Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota: RAGOM is a 501(c)(3) organization, rescuing Golden Retrievers and re-homing them through adoption since 1985. Serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Adopted Dogs

Rest in Peace

Brandy
Brandy 08-122
(Fostered in Minneapolis, MN)

Sponsor Brandy

~ Sponsored by ~

Susannah Charleson

Megan, John & Otto Altman

Mary & Carl S.

 

      
I'd like to introduce you all to Brandy. She is 6-7 years old. She is a GR crossed with a Collie. Brandy came to us from a shelter in Iowa. She was a stray.

When Brandy came to us, she was friendly with us but unsure and cautious with all our dogs. We have 2 resident and 1 other foster. She would stay by us and growl a little at them. She is very thin and I think she probably had to fight for what she got. Now she is getting used to regular meals and TREATS!! She LOVES them! We have left the dry food out so she know she can always eat. So she's settled down a lot that way.

Brandy is very sweet. She likes to jump around and play with us but doesn't know much about balls or toys. We'll work on that. Today we were at the groomers. Boy does she smell good!! And she's really beautiful now! I think she feels kind of important.

Brandy walks well on a leash. She comes when called. She now knows sit, shake and lay down. She gets along well with our cats, she's not afraid of the horses. She was very interested in the rabbit, but that's not as interesting now.

Brandy is looking for a forever home so she can get all the attention and love she's missed out on. She is so sweet and deserves to know she's important and safe. She has a lot of love to give.

 


UPDATES:
03/18/2008:

"Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee!!!!!" That's what Brandy seemed to be saying on her first walk with her resident collie and labrador brothers at her permanent foster home. Such a pretty prancer she is while walking! Her temporary foster home got her groomed, and you can just tell that she now feels as pretty as she looks. A dainty, feminine and gorgeous girl, that's Brandy!

Brandy has settled in very well, after some initial shyness. She is the perfect houseguest - wonderful with the dogs and cats, and she has displayed no bad habits nor any food aggression (of course the dogs are all fed in separate areas to maintain peace, but when the nosy and always hungry lab approaches her while she is eating, she displays no agitation at all). She likes to have somebody by her side when she eats, and of course I oblige, just to make sure the lab doesn't accidentally bite off more than he thinks he can chew!

Just having been spayed about a week ago, Brandy still may need some dental work, and has shown some possible pain in her back end area, by (gently) snapping when foster mom has tried to wipe her back feet, and she had the same reaction when her temporary foster took her to the vet and they were poking around her back end area. She goes to the vet next Monday to remove her stitches, so I will see what the vets say at that time.

I also think she may be a bit older than the first estimated 6-7 years old, due to the shape of her teeth, grayness of her muzzle, activity level and slight eye cloudiness. My collie sniffed near her mouth (as he tends to be solicitous of other animals' health issues), and she gave him a warning growl. So she may be having mouth pain also.

Apparently Brandy came from a neglect situation, and she has several very good scars on her nose. Don't you wish she could talk? But that is in the past, and this little girl just wants love, and wants to be close to you. She exhibits some separation anxiety, by whining when left alone, but will settle down in not too long of a time. She does not get on the furniture, and has claimed "her" dog bed by the front door. She nosily will look out the window if she hears another dog barking, or if there is activity outside, but for the most part, she is content to lie on her bed. Of course, if I get up and move to another room, Brandy has to get up to see where I am and what I'm doing.

Surprisingly, Brandy has what sounds like a Husky vocalization at times, she very cutely "woo-woo's", for lack of a better description. I think she's trying to tell me about her day when I come home! This "woo-woo" can also sound heartbreaking, as when she is feeling alone, it comes out sounding extremely mournful. You'd swear you were out in the woods with a wolf not far away, pouring her heart out to the moon and stars.

Brandy came with the crew to the dog park the other day, and enjoyed herself for a short while - so many smells!... then definitely wanted to head to the gate to leave. I got the feeling she wanted to get back to her "comfort" zone. It wouldn't surprise me at all if she has some deep-seated anxieties about her place in the world. Brandy will need a fenced yard, as when she decided she was going to leave the dog park, she was heck-bent on getting to the gate, and did not respond to any type of voice or persuasion to change the direction she was going. Also, she is probably not used to her name yet, she may never have even HAD a name, so maybe does not know she is really a somebody with a name to call her own.

Due to the possible pain issues that caused snapping, Brandy's forever home should not include small children or rambunctious pets.

The perfect home for Brandy would be a calm home where she would never be alone. Ideally, there would be a compatible dog friend for her to spend the time with when her person(s) could not be there. I think being totally alone in the house, for Brandy, would be very, very sad and scary for her. She needs to learn that she is safe and secure, and that her home will be her forever home. Brandy doesn't need fancy lessons or group/dog activities, she just needs the comfort of knowing she belongs to a family and a home, neither of which will ever be taken away from her.


03/25/2008:

Well, after knowing this sweet little girl for two weeks now, she just keeps getting sweeter. What a doll!

There is some concerning news, though. Yesterday Brandy went to the vet to get her spay stitches removed. While examining her, besides finding possible mouth pain, tapeworms, and extremely painful hips, the vet discovered what she highly suspects as anal sac tumors.

Brandy will be going back to the vet next Monday (April 1) to be put under sedation for x-rays. (The x-rays at that time will also be able to check her hips.) The goal of the x-rays is to determine exactly what is there, and if it has spread, as apparently this type of tumor will spread to the lymph nodes, and into the chest area.

The vet also gave Brandy some pain pills for her hips (and any other pain, like in her mouth). It's amazing the difference - Brandy had up until then been pretty low-key. Once the pill took effect, she was much more up and about in the house. Not knowing her, or her exact age, I had attributed her inactivity to possible age. It appears that it was actually most likely pain that was keeping her lying around so much. Poor girl. The resident lab is hoping for absence of pain for Brandy, as he'd like nothing better than to romp with her!

If everybody will please keep paws crossed for Brandy's vet visit next Monday, please? I will report back with the news as soon as I find anything out.


04/01/2008:

Although all the test results aren't in, yesterday's vet visit seemed to go very well for Brandy, and she has recovered from the anesthesia with no difficulties.

The x-rays showed absolutely no signs of hip problems or dysplasia, which is good - although that leaves no current explanation for her very absolute reactions to being handled in her rear area.

Most importantly, though, will be the test results from the biopsy taken on the anal sac tumors. The vet stated that normally, in situations where there might be problems, that the dog's calcium levels would be elevated, and Brandy's are in the normal range. So that is a hopeful sign. The results should be in within a day or two, so I will post again at that time.

Other than the above, Brandy has been doing wonderfully. She enjoys taking walks, but is definitely a homebody. Nothing pleases her more than to sit by your side and be petted and scratched on her chest. Brandy will join my dogs in a lilttle dainty barking at the window if another dog goes by, but other than that, she is a quiet, reserved little girl who asks for little - a tummy rub and a treat is all it takes to make her feel like a queen.


04/04/2008:


I've had Brandy for several weeks now, and this perfect, well-behaved little girl has not asked for one tiny thing. She is totally content to just "belong", and to be included as part of her foster family.

But right now, Brandy DOES want to ask for something - she wants to please ask for everybody's prayers, crossed paws, and special thoughts. Because she has cancer. It was discovered that she does, indeed, have malignant anal sac tumors, and anal sac tumors are a very aggressive form of cancer.

It has been determined that the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or abdomen. This is a hopeful sign.

On Monday, April 7, Brandy will be having two procedures done - the first is a chest x-ray, to rule out any cancer spread there. If these x-rays come back clear, the second procedure will be surgical removal of her anal sacs. If they can successfully remove all the cancer, Brandy will then be able to have a good quality of doggie life, and she certainly deserves this. It may be the first time in her entire life that she can look forward to a future of love, care, and security. What a shame it would be if this future that is now within her grasp, after the years of uncertainty and neglect, were to be cut short.

Because a better, braver little dog could not be found - Brandy never complains, although it is certain that the tumors are currently very uncomfortable for her. If a tummy rub were all it would take to make her better, Brandy would be totally content. But it will take more than just a tummy rub - please keep Brandy in your prayers on Monday.


04/07/2008:

If Brandy could talk right now, she would be saying "Thank you!" to those who made her surgery possible today, including an especially huge "Thank you!" to her sponsor Susannah Charleson for caring about her and becoming her sponsor.

