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Paddy's story

Paddy was a senior Bouvier who landed in a shelter when his owner was consigned to long term health care facility. He lived out his life with me as a gentle old dog.


Paddy's story

by Pam Green, © 2014, 2020

(I'm going to tell his story pretty much chronologically , as told on his Petfinder listing.)

Paddy's rescue and intake

intake 6/27/2014 :

Paddy's owner had been in failing health and finally was consigned to a nursing home ("health prison", aka "fate worse than death") which would not allow his dog, although Paddy has been his service dog. The local shelter people knew Paddy (because of previous short visits while his owner was hospitalized), liked him a lot, and were prepared to do whatever it took to get him into rescue. Phone call to me, and with the help of my rescue buddy , Carol, we were there a day later to pick him up. (Carol very kindly did the driving, her vehicle, because my car had been having some problems. But we got to have a good visit and a nice lunch out of the trip.).

It was immdiately apparent that Paddy was a very well behaved dog. Well behaved in home, car, on walks. Laid back and sedate indoors. Got along well with my other dogs . Owner had told shelter that he is not good with cats, so I assumed that is correct (and I consider any Bouv to be "guilty until proven innocent" when it comes to cats). He's a calm companion. easy to live with. affectionate but not demanding

He was up to date on vaccinations and tested heartworm negative. He was very much overweight, probably due to owner's illness preventing much walking. Now overweight is something I know how to cure. Gradually exercise him to fitness and restrict food intake.. He seemed to be in good health

Currently clipped down, prior to entering shelter. See photo of him lying down on my rather scruffy lawn. He's a really handsome dog.

Paddy on my lawn soon after intake

UPDATE : 7/25/2014
Paddy has become a bit more upbeat now that he is getting used to my home. and he's lost some of his excess weight but still has more needed to lose. He gets along well with my other dogs. He's really a sweet dog


UPDATE 8/27/2014
His squishy lumps have been checked out and are benign lipomas. I have an appt for him tomorrow to check out some eye irritation that I think will prove to be a mild allergy

UPDATE 9/05/2014
Eye exam revealed essentially normal eyes. Lower eyelid sags slightly, making eyes more vulnerable to irritation from wind, dust, allergens. Easily helped by ordinary eyewash and lubricating eyedrops

Paddy's such a nice dog, kindly and easy to live with. And as his weight has come down towards normally lean, his enthusiasm for walks and his stamina have improved


UPDATE 10/03/2014
Something a little strange is that Paddy's bark is very high pitched for a dog his size. Most Bouvs have very deep barks, but Paddy sounds like a little dog. I am going to get some vet advice on this as voice change can indicate a laryngeal problem. He is not a dog who barks a lot nor without some reason.

Nothing abnormal was found to account for his bark.

about senior dogs

He will be 10 years old by end of Nov. I know most people hesitate about adopting senior dogs, but really if you want a very easy-going civilized companion who doesn't require large amounts of exercise and who won't demolish your home, it's hard to beat most seniors --- and for sure you won't find a nicer senior than Paddy. However if he doesn't get adopted, he's totally welcome to stay in my home for the rest of his life.

cancer discovered

On 11/17/2014, during a routein exam, including rectal palpation (should be included for every mid-life to senior dog), Paddy was discovered to have a very small anal sac tumor. After work up surgery was 12/15/2014, and the removal appeared to be complete and the local lymph nodes appeared to be clean. At that time the best evidence available advised that he was probably cured and did not need radiation therapy.

His photo below , resting on my porch, wearing a protective shirt and "Elizabthan collar" (cone).

Paddy on my porch,  post-surgery, with protective shirt and elizabethan collar

He got re-checked at 3 month intervals for the next year. No indications of return for several re-checks, for almost a year, and seemed to really have been cured. At this point he was no longer up for adoption, but was living a very good quality life with me, welcome to finish out his life with me.

cancer returned

update 8/18/2016
Recently his cancer returned , metastasized to lymph nodes. He's in treatment at UCD VMTH but is having side effects from a drug, Palladia, that targets this particular cancer very well. It won't be known for a while how well the cancer is responding.

Unfortunately the drug really trashed his appetite, so he couldn't continue on it. He also got some radiation treatment

This tends to be a slowly progressing type of cancer. While his time of good quality life is probably limited, he might have a while yet to enjoy life.. I will not allow him to suffer and will give him a peaceful exit when it's clear that he needs it.

his sudden end

His quality of life ran out , suddenly and disasterously.

At about 8 am that morning, as I sat down to enjoy my coffee and to read, Paddy seemed absolutely fine. He lay down on a dog bed close to my rocking chair. Then at 9 am as I rose to go fix my oatmeal, Paddy began to stand up, but his rear legs crashe. They just would not support him. I did a toe pinch test on both rear paws, finding that one was slightly responsive and the other not at all. This gave me a strong presumption of a protruding vertebral disc compressing his spinal cord. That's an emergency if you want to have a reasonable chance to restore function, avoid permanent paralysis. I called the UCD VMTH and told them I was on my way, would arrive in about half an hour, with a Bouv who probably needed spinal cord decompression surgery. VMTH does this all the time, often with great success. Then I had to find a neighbor to come help me carry Paddy into the car. At 80 pounds he's too heavy for me by myself.

We arrived, got him into the ER. Dr Sturges, one of the superb senior neurologists did his exam. She thought the problem could be either in his brain or his spinal cord. But knowing that he also had a metastasized cancer, she wanted to get imaging (chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound) before deciding to do surgery. Alas, the imaging showed extensive cancer. So it would not have been any kindness to him to do the surgery and the course of physical rehabilitation afterwards. It would have been a period of hardship for him, without enough payback in good quality of life afterwards. Dr Sturges euthanized him, while I told him over and over what a good good good dog he was.

Paddy was euthanized on March 17, 2017, St Patrick's Day, coincidentally appropriate for a dog named Paddy. And I am finishing this story on 3/17/2020, 4 years later.

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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
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created 6/29/2014 revised 3/17/2020
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