Drew's final chapter
The highlight of the year, and one of the highlights of her entire life, was the birthday party she received in July of 2014, when her family -- and her friends from Corvallis, Oregon, John and Hsiou Lien -- joined to rent a hall in the nearby Sellwood neighborhood, catered by the Berlin Inn/Brooklyn House, for a couple dozen of her best friends. She loved it. From her regal bed, she had a view outdoors that she was quite taken with, and then she was the object of affection for everyone there. It could have been maudlin, but it wasn't...it was affirmative and joyful.
The ruptured disc in her spine ended Drew's ability to walk with her back legs in November of 2013, but her relentless degenerative neuropathy gradually ended her ability to hold herself up with her front legs as the year wore on, and since she could no longer stand to drink or eat from her bowl (with back end support), she was then hydrated with Ringer's lactate administred interdermally, and fed with a fork (thank goodness she had that skill mastered for years!) the special egg scramble dishes we fixed for her twice a day.
In mid-September, Drew suffered a stroke. These are not uncommon in older dogs, and dogs rally from these much better than people do, as a rule. Drew could not eat for a few days, and was even blinded for at least four days, but recovered her eyesight and her appetite -- but from that point on her mouth would not work properly for chewing. We moved to hand feeding, and helped her keep the food in her mouth till she could swallow it.
She continued to have a good attitude, and enjoyed our company and her meals -- and her twice-weekly massage from licenced pet masseuse Kim Schwartzenberger. However, she began visibly to fail on November 8, 2014; she was sleeping more, and was losing interest in eating. Her eyes began to look sunken and she was less active. By the following Wednesday evening she seemed to be on the verge of leaving us, and we thought we might find her gone in the morning.
Instead, she rallied one more time -- as she had, repeatedly, all year, exceeding the expectations of every veterinarian she came in contact with. She woke bright eyed and ate a complete meal. But the following day she was again as she had been on Wednesday -- and while we slept in the living room near her memory foam mattress (she was never alone, in her last year) she slipped away quietly, in her sleep, at just a little after 7:30 am, on Saturday morning, November 15.
She lived across three decades, two centuries, and two millennia; gained friends around the world, thanks to this website; outlived her physical therapist; outlasted her veterinarian; and even apparently influenced a major motion picture. A lot of people now have Long Haired German Shepherd dogs as a result of knowing her, or as a result of learning of these wonderful dogs through her website (which will continue to stay right here, on the World Wide Web).
She will live on in our hearts and memories forever.