Brandy is still at the vet, but I wanted to let everybody know that her surgery went well today. The cancer had not spread, and the anal sacs were successfully removed.

The vet did say that Brandy has spinal degeneration, which is most likely causing a lot of her pain reactions. She will be on pain meds for that condition from now on. Also, the vet said that she was probably over 10 years old.

I can pick her up tomorrow, so once I speak with the vets, I will post again with what they have to say.

I miss her little quiet self over in the spot she has come to know as "hers".......


04/08/2008:

Brandy is VERY happy to be "home", there is no doubt about that! It's heartwarming to see.

Wearing a cone, with pain and antibiotics, Brandy now has to have some pumpkin with each meal for awhile, and will go back in 10-14 days to get her sutures out. In 5-7 days they will call with the results of the biopsy, which I guess will tell more about the cancer, and if they got it all, and what her exact prognosis is. So she still needs prayers and good thoughts, please!

One of the fears was that she may be fecally incontinent - either temporarily, or permanently, apparently there is a small risk of this. I'm happy to say that when she was out in the back yard earlier, she poo'd twice, which seems like a very positive thing.

She ate a good supper, and is now totally conked out, with some not quite dainty snoring going on. She seems so relieved to be home, the sweet little thing. Knowing she has people who care about her, like her sponsor Susannah Charleson, in addition to having a place she feels "at home", will do as much as anything in the world right now, to help her heal and get back on her paws.


04/23/2008:

Brandy (whose nickname is now "Little Woo-Woo") has recovered completely from her surgery, and is feelin' good!!!! She has had absolutely no instances of fecal incontinence, and seems way less "touchy" about her rear end area, so she is not even receiving the pain meds for the spinal degeneration that was thought to maybe be causing some pain back there.

As of this moment, the sun is shining for Brandy. But there are some clouds. It appears that, while they had hoped to get all of the cancer, the margins weren't what they had hoped (don't know if I'm saying that quite correctly). Being that the type of cancer Brandy had tends to be quite aggressive, there is a good chance that the cancer may still spread throughout her system. Although that is not a 100% certainty, because as the vet said, "All dogs are different".
Brandy goes back to the vet in about 4 weeks to get checked over, they will check her calcium levels and for any other indication that the cancer is spreading. At that time, if all seems ok, she will need to be rechecked at regular intervals (every 6 months or so) to monitor the situation.

For the home that wants to add a little bundle of love and devotion, Brandy can offer a heart bigger than this whole state. She may not have as much time on this earth as if she not had this tumor.....but then again, she may grace us with her wonderfulness for a completely normal life-span. And if she does have less time than one would hope, Brandy will make up for that with more love and devotion than one could ever hope for.

Right at this moment, after an uncertain past, Brandy is finally looking at her future with a smile. She is loved, fed, her wonderful sponsor Susannah Charleson cares about her, she is pain-free, and for maybe the first time in her life, she knows what it feels like to have a real home, real security.

When I come home at night, I am greeted with the "Little Woo-Woo" dance of joy. I pray that dance of joy continues for a long, long time......


05/14/2008:

Brandy has good news to share with all her friends and her wonderful sponsor Susannah Charleson. She went in for her 1st follow-up vet visit after her surgery, which was to be scheduled 4-6 weeks afterwards.

Her calcium levels were tested, because that would be a huge indicator that the cancer had come back or spread. The great news is that, as of right now, the calcium levels are entirely in the "normal" stage. A bit worrisome was the fact that the vet did notice something on the right side of her anal sacs where the tumor had been removed, that felt as if "there were something there". This could be scar tissue, or it could be re-growth, as that is the side that they felt was not completely clear of the cancer after the surgery.

But for now.....things are rosy for Brandy. She will need to go back in monthly for these same tests, and all we can do is keep paws crossed that the tests keep coming back favorably.

This sweet little girl is very precious - her exuberant foster brother lab has even enticed her into some ladylike play behavior. Above all else, Brandy treasures security. This is obvious as when we are going to "familiar territory", she is happy as can be - but when we are enroute to somewhere out of her normal path, she displays some anxiety.

At the moment, she doesn't need to worry about a thing, though - with the positive test results and a loving foster home and foster brothers, Brandy is as happy as a clam.

Let's all pray that the test results continue to be this encouraging! Little Woo Woo thanks everybody for their love and concern!


07/02/2008:

Brandy says it has been too long since we sent an update to her friends at RAGOM, and her sponsor Susannah Charleson is no doubt wondering how she is doing!

The good news is that she is doing wonderfully! She went in for her monthly cancer re-check, and again everything came back clear. We have found out that since her calcium levels were actually normal at the time of her cancer diagnosis, that they will stay normal. So there is no need to test her blood regularly, just need to check her anal sac area. Once she has had several more monthly "all-clears", she will be able to lessen the frequency of those check-ups, also. Yippee!

A minor issue cropped up several days ago, it appears that Brandy has developed a bladder infection - but that is easily treated with antibiotics, and she seems to feel better already. Although this sweet little girl never complains about a thing, it must have been uncomfortable for her, and it was good to see her initiating a bit of play with her labrador foster-brother after a pill or two.

Due to the fact that Brandy has a "thing" about anybody messing around with her hind end, it was difficult to brush her back there, and she was developing some clumps of hair that I wanted to get out before they matted. I brought her to my trusted groomer, and we decided that it would be easier for her to just be shaved, so Brandy now has a "lion cut" - and a cuter little WooWoo you'll never see (I will get some updated photos soon, I'm sure everyone would enjoy seeing them). As we were at the dog park after her haircut, one lady commented that "it looks like she forgot to put her pants on!" Brandy feels very cute, as she sashays around with her new "do". Plus, she is very cool in this hot weather, and the other dogs are looking at her with envy, it's plain to see.

Several times a month Brandy gets to join her foster mom and brothers at the farm, where she takes long walks and enjoys the country scenery. She has gone from a little girl who was reluctant to leave her "safe" area, to a girl who anticipates and thoroughly enjoys outings, as she seems to now feel totally secure, and knows she does not have to worry about anything anymore - it's a pleasure to have this sweetest of sweet souls as part of my home, and to see how she has blossomed from someone who once felt that any happiness was fleeting, into a confident lass who can wag her tail freely, knowing she truly has a place in the world.


08/07/2008:

Just Brandy here, stopping in to give everybody the latest report from the doctor.....still clear!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!! "WooWoo!!!" My sponsor, Susannah Charleson, is so appreciated. Because of her, I am having a wonderful life. And all my other friends out there......thank you, too, for caring about me!

Every other weekend I go to the farm, where I get to take nice long walks in the country. It's amazing how differently things smell down there! I sniff every blade of grass, every bug, every toad, every animal scent, every puff of air that comes my way. I trot down into the field ditches, and imagine I am in the jungle, sniff-sniff! Guess that's what they call "smelling the roses".....and believe me, I appreciate every smell I can find.

After these good walks, even though my foster brothers Baxter the lab and Asa the collie like to hang around outside with mom, I'd rather go inside the house where it is cool. Even at home in the Cities, I'm a house-mouse. I love going to the dog park, and I love nice long strolls - but other than that, some quiet indoor snoozing is the thing I like best.

Mom is still planning on getting some good updated pictures of me for everybody to see, so please check back in and see if they're posted yet!

Brandy


08/11/2008:

Brandy had a few minutes to spare for a photo session, so we have a couple of pictures of her for her fans to see. Here are her "calm and poised reflective" look, and also her "lion do", of which she thinks she's quite the cutie-pie. Her fur is growing back in very lovely and soft, in time for the upcoming cool weather, but mom was told again that there is to be no brushing in that area, no matter how gently it is done. I was hoping that she could gradually get used to it and be ok with it, but Brandy gently warns that it is a no-no. Brushing her beautiful ruff and head, on the other hand, is much desired, and Brandy moans in delight - also is quite enamored of good ear-scratchings.

Brandy will check in again with her next vet visit in a few weeks. The vet said after 6 consecutive monthly "all clear" visits, she will be able to be checked less frequently. Let's keep all paws crossed that she remains "all clear" and has a long, life ahead of her to enjoy being the beautiful Little Miss Woo-Woo she was meant to be!

  

09/05/2008:

And once again, Little Woo Woo comes in a winner! After her latest vet check, she is still clear! Brandy will now be able to get checked for any signs of the cancer returning on a continually less frequent basis, and hopefully will hear the "All's Clear!!!!" response forever.

