Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snowy. Good News. And (Mostly) Bad News.

The good news?

Snowy is being discharged from the hospital this morning. The vet just called and said he's bouncing off the walls, barking happily, and has even removed his own IV by means of excited chewing.

She said, "He looks so much brighter and happier since he had all those fluids overnight and he is just so ready to get out of here and go home."

The bad news? (We got this news last night just 30 minutes before our Candlelight Communion service.)

The bad news is really, really bad. I have already cried my way through thirty Kleenex-literally--and am not near to being done.

Snowy's liver is failing. Very quickly.

In November, three of the main components that make up his liver panel were all normal.

Then when he was hospitalized last week, right out of the blue, his liver started showing signs of distress. And it's gotten worse.

In just one week:

His ALT level (normal is 100) went from 622 to "greater than 1000." (Which means it's so far off the charts it can't even be read.)

His ALKP level (normal is 212) went from 322 to 738.

They didn't check his GGT level last week but yesterday it was 65. (Normal is 7)

So for some reason that no one can figure, in the space of a couple weeks his liver function has gone into a free fall.

The vet said it could be liver cancer or it could be something else entirely; without a biopsy, she can't say for sure. However, we all agreed that doing a biopsy would be a ridiculous waste of time and money because whatever he has isn't treatable and whatever he has is destroying his liver very rapidly.

She also decided (after seeing the final liver results) that it would be pointless to do the Cushing's Disease test on him today since his liver issues and/or growing kidney stones are the primary concern.

For now the goal is just to keep him comfortable.

Saturday night we'll take our annual family Christmas photo around the tree, knowing it will be the last time to feature our little buddy's happy face in the Smith Family circle.

Monday, we'll all travel to Charlotte for Christmas with Steve's family--our last big road trip with the little guy. The vet will send a sedative and an anti-nausea medication with us so that Snowy is happy and comfortable when he goes to visit Grandma and Grandpa for the last time.

Now I'm off to pick him up from the vet and bring him home where he'll be smothered with snuggles and giggles--and tears.

41 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the bad news :( But I am glad to hear that you can bring him home so he can be together with you in the Christmas.
Thinking of you all.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the bad news :( But I am glad to hear that you can bring him home so he can be together with you in the Christmas.
Thinking of you all.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear the news, Becky. I am writing through the tears, which I never thought would happen. Sad, yes, tears, yes, but water works? I there was something to be done or said or whatever. Please keep up posted as you can. Is he in pain? Do you have pain meds? Will he need pain meds. Prayers to your family (oh Poor Sarah). <3; jodi

Anonymous said...

Becky I am so sorry. This may sound kind of weird but isn't it wonderful that at this time, with all of this going on with Snowy that your family is complete, Nathan being home and all? It just seems right that Snowy's family is all together. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful, Happy New Year!!


Leece said...

I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you. The little one is in my prayers that he is able to remain comfortable and you can have some more quality time together. Big hugs to Sarah.

Jan said...

I'm so sorry. I'd write more, but I can't see for the tears in my eyes.

Jan Reuther

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad to hear the news about Snowy this morning. The tears are definitely flowing for all of you. It's such a hard thing to lose a furry friend, especially one that has been through so much with all of you. I'm glad he gets to come home happily to spend Christmas with his family. Prayers for comfort for Snowy and for peace for all of you.

Gayle in AL

becky m said...

I'm so sorry. i know you guys will make every moment count. and he will be surrounded by a loving family.
how awesome that nathan could be there. this will be the best christmas ever.
i held on to hope that maybe he could beat the odds and it hurts to know that your time is limited.
my thoughts are with you guys.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad to hear the bad news! Sending prayers your way.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear it, I'm sorry you had to write it. You've been a great family for little Snowy. I know it's hard. Take care.
Pam T

jmckemie said...

People who have never had a four-legged family member simply cannot understand the heartbreak. So glad that Snowy will be with his loving family for Christmas, including Nathan. They say people who are nearing the end of their journey here on earth often seem to "wait" for something before letting go. Maybe Snowy truly needed the whole family together this one last time; or perhaps he knew the rest of you all needed to be together. Merry Christmas to the whole Smith family. Prayers that Snowy remains comfortable throughout the coming days of celebration of the birth of our Saviour. Safe travels to you.

