Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 297 (Final Entry)

Yesterday I wasn’t ready to make the decision that Aaron and I came to this morning. When we got up this morning Lucy had not gotten better. On the contrary, she had gotten worse. She was unable to bring herself to the sitting position and unable to drag herself from her bed. She couldn’t even get herself turned around. The extent of her movement was to go from lying on her side to lying on her chest.

Last night she did have a bowel movement, but it was done as she was lying down. She still hadn’t urinated as of this morning though (48 hours). Aaron and I decided to slide her out to the porch and try to put a little pressure on her bladder to help her. Once again, we used towels to try getting her up. Not only was there no strength in her back end, there was none in her front. My husband grabbed her back foot to move it (a no, no yesterday), and there was no response at all. And still, she had not urinated. We believe that there was some loss of feeling somewhere, somehow.

After losing Roxie almost a year ago, Aaron and I knew we had to make a few guidelines about the final days of our future pets. One of those had to do with mobility. If any of our dogs got to the point that they could not use the bathroom on their own, that, for us, is a a huge sign that a dog shouldn’t have to suffer any longer. Of course, that alone did not determine today’s decision. Through tears, we discussed all the possibilities of what could be wrong with Lucy – an injury, cancer, arthritis, tumors, a stroke, etc. Should we wait to find out exactly what is causing the problems? How would that be determined? What would treatment look like if it was x, y, or z? What it boiled down to is this: Lucy is 7 years old. That is an old age for a Great Dane (life expectancy is 8-10 years). Most of the problems above would require an operation of one kind or another, on a dog with a heart murmur. If she survived the operation, and it extended her life, it would probably only be for another year, a year that would be spent recovering from the surgery. If it is something like arthritis, it is doubtful that we could return her to a life of full independent motion. In the end, we felt that the best option for Lucy was to give her rest.

We called a vet out to the house, and was able to provide Lucy with a calm, relaxing, stress-free passing with her family cradling her head and giving her all the love we could as she passed. Of all the dogs we have lost, we feel that Lucy was at peace more than any of them, and that gives us peace. Our house feels empty without her, but with the love she gave and all she has taught us, her memory will forever be a blessing.

Thank you all for your prayers, your words of encouragement, and for sharing your experiences with us. We are touched that you would reach out to us in this time.

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 296

Lucy has come a long way in 10 months. She has gone from a dog that is afraid of visitors to one that is curious and loving with them all, and everbody that meets her falls in love. She has had two incidents with two separate dogs (neither one have been recent). The first was when my daughter came to visit with her Pomeranian (Raina). There was a snarled growl, but it only took a verbal correction to stop. The second was a blue heeler that belongs to a couple of friends that had come to visit. He snapped and lunged at Lucy without being provoked, and she pinned him down. No harm was done, and she was easy to separate from him. Both times she was without her e-collar, and enjoying some “freedom.”

She has also come a long way as far as her health goes. Her leg has healed up, her ears are doing better (although we do have the occassional yeast flare up), and we finally got the sore in the crease of her ear to heal up. I believe the thing that has finally helped the wound to heal up is CBD oil. We both gave it to her to take internally and we applied it directly to the wound. We had been trying for 8 months to get that thing to heal, but within 2 months of beginning to use the oil, the wound had completely closed up.

A month previous to this, we had made one more change. We put Lucy on a raw diet. She loves it. She has slimmed up even more, and if she isn’t the perfect weight for her, she’s pretty darn close.

Because many of you have read Lucy’s story and have become part of the Okay Lady family, I feel I can share the sad developments that have come up. Lucy has always had a bit of a limp, but it never seemed like anything serious – not as serious as getting her yeast conditions under control or taking care of the fear and aggression she was dealing with. Within the last week, something has happened. Lucy became weak in her back legs – weak enough to begin falling quite a bit and to be unable to climb onto the chair that she loves so much. We started taking her to the front yard to potty where the porch only has one very low step, and we called a vet to come out to the house (there is no way we can lift her into the truck without hurting her). Yesterday morning, the morning the vet came out, Lucy went out to potty, and as she was taking that step back onto the porch she fell. She has not gotten up since.

