This is a very hard post to write as the wound is still fresh. Two nights before we made settlement on our new RV (1999 Fleetwood Southwind 35S) we said goodbye to Sugaree. This is her story.
At the end of January 2017, a black pug found wandering the streets of Memphis, TN and was turned into the Memphis Animal Services. Memphis Animal Services contacted our friends at Mid-South Pug Rescue (MSPR) to see if they could help her. MSPR agreed to take her in. This little lady was in rough shape. She appeared to have been over breed and was underweight from living on the streets for a while, not just blind; both her eyes had collapsed into their sockets. On January 24, 2017, she had a mass removed from a mammary gland. Through all this, she was so sweet and loving MSPR started to call her Sweetie Pie.
As we follow the pages on Facebooks of the pug rescues that we know, Rachel saw the first picture of Sweetie Pie and said she wanted to adopt her. So we contacted Cheryl at MSPR and made arrangements. We decided that we were going to rename her Sugaree after one of our favorite Grateful Dead songs and from everything we were told about her was more than fitting (and it was). On Friday, February 3, 2017, we left Philadelphia and headed to Memphis to see our good friends, Cheryl and Madeline of Mid-South Pug Rescue, but mostly to adopt and bring home Sweetie Pie.
Rolled into Memphis late Saturday afternoon. We were meet at the door by Cheryl, Madeline, and their grumble and MSPR hospices staying with them. This was also the first time we got to see Sugaree (fka Sweetie Pie) in person. She was in very rough shape. But we were undeterred to give her the best life we could. Early Sunday afternoon we said our fare the wells and headed back on the road to return home.
Shortly after leaving Memphis we came to realize that this was going to be a very long trip home. Sugaree would not sit still. The back seat of the car has a dog sling to over the seats. Somehow, she figured out how to get under the sling and slide down to the floor of the back seat. Then she would manage to climb back up – sometimes under the sling onto the seat, sometimes on top of the sling. Remember, this pug is blind. So at a pit stop, we decided to block the sides of the sling with our suitcases. This did not deter her. She would climb over the suitcases and slide back down to the floor. Yes, we were doomed. By the way, she barked just about the entire time in the car (something she never outgrew).
Shortly after returning to Philly we took her to our regular vet, whom we just started using. Upon exam, it was noted that she was underweight, had skin issues from the flea infestation (that was gone), the eye issues we knew about and that she had some issues in her back end. We also had a full blood panel done. We started on a program to help put on some weight.
A day or two later. the blood test results come back and they did not look good. It was recommended that we have an ultrasound done of her abdomen. Our worst fears were confirmed – cancer. One of the vets at the practice specializes in Eastern veterinary medicine and it was recommended that we consult with her. We were willing to try anything to give her the best life we could for as long as we could. Long story short here, we started Sugaree on a routine of acupuncture and Chinese herbs with the goal of increasing her immune system and help her fight the cancer on her adrenal gland the best she could.
We also consulted with the eye specialist we use for our pugs and the pugs that come into Philly Pug & Short Nose Rescue to see if the eyes should be removed. It was determined that they were not causing her any pain or discomfort, so it was fine to do nothing at this time.
It did not take her long to fall into the daily routine of meals, treats, and walks. She would be at the kitchen gate barking for her meal along with everyone else. When the gate opened she knew just where to go for her bowl. If we were sitting on the sofa, she would find us and demand to be brought up to sit with Jeff if he was there. If Jeff was home and not in the living room, she would hunt him down so she could be nearby. She was Jeff’s little girl.
She would join us along with the rest of the grumble on our RV trips. Loved being outside when the weather permitted or snuggling with her bother and sisters (adoptive and foster) on the sofa.
The routine of treatments was not going to rid her of cancer. We accepted that. It was our hope that it would extend the time and quality of her life with us. Up until the end, she had a good life with us. Sugaree turned downhill very quickly. She could no longer fight the cancer inside her. On July 25, 2018, Sugaree crossed to the Rainbow Bridge in Jeff’s arms.
Be it 6 hours, 6 days, 6 months, 6 or more years we try to give our pugs the best of everything so they can have a long, happy and healthy life.
In loving tribute, we have named our new RV Chateau Sugaree.
“Well shake it up now, Sugaree
(We)‘ll meet you at the Jubilee
And if that Jubilee don’t come
Maybe (We)’ll meet you on the run”
– Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter
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