2/6/16: The prince formerly known as 16 was put to sleep this morning. Yesterday, Hamlet was found to have a mass on his liver, and it was up in the air as to whether he could survive the surgery to remove it and recover fully. His spleen was removed last year (thank you, SamUrgency!), and he has never really fully recovered from that, although we did feel that he bounced back pretty well. Since late summer last year, he has been prone to UTIs, he developed a prostate infection that was quite resistant to treatment, then 2 weeks ago a terrible runny nose. Despite meds, home-cooked meals, and TLC, Hammy declined sharply over the past several days, refusing to eat—even sardines!—and becoming very weak, leading to our latest trip to MedVet. Arthur and I did consider surgery but decided against it overnight.
This precious, beautiful being entered our care on 11/17/12 and exited our care at dawn today. I went through his huge stack of bills and medical papers this afternoon, and came across the original photo from 8/3/2012 when the humane officers liberated him and the other Samoyeds on the Delaware side of the DE/PA disaster. They snapped his pic as part of the documentation for the prosecution. In it, he was an unbelievable mess, filthy, hair matted, completely scrawny (he weighed in at 38 lbs, compared to 68 yesterday), back legs tucked under his body like he couldn’t support his own weigh…just absolutely tragic and cruel. When the assistant vet at Dr. Jack’s office looked through the file that Danielle gave me, she saw that picture and burst into tears, and was hugely relieved to find that he was in much better shape than that August snapshot.
I am so grateful to Danielle for entrusting our precious boy into our care. Hammy was the most challenging former rescue who has ever come to us—needed housebreaking, needed training (yet he could not physically do a Sit), needed his health and neuro issues sorted out. He turned to be such a handsome lad, and sooo opinionated!! He enjoyed warbling and commenting on the affairs of the days. We miss him terribly.
11/25/2014: November 17th was Hamlet’s 2nd anniversary with us, and I want to thank you again for everything you did for that huge pile of dogs along with our own special boy. I was remiss in not contacting you yesterday, and my excuse is a good one… one year ago, on Hamlet’s 1st anniversary with us, my father died. So, Nov. 17th is a conflicted day for me, now and forever after.
Hamlet is now fully muscled, has a respectable, sturdy rear end, is at a very good body weight, nicely thickly furred, and no sign of cancer recurrence. He sings, he warbles, he still sleeps for hours in that same corner of the dining room he adopted when he first came home with us, where he spent almost the entirety of the first 3 months, fast asleep… resting… resting… resting… The new mailman was frightened on Saturday by the Big White Wolf, and I explained how Hammy only wanted to love on him… the man relented, Ham presented himself for petting….then, “oh, he’s so soft” etc. and Hammy ate it up. He and the girls got to gnaw rawhide bones after dinner last night, and we drank a toast to my dear old Dad.
10/4/13: New pictures of Hamlet.
4/8/13: Due to an abrasion on his eye, Hamlet was seen by the ophthalmologist at MedVet today. Some interesting findings….
1) she estimates his age to be in the 7 to 8 range, based on the state of his eyes, rather than 5 or 6
2) he has some existing cataract formation that he may have been born with
3) he is now enrolled in a clinical trial that is investigating a drop to prevent diabetic cataracts in diabetic dogs. We don’t know if he is getting the actual medication or the placebo, because this is a double-blinded FDA test. Nikki will go in with him next month, to see if she qualifies (Nikki is also diabetic, we seem to specialize in these!) If she has no pre-existing diabetic cataracts, we can enroll her too.
About 6 or so years ago, the twins were part of this drug trial, in an earlier phase, and we had to take them off of it because they couldn’t stand it. Apparently, the new formulation is OK, and the tech reported that not a single owner out of 40 has dropped out because of a bad reaction/irritation.
4) Hamlet has something called nystagmus in both eyes, where they flit suddenly across his view of vision, involuntarily. It’s not a huge deal, because he can voluntarily bring them back into focus, and it is a possible explanation of his ataxia, because this condition can make them dizzy. Dr. Webb said that a possible source of this condition is a really bad ear infection, if it is deep enough to penetrate into the optic nerve. Since the Delaware dogs had such dreadful ears, this is something for owners to look out for.