During the visit from the vet, we learned that she has arthritis in her toes, she has a wierd hard lump on the inside of her knee (on the joint), and she has a heart murmur. As much work as we have done to help her, she is still a really big mess.

The vet said the reason for the problems she is having with falling could be a few things – arthritis, an injury, bone cancer, or a tumor growing on the underside of her spine causing interference with nerves. She prescribed carprofen. While I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals (I prefer a more natural homeopathic approach), we decided that if pain is truly keeping her from getting up (at this point she had been down for 7 hours) we could begin with the NSAID to get a handle on the pain until the more natural remedies could have time to build up and begin working.

As of the moment I am writing this, it has been 35 hours since she has gotten up or used the bathroom. She has had 3 doses of the Carprofen, she is still chowing down at meal times, and she barks at us for attention when we are sitting together if she is not in the middle of us, but there has been no change.

Early this morning, she managed to drag herself with her front legs off her bed and to the entrance to the hallway. When she got cold, she woke us up by barking. We put a blanket under her and slid her back to her bed where she happily went back to sleep. And this is where she has stayed.

Around noon today, my husband and I tried putting two towels under her – one under her chest and one under her abdomen – as a lift, hoping that if we could get her on her feet that maybe she would try walking with the support. She never even tried. Instead she passed a small amount of stool, but it wasn’t enough to count as a regular daily bowel movement, and she still hasn’t urinated. Another call to the vet to report all of this today, and she said he feels like it has something to do with her lower spine.

We are now to the point of having to think about making that horrible decision. Before we so, we want to know if this is just an injury that might heel without surgery or if this is something that will never get better. We have asked about x-rays and were told to wait until morning to see if there is any improvement at all. She said that if Lucy does not want to try to get up in the morning, she is probably not going to get better.

We have a week’s supply of her medicines, I am still giving her CBD and golden paste. We are not ready to make a decision tomorrow, but we feel like if there is no improvement by the time we run out of her meds we will need to make one.

Your prayers for Lucy and for us as we try to make the best decisions for her would be greatly appreciated.

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 48

So it’s been a couple of weeks since the last update. So sorry. Spring is an incredibly busy time of the year for me.

Lucy is doing great and making a lot of progress. She is goofier with us everyday. πŸ™‚ I am now able to trust her to be in the backyard with the other large dogs without a need to supervise too much. (Of course I don’t leave her out there with them for more than enough time to potty.) I have not heard her growl at other dogs from inside her crate in at least a week, but she will still growl at strangers if they stand too close while she is in there. The other day, my daughter brought a few of her friends over, and Lucy was allowed to meet them. She was wonderful with that (much better than when she met me). I am also still working on her calmness of mind when it comes to filing her nails. She is getting better pretty quickly, but she definitely isn’t able to completely relax during the process yet.

Now for the progress with Raina…. (Drum roll, please!) I have been giving Lucy more exposure to Raina under very structured and supervised conditions – off leash. She is doing a great job at avoiding Raina altogether. You can see how this is being done in today’s video. There is even a clip towards the end where Raina walks up to her and just won’t walk away. Lucy kept her head turned away and waited for her to walk away.Β  She will be getting more and more practice sitting in her place with Raina walking around the house.

In the next week or two, I would like to start taking this exercise outside. I plan to begin with Lucy in the down command allowing Raina to walk around. After she can prove that she can just exist with Raina, she can graduate to walking around freely in the yard too.

One of the big things that has been taken away from Lucy that is making a huge difference is her ability to boss the other dogs around. When the larger dogs are playing or arguing over a toy, Lucy has a tendency to want to get involved and steer the situation. Between this type of thing, her pushiness when it comes to being pet or getting attention, and the growling she used to practice from her crate, I can see her trying to be a controlling leader with the other dogs. I have taken this from her completely, and it is bringing a huge change in her attitude.