Every day is a holiday for this little girl. She appears to be totally happy and at peace with herself - she just plain enjoys "being". Everything she does, she does with such calm delight, it is a joy to watch. Whether it be a stroll, a dip in the lake, a belly rub, or an afternoon at the farm watching the world go by, Brandy's demeanor is one of contentment.

Even her daily morning "rumpus" with lab brother Baxter is done with grace and calm. With the cats, she is extremely maternal. If one should meow while being brushed, Brandy is right there to make sure the kitty is ok. Several nose nudges and paw taps reassure Brandy, but she will then lie right there to keep an eye on things. If the kitties should be roughhousing, they have a playground superintendent making sure all is hunky-dory.

If Brandy could speak, she would say, "WooWoo!!!!!!!! Because of RAGOM, I have the peace and security of a loving foster home. Without RAGOM, who knows where I'd be? And because of my sponsor Susannah Charleson's generosity , I have my health. Because without this generosity, I do know where I would be........either very, very sick, or not here at all. Thank you and bless all of those who care enough to help me, and other dogs like me."


09/30/2008:
Just a quick update on Brandy, who is doing wonderfully! 

She will go in for another checkup in a few weeks, and hopefully all will still be clear. 

Little Miss Priss absolutey detests getting her feet wet.  If there is any dew on the grass, and heaven forbid it is raining, Brandy will go to great lengths to avoid even putting a toe out.  Once a leash is put on her, she can be led into the grass to do her job, but then there is a direct bee-line back into the house! 

Brandy's coat is almost all grown back in from her summer cut, and she is absolutely beautiful.  I have to laugh at the fact that she still does not care (at all!) for anyone touching or messing with her legs or rear end area, but every time she gets into the car to go to the dog park she has to be boosted up, which means grabbing her bottom end and legs, and she has no problem whatsoever with that! 

Brandy is a very deliberate step-walker, when she climbs or goes down stairs, it is methodically one at a time, and I'm not sure if that is due to sight, or to possible leg/arthritis pain, so I watch closely to try to determine that. 

The little sweetie continues to be a joy.  

Brandy will check back in after her next vet visit......paws crossed for continued good reports! 

11/20/2008:

Hi! 

Brandy here, just letting my great sponsor Susannah Charleson and all my fans know that I am doing great. 

I had my 6th month cancer checkup a few weeks ago, and they said since it came back clear for 6 months in a row, that I can now get checked every 3 months instead of every 1.  I'm very happy about that, because I REALLY don't enjoy them putting on that cute little muzzle and poking around where nobody should be poking! 

Life is good. I go for walks, go to the dog park, eat, snooze, and play with my foster brother Baxter.  Who could want anything more? 

Mom keeps watching me for eyesight and joint pain issues, as I am slow going up and down the stairs. She called the vet today to get heartworm pills for me, and is waiting to see if the vet thinks it would be ok to put me on Deramaxx.  I've always been "ouchy" about my legs and hind end  (other than when mom boosts my butt up into the car to go to the dog park, then I'm so excited that my butt is the least of my concerns!), so if I'm uncomfortable on a daily basis but not talking about it, maybe taking a little pain pill each day would be good for me.

I'm such a good girl, and so happy to be safe and loved, that I would never think about complaining about anything. 

It sure is great that RAGOM folks and my sponsor Susannah care about me, because I'm now a contented little girl. 

Woo-woo!


12/22/2008:

Brandy checking in here, wishing everybody a Merry Christmas! Especially my sponsor Susannah Charleson, because if it weren't for her generosity and the open arms of RAGOM, I may not have been here to celebrate the holidays.

My last vet visit was another success, and the vet said I have gained about 10 pounds. My foster mom thought "Oh no! I've turned Brandy into a chunk!", but the vet said that the weight gain is a good thing, as there would be no weight gain if there were still cancer. Mom relaxed, until we had an impromptu vet visit due to a little diarrhea I developed (which is fine now). My weight had creeped up a little bit more, and the vet said that we didn't want it to go any higher. Ooops. So mom is keeping an eye on my daily rations, the same as she is doing with my fat foster-cat sister Pixie (talk about a pudge, snicker-snicker).

This cold weather doesn't do my joints any good. Mom tried some Rimadyl on me, but it didn't seem like it made a lot of difference, so due to the possible side effects, she took me off of it again. But my bones do hurt. Mom hasn't seen me playing with Baxter lately, and when she tries to brush me a little, as much as I would love to be combed, it hurts and I tell her so.

Every night I have decided it is my job to be upstairs with mom when she sleeps. But those stairs seem more and more difficult, and in addition to my bones hurting, mom thinks my vision may not be the best. I hesitate greatly going up the stairs, but with assistance from the rear, I do make it up there. If mom doesn't help me up the steps, I pace on the kitchen floor (click, click, click, go my toenails) until she comes and gets me. She tells me it's fine for me to sleep on the main floor with my foster brothers, but I know better - I have a job to do, and it's important that I do it.

No matter that I may be a little slower than my foster brothers, I certainly enjoy my walks and going to the dog park. Once in awhile, if mom gets me going, I get a kick out of myself, and run around like a goofball for a minute or so. I do love the snow! For a little bit, anyway.

I'm a very happy and contented girl, who is grateful for the love, care and concern of Susannah and all my RAGOM friends. I wish for angels to look after all the animals who aren't as fortunate as me, that are in need of food, warmth and security. May God look down on them with favor, and lead them to shelter. Thank you for being my angel, RAGOM.


01/06/2009:

Woo-Woo, Brandy here! Hope everybody's holidays went well!  I had a nice Christmas and am looking forward to the New Year. 

I'm getting a little slower on our walks, but that's ok! I still love to go.  Get me near the dog park, and I'm so excited that I have to bark-bark-bark right along with my noisy collie foster brother.  Of course, my bark-bark-bark is a girl noise, his is a big Lassie noise - my higher-pitched barks and woo-woos get mixed up with his "Timmy's in the well" deep baritones, and we have quite the duet.  Add that to goofball lab Baxter's groans of ecstasy at his anticipation of the dog park, and mom gets quite an earful.  Maybe we'll put out a cd!

I've finally decided that even with help, though, it's too much for me to get upstairs to keep mom company when she sleeps. Even though that's where I feel I should be, I just can't make it up there anymore. Mom is going to have to rearrange the house so she can sleep downstairs with me, that's all there is to it.

Mom thinks it might be a good idea to get my eyes checked, this is what she told the RAGOM people:

"I have a strong hunch she may have deteriorating vision. In watching her on the stairs at my house, which are dark, she has huge issues.  She used to walk up them herself, (because she was determined to be upstairs when I was up there), then she started needing help from the rear, and now, even though she badly wants to come up there, she doesn't want to try it any more, even with help.  When she did go up prior, she would hug the wall, seemingly to guide her. In contrast, at  my farmhouse, the steps are light colored, and she is still doing those on her own.

So, of course, I've been trying to watch her closely to see what she is "seeing", and noticed at the dog park, if she's more than a few feet from me, she will "scent" for me, rather than looking for me. She'll walk over to a group of people, as she can see shapes, I'm sure, then becomes concerned that it's not me, and starts scenting to locate me.

Having had an elderly dog who went blind a few years ago, I remember realizing that she had been "compensating" for quite some time without me realizing there were eye issues." 

Mom has also decided it's time again to get me in to the groomer, as she says "my stuffing is falling out".  Since I don't like her to brush me, she can't get at all the tufts that pop out of my coat (even though she sneakily tugs them out when I'm not looking, and others fall on the floor anyway, I don't see the big problem!).  I did real good at the groomer's when I went in the spring, and mom trusts the groomer implicitly, so guess that will be my next adventure to tell everybody about. Even though I'm beautiful with or without clumps, mom seems to think "clumpless" is preferable!

Just found out I'm going to go in and get my eyes checked, also, so I will fill everybody in on that, also. 

Thank you as always, to my sponsor Susannah Charleson, and all my other RAGOM friends. 


 
01/30/2009:

After going in to the vet for a possible bladder infection, it was discovered that Brandy has elevated liver values.  A biopsy showed a possible "something" on her liver. A biopsy will reveal if there is anything significant going on, hopefully it will be something minor or treatable. 

