December 12th, while she was in the hospital recovering.  She was thrilled to see me and I was able to be there for three hours but then visiting time was over. Unfortunately she became so distraught upon my leaving I wasn’t allowed to visit again.

Five days after her surgery, on December 15th, Tiki walked out, pulling the neurology technician across the parking lot to my car and she hasn’t stopped walking since. It has now almost been one year and I am happy to share that Tiki is running, swimming, playing, fishing, loving, and is back to her ol’ self again, celebrating her 9-year birthday this past month.

It was on September 22nd, 2005, that this awesome 5 lb. 8 oz. 7-week-old Blue Heeler/Husky puppy entered my life and I wanted to share her story. I never gave up on her and even more, she never gave up on herself. She wanted to live, she wanted to walk, she wasn’t ready to let go, and anyone who visited us during that difficult time could see this in her eyes and could see her firm grasp on life.

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, and other critters. 4TheLuvOfDogz home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or info@4theluvofdogz.com for more information.

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea, columnist for The Mountain Ear, and founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and visits your home or Vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2018 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: info@4theluvofdogz.com.