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 33

With Lucy’s new collar, she is able to more things, but under a very structured setting. Today we went back to the park. Due to the weather, it was empty so there was nothing to really correct. A few times she would perk her ears up, but that was quick and easy to correct. Also, when we first started out this time, there was no scanning and no apparent nervousness. Her next trip to the park will be Gully Park – a park with more people and dogs.

We had an interesting thing happen the other morning. I thought Raina was back in the bedroom with my daughter, so I let Lucy out to potty. When she came back in, she headed toward the mudroom to get a drink. (We have a pretty tiny mudroom. When Lucy is in there, it really is difficult to fit anybody or anything else in there with her. This is the place where we keep the dogs’ water and where we feed some of them – like Raina.) I had no idea that Raina was in there eating. As Lucy approached the mudroom, she stopped short (it was at this point that I realized what was going on), put her head down to smell what was going on, turned around, and walked away. Success!

Lucy is very particular about having her feet messed with. She will “shake” and give you a “five,” but when it comes to actually handling her feet, she isn’t too happy about it. I purchased a dremel for filing the dogs nails. I tested it out on Raina over the weekend, and am thrilled with how easy it is to use and with the job that it does. So, I tested Lucy with it. The great thing about this dremel is that as long as Lucy keeps her feet still, I really don’t even have to hold her paw to file her nails. It was a job.

I started just with the dremel beside her and turned on. That didn’t bother her at all. The only thing that really bothered her was my handling her feet. Her eyes would harden and she would curl her lip a little. I simply told her no, at which point she turned her head away from me. This is good. I worked on her toe nail for a few seconds, then rewarded her good behavior. I was only able to get about 1 1/2 toe nails worked on since I was going so slowly with her, but this is going to very easy to teach her.

No videos today. πŸ™‚

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 29

I had a chance to talk to Lucy’s previous owner a little more about the attacks she made on her smaller dog. Each time, Lucy was in an already excited or aroused state of mind. The first two times, Lucy was playing with the other dog and just snapped. The last time, they were coming into the house when she attacked. While it is interesting that she has never acted this way towards medium to large dogs, it is very common for dog fights to occur during these same times.

There are “danger zones” for dogs – times and places where a dog fight is more likely. These danger zones are in places and at times when the dog may already be or be likely to become excited – whether it be playful excitement or aggressive excitement. The thing is, for a dog, playful and aggressive excitements both feel the same. That is why dog fights happen “out of the blue.” It really isn’t out of the blue. It is just one arousal skipping to the next.

One of the things that I do not allow to happen with any dogs that I board or train is rough playing. Any kind of playing that includes one dog jumping on or biting another is a big no no. Sometimes even running together isn’t a good idea. This is a danger zone. Other danger zones include thresholds, crates, feeding bowls, around toys, when a person is crouched low to the ground, when the owner is around, etc. All if it is dependant upon each individual dog.

It seems that Lucy’s danger zone includes any play time and at thresholds. Now that her more powerful e-collar is here, I will begin to introduce her to Raina and allowing her to spend more and more time with her, but all excitement will be kept at a minimum – even when Lucy is with the larger dogs.

(As the e-collar just came in late this afternoon, there are no videos for this update. Sorry.)

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 27

There has really been no “new” work done with Lucy since the last post. Her new e-collar is on it’s way. I am expecting it within the next 2-3 days. At that point, I will pick up walking at the park again as well as adding to her work with Raina.

There has been a couple of things develop. First, an older kitten/younger cat has seemingly been dumped close to our house, and has found us. It is now the inside/outside “farm” cat. Lucy wants to EAT it. When it walks past her crate, her reaction is 5 times worse than her reaction to Raina. As soon as we get that new e-collar, that will be a big correction and one of the things we will continue working on.

Second, due to Lucy’s limited freedom and affection, she is really beginning to balance herself out. She is not the same nervous dog she used to be. When she is given free time in the house, we are noticing more and more that she is demanding attention less and less. As a matter of fact, the last couple of days, she hasn’t asked for attention at all. She just finds a dog bed to lie on and calmly relaxes.

