Turbos Story PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Karel Nunnink   

When I first met Turbo, full name Turbo Booster Rooster, he was a sullen kind of shy and a bit on the grumpy side.

Of course in a house full of kids( teenage girls) there was always adequate drama, so along with the two other doggies there, he was pretty much on the bottom of the totem pole.

He was however also battling weight issues, as he was so good at hanging around the table during dinner where there was always someone who felt bad for him as he gave them his best sorrowful sad eyed look, and was fed lots of table scraps.

This is what Turbo excelled at, so at almost 30LBs he was hefty for the little Dachshund Terrier mix, but these odd bits of varying foods would have serious consequences down the road.

Then things started to fall apart as the economy and the housing market took a dive, and therefore house values tumbled into the abyss.

The family once close-knit now started to unravel under the constant stresses of financial obligations and skyrocketing mortgage rates.

The split up of the marriage, as blame and anger overcame the bonding and the love, was eminent.

This was not at all an isolated incident as families across the country were torn apart and folks all over were polarized against each other as they saw their live savings, and most of all hope in the future disappear.

We did not have the intent on adopting a pet, fighting our own battles to survive and keep our small business going, but we had visited the family where Turbo lived often and my daughter Sarah had always had a special affection for him.

So when we were asked as a last resort if we would adopt him, or he would have to go to the pound, we knew his chances would be slim there, given his age of about 5 years and temperament.

So Turbo came to live with us, we built him a little pen in the garage and cut out a doggy door so he could run into the backyard and play.

Turbo did not adjust well to this new environment and although he bonded with Sarah right away, he and I did not always see eye to eye.

He continued to gain weight and especially in the evenings became grumpy and would growl at me if I tried to pet him.

We decided to not feed him any food scraps and give him the best food available, this was not an easy task, wandering along the isles of a major pet food chain looking at piles and piles of dog food all proclaiming to be "Natural". Then upon closer examination of these products, I realized most often cornmeal, or some other by-product was the first and major ingredient. I was shocked, to learn of the amount of misleading information on the packaging.

Knowing as I do, how most poultry and farm stock is raised, never seeing daylight cooped up in pens fed antibiotics to ward off infections, I did not want any dog food with these products in them. I also learned in many cases the animals put to sleep at the pound, are ground up and added to a large variety of pet food products.

Finally in an obscure section we hit upon an acceptable bag of organic food using free range chicken meat without cornmeal.

Things went ok for a few months, until we had to leave for a week on a business trip, we had set up feeding arrangements with with my in-laws as they would stay at the house while we were gone.

Upon returning Turbo was not his usual self, and upon asking questions we found out his exceptional skills of begging for table scraps had once again succeeded. He now started vomiting and peeing in the house regularly, losing weight and becoming dehydrated. In a few days he had gone from relatively normal, to a dog that could hardly get up and would not keep any food down.

We tried a variety of things hoping he would get better, but to no avail, and then one evening Turbo was near comatose.

We were now all in a near state of despair ourselves, and poor Sarah was crying thinking she might lose the little guy, so we called around and found out the nearest emergency pet clinic was about 20 miles away.

Putting Turbo in his little doggy bed we drove to the emergency clinic, where we were told to wait while they examined him.

Then the first shocker, Turbo had diabetes,and pancreatitis, his blood sugar was off the scale and he was severely dehydrated creating an electrolyte drop which in turn caused his muscles to nearly stop functioning, he would need to stay there for a minimum of at least 24 hours and possibly more.

Then the second shock, the cost would be at least $2000. and depending on the length of his stay maybe more, also we would have to put up a large deposit and pay the balance when and if he became well enough to pick him up.

So what to do now? My daughter was pleading for him to get treatment, and I felt for the poor little fellow with the sad eyes.

There really was no option for us but to go ahead with the treatment, and make the payment.

After a tenuous couple of days and numerous phone calls we received the word that Turbo was up and walking around wagging his tail and licking any one he could.

