Thursday, 10 September 2015

About Bonnie's life from puphood to Rainbow Bridge

Bonnie never really had a long healthy life, from day one she was ill and she fought to survive and I fought alongside her.

She was always happy, wagging her tail, rolling on her back and showing those 7 nips of hers, and never complained with whatever life threw at her, she just battled on regardless just happy to be alive and be loved. Even when she lost her sight she was still cheerful a few days after it had happened, when she'd got used to her black world. Blindness came quickly for her as it does with most SARDS dogs. So there wasn't time to adust, but that didn't phase her.

I thought I'd share her life story, I posted a shorter version on website but not everyone will see it there so will post it here for her pals.

It's not a sad read, it just lays out her life from being a sickly puppy mill pup to now.

My darling will return to her blog and to Twitter, once my heart has healed, but at the moment it's too painful. And she needs to adust to her new life over the Bridge. After all she's got all those angels to sort out and getting them to polishing all those heavenly fermometas and bedpans, and making sure they can mix up a good emena or poltiss.

Bonnie's Story

Bonnie da Westie - 28th August 2008 - 8th September 2015

I got Bonnie when my old collie was 14, Midge was almost blind, senile, incontinent, and deaf. But she was my soul mate through so many traumas in my life. Midge actually lived another 3yrs after I got Bonz. She went over the Bridge at the grand old age of 17yrs.

I wanted to get another dog before Midge passed away, to help ease the loss because Midge and I had gone through so much together and I knew I would be devastated as we'd been together since she was a 6week old pup.

I'd seen a litter of Westies advertised locally and went to look at them. There were only 2 pups left Bonnie and a little runt of the litter. I actually liked the look of the little runt, but thats me, always feeling sorry for the poorly one and wanting to mother and nurse it. But Bonnie immediately came over to me and grabbed my handbag, she was a diva even at that age. She dragged it away under the table where I had to recover it.

The breeder showed me her mother, running around in the yard with a mixture of other breeds, but I didn't see her father. Her mother looked ok, and all the dogs looked happy enough. Infact it looked a bit like a farm yard but with ducks, chickens and dogs instead of cattle.

I paid the money and got the roughly written out pedigree, which I wasnt bothered about, and it turns out it wasnt worth the paper it was written on anyway.

I scooped Bonnie up into my arms, where she started licking my neck straight away something she carried on throughout her life. As I was getting into my car the breeder called out, 'oh and she's got a bit of diarrohea, they all have, but that could be the feed.'

When I got home it was more evident that it wasn't just diahorrea, it was something more serious, so I took her into the vet to get checked out.

To cut a long story short, she was backwards and forwards to the vets, during the day, during the night, for the next few months. I almost lost her several times. At first they thought it was parvo, then they didn't know what it was, and finally after several poo samples over a period of a few weeks, they discovered it was Giardia. Those were terrible dark days, never knowing if I would still have her from one day to the next.

Giardia is a parasite that lives under the mucus membrane of the gut, and it's life cycle isn't regular, so it's very hard to diagnose. It causes havoc with the gut and in Bonnie's case left it weak and prone to infections, and there was some scarring too.

Eventually she got over it with medication, and I had to be careful that the other pets didn't catch it and myself also.

I found out about a year or so afterwards when I bumped into Bonnie's sister, that the whole of Bonnie's litter, her brothers and sisters had all died apart from her and one sister. All had Giardia. What happened to her mother I don't know. But if the pups had it then the mother surely did. It was terrible news. It was pure accident I bumped into Bonnie's sister, she and her mother were waiting outside Tesco's and she looked identical to Bonnie. So I mentioned I'd got a little Westie girl too and we got talking and the lady said where they had got 'Holly' and we both knew they were related. Whether Holly is still alive or not I don't know. I hope she is. And I hope she's healthy.

After Bonnie became a young adult, she still couldn't hold her wee all night, and it wasn't a case of her being lazy or not becoming house trained. So all her life up til last January I had to put down puppy pads all around the floor in the bedroom for her to use, and she'd wee maybe 2 or 3 times in a night. The vet couldn't find a cause for this and said it would be best not to spay her as that could make her even more incontinent.