As soon as that e-collar arrives you will begin seeing more consistent updates again. In the meantime, enjoy this old video taken that shows just how Lucy is able to wiggle her way into a person’s heart.

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day 22

Lucy took her first trip to the park today. She was very excited about the whole thing. She loves going for rides, and was eager to get into the truck. We used the opportunity to work on threshold stuff before I let her into the truck. Once we got to the park she patiently waited for me to let her out of the truck. Her excitement at this point was a little higher. She would sit, then stand, then sit, then stand, then sit, then stand…Once I got her to sit and stay for an extended period of time, we began working on heel.

When we first got to the park, and through the first lap of walking it, there was nobody there. The things that bugged her initially was walking under a flag pole. The flapping of the flags in the wind scared her a bit. Then as we began walking, she began scanning like crazy – looking for anything that she could get excited about. I corrected this form of loading with a pretty high correction. At this point, we were already in the 70’s on the ET-300 mini educator e-collar. The fact that nobody was at the park made things extremely easy. However, I forgot that today was an early-out day for the schools…

As people started showing up, Lucy would occasionally perk up her ears and give attention to the children. As long as we were walking that last lap, we were far enough away to make correcting her easy. When it was time to leave, we had to walk towards the playground and the children. This really excited her. I ended up turning the settings on the e-collar all the way up to 100 to get her to pay attention to me at all, and we were at the point that I would tell her to sit, hold stim on her e-collar, and guide her with the prong collar. There was nothing aggressive in her at all, but to train the right attitude and respect into her, I need to have Lucy’s full attention.

All of this being said, I have definitely decided that we need to order a more powerful e-collar. If there had been something at the park that had really triggered her, I would have been in pretty big trouble. I am ordering the ET-800 Boss. I have already talked to customer service, and it sounds like it is exactly what she needs.

All in all, today’s trip to the park was pretty successful, and Lucy came back exhausted.

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Days 20-21

Yesterday as we were watching some t.v., I allowed Lucy to have a little freedom. She decided to lie against the foot of the couch. Marv was lying on the couch, but he wanted down. Lucy had lifted her head up to look at us, so Marv licked her – as I’ve seen him do with the other dogs numerous times – to ask her to move. She gave him a little snap. Although it was her way of saying no, and she really didn’t intend to harm him with it, it is one of those little things that, if left unchecked, can develop over time into something bigger. She had her e-collar on (of course) and got a correction for her reaction. I had her lay on the floor for a couple of minutes more in a calm, behaved manner, then I sent her to her crate.

I have not been moving as quickly with Lucy’s rehab when it comes to small dogs. It hasn’t hurt her at all to be slow, but I want to get the ball rolling. πŸ™‚ One of the things that have slowed me down is waiting on my daughter to be available to help out. Our little Pomeranian, Raina, really is Erin’s dog. With that being the case, I wanted Erin to be the one handling her while I handle Lucy. Today, finally, we were able to take that first step.

We took both Lucy and Raina outside on leashes and just worked on Lucy’s heel for a while. During the heel, we crossed paths with Raina and Erin several times. After Lucy had proven to me that she was not interested in anything other than walking with me, I decided to put her in a position where she had to pay more attention to Raina. I put Lucy into the sit command, and had Erin and Raina come jogging up to Lucy. She became very interested in Raina – I think because she was moving quickly. Anytime Lucy showed signs of loading, she was corrected. She only had to be corrected twice. When she began to have softness towards Raina, she was rewarded. We tried the exercise again with Lucy lying down. That was a little more difficult, and will have to be repeated again the next day we are able to work with them.

The more I work with Lucy doing this, the more I really feel that the issues she had before with smaller dogs had to do more with resource guarding. Whether she was guarding food, a toy, or her owner – if she felt that the little dog could get to the item that meant so much to her at the time, it was valuable enough to her to fight/kill over it.

