View Notes, Cards & Flowers

Adoption Day:
March 13, 2004

Day Andi Died:
August 21, 2009

Andi & her Mommy
Andi & her Daddy

Andi & her beloved, "Mommy Susan"

Andi's Obituary

Andi died at 5:40 pm on August 21, 2009. She had been diagnosed with Cushings Disease, which we were having a difficult time trying to manage. She had lost a significant amount of weight over the past six months. When she began vomiting and having diarrhea several weeks ago, we thought that her medicine needed adjusting. We gave her fluids for several days. At the same time, we also started giving her prednisone to help her system bounce back. We had to get her stable enough that she could withstand two days without the prednisone prior to retesting her hormone levels (to determine how her Cushings medicine needed to be adjusted). We couldn't quite get her stabilized. Finally, Dr. Olsen told us to just stop the medicine and bring her in for the testing.

I brought her to Marietta on Thursday (August 20, 2009). Andi's beloved foster mother, Susan, brought her home for the evening. Andi crashed that night. Susan found bloody diarrhea after returning from an evening errand. Subsequently, Andi began vomiting. When she couldn't vomit anymore, the blood diarrhea began again - black liquid. She began having difficulty breathing. Susan called me at one in the morning, telling me the situation. I asked her to take Andi to an emergency vet. They put her on oxygen, which stabilized her breathing. I spoke for a while with the attending vet, giving her the highlights of Andi's medical treatment. I was in a panic because they would not know certain things that would matter in treating her - simple things like intubation aren't so simple with her (she had a collapsing trachea and partially frozen larynx). Mike was out of town, so I had to wait to feed the other dogs at 6:00 before heading to Atlanta.

When Andi's regular veterinarian's office opened at 7:30, I called to explain what had happened. (Andi's regular internal medicine veterinarian is Dr. Jory Olsen.) I wasn't sure if it would be safe to transport Andi, so I wanted their feedback. When I got to the emergency vet, they stonewalled me. I knew that they had run a bunch of tests, but couldn't get a doctor to tell me the results. They wouldn't let me see Andi outside of their visiting hours. When I asked the tech if it would be safe for us to take Andi off oxygen in order to transport her, the tech responded, "that's what I was about to ask you. The internal medicine specialist is about to see her, but there is a fee associated with that." Although I tried to explain the situation to her, it seemed that she was not going to give me any information on the safety of transporting Andi. I finally just demanded that she bring Andi to me. I asked the girl at the desk to make certain that they gave me all of the results of the tests they had done. I had told them of Andi's past aspiration and subsequent bout of pneumonia. So, I knew they had done chest x-rays. I had also asked the to run as much blood work as necessary. I knew they had done that.

While waiting for the paper work and Andi, I called Olsen's office again to explain what was happening. They told me they were turning on their oxygen tank and to get her there as quickly as possible. It was Dr. Olsen who read the x-rays and blood work results and gave me the information - not the emergency vet. Andi was having bouts of shaking, which could have been stress; however, she was not having difficulty breathing. She was weak, but she was kissing me and being her sweet self. What the results indicated was that her white blood cell count was high and she was anemic. I explained to Dr. Diana Olsen that I had requested that they take urine from her bladder to check for a bladder infection. Since they had not done as I requested, Dr. Diana said she would do that and would call Dr. Jory Olsen (Andi's regular internal medicine specialist) to see what he thought. Since I was facing an hour drive after being up all night, she offered me a conference room to rest. In the meantime, they also did an ultrasound on Andi. She saw two large masses in Andi's stomach -- on two different sides. One could have been on the pancreas and one could have been on lymph nodes. They would have had to do exploratory surgery to find out. If it was cancerous, it could have been a situation where it had already metastasized (hence the two different tumors). What she suspects happened is that there was some bleeding associated with the mass that found it's way into the GI tract, causing the vomiting and blood diarrhea and sent Andi into shock. When the blood clotted normally, Andi "recovered" and no longer resembled the dishrag that she was the prior evening. We will never know.

Andi was suffering from Cushings Disease. Her body just was not responding to the medicine. She had crippling arthritis associated with her back knees. She was a rescue and had spent years walking on legs with untreated luxating patellas. She had corrective surgery after we got her, but much of the damage had been done. Within the last year, her shoulder joints had also starting moving in and out of joint. She also had cataracts that were being monitored for corrective surgery. Her body was just breaking down, and her quality of life was going down with it. We weren't even certain that her body would heal properly if we did exploratory surgery. I spoke with Mike and Susan and several of Andi's vets. Based on those conversations, I decided that Andi wouldn't be put through anything else. She deserved to die peacefully. I did not want to take the chance that she would have another bout like she had just suffered, so I requested that we put her to sleep that day. Still in the conference room, I was allowed the entire day to hold Andi in my arms, receive and give kisses, and tell her how much I love her. When both Susan and Mike arrived, we spread a blanket on the floor and all got down there with her. Mike held her in his arms while I cradled her head. Susan sat where Andi could see her. They gave her a sedative which put her to sleep before giving her the medicine. She died surrounded by the people who loved and cared for her the most. She will always be in my heart. I will miss her sweet little voice and gerber-face. She was a little angel, and I am grateful to have shared the last six years of her life. I am thankful that United Yorkie Rescue and "Mommy Susan" selected us as Andi's family.