A big thank you to Brandy's sponsor Susannah Charleson, and the very caring and compassionate staff at VCA Animal Hospital in Richfield, for making these visits and treatments possible, and for helping Brandy know she is loved and cared for.


02/24/2009:

Just a quick update on Brandy - she and I forgot to mention anything about her previous eye appointment. The vet looked at Brandy's eyes, and detected cataracts, which are what is most likely causing her stair reluctance, etc.  At the moment, there did not appear to be any need for further eye testing, which is good news.  The vet said that stairways are normally darker in appearance, so the cataracts cause Brandy to not be able to see them well at all. It was suggested to keep areas as lit up as possible for Brandy to be able to navigate more easily.

We are waiting on information on an upcoming biopsy for Brandy, in the hopes of determining what actually is going on in her liver.

She continues to do well, sometimes seems picky about her food, or appears to lack an appetite - (but treats are always gobbled up!) and sometimes she seems a bit lethargic, but I'm not sure if that's due to anything specific, or just some days she might feel perkier than others, just like the rest of us!

Brandy knew that her sponsor Susannah Charleson, along with her RAGOM friends, would be wondering about how she was coming along, and she will keep everybody informed of biopsy results or other information when it becomes available.

We actually have even gotten to the point where she will tolerate a good deal of (very, very gentle) brushing.  So she is somewhat less clumpy.  Brandy is a beautiful, sweet, wonderful little girl.


03/16/2009:

Hi everybody - Brandy is doing well, and had a biopsy done again to confirm what was suspected, after the doctor noticed something suspicious on her liver. And, yes, it is confirmed that there is a spot of cancer on her liver, but the good news is that it is confined to one lobe, and is operable with a good cure rate. First, though, a chest x-ray needs to be done, to ascertain that no cancer has spread to her lungs, because that would change the picture......so please keep paws crossed for little Woo-Woo!

Brandy is feeling fine and spunky, she and her foster brothers went for two 3-mile walks in the country this weekend, and even though the roads were muddy, and her two foster brothers absorbed a lot of that mud, little dainty Brandy managed to keep those paws and tummy fur pretty darn clean. Thank you, Brandy!

During her biopsy, which Brandy was tranquilized for, I had the perfect opportunity to get some quality brushing in! The sedative lasts about 45 minutes, and the procedure was finished before that time, so VCA let me use a couple of brushes and combs, and I brushed and brushed and brushed. Wow, what a gorgeous girl! Her golden butt fur is gorgeous, I ran around the house afterwards snapping pictures of her butt, trying to get one that shows her (and her butt) to the best advantage. Brandy, of course, thought I was nuts. She always gets compliments on her looks anyway, but after a good brushing, she turns heads.

Brandy wants to thank Susannah Charleson as always for her kindness and caring, making these tests and procedures possible. Because of Susannah's generosity, and RAGOM's care, Brandy is living the good life, and hopes to get past this little bump in the road with no problems at all. Brandy has a lot more woo-woos inside of her.


03/30/2009:

Brandy has very exciting news.  Her chest x-rays, done to eliminate the possibility that the cancer on her one liver node had spread, came back clear.  Woo-hoo!  So now we will wait to see what the next step will be.

It has been over a year since Brandy was operated on for her anal sac cancer, and since that time she has been thriving.  There have been no other health problems since then, and no reoccurance of the anal sac cancer, so apparently the surgery got all of it. Because of the help of RAGOM and her generous sponsor Susannah Charleson, Brandy's life took a huge turn for the better.

Due to a fluke, by bringing in Brandy for what I thought was merely a slight bladder infection, the liver abnormality was found through bloodwork. The biopsy showed it only in one lobe, which is treatable, as her liver would function fine if that lobe were removed. Because of that fluke, the cancer was discovered very early, so I'm very thankful that VCA Animal Hospital decided to do the bloodwork that day!

Brandy celebrated the news of her good chest x-ray by going to the river dog park and taking a good, long hike.  While all the other dogs at the park, including her two foster brothers, were having a grand time getting muddy, as there was a lot of spring-time high water/mud areas, Brandy stayed delicately mud-free. 

Good girl, Brandy! 


03/31/2009:

 
Wow, what a day of good news this has been for Brandy! 

First of all, she found out that she was going to be scheduled for surgery to remove the portion of her liver that has that yucky cancer in it!  Brandy will be very happy to be rid of that hunk of useless liver!

How exciting that news was today.  Our little Brandy has an enormous amount of spunk in her, and she is so very thankful that she is able to have this surgery.

Then.... in addition to Susannah Charleson, whose generosity as her sponsor has helped Brandy come this far, Brandy now has additional sponsors!  Megan, John and Otto Altman have also stepped up to sponsor precious little WooWoo.

With all the love, support, and caring - from RAGOM friends and volunteers, her sponsors, and the great staff and doctors at VCA, (and she wants to mention and thank also Dr. Ralph who did her biopsies) - Brandy feels like the luckiest girl in the world.

Woo-woo to all, she says, a big thank you from a heart that beats with gratitude.

Brandy will be checking in with updates on her surgery, which might be happening as early as the beginning of next week.


04/11/2009:

Brandy wants everybody to know that she is in the hospital, and to ask everybody to say prayers for her.

She had started having some soft stools, and not wanting to eat dry food (but ate boiled chicken just fine! - sometimes difficult to tell what is "picky" and what is not feeling well!) and I had contacted the vet and asked for some easy-on-the-tummy food for her, hoping it would resolve itself over the weekend, and if not, planned to bring her in on Monday.

Over the last day or so, I was also getting suspicious that she may have had another bladder infection going on. In hindsight, I wish I had made an appointment for her this morning while she could still get in to see her regular vet, but as it turned out, this afternoon is when I started getting more concerned about her feeling poorly, and didn't want her to feel poorly until after I would get home from work to take her to the vet on Monday. So I decided to take her in to the emergency vet, just to make sure she would be comfortable until she could get into VCA, but the end result is that the emergency vet felt that Brandy was a lot more uncomfortable than she appeared outwardly to be, and that her urine came back seemingly clear of infection, but with bilirubin (liver) in it, and the vet also felt she was in pain in her tummy/liver area - the vet suggested running more tests, and hopefully getting Brandy more comfortable, which is why Little WooWoo is now spending until Monday morning in the hospital.

First thing Monday morning, I will go get her before 7:30, and bring her in to her regular vet at VCA. Tonight, I am to call the emergency vet in a couple of hours, to see what they may have found out. I plan to go visit Little WooWoo tomorrow some time, I'm sure she is very worried that she is not here with her foster brothers.

Brandy and myself want to thank RAGOM, Brandy's sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, from the bottom of our hearts for being here for Brandy, and because of your caring, allowing her to get the care she needs.

I pray that all will be well for little Brandy, and that she can soon have her surgery so she can get past this and woo-woo to the world her joy of feeling good again.

Please keep all and fingers crossed, with good thoughts and prayers, that Brandy will soon be back to her sweet special self.

I will keep everybody up to date on how she is coming along.


04/14/2009:

Just a quick note from Brandy, telling everybody she is scheduled for her surgery on Monday, April 20th! Please keep good thoughts for her.

Brandy stayed in the hospital until Sunday evening, she was feeling more comfortable by the time she left. She is taking anti-diarrhea medicine for a few more days.

Little Woo-Woo will update all of you who care so much about her, once her surgery is completed!


04/23/2009:


What a sweetheart Brandy is. Brandy's foster mom had to go out of town for a week, so Brandy has been staying at our home as a temporary foster for the past week. She met all five of the dogs here with absolutely no problem. On Monday, Brandy underwent a very serious, risky surgery. She had a huge (football size) cancerous lump removed from her liver. The removal of this particular type of cancer has a very good prognosis of not reoccurring. We thought it was worth the risk to hopefully give her a few more years of a happy, healthy life.  Brandy is recovering very well from her surgery. I talked to the certified vet surgeon immediately post surgery and she said that Brandy's blood pressure had dropped perilously low during surgery. She had a huge loss of blood (which was expected for liver surgery). The surgery was performed at the Eden Prairie emergency vet clinic due to the high risk and need for blood supply. Brandy did need a blood transfusion post surgery. She then stayed at the ER overnight and the next day for fluids and observation. When I picked her up Tuesday evening, I was asked to watch her to make sure that she was eating, drinking, urinating and defecating. I am happy to report that she is doing all those things and that her incision looks very good (no redness). She wears her cone without issue.  We do take it off when we can watch her so she can have some more comfortable time. All in all, the surgery appears to have been very successful and Brandy will be very happy to be going home to her foster home this evening.
 
