Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

The rollercoaster that is Katie

64 Comments

Katie has been sick. The kind of life-threatening sick that makes a sheltie parents’ hearts quicken as they contemplate what life will be like someday when a fiesty little girl isn’t around to make things interesting.

She had emergency surgery to remove her gallbladder in early April, at the age of fourteen, and came through just fine. She’s a strong one. Twenty-one staples held her little shaved tummy together, and she never once tried to mess with them.

But they found some bacteria in the samples they took for biopsy, so she was prescribed two anti-biotics, strong ones, to be taken for six weeks. And they wanted her to change her diet over to a kidney supporting food. And thus the struggle began.

Lucky girl, they told us to feed her a bland diet of boiled chicken and white rice for the first two days. She was fine with that. But she wasn’t going to eat that KD dog food. Nope. Not interested. So we suplemented with more chicken, different types of rice, homemade broth made from chicken bones, fresh green beans steamed just so, oven roasted sweet potatoes.

Every day we’d try different flavors of the KD dog food. Sometimes she’d accept the kibble, hand fed as a treat, quite eagerly. The next day she wouldn’t have anything to do with it. The wet food made her turn her face away in disgust.

We’d order more flavors, try to entice her to eat. As the days went on and we kept filling her with antibiotics we learned that a side effect was lack of appetite. She stopped wanting to eat chicken, rice was off the table. Sweet potato sometimes worked. Sometimes not.

We were having more and more trouble getting the pills into her, as she became suspicious of all hand held food, worried about what was in it. Pill pockets didn’t work anymore. Peanut butter was hit and miss. Cheese was a no go.

Every morning I’d start the day trying to get her pain pill administered. “What do you like today, Miss Katie?” I’d ask her. Her face would light up at the memory of getting a wonderful treat, but she’d drop her smile in disappointment when she was offered a pill covered in some previously delectible spread.

By the sixth week I was disparing of ever getting her to eat again, watching her as she slept, missing my fiesty, noisy, curious, happy little girl.

And then, twenty-four hours after her last pill she begged us for something to eat. And we offered her the KD dog food and she gulped it down. “Got any more, mama?” The kibble, offered as a treat? “No problem daddy, I love my kibble treats!”

These days, when she’s being her noisy, curious, happy self, I sit and watch her, storing the memories. Though she’s acting like her old self, the truth is she’s still almost fourteen and a half. We got more time, but time isn’t infinite.

This early morning she wanted to go out and sit on the deck. She won’t do that without me being there too, and I had a long list of things I wanted to get done. But I smiled and took my laptop and we went out. She’s out here now, on high alert, breaking up twigs while watching the road for anyone who might pass by without her specialized sheltie permit. They must be barked at.

I’m sitting here watching the birds and squirrels as they venture out for their morning meal. The nuthatch is peeking at us from the backside of the birch tree which is glowing in the morning light. He’s not sure it’s safe to flit over to the birdfeeder for a tasty treat. Eventually, after scolding us for some time, he decides we are not a threat and he picks out the best seed and hurries away. The female oriole is on the grape jelly feeder, not caring about us at all. There’s our wren warbling further out in the yard, guarding the nestbox where little ones are growing. A male bluebird sits very high in the tree above us, the sun catching the rusty glow of his chest. A chipmunk scurries along the deck, checking us out, and a black squirrel has just climbed the railing, but finding us there, scurries back down again.

Katie is oblivious to all of it.

The black squirrel approaches from a different direction, and she sees him. Much barking and prancing ensues. My happy, silly, curious, noisy girl is back. And oh good, the garbage truck is coming down the road. Another danger to protect mama from. Good thing for all of us that she’s still in charge.

Katie-girl. Our roller-coaster girl is back.

And we are grateful.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

64 thoughts on “The rollercoaster that is Katie

  1. hugs and kisses to your rollercoaster girl…. we hope for lots of good news ….

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  2. So glad she is her old self!!

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  3. I hear your heart! Our dogs are precious parts of our lives. Glad Katie is once again enjoying her tasty treats.

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  4. Bark, Katie, bark! And how I wish that dogs (and cats!) lived longer. They are gone too soon.

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  5. Sending hugs and yet even bigger hugs to Katie and to her Momma. Glad things are better and those treats are delicious!

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  6. Glad she’s back to her old self and eating! Sounds like a wonderful morning outside with her 🙂

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  7. Sending prayers………I know all too well how hard it is……glad she is feeling better.

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  8. Don’t make me cry, Katie. Keep on barking, sweetie. Never trust a garbage truck–or squirrels!

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  9. So glad Katie is feeling better. It is so stressful when they won’t eat. I hope you have lots of time together to make more memories.

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    • I hope so too. We have to adjust our memory goals, she doesn’t walk very far anymore, and doesn’t seem as interested in sleeping outside in her tent. But she wants to be next to me all the time, so that’s good enough for me.

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  10. Keep up the good work, Katie! We all love you a lot a lot. Sending hugs to you and your mama❤️

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  11. Just typed you a light-filled note, Princess Katie, but the computer Gods yanked it away before I could send it to you. So glad to hear you are able to get back to your Princess duties, sweet girl, and maybe your Momma and Daddy can take a deep breath again. Sending healing hugs of love and light!

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  12. Every moment is precious when you know the time with them is getting shorter. We are going down the same road. I am glad Katie has turned for the better and you two are enjoying this day.

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  13. Sasha and I send our love and best wishes to both of you.