I think she must have had Cushings a lot longer than just a few months, she was diagnosed in January this year. Because she'd always had a weak bladder and a few other symptoms.

The year before moving house (2014) she was seriously ill. She had a raging infection in her mouth and in her gut, which they couldn't control, then she had a false pregnancy at the same time with milk. She was just getting over all that when she developed pyometra and had to be spayed. They hadn't spayed her before because they said it would make her incontinence worse. I was worried that she wouldn't be well enough for me to move house. But she was. The little soldier that she was fought hard and got better.

Then end of last year I noticed she was bumping into things and laying around a lot looking depressed. It just suddenly happened. So I took her to the vet who made an appointment with their eye specialist. He said he thought she had SARDS, I'd never heard of it, and he explained its a disease that causes the optic nerve to die and blindness and can cause blindess as fast as overnight in some cases. He said he wanted Jim Carter the top leading opthalmology specialist to take a look at her.

I asked how much would it cost, as I didn't have much money, and he said around £800.

I burst into tears. I didn't have even a fraction that much money. I was devastated thinking I was going to have to have her put to sleep. After speaking to some friends on Twitter they told me to put up a youcaring page for Bonnie, but I wasn't keen. They said as she'd helped so many others by raising money for charity it was their turn to help her. So reluctantly I put the youcaring page up and the next morning there was £2,500 in it.

She saw the specialist who had to sedate her to put the electrodes on her eyes, and test reaction to light and electrical impulses and it confirmed she was totally blind.

Jim Carter the specialist asked if she'd been tested for Cushings, I said yes last year but it was clear. She'd had that test when she had the gut infection trouble. He said to get the vet to do a more involved Cushings test as dogs with SARDS can also have Cushings.

So I made the appointment with my then vet and the second test in was done in January this year and proved positive.

She was started on Vetoryl to treat the Cushings, but not until several expensive ACTH tests, to check what level of drugs she needed and if it was controlling the disease. They said Vetoryl will give her a better quality of life, and stop her drinking so much, peeing so much, and make her feel better. Although one of her vets said he recommends no treatment as Vetoryl is so powerful and aggressive, which it has to be to keep the tumours shrunk, that it causes problems with their bodies.

So she was started on Vetoryl. And again her pals on Twitter donated money regularly so that I didn't have to pay much for her ACTH tests and meds. Without their help I would have had to have had Bonnie put to sleep.

She seemed fine on the Vetoryl, and she only just recently had another ACTH test, 6mths from being diagnosed. It was good and so she remained on the low dose of Vetoryl without needed an increase. I was so happy.

Then of course she was suddenly taken ill Monday with IMHA, caused in part to Vetoryl, but not totally it did contribute to it though.

And the rest you all know. She was gone in 24hrs.

I am devastated with grief, and I felt guity that she had been in the vets all Monday and Monday night and Tuesday and was there frightened, blind, being poked and pushed about by strangers, and feeling so very ill and in pain. I felt she might think I had deserted her as we'd never ever been parted before. The thought of her laying in the vets wondering what was going on and why I'd deserted her when she needed me most played on my mind, and still does. A friend on Twitter said a vet once told her that dogs don't think like us, they live for the moment, so the time she was in the vets were just moments in time, and that when dogs are sick they turn into themselves and don't think about anything other than either getting better or dying.

This has made me feel a little better but the thought still haunts me and makes me feel bad, but at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing as I put my trust in the vets, and I know it was the right thing. No-one expected her to die when she was first ill, and she was in the best place to get better. With the vet.

I don't know why we beat ourselves up, but I've always fought for Bonnie, and always tried to do the right thing for her and I think I'm trying to convince myself that I did do the right thing, and that the pain of losing her is blurring my judgement.

She went so quickly nothing could save her. It was her time.

So this is her story

She never had a normal life like most dogs, she was always poorly, she was a puppy farm pup which probably explains it.