I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Brandy's surgeon, Dr. Lara Rasmussen of Veterinary Surgical Specialists.  Dr. Rasmussen performs surgery on RAGOM dogs pro bono. She's an unbelievably talented, knowledgeable, skilled surgeon. Because of the high risk of this surgery and having it performed at an ER clinic vs. a normal vet clinic, RAGOM's expenses for this surgery totalled approximately $2,500. Any donations to help defray these costs are much appreciated. Brandy would like to thank all of her concerned viewers and specifically her sponsors for making this surgery possible for her.




05/01/2009:

A quick Woo-Woo note from Brandy. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thanks to Brandy's sponsors Susannah Charleson, and Megan, John & Otto Altman, and all others who have in one form or another donated time, good thoughts, or anything else to help Brandy through her latest ordeal, Brandy is woo-wooing once again. It has been quite some time since I heard her do this, but this evening, she was getting back to her old woo-woo self. Never have I heard a sweeter sound.

It's been 11 days since Brandy's surgery, and she is doing wonderfully. Brandy went in to visit Dr. Josephs and her other friends at VCA, and came out with a gold star for doing so good.

Quite the little survivor, is our Brandy. Look at the odds she has overcome since she was brought into RAGOM's care. And thanks to this care, and the generosity of her sponsors, the vets and staff at VCA, Dr. Ralph and Dr. Rasmussen, little Brandy has a future of health and joy to look forward to.

Brandy and I are forever grateful. Brandy will write more soon, but for right now, she just wants everybody to know how good she is doing, and how much she appreciates everything everybody has done for her.


05/19/2009:


I just have to tell everybody how wonderful Brandy is doing. It is so apparent that she feels better, she is displaying behaviors I hadn't even seen up until now. 

At the dog park, she is initiating play, which she has NEVER done up until now (except for at home with myself or her lab foster brother). She even did a little "play chasing" the other evening. She has always loved the dog park, but was content to just walk along with me. I remember when Brandy first came to RAGOM, and I took her to her first dog park visit.  For the first few minutes, she was fine, then it was apparent she wanted to go back to her "safety zone" (truck/home), immediately. She kept wanting to head to the gate, in a hurry. 

Now, she is totally confident of her self and her surroundings. This is the real Brandy. I don't know how long she had been uncomfortable due to her liver issues, but she obviously feels on top of the world again. 

The "woo-woos" are much more frequent now, and such a lovely sound to hear, as if she is "woo-wooing" with joy and gusto due to feeling good. I had missed hearing them.

Her appetite is great, and she's coming upstairs to sleep again, it had been quite some time since she had done so, before her surgery.

It's thanks to RAGOM and sponsors like Megan, John & Otto Altman, and Susannah Charleson that Brandy can now live a complete, pain-free, healthy life. One look at this little girl strutting her stuff will convince anybody that "life is worth living for Brandy!  WooWoo!"


 

 
 
06/15/2009:


Brandy is doing absolutely wonderful since her surgery. This little girl is acting like she feels like a million bucks. Little WooWoo can't say enough about how her sponsors Susannah Charleson and Megan, John & Otto Altman, and RAGOM friends have changed her life, not only through her recent surgery, but from the very beginning of her time in RAGOM. It is amazing to think of what a different turn her life would have taken, had she not had the fortune of being welcomed into "the fold".

Yesterday Brandy joined her foster brothers for a trip to Minnetrista, where there were numerous collies to play with.  In fact, there was even a sheep to look at!  Brandy looked interested enough in the sheep for her foster mom to consider signing her up for a "herding instinct test", just for fun.  Her collie foster brother Asa tells her it's the funnest day of the year!  If anybody wants more information on it, they can check out www.mwcr.org (collie rescue), and are welcome to come meet Brandy.

Brandy did meet several of her RAGOM friends at the Canine Carnival at the Wildlife Science Center. She thinks everybody was so nice to her, and so happy to meet her, she didn't know she was quite that popular!

Brandy also had fun several weeks ago at the farm with a RAGOM success story, her pal Smoozer (08-145, under Happy Endings). There are some good pictures there that Brandy would love everybody to see.

Every day with Brandy is special, as she is a special little girl who has overcome tremendous odds, with the help of very special friends.


 

07/08/2009:

 
Just a quick note from little Brandy to her friends, sponsors, and admirers!  She continues to do very well, and it is fun to watch Brandy enjoy life.

She currently has another bladder infection, mom can always tell when she has one, because she will piddle on the bathroom floor.  That is the ONLY time she does so, so mom knows to bring her in to the vet to get checked.

Little delicate Brandy, as stated before, definitely does not like getting those dainty little toes wet, so I suspect that there are times when she “holds it”, despite all my urging to “go potty”, when there are raindrops or a trace of dew evident on any blades of grass. She will stubbornly head immediately back to the house on the cement driveway each time I coax her a little ways into damp terrain. 

Brandy spent the 4th of July down at the farm, enjoyed a nice long walk, and naps in the shade with her foster mom and brothers.

She has gained so much confidence in herself, now that she feels secure and healthy.  Not a fan of the heat, she would prefer to be indoors, even if everybody else is outside.  On walks, we adjust ourselves to her pace, as she prefers to move in a leisurely fashion, as even though feeling good, she’s not a spring chicken anymore – and we don’t mind at all making any accommodations necessary to keep Little Miss Woo Woo happy and content – she more than pays us back with love and affection.


 

 

08/12/2009:

A big hello from Brandy! 

Hi to her sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, Otto and John Alteman!   And to all her RAGOM friends.  Brandy continues to be happy, healthy, and beautiful. 

She was starting to get a little fuzzy-looking around the edges, and I was planning to make a grooming appointment for her, as I’d mentioned in earlier updates, Brandy is no fan of having her extremities messed with in any way, shape, or form, to put it mildly.  The other evening, while sitting outside with the dogs, I thought I would just try to brush a little of her “safe” areas, when lo and behold, she let me brush just about (notice the words “just about”, haha) everywhere!  We had a wonderful grooming session, and other than her butt/tail area, which was DEFINITELY not to be part of her spa treatment, we got her just about totally brushed out.  I was amazed, and am now figuring that she was very uncomfortable due to her liver problems for quite some time, and that caused a lot of her “ouchiness”.  And now that, thanks to RAGOM and her sponsors, she is feeling just fine, she totally enjoyed being groomed all over. “Just about”. What a very pleasant thing to find out – and needless to say, we will be having many more of the same.  She looks stunning, and I could just tell how good it felt to her to get that extra hair out of there. 

Brandy still makes it up the stairs at bedtime, and is as settled in her routine as any well-adjusted senior dog could be.  The woo-woos keep coming, and it’s a joy to hear each and every one of them.


09/16/2009:

Time for a Brandy update! 

I brought Brandy to the vet last night for a possible bladder infection, and they are doing a culture, as she has had quite a few of them. They want to make sure she’s getting the right meds for the type of infections she gets.

Brandy has been having problems breathing.  She breathes very heavily at times (not panting).  The vet thinks she may have something called laryngeal paralysis. This basically means the flaps on her (windpipe?) don’t work right, and she can’t get a deep breath. If she gets over-exerted or stressed, it makes it worse – imagine how you’d feel not being able to get a deep breath, then panicking a bit about it – like a vicious circle.  That’s what the vet said it feels like to Brandy.

If it is laryngeal paralysis, the most common treatment is a “tie-back” surgery, where they tie back the windpipe(?) flaps, so she can breathe.  The risk in this surgery is aspirated pneumonia, as food may get down the larger opening, but she said once the dog is out of the initial surgery/post-op period, that risk is greatly reduced.

From what I understand, if she doesn’t have the surgery, the condition will worsen, and she will most likely go into respiratory distress, which could be fatal.  She would not be able to breathe at all, and her lungs would also fill with fluid, most likely causing death unless she could get emergency treatment quickly enough.

So again, our little Woo-Woo needs your thoughts and prayers.  And again, this is why Brandy is so thankful to have sponsors like Susannah Charleson & Megan, John and Otto Altman. 

