Stella’s Last Journey
By D.J. Nichols
Stella came to me on March 17, 2020. She arrived via a car relay of volunteers from the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue Northwest to foster/adopt. After one month there was no doubt and I adopted her. Around July 15th she developed a head tilt and equilibrium problems. It was diagnosed that this could be a deep inner ear infection or a brain tumor. I made an appointment with CSU at Fort Collins, CO for a CT scan. This was the only way we could find out whether it was an ear infection or a brain tumor. The appointment was scheduled for August 22.
Early morning on August 21st she woke up running into things and not being able to control her movements. I called my Vet. She had laid down by then and was breathing normally although she was not responsive. I was told when she came out of this, she would be thirsty, but not to let her have much water at one time. I laid on the floor with her all night, wetting her lips when she would move them. She would move her front legs to nudge me so I would touch her to assure her that I was there. My thought at this point was that she did have a brain tumor and that it had burst.
About 6 am I called my Vet again and told them that she had not come out of the spell she had earlier. My Vet called me back and said she was sending the Pet Mobile after her. After they evaluated her, they called CSU Urgent Care. They called me and as soon as I could I was at my Vets Office where they loaded Stella into the back of my Yukon and headed for Fort Collins. I knew at this point that I would not be bringing her home.
After Urgent Care and Neurology examined her, I was told that before they could do any further testing, she would have to be given medicine to reduce the swelling. But even with further testing the prognosis was not good. I knew in my heart that she would not have any kind of life left, so I let her go.
On the way back to Casper, between Glenrock and Casper, I saw this storm system in the distance off to the right of the highway. There in the middle was this one white cloud. I could not believe my eyes, it looked just like Stella. I immediately took this picture with my camera. I thought it may have been my imagination, but it looked so real. I know things like this happen, but I have never had it happen to me, personally. This picture is testimony that animals do have feelings and they do love their owners and appreciate the care and love you give them.
It was shown through a necropsy that Stella did have a brain tumor that had hemorrhaged. She probably had it before she came to me. At the time she came to me she had no sign of this problem. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to Stella. My purpose in adopting Stella was to give her a good life for the time she had left. I thought it would be longer than 4 months and 4 days. I do not regret having taken care of her or the pain I went through. Now I think the cloud was Stella telling me “Thank You”. I am so happy that I was able to give her more love and care than she ever had in her life, for the time she had left, and she showed me her appreciation.
My thanks to all the people at Altitude Animal Hospital in Casper, Wyoming for the care they gave Stella and the help they gave me in caring for Stella. Altitude now has a reputation with CBRR&R Northwest for the care and help you provide to your animals and owners.