Gracie has a trachea problem and had a tracheostomy to help her to breathe.
Gracie BEGGED like crazy, but I tried to be very careful about her diet. We'd give her bites of banana and blueberries (her favorite), and occasion little tastes of peanut butter or yogurt. We used to tease that she was looking for the weakest link at the dinner table, praying that someone would "please just drop something...." Grace was 5.8 pounds when she came here, and was about 6.8 pounds shortly before she passed. She had been 7.2 pounds the day before she passed, and her vet said he was putting her on a diet. I teased him after she passed that her passing was his fault, because she heard the word diet and thought NO WAY. Her vet was Dr. Sean Back at Beach Pet Hospital. He was wonderful with her, and he took great care of her. I could not have gotten her healthy after her tracheostomy without the help of him and his staff. I brought her in at every little sniffle, and they were always patient with me, even when I felt like I might have "Munchausen's by Doggie." Her vet tech, Melissa Roberts, was such a blessing. On the few weekends that I had to go out of town, Melissa backed up my mom, to make sure Gracie's trach was ok. The night before Gracie passed, I called Melissa panicked for some advice because Gracie was struggling to breathe. Her "advice" was "do you mind if I come over?" She has such a love for dogs and was so caring with Gracie. Her kindness will never be forgotten.
My mom lives next door, and she helped with Gracie tremendously. Gracie loved her Nana! I think the loss of Gracie is hitting Momma just as hard as me. When I'd take Gracie out to potty, she'd try to go to Nana's house instead. Momma took care of her when I worked, and with her trach Gracie needed the extra attention.
Gracie started to get "breathy" on walks. She had her first major episode in late June of 2008. We could not get her to stop panting, even in air-conditioning, so we took her to the Emergency Vet. They kept her overnight. That was the first night she'd ever been away from her family, and it was really hard on me. She saw a "specialist" (not at Beach Pet) who misdiagnosed her with tracheal collapse. She had a second episode in October of 2008, and her vet sent her to see Dr. Marti as a surgical referral. Dr. Marti was great! By merely listening to her, he knew she did not have tracheal collapse! He sent us to his alma mater, North Carolina State Vet School. Gracie had Dr. Kieri Jermyn there as a surgeon, and she correctly diagnosed Grace with laryngeal collapse. They tried laryngeal tie-back, palate shortening, and nostril opening, but it was not enough. We agreed to a tracheostomy as a last-chance measure. Gracie recovered well, and she was able to enjoy most of the 46 weeks she had post-surgery. I cannot speak highly enough of the NCSU Vet hospital!
The last week before she passed, Gracie seemed tired. She couldn't get comfortable to sleep or rest. Since her surgery, she has not been able to sleep in bed. The floor was more comfortable for her breathing. When her nose was dry that week, I knew that was not a good sign. She saw her vet on Tuesday, and she needed oxygen in his office. She had an episode that night, and her vet was going to watch her on Wednesday. I made brownies to thank them for everything they had done. Gracie was watching, begging a bit. ("No, Gracie, Gracie-girls can't have brownies.") We went to bed late, and I set the alarms to check on her. At 1:30 she was fine. At 3:30, I checked on her, cleaned her trach, and petted her for a bit. She wagged her tail. When I got up at 5:30, she was still. I went over to her, but she was gone. She left our world on 16 September 2009. I hugged her and kissed her, and then I called my mom and her daddy up in DC. My husband and I had planned a belated honeymoon trip (by RV to accommodate Gracie), which was scheduled to start on the 19th. We were sad not to have our little pup along. The house seems quiet, and I still check my footing not to step on her. For the first 2 weeks, I still woke up to check on her and to let her out in the morning. I'm trying to stay focused on her life, and all the wonderful love she brought into my family, rather than her loss.
All is grace. Rest in Peace, Sweet Gracie