Saturday, October 11, 2014

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried forsomething.” Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a sad story. It is one I debated on even writing, but there are lessons to be learned here, so I decided to share. This is Mojo's story. 

Mojo is a very special puppy born on July 28, 2014 from Cinder. Even though he is gone, I cannot bring myself to write about him in past tense. 

His father, Elrond, is a champion lead dog from the home of one of my best friends, Sharon Curtice, up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mojo is a runt, like his father. 

I hate that word - "runt." Runt, small thing, weakling, underling. Such a negative connotation. There was nothing small about Mojo. There is nothing small about his father either. 

From the very beginning, Mojo was special. I called him my little freckled boy. 

Mojo at one week
He had the most adorable speckled nose, and seemed to be split with a little stitch from God right down the center, from the middle of his forehead, right down his belly. And he was super relaxed and flexible. 

Puppy Yoga, Mojo style
From the very moment Mojo was born, he was different. When I first wormed the puppies at 10 days of age with Pyrantel, a relatively well-tolerated, gentle wormer, he reacted strangely. His belly became distended and he cried and cried for hours. I felt helpless. Finally, he settled down.

When his eyes opened a few days later, I noticed something else that was different about Mojo. 

Mirage (left) and Mojo (right). His right eye was "off" - puppy "lazy eye"
 And yet, he grew and thrived at the farm. 

Mojo at two weeks

Mojo at four weeks
Mojo at seven weeks
He still had that "lazy eye" but he was thriving and blossomed into a gorgeous boy who wasn't that much smaller than the others. Suddenly, he was my favorite pup. He had a fantastic attitude, and though he was small, he was always at the front of the puppy pack on our jaunts around the puppy paths. Before long, Mojo quickly stole my heart. 

He quickly became Elise's favorite too, and we doted over him, bickering over who would get to hold him. She usually won :)

Handsome Mojo at 8 weeks
I gave the puppies their first vaccinations on September 22. By September 30, I noticed Mojo was off.  He had loose stools, and seemed listless, stopping to nap soon after I let the puppies out of their pen. While the other puppies were busy racing around, Mojo found quiet places to rest, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of puppy playtime. I brought him inside, kept him warm, fed him bland foods like rice and chicken. He was still eating well, He would perk up, only to fall into a slump again.

Finally, last Sunday, I contacted friends and race veterinarian husband-wife team, Kathy and Phil Topham. Phil was kind enough to see us on a Sunday morning. I suspected something called coccidia, which usually presents with foul-smelling, sometimes bloody diarrhea and lethargy - Mojo's symptoms. Dr. Topham ran a test for coccidia and it was positive. He opened a can of Prescription Diet A/D and Mojo lapped it up heartily. We left with Albon, several cans of A/D and were relieved, ready for Mojo to be on the mend. Mojo weighed 8.5 pounds.

Only things got worse. He stopped eating almost completely. We began force feeding/hydrating him. After several days on Albon, his condition deteriorated. We switched to Metronidazole.

I made an appointment with my regular vet for some tests and subcutaneous fluids for Mojo. A test for giardia came back negative, but what I feared the most - the test for Parvo - came back positive. And not just a little positive. The test operates like a pregnancy test, with a bubble turning blue if positive. It was bright blue. In the words of our vet, it glowed.

A blood panel also showed his white count was two, and the vet was concerned he was already septic. He had a heart murmur - something that had developed since Sunday.

Still he fought. We gave him 50 ml of saline fluids at the vet's office, and he sat up and tried to scratch the needle away. We flushed Amoxicillin and B-12 vitamins into the IV to try to jump start therapy. Mojo was down to 7.4 pounds.

We went home with a bag of fluids, lots of needles, and Amoxicillin prepared for a long night.

Only Mojo had other plans.

When we woke at 7:15 this morning, Mojo was gone. His little body could take no more.

Burying a puppy is just ... wrong. And yet, the deeper I get into dogs, the more of a reality it seems. Stuff happens. Life is fragile. Tenuous.

What I know is this: when Googling "Parvo Symptoms," vomiting invariably comes up. This symptom doesn't necessarily have to be present. Mojo's symptoms did not include vomiting at all - only very foul-smelling watery diarrhea, anorexia (lack of appetite), and lethargy.

What I also know is Mojo became sick despite being vaccinated.

What I also know as of the time of this writing is: all nine of Mojo's litter mates are thriving, with voracious appetites and minds full of mischief.

What I also know is, I keep replaying the last two weeks of Mojo's life in my mind, wondering if there was something I didn't do, should have done differently, could have done better.

But what I am left with are sad thoughts of a future lost. Mojo will never get to know what it's like to run with a team of sled dogs on the beautiful snow under the night stars. I'll never get to see him blossom into the leader I had a hunch he would have become. I'll never get to see him grow into his big feet.

I am so sorry, Mojo. You fought valiantly, and I did all I could. I love you.

Elise holding Mojo
For Mojo. July 28, 2014 - October 11, 2014

“When you leave,
weary of me,
without a word I shall gently let you go.” 
 -- Kim Sowol

1 comment:

  1. A sad and amazing read, but what a tribute you have provided to Mojo. Thank you for sharing your feelings about this. Rest in peace Mojo. name...Togo.


Please leave comments - I always love reading them! namaste!