Other than the above, though, Brandy has been enjoying life just fine.  The breathing thing doesn’t damper her enthusiasm for life, dog park activities, or walks.  (Although I have to watch her closely now, so she doesn’t over-do it).  Brandy continues to be the happy, confident, full of life girl she was always meant to be.  Thanks to RAGOM and all her friends!

I wish everybody could see little Woo-Woo when she arrives at the dog park.  She jumps out of the car, woo-wooing excitedly all the way to the gate.  It’s like she’s announcing “I’m here, I’m here, and I’m so happy to be able to say so!”


10/05/2009:

Cool air and Brandy go together like peanut butter and bananas!  Brandy’s vet said that her laryngeal paralysis would most likely be better in cool weather, and happy to say, it is.  That doesn’t mean she still doesn’t have it, but it means that for right now, Brandy will be fine without surgery.  Of course, if things change, she will have to be closely looked at again by her vet, to see how she is doing.

But as of this writing, Brandy is woo-wooing, being frisky, and walking at the head of her pack.  (For most of the walk, anyway – we don’t take too long of walks anymore, because she starts lagging after a bit, and I don’t want to aggravate her condition at all.

For some reason, Brandy has taken a liking to the basement.  Which is unusual, as stairs are by far not her favorite thing. This has been going on for about 2 months.  At first I attributed it to the heat (even though the house was kept cool).  Then I noticed tell-tale kitty litter evidence on her snout.  Knowing what a big attraction that can be, I thought I had figured out her new basement visits.  But the kitty litter temptation has been remedied, and it is now cool out, and she still heads for the basement.  Of course, there is a doggy bed and water down there for her.  Sometimes the kitties take over all available pet bed space on the main floor, so maybe that is it.  But I don’t think so. 

So I will keep watching her for both breathing and basement issues!

She is still on her bladder infection meds – they discovered she had 4 different types of bacteria going on, so she is on two different pills, and after 21 days, she will go back in to get another culture taken to make sure she is all cleared up.

Brandy’s sponsors help make such good care possible for this precious little girl – a big thank you, as always!


 

 

11/02/2009:

Brandy thinks she is the luckiest dog in the world.  She just heard that one of her sponsors, Megan Altman, sent another donation to help with her care.  Even if Brandy could speak, she would probably be at a loss for words at the generosity of her sponsors: Megan, Megan’s family, and Susannah Charleson. 

For a dog who has had her serious health issues, Brandy’s life is currently one of joy and comfort.  This would not have been possible without the continued care and support of RAGOM and her sponsors. 

The Altman family and Susannah, please know that as Brandy’s foster mom, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping Brandy.  She is the very sweetest, gentlest, wonderful girl around.  Her joy in living is apparent every time she prances towards the dog park gate, woo-wooing in anticipation. 

You helped give her this. 

Thank you.


12/01/2009:

 Merry Christmas to the Golden seniors                 Marilyn & Maggie-girl

Lori, Kerry, and the Mutts             Shayna M.

   


12/01/2009:

Whew! Brandy here, just back from a very long walk.  What a nice night!  I figured I better check in so my sponsors Susannah Charleson and Jon & Megan Altman know I'm ok! 

It's been a hectic month for my mom, but now she says things should settle down, and she had time to get me set up on the computer to send a note to everybody.  The good news I would like to share is that I went to the vet after my long stretch of antibiotics. They wanted to make sure the antibiotics knocked out any lingering bladder infection I might be harboring.  And - the results came back fine.  Yippee - hope I don't have to go back there for a long time. 

The cool weather is doing wonders for my laryngeal paralasys, it's seldom that it bothers me lately.  I'm dreading warm weather again, but as we all know, this is Minnesota, and summer has quite a ways to go before it reaches us again.

Mom says she needs to get a new picture of me up here on the RAGOM website, so hopefully soon I can impress everybody with my girlish good looks.  She would love to get one of my prancing to the dog park entrance, as she says that's a joyful thing to see.  I'm happy to oblige any time she's ready to do a photo shoot! 

Woo-woo, and it's just about bedtime for me! 

Love to all my RAGOM friends, and special smooches for my sponsors. 

What a lucky duck I am.


12/14/2009:

Merry Christmas to everybody from Brandy!  She had the opportunity to have her Christmas photo taken this past weekend at the Albert Lea Seed House Garden Center, and wanted everybody to see how beautiful she is, especially her sponsors Susannah Charleson, and Megan, John & Otto Altman.  They have given her so much support through her previous health issues, and she is now feeling so wonderful, thanks to their generosity, that she thought it was way past time they saw an updated picture of her.

The serious look on her face is due to the fact that mom was trying to get her to stay close to the poinsettias, while not getting into the picture. Brandy couldn’t quite understand why she couldn’t be right next to mom, as is her usual spot, and wasn’t quite sure this wasn’t a new vet office. Once the photos were finished and mom put her back on her leash, Brandy hot-footed it to the door, just like she does at the vet’s office. For being such a good girl for her picture, she got a great bag full of treats!  So it was all worth it. 

The cool weather has helped Brandy’s laryngeal paralysis, it is very seldom I hear her having breathing difficulties.  Once warm weather returns, she will again be bothered by it, so I am concerned about that, of course.  But for right now, she is as spunky as can be – occasionally she will get a burst of the goofies and run around the back yard for a few minutes like a little speed demon.  It is a joy to watch her! 

Merry Christmas to all, and a Woo-Woo New Year! 


 

02/06/2010:

Brandy has got to be the luckiest girl ever – She has new sponsors! A big woo-woo to Mary and Carl S.! They join RAGOM, along with sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, in helping Brandy enjoy her life in health and happiness.

Brandy went on a 3 mile walk yesterday, down at the river dog park, with foster brothers Asa and Baxter.  With an occasional burst of exuberance, Brandy trotted along like a youngster.

I have been hearing more difficult breathing at times lately, though, which worries me. I’m trying to determine any triggers for it – it usually doesn’t happen outdoors, most likely because it is cool enough outside.  The house isn’t kept overly warm at all, in fact is usually a few degrees cooler than the norm, so I don’t think it is because of warmth.  It will happen while she is watching me cook in the kitchen, hoping along with goofball Baxter for a treat.
It also will happen when I boost her butt up the stairs to go to bed.  I think that is a combination of stress and a little exertion.  I have no choice but to get her up there, because if I leave her on the main floor she paces all night, panting.  We are moving to a bigger house in a week, so I will be able to sleep on the main floor and this will no longer be an issue, thankfully!

Brandy also seems to be having more hesitancy with stairs (even the little 3 coming into the kitchen).  My thought is that her vision may be decreasing a bit – she seems to be much less sure of where she is putting her feet.  Of course, I’m there with her to reassure her and make sure she gets up/down, etc., with no issues.  But there is a marked difference in her “foot confidence” lately. 

Although when we are at the farm, she makes it up and down the carpeted stairs just fine.  So I will see how she does at the new house, and if she needs to go get a little eye or laryngeal paralysis checkup, I will get her in to see her doctor.

The most worrisome thing for me is thinking of the upcoming warm weather.  Because that’s when her laryngeal paralysis will start bothering her again.  I’m afraid she won’t be able to participate in dog park outings or long walks, as she will have to stay inside where it is cool.  It would break her heart to see Asa and Baxter going places without her. But from what I understand, the laryngeal paralysis issue can be dangerous for her if one of her breathing episodes were to not resolve itself, like if she were having an episode that didn’t stop after a few seconds.

That’s why I am so thankful for caring folks like Megan, John & Otto, Susannah, and Mary & Carl.  I feel that they care about Brandy as much as I do, and that they are pulling for the sweetest little girl in the world to have the best care and life it’s possible to give her.

Words cannot adequately express how much your sponsorship is appreciated.

And Brandy also wants to thank Marilyn & Maggie-girl, Lori, Kerry and the Mutts,  Shayna M., and the anonymous generous heart who gave a Christmas token to many golden seniors. She sends gentle little Brandy kisses and a big Woo-Woo to her friends!!!!!!!


03/02/2010:

Brandy was so excited to meet a friend of one of her sponsors (Susannah Charleson) at the dog park the other day.  Susannah’s friend took a few wonderful pictures of Brandy, which are included in this update.

When we were at the dog park that day, we were just back from a vet visit.  I brought her in because her laryngeal paralysis seemed to be acting up.  She had been doing wonderfully through the cold weather, it hadn’t been an issue at all.  I had been worried about the upcoming warm weather, as that is when it would begin to aggravate her again – but didn’t expect any problems before then, as she had been doing so good.

