10 years ago I was given my Dog Chester. He was 5 1/2 years old and had a few health issues. Despite needing a lot of extra care I was determined to give him the best life possible. I had known him since he was 6 weeks old so we already had a connection. Before he became mine I would dog sit for him often and taught him lots of little tricks. Once he became mine, most of our initial time together was spent with doctors regulating his illnesses to help him live that best possible life.
Living in LA we went for daily early morning hour long walks to the park. I worked mostly from home so we spent lots of time together. He liked laying in the sun on the balcony. I would leave the sliding glass door open so he could come in and out as he pleased. He was a very independent dog, but always liked knowing I was close.
To me he was the easiest dog on the planet. I traveled a lot and hoped he would be an easy traveler too. He turned out to be the best. He’s been on over 100 flights. He knew how to fly like a pro. Most people in and around our row would comment at the end of the flight they didn’t even know a dog was on board. He really was the best.
We moved back to NYC early 2020. Within the 1st week back we ended up locked in. Chester loved routines. This was very helpful during this time. Having him allowed me to take necessary walks and trips to the park. I also bike a lot and he loved being in his backpack while I rode with the wind blowing in his ears.
In early January 2021 I decided to drive cross county and spend a few months out west skiing. I could not have asked for a better road dog then Little C. He loved it! We spent a week or so in each location and became more of a car dog then he had ever been. Happily sleeping in “Chester’s Seat” and eagerly running into each hotel or house we were staying…sniffing around and making himself at home.
By mid March of 2021 we made our way back home. We settled in and got back to life in NYC. About a month later I started noticing some unusual behavior. He would finish eating a meal and instantly start crying at the refrigerator for more food. He was consistently thirsty despite drinking bowls of water at a time and starting peeing uncontrollably. He also had a little pot belly forming. I took him to his vet who started by taking some blood tests. After a series of tests and ultrasounds he was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease. I had never heard of this.
Approximately 100,000 dogs and 15 million people are diagnosed with it every year. Cushing’s in dogs occurs when the the adrenal glads overproduce cortisol. This is genially caused by a pea-sized tumor in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. For Chester, it also affected his liver severely. After lots of reading and the Vets recommendation I put him on the only approved medication they had available. Through some additional research I also gave him some supplements that were supposed to regulate liver values and others to keep his skin and coat in good condition.
My little C lived well with Cushing’s Syndrome for a year and a half. I brought him with me most days to the new store. He loved laying in the front by the window. It was still warm out and we kept the front door open. Lots of neighbors with their dogs would come in to see the store and Chester. Day 1 he made friends that came in for daily visits. When not hanging with his new buddies he would sleep. In keeping with his true form, he realized quickly that he could easily walk out the front door, do his business and come back in. Like I said he was an independent dog and the smartest I have ever had the privilege of loving.
Within a month of opening the store I noticed another change in him. He started having trouble standing up and noticed the muscles in his little back legs were decreasing. He started loosing weight rapidly and within a few days was no longer able to walk. He tried and I helped him but ended up rushing him t the vet quickly after realizing there was a serious problem. That day she told me he had 1-2 weeks left to live. I was in shock. The 1st week I tried all I could to help him. By the end of that 1st week he couldn’t pick his head up. He was still had a normal appetite so I was hand feeing him. After a few nights staying up with him so he could go to the bathroom I noticed that he was in some pain. He had also lost 5 lbs. and he was just 11lbs to start. It was 10 days from when the vet 1st told me til I realized I was going to have to let him go. It was Sunday and I contacted the vet and set an appointment for that Tuesday morning.
My brother Todd came over early that morning. We took him down to the off leash dog park at the Seaport. He loved it there and we had gone often. We fed him treats, sniffed around with some dogs and enjoyed the breeze. I wrapped him in a blanket and slept in my arms for the 20 minute walk to the Vet. I was hoping the vet would have some kind of miracle cure. She knew us for a while and sadly told me that there was nothing left to do. She was kind and compassionate and allowed me to hold him though the process. As hard as it was to let him go I know it what was best. I miss him so much. I know that his little body was tired. He was brave and in the end I hope at peace.
Thank you to the Vet, all of my family, friends and colleagues for loving him and all of your insistent calls, cards and words of compassion.
Every month I donate a portion of sales to non-profits that hold meaning to me. This January 2023 I will be donating to ww.topdogfoundation.org Check out their page to learn more.
November 2022- www.celiac.org
December 2022 www.fordbanknyc.org