Dr. Diana Olsen arranged for Kevin from Dream Land Pet Memorial Center to come to their offices to meet with us. Kevin spoke with us for a long time and gave us information on grieving. Kevin placed Andi's body away in a small coffin and took her to their facilities for cremation. They will host a memorial page for Andi for a short period of time. When I get the pictures and information to them, I will give you all the link. Those of you who wish to do so can post notes on that page.

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and kind messages. It helps tremendously.

Dream Land Pet Memorial Center

As described in the obituary, Kevin from Dream Land Pet Memorial Center met with us at Dr. Olsen's office. He gave us information on grieving the loss of a pet. After speaking with us for a while, he took Andi away in a small coffin. They called within a few days to tell us that Andi was ready. Her ashes were in a beautiful small wooden box with a plate that had a smiley face (as we requested) and "Andi." They gave us a ceramic tile with an imprint of her paw, as well as clippings of her hair from around her eyes, back, ears and heart. Along with the clippings, they gave us a copy of Old Dog in a Locket (included below). They also gave us two other comforting poems that I have included at different places on this page. Look for Rainbow Bridge and If It Should Be.

Old Dog in a Locket

Old dog in a locket
That lays next to my heart
I will always love you
As I did right from the start.

You were right beside me
Through the darkest of my days
It was your kind and gentle nature
That made me want to stay.

Now I hold you in my arms
Your breath still warm against my hand
Our hearts still beat together
And I wonder if you understand.

Through the hours that I held you
Before the light did leave your soul
I knew a way to keep you
Forever in my hold.

I snipped the hair from around your eyes
So I would always see
The beauty that surrounds me
Even in times of need.

I snipped the hair from around your ears
So I would always hear
Music in the distance
To quiet my fears.

I snipped the hair from across your back
To bring me strength in time of need
And the power of your essence
Would always be with me.

I snipped the hair from around your heart
That beat in time with mine
So I would know that love would find me
At some distant time.

And so, your life slipped out of mine
On a quiet Spring like day
But I knew that a part of you
Was always here to stay.

Old dog in a locket
That lays next to my heart
I will always love you
Even though we had to part.

(--adapted from a poem by Heidi Stamm--)

Adopting Andi: Mommy Susan

We adopted Andi from United Yorkie Rescue on March 13, 2004. She was found walking on the streets. On her back were two cysts the size of tangerines. Her teeth were so rotten, she lost all but three in the front. She kept some of her back teeth. With the loss of her teeth, they were only able to give us an estimate of her age (between 6 and 12). She was fostered by Susan. She and her brother fell in love with Andi. Her brother was convinced that Susan was going to fail fostering 101. Andi was her first foster! Andi was incredibly attached to Susan, so were very happy that Susan wanted to stay in touch. Throughout the time that Andi was with us, Andi would go to Mommy Susan for overnight stays. It was wonderful to have someone who loved Andi so much!

Andi & Hobbes watching for Daddy's car at the end of the day:

Andi & Hobbes forced snuggling:

Easter 2004:

Andi's Bye Bye Bag

To the right is a picture of her in Hobbes' stroller at Mike's parents house. Most of you know that Mister Hobbes had a stroller to which he was greatly attached. Andi, of course, was a rescue. She had some pretty significant separation anxiety issues. When she saw that we were leaving the house, she would jump in her bye-bye bag or, if that was not available, my purse, a suitcase, whatever she knew would be going with us. When we first got her, of course, I didn't know all of this about her. The first sign was when we went to the United Yorkie Rescue Conference in Atlanta. Andi and Hobbes went with me. Hobbes stroller went as well (he liked to sleep in it). We were in one of the meetings, and I noticed that Andi had usurped Hobbes' stroller. Over that weekend, I realized that she needed to be in something that she knew would be going home lest we "forget" her -- as IF that could happen! It was several years before she understood that we were not going to leave her there. Before she felt secure in that knowledge, she would cry and stay anxious when we were there.

Eventually, I found a black bag for her. It took a few years before she would leave the security of that bag when we were at their house - so, she would sit in it the majority of the time that we were there. I'll look for pictures of that as well. Before finding her black bye bye bag, I tried several things, including a papoose and the blue bag that you seen in the picture to the left. However, Andi had a collapsing trachea, partially frozen larynx and later also had to have an elongated palate surgically repaired. What happened was that she would choke and cough when anything was pressed up against her chest -- including harnesses. I even used a seatbelt harness, but any pressure would trigger the coughing. So, I finally found the black bag that worked wonderfully. She loved it.

