Friday, January 3, 2014

Joey (2001-2014)

The holidays have come and gone, and I had a great time with Dad.  He arrived on Dec 16, and we spent a few days touring the Great Ocean Road and surrounding sights.  Christmas day was spent in Geelong with my host family, and then on Boxing day we headed to Melbourne on the train to have a few days in the city.  Dad's trip was busy and fun, and it was extremely hard to say goodbye to him when he flew home New Year's day.  I'll do a full post later with detail and photos, but today I want to talk about my dog back home.

Since Dad landed, on Dec 16, my dog (Joey) has been sick.  He first presented with lethargy, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.  They did chest rads and found fluid in his lungs.  Over the next month, he had fluid drawn off his lungs every few days, which seemed to make him more comfortable.  But the fluid kept accumulating, and he showed no signs of improvement after courses of antibiotics and diuretics.  Some of the fluid from his lungs was sent off to a lab for analysis, and results took a bit longer than expected due to the holidays.

Joey's illness has been very stressful because we didn't know exactly what was causing the problem.  I was worried it could be something that had a cure with a treatment plan and we just couldn't figure out what it was, but also concerned that it might be cancer (since he's an older dog).  It was also a very stressful time because Mom was at home on her own trying to help Joey, and Dad was out of the country.

Thankfully, two days after Dad landed back in the states, we finally received results that cancer was causing Joey's problems.  I was extremely sad to hear this news, but also slightly relieved, because it meant that we could make that hard decision with a clear conscience.  Joey was not improving, and fluid keep accumulating in his lungs making his breathing difficult.  On Jan 3, Joey was allowed to pass peacefully.

I am so heartbroken to lose Joey, and it's been exceptionally hard because I'm so far away.  I've been so lucky to be in email contact with a person from the clinic as well as receiving updates and photos from my family.  I know that Joey is at peace now, and hopefully I don't grieve too long.  Miss you lots, Joey.

                                                     Joey and Josh in 2004

                                Joey and Alyssa in 2005 - Joey always loved kids

                                                Hanging out with Joey in 2007

Joey on his favorite chair in 2007, though he preferred to sleep under it rather than on it.

Joey being handsome in 2007 and 2009

                                                  Joey and I in 2008 and 2009

We had a lot of great Christmases with Joey.  He wore the obligatory red bow in 2005 and 2007.

                                   With Conner and Joey on Christmas Eve 2007

                                       Joey's 2012 Christmas photo at Laura's house

Joey enjoyed quite a few snowy winters in Kansas.  Enjoyed?  Actually, he didn't really care for the snow all the much, especially not the cold that came with it.  He shortened his walks when it would get too cold outside, as well as if it was too hot.  The photo above is from a snowstorm in 2007, and the photos below are from 2011.

                                           Joey looking very dapper in his sweater

                                Joey was a great sport, ringing in 2009 with a festive hat.

                                                           With Dad in 2005

Dad and Joey on the deck in 2011 - Joey always loved following Dad around when he'd be outside doing yard work.  But his favorite activity was to be Dad's shadow while grilling on the deck.

      Joey loved "helping" with the grilling, but his biggest contribution was being underfoot.

This photo is from Thanksgiving 2010.  With everyone relaxing, I'm guessing it was after a big Thanksgiving lunch.

              Joey was a great sport when I brought Eddie home for a weekend in 2012

Joey always seemed to enjoy visiting Laura and John across town.  He'd play for short periods with their dog Felix, and spend the rest of his time begging to be pet (most often trying to sit near John).  Felix would always outrun Joey, being younger and very agile, but Joey still enjoyed their short play periods.  Mom spent Christmas with the Romines and I'm told that Joey still did some playing with Felix even though he had trouble breathing.  I'm glad to hear that Joey had a fun Christmas.

Joey was always so good with my guinea pig, Suki (aka "potato").  Being a rodent-hunting breed, I was initially concerned that I'd have to be careful that he didn't get her, but luckily he was semi-afraid of her.  Suki was blissfully unaware that Joey could easily eat her, and Joey would sniff her out sometimes and then quickly back away.  They were pretty funny to watch together.


Another of Joey's favorite activities was playing with his toys, particularly tennis balls.  As he aged, he would play less and less, but he never really gave it up all together.  When he was younger, he'd get really excited while playing and run figure eights around the dining room table and couch.  We called it the "Westie 500".

Joey also really enjoyed car rides.  Dad would often take him along for a trip to the bank or the store.  After shopping, Dad would take him for a circle around the block to allow Joey to enjoy the new sights and smells.  The photos above are from 2011 and 2013.

Joey loved his walks and playing, but he especially loved his naps.  He was always very happy to find a sunspot to sleep in.  If he had his way he'd sleep in the bed every night, but that only happened when I visited home.  Whenever his regular routine was disrupted, such as going to visit someone at their house, Joey enjoyed the activity and new smells.  But as he aged, he would sleep hard for 2-3 days after these visits, especially if the house had another dog that he could play with.  He certainly enjoyed his 18 hr naps everyday.  Both photos above are from 2013.

                                After being rudely awoken from a couch nap in 2012

                                           Snuggling next to my leg in 2013

                      Cuddling with the Joey the night before I left for Australia in Sept

                                 Sleeping on Mom's quilted bedspread in 2013

Joey and I got to spend some quality time together before I left for Australia in Sept.  I was in Wichita for about two weeks enjoying time with family.

Thanks to videochatting over the internet, I was able to see Joey a few times while chatting with my folks.

During an afternoon sitting-in-the-sun session earlier in Dec, Joey definitely has an old-man face.

Joey was really important to me, and I'm sad to see him go.  But in creating this post, I've had the chance to enjoy all the photos I have of Joey.  And I'm reminded that he had a long full and happy life - not all dogs are as fortunate.  I'm happy to know he had such a wonderful life.  I can only hope my future pets will be as great as Joey was.


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