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  14. That extra time is so precious ….I wish always I could have had a few more hours, days, weeks, months or year with Reilly and Denny. Even now the tears still flood at loosing them both so quickly. Enjoy every single moment you get with the princess.

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  15. It does sound like a rollercoaster, but all the better that Kattie is on her way back again.

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  16. This really hits to my heart. I was almost afraid to read it, but I’m glad I did. I’m happy that Katie is in a good place for the moment! You are savoring it, as you should. We always sit out on the deck with our boy, too. 🙂

    Did I ever mention that our first two Shelties were from Goodells, MI?

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    • That’s interesting! I don’t know where Goodells is in Michigan, but I’ll look it up! Yes, I’m trying to do more things that she wants me to do with her. I’ll have plenty of time to do other stuff later, hopefully much later.

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  17. Katie, I hope you stay well for a long time to come. I know it has to be so hard for your mama to watch and be with you when you’re not well.

    Your time on the deck today sounds lovely and peaceful, even with the barking and the need for a sheltie permit. 🙂

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  18. Darling Katie! You know I know that road, and it is not an easy one, but there are moments and hours you would not trade for anything on earth. Hugs!

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  19. The dark days when our furry babies are not doing well; the much brighter, oh-so-welcome days when they are perky and spicy again! Hugs for the dark days, smiles for the sunny days, and wishes for many more sunny days with your girl.

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  20. Oh dear, this brings it all back for me — Dallas, too, refused that KD food (wet or dry), and eventually, he even refused the good stuff. Dogs’ lives are far too short. Make memories while you can, Dawn. Your To-Do List will keep; Sheltie princesses are far too precious for pawrents to miss one second of their antics. Hugs to you and hubby during the roller-coaster period … and prayers for only days of light to come!

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    • She’s chowing down on the KD wet food now, and we’re using the kibble as treats and she’s scarfing them up too. I don’t know what the deal is. I always said we’d never have trouble getting her to eat and if we did, we’d be near the end. That’s why this six weeks of eating struggle was so hard. But now she’s begging all day for more food, just like she used to. I personally think the wet food is disgusting, but whatever works for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I read this through holding my breath. There’s a certain point where the finite nature of life strikes and you stop looking forward to weekend plans, it becomes a cherishing of the now moments. Living in the moment and soaking up all the memories, isn’t that what dogs have been teaching us all along?
    Glad she’s perky again!

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  22. I’m glad that her appetite came back. And that she is doing so well. And that at least *someone* is in charge of breaking up twigs, since no one seems to have kept up with her while she wasn’t feeling her best.

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  23. Ah. Good dog! So glad she feels better.

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  24. I’m so glad your girl is back to her “old” self. I am probably repeating myself –But there was a movie where an Indian Chief would leave his tepee every day at sunrise and announce he was going to walk to the top of the mountain to die. And every day he would walk down at sunset and say –“Not today”. Rascal is 15 and owns my heart. She can have whatever she wants. And I indulge her endlessly. Cole does too. And on a bad day–a hard day, that we both get through — I swear she looks at me and says — Not today, Mom. We live for the “not today’s” and when the day arrives and my heart breaks our memories together and as a family will be all blessing. ♥~ Go Katie!

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    • I realize with FB that I will have her for as long as I keep my account. Because I swear, she’s in there every day and shows up in my memories constantly. I don’t know if that will hurt in the beginning, but eventually it will make me smile.

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  25. You are so doing the right thing. Soak her in every day in every way. Last month was 3 years since Shiloh and next month is 3 years since Joy. Since they left. I miss them every single day.

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  26. Oh Katie…. you made my eyes very watery. Must be my allergies.

    I’m glad you are having some good days again and acting like yourself. I hope you and your mama have many more special days together.

    Much love to you both.

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    • Hi Sara, so good to hear from you. She is home with her daddy while I go camping this week. He reports she is eating well. But I miss them, so I may head home a day early. On the other hand…I get to sleep past 4 a.m. out here in the woods. I hope Chewy and Oreo are well, and you guys too!

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  27. It was probably the antibiotics killing her appetite. For some reason those things always affect them. Our dogs eat the mail lady everyday as she drives in our driveway and the garbage truck is the second best booger. If Amazon, UPS or Fed Ex is making a delivery that is a new type booger lol deserves more barking. We love our animals like our kids and we treasure the time we have with them. I am sure Katie will let you know when it is her time to go.

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  28. Awww, brings back memories of many I’ve had over the years that have gone over the rainbow bridge. And like you, I would take it all in just like you described. Cherish every moment. Love you all so much and for sharing all these BEAUTIFUL memories! ❤️ Hugs! ~ Diana

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    • Thank you. I try to soak her up. Right now I’m camping without her because last summer she didn’t seem to be that happy camping. Sure miss her though. She’s doing well with her dad, eating like the old days, he says. I’ll be home soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Ah the rollercoaster.. I cry as I write this, I remember it well even though it is over 10 years ago. I smiled at reading you postponed your errands to sit with her. I am happy her appetite returned and her old smile came through. Sending love to you Dawn

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  30. I know the feeling. Have you tried pumpkin? It sometimes works and it is great for the tummy. Enjoy each day she has, pet her for me:)

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    • I will thank you. She like pumpkin for a bit but now won’t touch it. But her #2s are better now, and she’s eating again, so for now anyway, things are good. I will give her a hug from you. I know you miss your boy.

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