SuziQCat said...

Terribly sorry to hear the bad news about Snowy. Enjoy him while you can...he's been a great companion for so many years. Sending purrs and prayers to you all.

Melanie said...

So sorry to hear about Snowy. :( I'm still praying for you all. I've been down that road too...I know it's very hard.
I'm glad Nathan can be there to say goodbye.
Take care. ♥

Karen C said...

I'm so sorry about Snowy. This will be a very sentimental Christmas for the Smiths. Snowy has been and will continue to be treasured by his family during his lifetime. I'm very thankful that he can be made comfortable at this time.

Frapper said...

I'm so sorry that there was bad news about Snowy. I'm glad that you will all get to have Christmas together as a family though, including a road trip to see the grandparents. You will all be in my prayers, as it's so difficult, to say the least, to say goodbye to a beloved family member.

Anonymous said...

So very sorry to hear the bad news. But I am glad that Snowy and his entire family will be together for the holidays. Please remember what a wise vet once told me, "even more important than what the numbers are is how he is acting and feeling at the moment." Sounds like at the moment he is acting and feeling well. If you are willing, you may want the vet to show you how to give him fluids so you can keep him fully hydrated during your trip. If I could learn to give fluids, you certainly can. Hugs, thoughts and prayers for all of you. Enjoy your holidays and your time with Snowy!
Linda in Pittsburgh

Anonymous said...

What sad news about Little Mr. Snowy. I am glad that everyone is there to enjoy the Little Man and support each other.

Prayers and hugs to all of you,
Connie F-G

jenny said...

Oh, Becky, I'm SO sorry to hear your news about Snowy. My eyes are filled with tears as I write this. When we lost our Moon (yellow lab) four years ago just before Christmas, it was SO hard. But my husband and I sang praise songs all the way home from our last trip to the vet. Why? Because God is still good and we were so grateful for all the wonderful times we'd had with Moon. Still praying for a Christmas miracle for Snowy. And praying for all of you too. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I do believe that God's timing is perfect, Becky. As Dana said, you are all together; how much worse this would be if Nathan were away at school. You can all love your sweet boy together. Dogs are so selfless and loving; it just seems right for the focus to be on Snowy here at Christmas. The Prince of Peace gave everything for us, and to dogs, that's not unusual at all. That's just their life. In Snowy's case, he's surrounded by those who love him back with joyous abandon, and for him, that's the greatest gift of all.
Praying for all of you to truly ENJOY this time, bittersweet as it may be. Love you all...

Anonymous said...

My heart is just breaking for you.
The pain of loosing my dog is still so fresh and I know exactly what you are going through. Give Snowy all the love you can. Although I know you already do. Time does help, and you will look back and know without a doubt that your little dog was loved more than anything in the world. And he knows it too. Cassidy has given me signs that she is okay.
She loved to jump and catch bugs. Any kind of bugs. After she was gone, I woke up to hundreds of caterpillars on the deck. Hundreds. Never before had I even seen one here. One night at 10pm, it was raining and I was reading in my bed and a lady bug flew right in my face. I know these were signs from her that she was happy and okay. She knew she had to send them because I was a mess. I believe we will see them again. They truly are our four legged kids and we love them with all of our hearts. I am so sorry.

Lizz said...

I am so sorry to hear this horrible news! I will be praying that y'all have a wonderful Christmas together even knowing it will be Snowy's last. I know this is a very awful time for all of you and I just want you to know you are thought of & loved! Hugs, Love & Prayers,

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear the bad news. Try to have a Merry Christmas and enjoy every day you have with little Snowy. Thinking of you all, especially you and Sarah.

Sarah said...

I am so sorry <3

CJ said...

I am so sorry :( I dont know what to say...hugs to you and snowy.

TiffanyH said...

I am so sorry to hear of Snowy's troubles... I had the same sort of thing happen to my cat several years ago... I hope that Snowy enjoys his Christmas, and that you guys give him lots of snuggles over the next week!! Merry Christmas to all of you... and give yourself an extra hug from me too!!

