he was one of my bedroom crew.
i don't think balto ever had a great life..at least not until he came to saints. he decided my dogs and by extension..me...were his true love family.
balto came from the NWT..it was a hard life. he was eventually rescued by the NWT SPCA. they asked us to take him but we said no...balto was not good with male dogs and we were already full. They found him a foster home but a year and a half later he had to go back to the shelter so they asked us again. he was like a bad penny showing up on our radar again.
this time because the only male dog in my room was boomer and he was small, we decided to say yes.
balto fell in love with mystic, june and luna, and since boomer was already there, he was ok too.
after a while we sent balto out to foster but he started hiding in the closet and peeing and pooping in the house. he obviously wasn't happy so we brought him back home. every once in a while someone would inquire about possible adoption...i kept saying no...i wanted him off the adoption list because as far as i was concerned, balto had already chosen his home.
i can say without a shred of doubt that balto not only felt safe and secure here...he was happy. he loved his little canine family (but still was an utter jerk to any other male dogs who lived here except his chosen brother boomer and eventually..keats) He loved hanging out at the barn, taking a dip in his pool or the pond and he even loved me and all of the staff and volunteers too.
he really was a quiet and very sensitive soul. At night he would lay full out next to me enjoying me rubbing his ears and stroking his fur. whenever i stopped he very softly and minutely would shift his position to remind me he was still there if i wanted to continue.
balto was old and he had some really significant arthritic issues but between gabapentin, tramadol, meloxicam, cartrophen injections and twice weekly in home laser treatments with Laurie (he LOVED those too!)
we kept him pretty comfortable.
yesterday he vomited a few times in the morning, but he kept his lunch down at noon, his back end was a little weaker and he looked like he wasn't feeling well. when i got home from work..i wasn't sure..should we wait until tomorrow to see how he is or should he go in to one of the clinics. i had one of those niggling suspicions that something was not good. so i packed him up and took him in. Thank you to Coastal Rivers for seeing him so late in the day. Xrays, ultrasound, bloodwork...all with bad news...possible cancer, severe spinal arthritis, kidney disease and the kicker..diabetes..his blood sugars were 33.
Old dogs can have more than one thing wrong..so what was making balto sick..the possible but not confirmed cancer...the kidney disease..or for sure the way too high blood sugar?
his last blood work in Sept was normal in all respects except a sl. elevated calcium which MIGHT be a cancer indicator. we decided to hospitalize and try to get his blood sugars down because he was becoming ketotic.
Despite 24 hours of IV's, insulin, and antibiotics, balto was getting worse. I went over to the clinic as soon as i was done work...i think he had pancreatic cancer, i don't think he was going to get better, i made the decision to let him go. balto passed peacefully away and is free of all suffering now.
but this is what i know about this...balto sleeps with me every single night..i did not miss anything. the staff did not miss anything. balto was not letting anything inside him interfer with his happy life. yesterday it all caught up with him and today we lost our beloved boy. and every single one of us should celebrate balto's happy life. he is so very lucky to have found a place that he felt was his own true home...he loved his life here, he loved his chosen dog family and he loved all of the people here too.
Huge thx to NWT SPCA for rescuing him and to Coastal Rivers Pet hospital for so compassionately and expertly caring for him last night and today.