In our next session, I’m hoping to have Lucy on leash, and Raina off. Right now, everything is very structured and locked down. I want to slowly work towards more freedom for both dogs. I want Lucy to be making decisions on her own instead of knowing that I’m at the other end of that leash waiting on her to make a mistake, but helping her to make a good choice.

(Please forgive our early morning pajama’ed state.)

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Days 17-19

While I have been finishing up training with Lucky and dealing with the hundreds of unexpected issues that have popped up the last three days, Lucy has been able to relax. πŸ™‚ There has been no real formal training, but she has continued to be held at a higher standard. She is still required to sit in her crate and wait for permission to exit, and the same is true for the back door when going out and coming in. Lucy’s time in the crate is spent lying down and sleeping – this shows a calm state of mind. When she is out of the crate and has time in the house, she is allowed to go drink water, say hi to family member, and then she is in the place command for the rest of the time – usually sleeping. In the last three days, I have not noticed growling or bad attitude from her towards Raina.


Lucy has also gotten quite a bit of outside time. We try to do fun things with her, like playing fetch and jogging with her. Up until Friday, her activity and excitement levels have only lasted less than 5 minutes. We might throw the ball 3 times, then she’s tired of it. I can get her to run a little with me, but it is less than a minute. She hates bubbles. But Friday we found something that she absolutely loves.

My daughter brought her bicycle into the back yard and started riding. Lucy gave a little bark and ran up to her. I’ll admit that I was a little concerned. I had Faith stop the bike and talk to her. After sniffing her and realizing who she was, Lucy was thrilled to just jog beside Faith as she rode her bike. She never tired of it. She was physically tired, but mentally she wanted to jog alongside the bike all day long. This is the most exercise she has had since arriving. Needless to say, she slept like a rock when she came back in.

Lucy is doing pretty well with the bigger dogs. Shoshi and Marvel have had enough time with her that they sneak up behind her and sniff often. When they are out in the yard playing, especially when one of them is lying on their back, Lucy goes to check out what is going on. She will normally sniff the one that is lying down and walk away. If they meet passing on the porch steps, they may sniff each other nose to nose, but that’s as far as it goes.

She absolutely loves Goober. It is really quite a funny thing to watch. From day one, Goober has been very careful and respectful of Lucy. (I have never seen him like that with any other dog.) If Lucy sees Goober playing with the other dogs, she gets playful and tries to convince him to play with her. This worries him quite a bit. It reminds me a lot of the Dragon and Donkey on the movie Shrek, and is really pretty cute. I may try to get video of this later.

I have noticed Lucy’s appetite has increased. I feel she is at a healthy weight now, and feeding her more has not added to it. Wednesday was her two week mark of being on the Nzymes, so her dosage was reduced to the normal recommended daily amount (half of what she was taking the first two weeks). I have noticed Lucy has been itching her ears quite a bit, so I decided to take a look. They had begun to get gooey again, so I brought the ACV (apple cider vinegar) out again. I have a feeling this is going to be a regular occurance for a few months until her insides get healthy.

Her leg, on the other hand, is trying to heal. The bottom half of it is growing hair again, but she has created a sore on the top half. I am constantly telling her no when it comes to licking and itching, but overall, her skin and coat look so much better.

After doing some research, I have decided that it would be a good idea to add vitamin C to her daily supplements. This will help a lot with her ears and the skin problems. I will try to find what I’m looking for at one of the health food stores this week. If I can’t find it, I will order it online.

(You will find two videos below.)

Lexi’s (Lucy) Story: Day Sixteen

Today was a day of unexpected happenings and rushing to get everything done. I ended up with no time to do any formal training with Lucy. Instead, she had time to hang out with Aaron outside for quite a while.

Because of the placement of Lucy’s crate, all of the dogs have to pass by from time to time. When it was Raina’s turn, there was no reaction from Lucy – no growling, but no avoidance either. I am hoping that there will be opportunity in my busy tomorrow to work with Lucy and Raina one more time before next week.