Our new friends, Bruce and Maggie, were very kind in sharing their story with us about their beloved German Shepherd, Sulley Bear. She sounds like the most precious pup who has definitely lived an eventful life. Please enjoy Bruce's iteration of their great friend and cherished family member.
Sulley was a stray who had a litter of pups, and they were living in a condemned mobile home park in a city in our county. Animal control had been trying to catch Sulley (who Animal control was calling "Molasses", why, we have no idea... perhaps it was her color at the time or maybe that was the name in rotation).
Animal control was able to rescue Sulley's puppies, but she remained elusive, and it took them nearly two more weeks to catch her. Ultimately, she ended up trapping herself in an abandoned mobile home and animal control was able to bring her into their facility.
Sulley was at the shelter for a few weeks being cared for, etc. It turned out she was heart-worm positive and had some other medical issues which needed to be addressed. The veterinarian who was caring for her is our long-time vet, who we have worked with since she got out of Michigan State's Vet School
. She contacted us, knowing we preferred German Shepherds and suggested we go to the shelter to check "Molasses" out.
When my wife and I walked into the area were dogs being held and not currently available for adoption are kept at the Animal Control Shelter, Sulley was aggressive, barking, and acting all serious towards us. I told her "Oh come on now, it's not that bad" and my wife started to talk to her, and she asked her "How do you like the name "Sulley", after Sulley and "Mike" in Monsters Inc?" Sulley stopped barking and started wagging her tail and before she knew it, she was heading home with us.
We had some concerns about Sulley, which we needed to address with our Vet, Dr. Holly at Two by Two Veterinarian Medicine Center
. First, was the heart worm condition, which Dr. Holly said "we will do the best we can to get her healthy", which was all we needed to hear. The second issue was about Sulley's "running from authorities" and we were concerned she would be a "runner" and we would be pursing her. Dr. Holly told us "I think once she gets to your house and meets her new K9 family members and understand she is part of your family, she won't be running anywhere but to the leather sofa next to the dog toy basket". She was 100% correct. Sulley has never run away or had to be chased anywhere again.
It was in in the fall of 2009 when Sulley came into our home. Our Vet estimated Sulley was either 2 or 3 years old at that time, meaning she was likely born in either 2006 or 2007. Fast forward to the Summer of 2021 and now Sulley is 14 or 15 years of age. She was slowing down, but she was still going on our daily walk, which had been every day since she arrived in 2009. We had shortened the walk from 1.5 miles down to about half a mile, but that is still impressive for a senior K9.
We noticed when she was in getting groomed that she had a spot on her back, right on her spine which didn't seem to heal. Our groomer kept it trimmed and we kept it clean. Time came for Sulley's medical checkup and Dr. Holly told us the spot on Sulley's back was in fact a staph infection. Sulley was given a injection of steroids to treat this condition along with a topical treatment.
Good news, the steroid treatment cleared up the staph infection. Bad news, it threw Sulley into chronic diarrhea starting in July of 2021. A series of treatments and dietary changes and Sulley's weight continued to decline. She went from 109 pounds, down to 95, then to 85, then to 75 and then to 65 pounds and finally, we were able to stabilize her weight at 61 pounds. She was very thin and she had lost a lot of muscle mass. But finally, her diarrhea had stopped and her digestive tract was back to working correctly. It took special blood tests in a Texas Lab and some other tests to learn the combination of issues which were at the root of her weight loss and refusal to eat, etc.
It turned out the steroid injection had wiped out the digestive enzymes
and bacteria which she needed to properly digest food and get the nutrition she needed. Despite trying all sorts of foods and dietary approaches, she was eating less and getting thinner and thinner. She also had a B12 deficiency as well as some other issues going on, which we were finally able to address with medication.
I saw an advertisement online for the Farm to Pet Chicken and Turkey Chips
and ordered some to give them a try. We were thrilled to find that not only did Sulley like the treats, she began to eat the treats and also the special dog food which she needed to eat, to stabilize her weight loss and stop the decline of her health. We found if we took two of the Chicken Chips
and put the can dog food between the chips, Sulley was eating the chips and dog food.
I joked how these were her "Sulley Nachos" as she would eat the chips like they were nacho chips. Sulley had declined in health and weight to the point we had to help her to her feet. Now, keep in mind, she is either 15 or 16 years old so needing help getting to her feet wasn't entirely a surprise for such a large dog. She needed this help if she had been laying in the same position for several hours, during her sleeping times. As she consumed the Chips and the canned dog food, her weight decline stopped and with the pro-biotics for dogs and a number of other medicines and food supplements, she got her weight back to 65 pounds and she was able to get to her feet more and more without our assistance.
When she comes in from going outside, she gets Farm to Pet
treats once she has laid down on the special pad to help prevent any "hot spots" on her joints, etc. She always eats the Farm to Pet treats. She really likes these wonderful, healthy, and nutritious treats. We like that they are 100% chicken, and they are made in the USA. They are a treat she loves; a treat which is good for her.
Sulley's K9 sister Beasley is a 12 year old Chow and Golden Retriever mix. Beasley likes the Farm to Pet treats as well. She and Sulley have gotten along extremely well, with nary a cross word between them. No growling, no biting, no fights. These two eat off the same dish at times. We have even seen them chewing on the same rawhide bone at the same time, without any issues. They have been together ever since Beasley arrived in 2012.
Clearly, we know we are in the waning days of Sulley's time with us. We hate to think about that reality, but its part of being a responsible pet owner. As long as she is enjoying life, wants to be a part of our family, and is able to maintain her dignity, we will gladly do what we can to help her remain with our family.
But we will not allow her to suffer to selfishly keep her with us. She can still handle the one step going in and out of the house with my assistance. My wife hand feeds Sulley breakfast and dinner, rolling the canned food into small balls which look like "cookie dough".
We use the Farm to Pet treats to get her started eating and then she eats the cookie dough balls, which are the canned dog food. And of course, what is better for a desert than a few more Farm to Pets treats.
Thank you for allowing me to share some of Sulley's story with you.
Treat you cuddly K9s next week!