5) Dr. Webb was struck by the strange way he gets himself up from the ground, and we explained about the seizure and how thin he was, the stick-like back legs, and the excessive confinement. After another 4 to 8 months, when he is fully back to a good weight, we will have the orthopedist evaluate him. It is fairly obvious that both of his knees are shot. Don’t know if he is a good surgical candidate.
Our darling little boy is now up to 51 pounds, and he is SO handsome! I’d like to get him to add maybe 3 or 4 more pounds and increase his muscle mass. He is quite svelte, the ribs are all easily palpable, despite the hair coat, which is turning out to be gorgeous!
12/23/12: Hamlet at home.
12/20/12: On November 17th, I met my new Samoyed Hamlet, the Prince formerly known as “16.” What a skinny dog! We were used to getting the big, fat diabetic ones…
It turned out that Hamlet was not housebroken. He peed in his crate, in the house, in the back of my truck, everywhere. He drank and drank. We set to work on that, keeping him tethered to one of us, taking him out frequently, and restricting water at bedtime. Things improved, but they weren’t ideal. Then the diarrhea started. Our vet placed him on 2 antibiotics, for the diarrhea and a suspected UTI. Almost immediately, the housetraining situation improved. Hamlet went for a solid week with no accidents.
Then, Hamlet started urinating in his crate at night. By then, it was time to take a urine sample to the vet for a recheck. Hammy and I went to the vet’s office to discuss the findings. The second I walked in the door, Dr. Jack said “He’s diabetic!” The urine sample had gone off the scale on a test strip and Hamlet’s blood glucose was very elevated. The excessive drinking and urination were due to diabetes.
I was SO relieved! Diabetes, we can handle! Hammy got his very first insulin injection that night, and stood calmly for it, clearly thinking nothing of it. He was crated for 6 hours that night with no accident. He still wants to drink a lot, but it’s only been 24 hours since treatment started. It can take some effort to get the dose adjusted properly, but it is very easy to take care of a diabetic dog. Our twins Zack and Zoey lived to a ripe old age, and Nikki Bear is doing just fine. Hamlet will be fine too.
I urge all adopters of the Delaware and Pennsylvania Samoyeds to get their dogs checked for diabetes if persistent thirst, urination, and housebreaking problems are experienced.
Hamlet is curled up in his new home, settling in.
11/18/12: Another video posted on YouTube (click here)
11/17/12: #16’s Mom picks him up and heads home
11/16/12: #16 (right) at his overnight stop on the way to Ohio, with a bone. His hostess Bonnie watches.
11/16/12: Pictures as 16 goes to Ohio to his new home. Another video posted on YouTube (click here), and one picture from his new home. Wendy met us at United cargo to pick up 16 and take him partway to his forever home in Ohio by car. She’s never had a boy sammy she could carry so she enjoyed that for a short time cause it’s not like he can’t walk <lol> 16 has quite the personality, it took her no time to love him and he made it to Ohio safely.
11/12/12: Video posted on YouTube (click here) and new pictures added below.
11/3/12: 16 had rotten ears too and survived his neuter but I may have to run an ecollar down to him tomorrow as he was preoccupied w/his suture area. He’s my old circle dog, my guess is that this guy has spent a lot of time crated during his life.
11/2/12: 16 was neutered, goopy nastiness in his ears, he’s a senior and definitely getting the special muddy creek cocktail for his ears. He does circles but it’s not neurological. It could be due to his ears or being kenneled most of his life.
11/1/12: Male, my guess senior, scheduled for neuter tomorrow, has ear issues…they all have ear issues, some worse than others. This one plays w/his kennel towels but doesn’t destroy or shred. He does circles inside and out. I think his cockeyed look is because one ear is so much worse than the other. Was good about brushing but sucked at being bathed and blow dried. Was never aggressive though (yes, picked him because my time was cut short this morning and his coat was shorter).