Pups@Play Owner, Lori, cares for dogs of all breeds and personalities. In fact, she treats them as if they were her own. Unfortunately, 2 weeks ago we lost not only one of Pup’s family members but, sadly, one of Lori’s own ‘babies’– her beloved Theo.
Lori is pet mom to several dogs and has experienced losses in the past. She has a special place in her heart, a deep love, for each of her doggies in his/her own unique way and Theo was no different in that respect…
Is grieving for a dog who’s passed away similar to mourning a human? In many respects, the answer’s YES. (Although often people who do not own pets—particularly pooches and cats—just may not ‘get it.’)
I wanted this post to be special. I wanted you to hear Lori’s voice as she grieves for her sweet and once-energetic Theo. What better way to pay tribute to Theo—and celebrate his awesomeness and his life—than to read about him in Lori’s own words?
“My Theo…so small in stature yet so big in personality!! He was a feisty little guy who thought he was the biggest in any room or with any other dog! As a puppy he loved playing with toys but as he grew, he focused more on playing with (my) Oscar and Louise. Oscar was his idol…I always called him “mini me” cause he would just follow Oscar around mimicking all of his attributes and behaviors. Oscar is a true terrier…great at hunting…Well, what do you know? Theo became the best Maltese hunter around!!! He started following Oscar when he would chase down a bird, or chipmunk, or deer, and soon he became a hunter in his own right and was fast and alert once outside. His purpose for going outside was more to hunt than to do his business–that could always be done inside (lol).
And Theo was there to protect me from all evil!! At the same time, though, my Theo was the sweetest and most loving dog one could ever have. He demonstrated the true meaning of unconditional love!! He was my constant companion and all he wanted to do was be by my side! He gave the best kisses and warm hugs and was happiest laying his head on my legs and looking up at me with his big, round, black eyes, always making sure I was in sight. I always said if a dog could shed tears, it was my Theo. He had such human-like eyes that I could tell when he was really upset or sad. We all love our pups but some we hold closer to our hearts than others…and maybe the truth be told was I always knew that Theo needed me, but perhaps I needed him more. I see those beautiful eyes every time I close my own eyes now and cry…He was my little man.”
Now just a little bit to bring attention to the disease that lead to Theo’s passing: protein enteropathy (also known as protein-losing enteropathy or PLE).
A relatively rare condition, protein-losing enteropathy is an illness characterized by an abnormal or excessive amount of protein that does not remain in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract as it otherwise should for proper health and functioning. Essentially, the pup’s gastrointestinal tract is unable to absorb the protein it so critically needs because a greater amount of it leaks into intestines than can be replenished by the body.
PLE can result from a number of diseases in dogs. Some of the symptoms that indicate the possibility of protein-losing enteropathy include:
• Lethargy/Weakness/Lack or energy
• Decreased appetite
• Diarrhea (especially blood-tinged or with mucus)
• Weight loss
• Bloating (from fluid accumulation in the abdomen)
• Other fluid buildup/Edema (especially in legs and feet)
• Difficulty breathing (due to fluid buildup in the chest cavity)
• Muscle wasting/Less muscle mass
• Breathing difficulty
• Abnormal behavior
As we always EMPHASIZE, whenever you question the wellbeing of your dog—and, in this case, detect the symptoms above—PLEASE seek the advice of a veterinarian and do so ASAP.
While protein-losing enteropathy may be treatable by addressing the underlying cause, it can also shorten your dog’s lifespan or result in death relatively quickly. The sooner the diagnosis, the best chance your pooch has for proper attention and treatment.
It’s helpful to educate dog owners about illness, yet, of course, it does not diminish the grief of the pet parents and families. And so, let’s all keep Lori and Oscar and Louise in our thoughts and wish them healing at this time <3