Last time I described you the American Staffordshire Terrier race and threw a few photos of our dogs, it would be appropriate for individual devils to be presented.
Today's post will not be as long as the previous one so chilllll ;)
Before I present to you today's hero, I must say how my adventure with this breed began. If I remember correctly, it was 1999. The Internet in Poland was just crawling so all the information about dogs came from books, television, veterinarian or friends. I started from the book. I found it by chance in a pet shop when I was looking for a terrarium. I bought it, read it and became fascinated with the breed. At that time no one wondered if he was buying a dog from puppy mill or FCI kennels. There was no awareness in this matter. As the time has passed since my last dog has healed slightly wounds, I decided to look for a new pet. It was an obvious decision because from a childhood I was raised at home with a dog, so an apartment without a welcoming tail was out of the question in the long run. So I took a newspaper (that's when I was looking for announcements), I found a number and called.
In this way, I became the owner of the first amstaff in my life. Zoltan. It was the best dog in my life. He destroyed almost everything in home (the floor and the entrance door at home, furnitures, clotes, boots…). However, it did not bother anyone because it was impossible to be angry at him. He was my best friend. We've gone through so much together that it's hard to describe. He was with me when I was happy and gave me strength when it was really bad. At the time when I lost my job and had switched off the electricity at home, we sat together on the bed with candles and ate dry bread. I've lost almost all my friends back than. But I did not care because I had him. I spoke to him about everything like he was a human and he seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. He was always there. I took him with me everywhere.
In 2003, I moved. Not from the block to the block, I just traveled half of the country in search of a job. We rode together on the back of a car carrying furniture and it was very nice.
In a new place, we lived with my grandmother while I was waiting for my own apartment. I remember that I was in college at the time when the phone rang and my grandmother declared that something bad was happening with the dog. He began to fall over, he could not walk, he was confused.
I came home straight away. I did not have a car then so I took him on a leash and slowly led him to the vet. The road was quite long because we walked about 4 km one way. I remember it was already dark and it was raining with snow. It was cold as hell. The veterinarian stated that the dog had a kind of stroke and that nothing could be done in this case, but his condition should not deteriorate.
I accepted it without knowing what was waiting for me yet.
For about 2 years, everything was ok. But suddenly his condition began to deteriorate. He had more and more problems with moving. He lost much weight (and he was not a massive dog in general). So I started to look and check why this is happening. I found a dog neurologist.
His diagnosis left no illusions - ATAXIA...
It is a disease of the nervous system. Its substrate can be the result of injury, other diseases or genetic diseases. In the case of AST, it is a hereditary disease. I wrote about it in the previous post, to which the link you can find the below.
I felt like a highlander had collapsed on me. What can we do? How to stop it? Unfortunately, you can not. The only thing you can do is to alleviate symptoms and delay its treatment by administering steroid medications. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged weapon. On the one hand, it helps the dog function in some way and on the other hand it causes muscular atrophy. There was no way out. I had to risk and improve in some way the comfort of his life. In fact, it was better for some time. It was not a short time. Drugs have been helping for about 5 years. Some time later I had to think about something else.
So I bought a wheelchair for dogs. Made to measure, with a special vest. Unfortunately, this was not a good solution because Zoltan's health was so bad that he could not get his paws work together at the same time. He really wanted to. He tried very hard. Really. He had so much will in life that I could not put him to sleep.
However, there was a day when something had to be decided. I went to another neurologist for consultation. This time without a dog. There was no point in bothering him. Zoltan did not move around the house anymore but he still reacted to everything, he was happy to see me and he wanted to be close to me.
After watching the dog's record, the doctor said that we would not be able to help him anymore and either wait for what would happen next or euthanasia. So I asked if it hurts him in some way. In sense is he suffers. He said that he is not so I decide to wait.
I will tell you honestly - if I had to go through it again, I do not know if I would make the same decision. I do not know if this is due to the fact that it was my beloved dog and at all costs I tried to keep him with me despite the fact that from the beginning it was a fight doomed to failure or maybe I just did not want to be alone. I fought. Really believe me that I fought with him. When he stopped walking completely, I took him outside and held him in this vest so he could get his needs. Then I laid him on the grass, sat next to him and stroked him still talking to him. Sometimes a few minutes and sometimes a few hours. I knew when he wanted to come home. We understood each other perfectly. I lived on the 6th floor so it was always a challenge.
It was not easy. Neighbors knew the whole situation, but every third person I had to explain why the dog is in such poor condition and looks like a walking corpse (on the picture u see what his condition was).
One day his condition suddenly deteriorated. He vomited, he did not want to eat anything. He did not even lift his head. I called the vet quickly. Standard procedure - several injections and some drip. They already knew me well in the veterinary office.
I could not sleep. I sat there all night. I went out to the balcony to smoke and then I saw that he was breathing faster. I knew that this is the last moment. The last chance to ...
To say goodbye. I sat down with him the last time. I stroked his thin head. He did not look at me but he knew I was near. I put my hand on his gray face and said, "It's enough. You do not have to fight anymore. " Tears ran down my cheeks even though I tried to be hard. Then he seemed to understand me - he took a deep breath and ...
And he was gone ...
He left after almost 14 years of life. After 9 years of joint fight against an incurable disease. My best companion. My only true friend.
I buried him in the forest. In a quiet peaceful place where I look from time to time and recall the moments together.
From that moment it has been several years and there is not one day that I would not think about him. Excuse me, but I will end my story here. I wanted to introduce you one of my dogs but I will not do it. I've done three approaches to this post because I'm still so damn emotional about it and it was really hard to write it.
Remember that Ataxia is not a bluff and make sure your dog is free from it. Save you and your dogs from story like mine.