Robin said...

So sorry about Snowy. That's always so rough. All the best.

Miss Judy said...

I'm so sorry to hear the news. I offer my condolences to everyone. I've lost many pets (I'm 70 yrs. old) for various reasons, and it feels like Snowy is one of my own. So sad. But he'll meet you all on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and he'll be scampering all over the place. God Bless you all and, especially, Snowy.
Hugs and Blessings,

Miss Judy said...

Hi Becky & Family,
I'm leaving the poem for you in case you haven't read it.
Hugs & Blessings,

The Rainbow Bridge
inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to join the rest of your cyber family as you face this difficult time.I'm glad you can all be together and cherish the time you have.
Jan (in Toledo)

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry to hear the bad news but glad that the Smith family is all together for during this time. I'm sure you will all make Snowy's last Christmas on earth a memorable one. Hugs & prayers to you all.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to read about Snowy's liver failure. I hope your family has a wonderful Christmas with the little guy. Hugs to all of the Smiths.

Anonymous said...

I'm so so very sorry. :(

Stefanie in St. Louis

Anonymous said...

HI there sweet Smith Family..

I offer another solution: pray that the liver is compeletely normal and the readings were a mal-function of the testing apparatus... Lord you are not a man that you can lie: so I do pray that Snowy's liver is normal and that all of his body is functioning as normal...Lord you say in your Word that all things are possible, I believe it is possible to please give the Smith Family and Snowy more than the few weeks the vet says he may have...give them years to enjoy each other.
You tell us in Psalms 23 that we should not want, well, what I want is for Snowy to live a lot longer...Thank you Jesus Name I ask...Amen and Amen...
From your Texas Friend, FH

Anonymous said...

Someone posted The Rainbow Bridge poem.
There is a WONDERFUL youtube video based upon this, the link is

you may have to copy and paste,it's worth doing though; I am new to posting on blogs.
Take care!

Anonymous said...

I went back and saw that it was Judy.
Thank you Judy, for posting the poem.
It is a favorite of mine and like I said, the video on youtube is truly worth watching. The song in the video is called Perhaps Love, and sung by Placido Domingo and John Denver.
I have watched the video many many times over. And still love watching it.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Our pets are members of our family, just as any other member would be, the loss can be felt just as deep.

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, it is nice that Nathan is home with thre family and snowy is surrounded by all his loved ones. MY prayers are with you all.

Gail from Toronto.

Nancy(bratt) said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh God :(!!!! I just read now about Snowy. I have tears streaming down my face and cant quite detain my feelings. I've followed you guys for years and Snowy has always been a part of the reason I follow. I just, I just dont have any words! AFter losing my Picky in September I have felt agony so deep that only a fellow fur mommy or fur family can feel. He is part of your life, your heart, you family and your soul.
Oh Snowy :(
Becky, Nathan, Steve and Sarah, I am so very sorry. may the days left with Snowy be with much peace and as much love as possible. I know my family said I "overloved" my Picky. No such thing.
I"m sorry :(

Alyssa said...

My heart is truly breaking for you. That little doggie is loved by not only your family but by thousands who have followed you all for the past several years...not many doggies can say that! I feel like Snowy is part of my family too and I am crying with you. I know the's so hard, but so worth it for all of the years of unconditional love that we receive from them and feel for them. My prayers are with you all as you travel down this very hard path...

Susan said...

How can I even express what is in my heart? Words alone cannot describe the pain I know to well that you will feel..........perhaps my tears say it instead. Love to you all, Susan

Ann Martin said...

So glad Snowy is home and doing well for now. Know the "bad" news is hard to handle and will be praying for you and the family during this difficult time. Pets are so special. May God's peace be with all of you and I pray Snowy will not be in pain. My brother had to take his golden lab to the "vet" hospital in Cary yesterday. She is having kidney problems and pancretitis (? don't know how to spell it). Her vitals were normal this morning and blood pressure normal which was an improvement but no other change. The doctor is to call at 6 PM tonight. Abby is 12 years old and very much a part of his family. Remember them in prayer. Merry Christmas to all and I'm waiting for the family picture!