Brandy’s doctor is concerned about her, and will be talking to the RAGOM folks about possible surgery to remedy the problem.  It’s because of the generosity of sponsors like Susannah, Megan, John & Otto Altman and Mary & Carl S. that dogs like Brandy are able to live good quality lives, free of the ailments that they have acquired, through no fault of their own.

Little Brandy’s attitude is as beautiful as always, no matter if she is having difficulty breathing, or has to walk a little slower than usual, she wants to be doing what her foster brothers are doing.  If she is a candidate for surgery, from what I understand her quality of life will improve tremendously in regards to being able to be out and about and playing.

Once warmer weather gets here, if her laryngeal paralysis continues as it is, she will be pretty much confined to indoors air-conditioning. Last summer, even though the house was air-conditioned, she would still make her way to the basement, even though she didn’t care for the stairs. She was probably seeking the very coolest place available to help her breathe easier.

Brandy’s other news is that she has moved, with her mom and foster brothers, to a bigger house!  She has already worked with Asa and Baxter in training their new neighbor to give them treats, and she has found a lot of great places in the yard to observe her new surroundings. She now gets to sleep right by mom without having to climb up any stairs, too, and she is very happy about that!

These pictures of Brandy certainly capture the essence of the sweetness of her nature. She is a gem of a girl, without a doubt.

 

 


03/04/2010:

Brandy has good news!   She is going to have surgery for her laryngeal paralysis.  Woo-Woo!!!!!

She will keep her sponsors and friends updated when she finds out more details. 

Brandy thought everybody would want to join her in a big thank you to RAGOM, and her sponsors Susannah Charleson,  Megan, John & Otto Altman and Mary & Carl S.

If Brandy could only express her gratitude for all everybody has done for her, she would very happily do so. 


 

03/08/2010:

Brandy is having surgery for her laryngeal paralysis today. Please send prayers and good thoughts her way. I will update as soon as I know anything……


03/08/2010:
Brandy is home from her surgery, we just got home shortly ago.  She is very agitated and restless, and has lots of meds to take that she isn't interested in eating (in a bit of canned food).  She is secure in the bedroom with her two foster brothers to keep her calm, and I am going to do a quick few necessities and crawl into bed in there with the lights down, so she can relax, she wants to be where I am.  She has had quite the day, needless to say. 
I will update all her friends tomorrow - thank you for all the good thoughts and prayers.


03/10/2010:

Whew!  Brandy is now resting comfortably.  Last evening was another story – she wouldn’t settle down, just paced about the room, breathing heavily and anxiously.  I think she was still under the effects of all the anesthesia, meds, etc., as I could tell by her eyes that she wasn’t really herself, a bit on the disoriented side.

I finally got her pain pills mushed on the inside of her cheek with a little canned food, and when the lights went out, they must have kicked in, because she slept through the night.  Except for the one time I touched her to see if she was breathing in the dark, and she got up and paced for a minute – then settled right down again.

This morning she looked much more Brandy-like.  She drank water, took her pills in a little canned food, plus ate a small amount of canned food (didn’t want to give her too much at first), and went outside and poo’d.  When I left for work, she was comfortable on her bed, I think those pain pills really lay her low, which is good.

She will now have to wear a harness whenever she has a leash on. She is on very restricted activity for the next 6 weeks or so, and will go back to see her doctor in 10-14 days to get her stitches out.

I am so happy she  was able to have this surgery, which will enable her to enjoy walks in the sunshine this spring and summer.  She will never be able to “overdo” it in the heat at all, so probably won’t go on long treks in the heat, but without this surgery, she wouldn’t have even been able to be outdoors once it warmed up.  Now, thanks to RAGOM and her sponsors and friends, she can still enjoy the dog park, and walks in the fresh spring and summer air.

Without this surgery, the danger was that she would go into respiratory distress, which would be horrid.  In general, her quality of life would have been greatly diminished, because she absolutely couldn’t tolerate even mild heat – this was evidenced by her virtually living in the basement last season, even with air conditioning on.

Now, however, life again looks bright for Brandy.  Words cannot express my appreciation for what has been done for this girl, and for the folks that have made her surgeries possible.  Woo-woo!


 

03/26/2010:

Brandy had her 2 week checkup for her surgery, and passed with flying colors!  She is doing great.  She is still on restricted activity (although she’s feeling pretty spunky, and I’ve caught her frisking about a bit, so I let her for a second, then we all “calm down”!) It’s hard not to take her to the dog park, or on walks, but I tell her she has to obey the doctor’s orders.

She will have to be on a certain type of medicine twice a day for the rest of her life, and I have to watch her for anything unusual, of course, as aspirated pneumonia is apparently always a possible complication.

I’m not to let her bark excessively,  which she doesn’t anyway, unless she’s excited going to the dog park.  But the few barks I’ve heard make it evident her voice has now changed.  And a couple of woo-woo’s came out pretty husky-sounding.

She’s feeling great, and again wants to thank RAGOM, her sponsors, and her followers for caring so much about her!


05/08/2010:

A cheerful hello from Brandy today!  She is feeling spunky as can be.  An occasional burst of goofiness in running around the yard reinforces the thankfulness I feel for RAGOM and all Brandy’s sponsors, for helping her through her illnesses.  Although she’s no fan of the heat, nor is her collie brother, (it’s hot to THEM, even in this early spring), Brandy enjoys everything she does.  Due to her age and my concerns about her not being up to any really lengthy treks, I sadly leave her in the house occasionally.

Her breathing has much improved.  She is feeling good.  Her age and residual heavy breathing in the warmer weather is what causes me to not risk any exertion for her.  If she had her choice, she would plug right along with her foster brothers and mom, anywhere we went.  But, for her own sake, she gets to lounge in the house with the cats.  Tomorrow she and her foster brothers are going in for summer haircuts. 

I hear it said that their coats insulate them against the heat, but I don’t think I believe that –it’s apparent she and my collie are both suffering already with spring’s arrival, and I want to keep them as comfortable as possible. There is a very cool basement floor Brandy could lie on, but I can’t get her, or my collie, to spend much time down there – as the action is usually upstairs.  

Brandy’s favorite thing is when mom fixes popcorn.  What a little mooch!  She and her lab foster brother set up guard, one on either side of my chair, knowing I will give in and share a piece or two. 

She’s not thrilled at all with the laminate kitchen flooring in our new house, so I have had to put scatter rugs down to get her to walk across it.

Her new penchant is digging a little trench for herself in the grass (which is now dirt) near the entry stairs.  That, again, showing that she is too warm.  She wears her harness continually, and that is what we use for walks. Her pretty pink neck collar is back on for ID purposes, but we’re not to use that for a leash.  Her hair is growing back in from her surgery, and she gets her meds twice a day.  Preferably with peanut butter, she says! 

The woo-woos are back, even though they sound a little hoarser now – but boy, do they sound good!


 

05/31/2010:

Brandy continues to feel wonderful, thanks to RAGOM and her sponsors. What a lucky girl she is to have these people who love and care about her.

She has her summer haircut, and looks gorgeous. I will get pictures soon so everybody can see her. It's amazing how, even before it got real warm recently, the heat was bothering both her and my collie. It's very obvious how much better she feels without all that fur!

Just last evening, as it was a little cooler, Brandy got a case of the "zoomies" in the back yard, and what a sight that is to see. She is so light on her feet, and just prances, her gait is lovely, whether she is walking or trotting. I only let her do a few "laps" in the yard, as we don't want to overdo it.

Brandy has become quite a creature of habit. When she decides it's bedtime for her, she tries to impose that bedtime on everybody. Whether I am watching tv, putzing around inside or out, Brandy will pace about and not completely lie down to rest, until the house goes to sleep. In the morning, she wakes up bright eyed and cheerful, ready for a little tussle with foster brother Baxter.

Woo-Woo! Brandy asks that everybody take a moment on this Memorial Day to remember their loved and cherished ones, both people and pets, who have been part of our lives - and those from all wars past who have made possible the lives we live today.


06/09/2010:

Good morning from Brandy!  She hopes her sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, and Mary & Carl S. are enjoying this beautiful day as much as she is.