But I always put her first, sacrificed for her, and gave her as much love as I possibly could plus some. I fought for her and fought with her during her health battles and we were soul mates and the bond between us was so strong. She was a special girl.

I wanted to dedicate website to her and also this blog, so that her suffering wasn't for nothing.

By allowing people to join her on her short life story, she could teach us all how to cope in life, how to live life to the full, how to love everyone, how to help each other, and how to realise that life is very short, and life is unpredictable, we don't know what is around the corner, and we don't know how long we are her for.

I tried to put everything I could find about SARDS and Cushings on her blog to help others, with links to useful sites with information about how to look after a blind dog, and that just because they're blind they can still enjoy life. I wanted somehwere people could go to find everything they needed in one place, instead of panicking like i did and rushing around looking and gathering information when their furbaby lost it's site or got Cushings. I hope it's helped people going through the same situation I did with Bonnie. Knowledge is very important, because Cushings in particular is such a devastating disease and the treatment can also be devastating as I have found out.

Knowing what I now know, I wish I hadn't allowed her to have treatment for the Cushings. Because the Vetoryl did contribute to the IMHA but with hindsight everything in life would be better wouldn't it. We do what we think is best at the time, and we can do no more.

As she said on this blog, life is like a dandelion. Each part of our life blows away like a seed from a dandelion, until all the seeds are gone. Sometimes they go slowly one at a time, and sometimes something happens and the seeds that are left are blown away in the wind all at once.

Bonnie's seed's were blowing away pretty quickly, and the few that were left all blew away on Tuesday when her little soul flew to Heaven.

She took most of my heart with her but her legacy will live on with thefureverbook and her blog still helping others even though she is over the Rainbow Bridge.

Bonnie was put on this earth for a reason, and through her suffering she has taught us all important life lessons. She didn't suffer in vain. She gave us all a gift. Each gift was different and to be treasured. She will be remembered and loved for a very long time.

There will never be another Bonnie, and I could never replace her. The physical pain in my chest and the grief at the moment seems too much to bear I pray to God it will soon ease.

I'd also like to say I knew she was popular on Twitter, and I know a lot of people loved her, but what I didnt know til now was the hundreds of people that have dm'd me to tell me that she touched their lives in such a way that she made their lives better or she helped them cope with certain issues in their lives and she showed everyone what life should be about, to love one another and to live for the moment.

And I'd like to thank all those people, all her friends, for loving her, laughing with her, sharing her problems, and for supporting her and allowing her to live through donating to her meds fund for which I will be forever grateful, I really am. Because without your help I would have had lost her back in January because I just dont have the funds to pay for all the tests, treatment or medication that she needed, and you dear friends kept my Bonnie alive. Thank you and God bless you all for that.

And finally thank you for your support now she has gone, helping me cope with my grief, checking in on me via Twitter or emails and showing me that you love me as you did Bonnie.

I love you all and I know Bonnie did and still does love you all too.



  1. Again you have opened your heart to share the soul of Bonnie with us. She was an angel on earth.

  2. Iz good ta let da Matron move into her cloud n git all da fermometas n enemas at da reddy. She like me we spwedin da luff all ova da univers. Mama sed i continued me callin in Dis life. I wuz healfy till da day I went ova da bridge. Mama she OK now. im gonna be check in n wiv Bonnie. We flyin round on me plane. Da lady in blue...da first BLUE ANGEL. TROO STORY

  3. Fankoo muvver fur sharin da story,
    We all luff yoo juz as much as yoo luffed Bonnie. Yoo did all yoo cud fur her from da day she come into yoor life. She woz so lucky ta have yoo as her muvver. And we all lucky to have yoo sharin her stowy an helwpin ovvers goin fru challenges in dere life.
    Yoor wisdom, hoomility, an compasshun shine fru yoor writing an our lives are so much richer from 'virtually' knowing yoo.

  4. Thank you for sharing Bonnie`s story....I will never forget her she hold a special place in my heart just like you do...