A Tiny Chihuahua with a Big Personality
His registered name was Ch Brite Star Destiny
When Desi was a newborn infant, he had a slow start with continuing, unexplained, upper respiratory infections that even the best of vet care had trouble getting under control. We were originally told that he would probably never survive puppyhood. However, I felt differently. Day and night 24/7 for 4 months, I medicated, and tube fed and comforted our baby boy. That was my responsibility for bringing him into this world. I also strongly believed that he was "destined" to survive. And he did.
Desi even thrived for his first 5 years. He was normal in every way with no more respiratory infections. He was a happy, active, very healthy young dog. For us, he was a pet and beloved family member. He was also dog show trained; plus, did nursing home therapy dog work with the elderly. He was a well-rounded, very active, young man: both at home & away.
However, after his 5th birthday, the stubborn respiratory infections came back. So, our regular vet again sent us to a specialist to do tests to find a solution. As an infant, a first specialist (no longer in the city) prescribed the proper antibiotic that was able to finally break the chain of nonstop respiratory infections and allow baby Desi to develop like a normal, healthy pup. We were hopeful that a second specialist could do the same.
That new specialist's diagnosis, however, was that our tiny boy had "something" wrong that was incurable. He wouldn't live much longer. She firmly recommended putting him to sleep on that day. In tears, I called my regular vet (while the specialist was on the other phone line) and told our vet that I believed it would be immoral to just kill Desi. I believed the specialist was wrong in her diagnosis; plus, her cavalier attitude about euthanasian. Our tiny boy had a respiratory infection that made his nose run (hampering his normal breathing and eating) just like back when he was a newborn. However, he was still had a quality of life. In fact, he had a joy for life. That second specialist had been my vet's mentor in medical school & he looked up to her. Going against her diagnosis was hard for him. However, my regular vet sided with me in my decision to bring Desi home and for us together do our best to get Desi well again.
That took getting an oxygen incubator for home (which my husband purchased from his hospital that was going to throw it out when they upgraded), antibiotics, and my spending 90 minutes 3 times a day coaxing Desi to eat tiny bites of food from my hand. The feeding sessions were also cuddle and play time. Even while he was sick, Desi still wanted to play every day. It would have been a crime to euthanize a dog with such joy for life... I still shudder at the mere idea. After 4 months of my total devotion with specialized, at home medical care, our little boy slowly got better and returned to infection free. He could breathe normally without the extra oxygen and had a good appetite to eat very well on his own.
He lived another 12 years as a happy, very sweet, very loving, little guy. For the majority of his life, everything was normal and problem free. Desi was one of a kind who brought much happiness into our lives during his 17 years on earth. Occasionally, a respiratory infection would reoccur if he got into something outside. He didn't seem to have as strong an immune system as most other dogs. The solution to that was to keep him indoors except for quickly going potty. If germs didn't set off an infection, he remained healthy. The additional infections over the next dozen years fortunately were few in numbers and short in duration. However, the at-home incubator and oxygen were a blessing (that kept him out of the vet ICU). Fortunately, he never got as super sick like he had earlier in his life. The times when the respiratory infections came back, he doted on having his "human mama" pamper and hand feed him. He never acted "down".
The specialist never did say why Desi was more prone to respiratory infections than the average dog. She just said that he wouldn't survive more than a few days beyond when she examined him. That's why she wanted to put him to sleep. Obviously, she was very wrong about his surviving. She was also wrong about his quality of life.
For the next 12 years, Desi had a very high quality of life filled with joy and love. He was one of the happiest, most playful Chihuahuas I've been blessed to have known.
My heart broke when he went to the Rainbow Bridge as an old dog. He was happy and active until his very last day on earth. His loss was sudden and unexpected.
Today, I still feel great sadness that he is no longer with us. However, my heart swells with joy when I think of all our years together and a special bond we had. Desi was healthy most of his life & did live a normal life. However, there were some times when he was a special needs "furkid" because of his unexplained predisposition to upper respiratory infections from bacteria that might not bother another dog.
Desi was destined to not only survive a rocky start to life, but to go on to be one of the best Chihuahua buddies anyone could ever have. Super tiny, he lived big & never let anything bother him. He gave back to us over 10 times what I gave to him to make his life a good and full one. He was one of a kind. A GOOD one of a kind.
On National Pet Memorial Day, every second Sunday in September, on September 11 this year, pet owners across the country remember their beloved pets who have passed on. For many of us, pets are loved ones on scale with some of the most important people in our lives – when they often die before us, it’s not an easy loss. We’re not alone in remembering some of our favorite pets for the rest of our lives, and there are many ways of memorializing pets. National Pet Memorial Day is a great day to think back to your favorite pets and honor their memory.