Brandy has become the official rooster of the house – early to bed and early to rise.  And she expects everybody in the household to comply with her rules. At about 9pm, no matter what foster mom is doing, Brandy begins to try to lure her to bed.  Of course, foster mom always has too much to do to go to bed that early, so has to keep telling Brandy to “just wait until I finish this”, or “Go lay down, Brandy, I’m not ready to go to bed yet”.  But that doesn’t deter Brandy from her mission. She will not go lie down, or patiently wait. She stands nearby, telling you with her eyes that yes, it IS bedtime.  If foster mom sits to watch tv, Brandy will pace in the living room, again talking with her eyes. 

Unless there is popcorn involved!  Then Brandy’s attention, along with foster brother Baxter’s, is on the popcorn bowl.

Once the household is all in their assigned sleeping spots, Brandy will relax and go to sleep.

Then, it’s morning!  The sun is up! WooWoo!  Wide awake and ready for a little tussle, Brandy greets each day with a smile.  And her good morning barks and happy face are much more pleasant to wake up to than an alarm clock! 

Foster mom should probably listen to little Brandy’s inner clock and go to bed earlier – we’ll have to work on that!  Then maybe foster mom will wake up as cheerfully as Brandy! (hee hee)

Brandy has been able to go on all walks and excursions with her foster brothers, as the heat hasn’t been too bad.  She is sometimes slow, but it is a joy to watch her enjoy herself.  Folks at the dog park comment on how sweet her face is – yes, there couldn’t be a sweeter little girl.

THANKS AGAIN TO:

Susannah Charleson

Megan, John & Otto Altman

Mary & Carl S.


07/01/2010:

Brandy here, wishing everybody a safe and happy 4th

I’m doing wonderfully, and am sending a photo of myself so everybody can see my spiffy haircut.  It sure does keep me cooler in the summer, and as everybody knows, I have to be very careful of the heat. The haircut has grown out a little bit in this picture, so I’m kind of fuzzy – but that just makes me all the cuter.  This picture was taken at the annual Collie Frolic, held at Stone Mountain in Blaine.  There were a few of us “collie wannabes” there. They had the Longest Schnoz contest for the collies, but let us non-collies enter, also.  They gave a prize for the “Shortest Schnoz”, and I almost won, but got beat out by – a golden retriever!!!!!!! Haha. 

Thank you to my sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman and Mary & Carl S. for their support and love – and a big Woo-Woo to all my RAGOM friends.


 

 

 

07/22/2010:

A rainy day woo-woo from Brandy.  She sure hates getting her feet wet on rainy days!  I’ve discovered that Brandy may have a little “old age” hearing loss!  I’m trying to determine to what extent, and will definitely address it with the vet if need be.  Once in awhile, now that it’s warmer outside, Brandy has to be left in the house with a Kong while her foster brothers take a walk.  This is not something Brandy takes kindly to!  She is so attached to her “family”, it is touching. When left inside on a very warm day, Brandy’s little snout was visible at every window that foster mom happened to be in front of while doing yard work.  Out of the curtain gap, there would be Brandy’s little loveable face.  She continues to feel great, and it is thanks to RAGOM, her sponsors and friends, that she is enjoying life to the fullest.  



08/03/2010:

Brandy wants to know if everybody is as hot as she is?  Whew!  This morning she tried to take a little walk with mom and her foster brothers, when Mom thought it might be cool enough for her.  She enjoyed the walk, but had to walk SO slowly that mom worried about her overdoing it and brought her right home.  The humidity really doesn’t agree with Brandy. So much so, that she is actually going down the basement on her own while mom is gone at work.  Good for Brandy!   (Of course the house is air-conditioned, but I can tell Brandy’s breathing isn’t optimal even indoors – and there has been a noticeable difference due to the humidity outdoors).

Other than that, Miss WooWoo is doing just fine.  This little creature of habit is very endearing with her “early to bed and early to rise” routine. She yawns very cutely at night-time while trying to let everybody know it’s time for lights out!

Nothing is new right now for Brandy, which is fine with her – she is just enjoying life, thanks to her sponsors Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, and Mary & Carl S.

Brandy will be very happy when it gets cool  enough for her to get to the dog park again!


08/26/2010:

Little miss Brandy sure is enjoying the cooler weather! It is so wonderful to see her frisk around the yard. It may only be for a minute, as I don’t want her to over-do it, but she has fun for that minute! Her winter coat is growing back in, and she is very soft and fluffy.

Brandy got to meet RAGOM founder Jane Nygaard at a recent all-volunteer meeting, where foster mom was showing some of the fun new products she has created. Brandy wants everybody to know that if they go to www.crittersandall.com from now thru Goldzilla, 10% of all purchases go towards a sponsorship for Keeper, #08-460. He is right next to Brandy on the available dogs list, and she thinks he is pretty cute! Keeper has nasal cancer, and is in hospice care.

Brandy has been so fortunate to have 3 sponsors that she wants to share some of her good fortune with friend Keeper. Details are available on the front page of the Critters and All website.

It’s off to the dog park for Brandy this evening, a big thank you to RAGOM and her sponsors who have allowed this little girl to enjoy life to the max.


09/11/2010:

Brandy wanted to send a picture of one of her favorite activities – lying in the grass on a cool summer day.  Could you get more comfortable?  Brandy loves the nice cool weather we are having.  She is able to take longer walks, although we are careful to not overdo it.  We had a few nights of pacing while I was trying to sleep recently.  I was worried that she was having some senior “pacing” issues, but it turned out to be a simple solution. Brandy is extremely routine-oriented. When we moved into our new house, I had my bedroom in one room, and Brandy slept on her bed beside my bed, of course.  I then switched my bedroom to the room adjacent to it, which is smaller, so I didn’t bring the dog beds there – after all, for the time being they all had their own room, just feet from mine.  When she started pacing, I brought her bed over to the new room, but that didn’t seem to do the trick at first.   Brandy apparently was used to her bed being in the OTHER room.  We now have it all figured out, and Brandy has conceded to sleep next to mom’s bed in the NEW room.  And we all got a good night’s sleep last night!




10/14/2010:

Hi everybody.  Brandy needs everybody’s prayers today, please.  It was discovered that her anal sac cancer has returned (a tumor in the area that was originally operated on, the anal sacs are gone), and she has masses on her liver again. She is having surgery today to remove the anal sac tumor along with the adjoining lymph nodes, and to remove her liver masses.  She has been with me for 2 ½ years now, thanks to RAGOM, the caring staff at VCA, Brandy’s ultrasound-giver (I’m sorry, I can’t recall his name at the moment), and Brandy’s surgeon Dr. Rasmussen.  I told Brandy this morning that 2 ½ years in dog years is about 15 or more real years, and that because all these people love and care for her so much, she will hopefully be able to spend another 15 or more years enjoying life!  Please think good thoughts for this special little girl today.


10/19/2010:

 

It is with a very sad heart that I have to tell everybody that Brandy has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. When the doctors put her under anesthesia for surgery, she reacted poorly, so they brought her out of it without performing the surgery. She then developed difficulty walking and breathing, and it was obvious that little Brandy had fought as hard as she could for as long as she could, but was not going to be able to beat her health issues this time.

I want to thank first and foremost, RAGOM itself for taking Brandy in and providing her with the surgeries that allowed her to live a wonderful life for the past two and a half years. I am extremely grateful for Brandy’s sponsors - Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, and Mary & Carl S. for their care and interest in sponsoring this special girl. All the doctors and staff at VCA vet clinic in Richfield were so supportive and caring of Brandy, not only for the last few years, but on this past Saturday when Brandy needed them the most. The doctor and her assistant who helped Brandy cross over went above and beyond to make things as comfortable as possible for both Brandy and myself. Their kindness and compassion for Brandy was overwhelming. In addition, I’d like to thank Dr. Rasmussen who performed Brandy’s prior surgeries, and Dr. Ralph, who provided radiology services.

Brandy devoted her whole heart and soul to myself and my other pets this past few years. She learned that she belonged to a family, and she took that responsibility very seriously. From letting the cats share her bed, to roughhousing with Baxter the lab, Brandy had a special place in all our hearts. She loved walking in the country with buddies Baxter and Asa, and going to the dog park was one of her favorite activities. Her cheese-filled Kong was a daily thrill. Everybody who met her immediately loved her, as her demeanor and beauty could not fail to charm. Brandy will live on in my heart and memories as one of the most special dogs God ever created. I know He is taking care of her for me until we meet again.