April’s Story

My sweet girl, you had to leave us yesterday at about four o’clock in the afternoon.  As I sit here this morning, I just feel numb.  As I look around the room, you’re not here with me as you have been every day for eleven beautiful years.  Yes, you just celebrated your eleventh birthday last week.  But there was no party this year.  You were beginning to show signs of whatever illness had taken over your body.

You had so many battles to fight over the last few years.  First there were the mild seizures that started in 2006.  Even though you only had one mild seizure each year, they scared us immensely.  Then in the fall of 2008 you developed IBD.  Inflammatory Bowel Disease followed by chronic Pancreatitis ruled the rest of your life, but we did get it under control with only occasional flare ups.  One major seizure after a serious flare up in February of 2009 introduced you to Phenobarbital, which may have led to the problems that eventually claimed your life.  You were fine….no more seizures after starting the medication, but was the medication quietly destroying your liver?  Every six months you had a blood test to check your liver and all the tests came back normal until the very last one ten days ago.

IBD flare ups continued periodically but you still enjoyed life so much.  Just two weeks ago you were still doing your zoomies around the backyard and howling like a hound at dinnertime if you didn’t get fed fast enough.   Then on Friday, April 13, your stomach looked a bit bloated.  So a visit to the vet was in order. At first they thought you may have inherited your mother’s and sister’s heart problems.  But a blood test revealed your liver was failing.  For a week I cared for you around the clock, looking for a sign that you were improving.  The sign never came so on Sunday, April 22, we took you to a clinic where there’s a staff of specialists.

They ran so many tests and found so many problems.  Cirrhosis of the liver was the major problem, but you also had an abnormal spleen.  Your red and white blood cells were diminishing rapidly and the doctors couldn’t stop it.  The cause of your blood cell loss couldn’t be found, but that’s what ultimately took you from us.

As I sit here in a haze of tears, I remember just eleven years ago I was holding a squirmy one-week-old puppy in my hands.  I imagined the wonderful life I’d have with you and your mother, DeeDee, and your sister, Angel.  We did have that wonderful life together but it all ended much too soon.  You are once again reunited with your mother and both of your sisters at Rainbow Bridge.

We’ll never forget you, April.  You will forever be our little “Tadpole”.  You left us so many wonderful memories but you also took a big piece of our hearts with you.  The hole it left will never be filled.   Run young and free until we meet again.

(April’s original story continues below)

April, nicknamed “Tadpole”, is DeeDee’s first-born daughter, named after the month in which she was born.  Our desire for a second hairless Chinese Crested led us to the decision to breed DeeDee.  Even though DeeDee’s pregnancy and delivery of the puppies was a disaster, April was one of the blessings of that pregnancy.

April was a fairly good-sized puppy at birth. She immediately reminded us of a little football. Because of all the problems with her sister, Angel,  April had her mother all to herself.  She was able to nurse any time and food was plentiful.  The outcome of this was that April just kept getting bigger and bigger.  After her eyes opened at about 2 weeks of age and she started crawling around in order to investigate her surroundings, DeeDee couldn’t even lift her (and she tried so hard to lift her) to return her to the safety of the crate.

April wasn’t handled very often during the first few weeks of her life because of all the time required to look after her sister.  Whenever she was picked up, she would start to tremble, almost reaching a point where I thought something was wrong with her.  It just turned out to be a fear of being lifted off the ground.  She overcame this fear as she got a little older and is surely making up for it now.  She insists on being picked up and hugged almost constantly.

As much as I hate to admit it, April turned out to be the “ugly” one of the family.  One of her ears won’t stand up and she has a very noticeable overbite.  Most of her teeth are either missing or crooked, as is common in the hairless Chinese Crested.  The funniest part of this is that she is missing almost all the teeth on the right side of her mouth.  Because of this, she has a lot of trouble keeping her extra long tongue inside her mouth.  Most of the time when her mouth is closed, her tongue is just hanging from the corner of her mouth.  Add this factor to the uncontrollable floppy ear problem and you get quite a picture of something resembling a gremlin.


April is a very good canine companion.  She is very loving and loves to cuddle.  I don’t recall her ever getting into any normal puppy mischief. Her mother taught her well.  April will be three years old in April of 2004.  She is still very attached to DeeDee and I’m sure they realize they are mother and daughter even though April is much, much larger than her mother. This seems unusual to me because both DeeDee and Timothy (April’s father) are very small.  But then again– once a football, always a football.

APRIL (LEFT) & HER MOTHER, DEE DEE

APRIL (CENTER)-DEE DEE (RIGHT)- SISTER, ANGEL (LEFT)

APRIL (LEFT) & HER MOTHER, DEE DEE

YIKES!!!

APRIL (RIGHT) & ANGEL (1 DAY OLD)

APRIL – 3 WEEKS OLD

APRIL – 5 WEEKS OLD

APRIL – 6 WEEKS OLD

APRIL – 12 WEEKS OLD

APRIL – 16 WEEKS OLD

APRIL (RIGHT) & HER MOTHER, DEE DEE

BEFORE

TONGUE

AFTER

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CLICK BELOW FOR BENJI’S STORY — THE HOMECOMING