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Moma's story

Moma's owner had been dead for several days before she was discovered. I got phone calls to come bail her out of a local (Sacramento) shelter.


Moma's story

by Pam Green, © 2013, 2020

(Mo's story is told pretty much chronologically as I told it on Petfinder.com.)

rescue and intake

Moma's owner had been dead for several days before she was discovered. I got phone calls to come bail her out of a local shelter and I made arrangements to do that. The shelter scheduled her for spay and told me when to arrive.

I bailed MoMA out of the shelter on 8/29/2013, freshly spayed and still groggy. She was also very obese at 110 lbs (probably due to dead owner having been in poor health and not taking her for walks). 3 days later she broke with kennel cough. So her first two weeks she was not feeling very well and it was hard to judge her personality.

As she became well, it became obvious that she had a very pleasant but subtle personality, very calm and very well behaved. She got along well with other dogs. (no way to know about cats). She accepted all handling trustingly.

Physically she was larger than typical Bouvier. Within a month or so, I had gotten most of the extra weight off of her, down to 101 lbs, but thought she will probably be about 95 at optimum. very large head and body, short legs proportionatly. But a nice looking dog.

I named her "Moma" because she seemed like a mommy type. But I have to confess that it was also "MoMA" for Museum of Modern Art.

I thought that Moma would be a treasure to someone looking for a calm companion. Her personality was of that "still waters run deep" type.

update 10/11/2013 : all of MoMA's lumps and bumps have been biopsied (FNA = fine needle aspirate) and found to be harmless. so I have done "due dilligence" on her health and she is "good to go", ie could be adopted at any time now. I've also gotten most of the surplus weight off through combination of diet and moderate exercise..

Photo of Moma enjoying morning in my yard :

Moma enjoying morning in my yard

Update 10/30/2013 : it turned out that one of her lumps was suspicious of being a type of tumor that can be locally spreading. So a week ago yesterday she had surgery at UC Davis VMTH. She is healing well. The tissue report should be back any day now and we expect it to show "clean" margins, meaning that the surgery has accomplished a permanent cure. Mo's attitude is very cheerful. She really wants to go on walks, but that's going to have to wait a few more days.

update 11/06/2013 : her pathology report came back with good news. The lump is totally harmless, probably due to a previous injury. (however it is advised that the area be examined by hand once a month just in case there would be any re-growth.) So now she really IS "good to go", ready to be adopted. Her weight is now down to 97 lbs and that's probably about right for her. She is a big girl. also a very sweet girl, easy to live with and companionable.

However she will do best in a home where she is the only bitch. She's been very occasionally harrassing my very timid and submissive Bouv bitch , Velvet, and there's a bit of tension between her and my very dominant bossy little Queensland , Fox. Not serious and never caused any injuries. She is fine with my elderly male, Grover. No idea how she would be with cats, so "guilty until proven innocent" as for all Bouvs whose behavior with cats is unproven. Seems to be fine with children, including very young ones, but of course young children must always be carefully supervised when interacting with any dog or cat.

an almost fatal emergency

Update 3/14/2014 : About a month ago Mo suddenly stopped eating and was clearly unwell. I took her to UCD VMTH Emergency right away, red alarms going off in the right side of my brain.. She was diagnosed with an intestinal blockage which turned out to be caused by some cloth (part of pair of my pants) she had eaten weeks earlier -- now half in her stomach and half into first half of intestines. It was a black and white choice = immediate euthanasia or emergency surgery.. Mo came through her surgery very well, recovered well, and is now in her usual good health. When I later showed her surgeon the pants that were missing a strip of cloth, the surgeon said that this matched the cloth removed from Mo's gut. No question about it !

An adopter will need to be obsessively careful about keeping all "dirty" (worn) clothing totally out of reach. I suspect that that top rear section of my sweatpants that she ate had some food odor on it. It's so easy to unthinkingly wipe one's hands on the back of one's pants. (At least it's easy for me.)

At this point she was still up for adoption, but I intended to be very very picky about a super home for her. I was willing to be her final home myself.

bad news

BAD NEWS : 4/11/2014 --- cancer
A week ago MoMA was diagnosed with lymphoma. I'd noticed symptoms (enlarged lymph nodes behind her jaw) the night before, and wa able to get her seen at UC Davis VMTH the next day. Diagnosed and begun into treatment same day. Generally 85% of dogs will respond well to treatment and go into remission, with median survival of a year.. Long term cure however is very rare. So at this point , I consider Mo to be a "hospice foster", meaning she will finish out her life with me, with medical support to keep her quality of life good as long as possible and the blessing of euthanasia when good quality is not longer possible. She is thus no longer available for adoption. I kept her story on Petfinder for a while though, as it's somewhat instructive.

This came at a bad time for me , as my eldest dog, Grover, passed away 3/17/2014, almost seven full years after I bailed him off Death Row. For Mo it's now been about 7 months since I took her from local Animal Control shelter where she had very poor prospects of adoption. Whatever good quality time she has left I knew that I must view as being time she would not otherwise have had.

UPDATE 6/20/2014 : she is considered to be in remission, ie good response to treatment. She's enjoying her life and should continue to do so for some time yet.

I am adding a photo of Mo in her "sundress" that covers most of the area where her hair is thin or absent due to her chemo. I've been joking "orange is the new black" since her color was originally black. She doesn't mind being a naked dog.

Moma wearing her

UPDATE 6/25/2014 : Mo passed away 10/20/2014 Mo's remission began to fail some time ago, two of her drugs ceasing to work. We never did get her back into a solid remission, and she was having side effects and finally a really severe aspiration pneumonia. She began to suffer, prospects for improvement were very poor, so we made the sad necessary decision to euthanize her.

She is at peace. she got 6 months of really good quality of life from her treatment and only a couple days of poor to bad quality of life. Her death took place 14 months after her rescue. That's time she wouldn't have had if not rescued, as she had little hope of being adopted out of the shelter.

Moma's necropsy confirmed the pneumonia and showed two added serious issues. She had a large mass in one of her adrenal glands, which was a carcinoma, and something that was quite unexpected, amyloidosis, which is a systemic disease, which was seen in her kidneys, the vessels within her heart, and intestines. Amyloidosis is essentially incurable and would have become fatal. So her necropsy made it indisputably clear that the time for euthanasia had indeed arrived.

I left her story up under "adoptable" for a while so people will read it. Sometimes "rescue" is about giving an old or ill dog a safe and loving place in which to finish out her life, rather than about adoption.

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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
Pam's e-mail address has changed tips on site use
created Sept, 2013 revised 3/17/2020
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