13 March 2006

Collette news: not good

Our 14-year-old Sheltie mix dog, Collette, suffered some kind of malaise yesterday. She hasn't eaten since Saturday, and she had a rough night last night. She can't walk straight -- she's listing to the right and very unsteady on her feet. She walks in circles and bumps into all the furniture, doors, and walls. Her eyes are bright and she is alert, but she's obviously in trouble.

She was fine, if a little arthritic, Saturday afternoon when I took her out for our regular walk, and was fine again Sunday morning when Walt took her out for their walk in the vineyard. But she wouldn't eat her breakfast of poached chicken when she came home. She had been coughing off and on for two or three days, as well. We were out having lunch with our visiting friends Sunday, before dropping them at the train station in Blois for their trip back to Paris. By the time we got home late in the afternoon, the dog was unable to walk normally.

This morning, Monday, we took her to the vet. He said she has probably suffered a stroke of some kind. He gave her a shot and gave us some pills for her to take morning and night for a few days. He said that if her condition improves significantly by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, there's a chance she will continue to live a normal life for a while longer. If she doesn't get significantly better by Thursday, her days are probably numbered. We will have a hard decision to make either way.

We are of course very sad and are watching carefully to see if the poor dog seems to be suffering needlessly. We don't want that to happen, but we want to wait as long as we can.

We made Collette a palette of big towels and covered her
with another one because she was shivering. She's sleeping.

Fourteen years is a long time to live with a being as beautiful and affectionate as Collette has been, and we are lucky to have found her at the Santa Clara Humane Society shelter in 1992. I'm glad she has been able to spend her last days and years out here in the country in France, where she has been free for nearly three years. For the first time, she experienced life without a leash. Her passing, now or next year or the year after, is going to change our lives in many ways.

I hope this message is premature.

When we came upon her at the Humane Society in 1992, Collette (as we would name her) was already scheduled for euthanasia because she was afraid of people in general, and was especially afraid of children. Nobody wanted to adopt her until we came along. She had been in the shelter for nearly two weeks. With us, she has had a good life, I think. Thanks to Merle for encouraging us to adopt a dog, and to Harriet, Cheryl, Sue, CHM, and Peter J. for being Collette's good friends over the years.


  1. Ken & Walt,

    I'm truly sad to hear about Colette. I'm hoping her condition improves so you don't have to walk alone in your extended backyard.

  2. Thanks Peter. No signs of improvement so far, but we did get Collette to swallow her evening pill. The vet said not to expect much change before tomorrow.

  3. This is sad news, indeed. I will hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    My thoughts are with you.

  4. I know this was posted over a year ago (I've gone back to read some of your previous entries) but I just wanted to say how terribly sorry I was to read of Collette's passing.
    She was an extremely regal looking dog and she was very fortunate to have made her home with you and Walt for all those years. I'm sure her sprit and love will always be with you.
    Since my own dog Holly, a 6 yr. old Boxer/Lab, was diagnosed with Lymphoma late Jan. I admit to having tears as I read your beautiful words about Collette. I try to feel optimistic about Holly...she's in remission at the moment and on maintenance chemo, but oh, how I'd love to have her until she's 14 years old.
    Best to you and Walt.


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