He could come home early, if we could feed him fluids intravenously for the next 24 hours, luckily my wife being an intensive care nurse knew how to handle this. The ride to pick up Turbo was filled with happy anticipation and a lecture by my daughter on how could I have been so negative to even think of him not making a comeback. Turbo heard us in the waiting room and started his typical howl, raising his head skyward and howling like a coyote, he was overcome with happiness and joy as they brought him out he literally tore himself away from the attendant and jumped on Sarah deluging her with big wet kisses.

We followed the instructions and Turbo looked better slimmer and found a new attitude for life, it was as if he knew we saved him. We then visited our regular vet for advice on the amount of insulin to give him, we were told to try 7 units and that should be the dosage for his weight and blood sugar levels.

These injections should be given twice a day at as close to the same time as possible in the morning after his meal and then in the evening.

All went fine for now, and we decided to change his food to better accommodate his pancreatitis.

After much researching, we came to the decision to feed him organic free range chicken breast with organic brown rice, yams, organic omega3 rich eggs, organic cottage cheese, and free range chicken broth.

Needless to say Turbo eats better then most people.

He loved the food and would start a bark fest every morning upon greeting us, of course at this time he was able to manip his way on to Sarahs bed, where he now slept every night keeping her company.

So it went for a couple of weeks until one morning he seemed uncoordinated and almost fell down the stairs, we weren't that worried and fed him a little extra food to get his energy up. That evening he seemed a little better and we decided that we would bring him to our vet the next day for a checkup.

Far away it seemed I heard a strange howling sound which grew louder and with an unnatural urgency that reached an almost high pitched squeal now,as I bolted upright in bed in the pitch-dark blackness of our bedroom.

Awake now I heard it again the howling with a distinct panic edge to it now, even louder, I jumped out of bed and began searching and calling out for Turbo. Afraid of what to expect as the urgent howling sounds continued, I followed the sound into Sarahs bathroom and after turning the light on discovered Turbo wedged behind the toilet seat and the wall.

He was not moving and kind of twitching with muscle spams and as I tried to free him he felt stiff, as if all his muscles had cramped up there was also mucusy drool coming from his mouth. I could feel the panic in him as he tried to move but couldn't, now both my wife and Sarah ran in half asleep and also in a state of disbelieve, how could this happen again after all we had just been through.

It was 3am in the morning, and we once again rushed to the emergency pet clinic, fortunately we had been told of a clinic much closer to us.

Once again the wait while blood tests are done, then comes word, Turbos blood sugar is now so low his whole system is shutting down, no muscular activation and we find out his eyesight is gone, Turbo is blind!!!

All this and the bill for this visit only $1200.00

At this point my wife and I are just about at our wits end, and again decision time is here, then that little voice inside starts to talk about how I would feel in that position, unable to move blind and feeling the world shut down around me when I just want to play and snuggle with the little girl who loves me.

Again we decide ok do what you can, and let us know if he will make it.

The day wears on both of us tired and lacking sleep, waiting for that ominous phone call telling us news of poor Turbo. I'm somewhat pessimistic at this point, having felt his trembling little body earlier in the day, but Sarah will hear nothing of it and somehow knows he will pull through once again.

Finally we get the news after more infusions of a glucose solution he has bounced back and recovered his eyesight, and can be picked up the next morning. Once again this little dog has bounced back, beat the odds and fought to live, I started to think he might be part cat with nine lives.

The biggest factor we learned was that we were given the wrong advice as far as his insulin was concerned, now we test his urine for ketones, Sarah feeds him every morning and evening at the same time, and gives him his insulin injection right after.

We monitor his food intake, to make sure he gets the same amount and have added some alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine to his food, consistency is key to maintaining proper blood sugar levels.

Turbo now weighs in at a lean 16 LBs, his energy is through the roof, he has shown us more and deeper levels of effection, for example upon returning home as the garage door starts to open, he will rear his litle head back and start his chorus of yelps and high pitched howls telling us how happy he is we are back.

After a stressed out day coming home and being welcomed by this exuberant little guy who wants nothing from you, but will give you limitless love, how can that not also lift your mood and see the world in a better light.





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