Andi also had her own stroller before I found the black bag. Given that she was afraid of men and being left, it was a wonderful help when I took her to the vet. It was canvas in the back, where she could hide from everyone. It had netting in the front if she wanted to be sociable (she didn't). It was difficult to get in and out of the car, so I ended up using the bag. She loved the stroller so much that she would sit in it at home. I eventually put it in a section of the living room so that she could use it as a house when at home. Following are some pictures of Andi in her stroller. In one picture, you will see a plastic thing around her neck. That was to keep her from licking her stitches after she had surgery to remove the pins from her leg. (The pins had been put in when she had surgery for luxating patellas. Eventually, she started getting a lot of bruising and was limping. So, they surgically removed the pins.)

The following picture was taken in the Spring of 2009.
It was her second to last grooming.

Andi was a PLAYER

Andi just loved her toys! Initially, what she wanted were round plastic toys. She would grab one, run with it -- squeaking the thing as she went. One day I found some soft rattle baby toys that had squeakers in them instead of rattles. It was like ambrosia to the gods! She NEVER touched a plastic toy after that. She had a little "rhino tooth" in the front bottom of her mouth (we called it rhino because it stuck out of the bottom of her mouth like the horn on a rhino). Needless to say, she could do much damage to a squeaky toy with that thing. She had baskets of toys that she would sit beside to sort her toys. She would pick them up, one by one, squeak them and toss them aside until she found the squeak she liked the most. Then, she was off with the toy to find a spot where she could squeak away. She especially liked to squeak on her toys after we returned home from errands, work, trips or whatever. She would greet us at the door, get her hug and kiss, and go off to find a toy worthy of squeaking.

Andi was all legs. You could really see it when she was sleeping:

If It Should Be

If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep;
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can't be won.

You will be sad, I understand;
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years;
What is to come can hold no fears.
You don't want me to suffer so
The time has come, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend,
But please stay with me 'til the end
To hold me close and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,
It was a kindness done for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I'm saved.

Please do not grieve that it was you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

(--Author Unknown--)

Cushings Disease

Andi began having accidents in the house in 2006. At first, we weren't sure which dog was having difficulty. I took them all to the vet for testing. Molly was the only one who had blood in her urine. We put her on antibiotics; however, over the course of several months, we could not clear the infection. The vet recommended that we take her to see our internal medicine specialist, Dr. Olsen. He did a number of tests and found that she did not have an infection. She had kidney stones, but no infection.

So, the question once again became, which dog was having trouble at home. Mike kept saying that the urine smelled funny. Andi seemed the most likely candidate. I took her in for a clean catch analysis. That's when they go into the bladder with a needle in order to get a urine sample. They then do a culture on the sample. She did, indeed, have an infection.

It was another lesson learned. Only looking at blood cells in a sample of urine collected when she urinated would not necessarily tell us if she had an infection. A clean catch and culture were necessary. Additionally, it became clear that Mike had a diagnostic nose. When he said the urine smelled funny, I took Andi to the vet to check for a bladder infection.

We had trouble clearing up the infection. She got another. She was overweight. Dr. Olsen tested her for Cushings. She was positive for it. We put her on trilostane, but she could not tolerate the medicine. We switched her to lydrosen, but we had trouble getting the dose right. It was either too much or too little and there was a significant amount of time between dosing and testing - because the meds had to get into her system before we could check for effectiveness. It wasn't until the Winter of 2009 that we found the correct dosage. Within a few months, it all started again. On the day that Andi died, Dr. Diana pointed out that most of the dogs they treat for Cushings are seen once or twice a year. Andi was seen every few months. There was something else going on with Andi (see Andi's obituary for more information).

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven
is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been
especially close to someone here,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills
for all of our special friends
so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food,
water and sunshine, and our
friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been
ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
those who were hurt or maimed
are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in
our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content,
except for one small thing;
they each miss someone very special
to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together,
but the day comes when one
suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent;
His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run
from the group,
flying over the green grass,
his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted,
and when you and your special friend
finally meet, you cling together
in joyous reunion,
never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face;
your hands again caress
the beloved head,
and you look once more
into the trusting eyes of your pet,
so long gone from your life
but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

To see pictures of Andi throughout her life with us,
go to
Scroll down and you will see a number of pictures that,
when you click them, will link you to pages
that have additional pictures of Andi.

A few pages you won't want to miss:

"Introduction" Page

Christmas Pictures

Be sure to link to the newspaper article
about my husband's trip to China,
where, upon seeing a picture of Andi and Hobbes,
the children chased him around the school
yard to get the picture.
You can find the article links on the main page.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Patron Saint of Animals

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.