Maggie's Story

I'm a long time Corgi lover. I belong to the Mass Corgi Crew and we do fundraising for CorgiAid all the time.

Back in 2014, one of our members, who also happens to be the President of Cape Ann Animal Aid, a shelter in Gloucester MA, announced that Animal Control had confiscated three Corgis from a terrible hoarding situation. They were surrendered to the shelter within a few days. Cindy went to see them and was shocked at the terrible condition they were in. They were emaciated, dirty and all had respiratory infections. She also found out from the ACO that their names were Martin and Maggie who were the 14 years old parents of Barry, the third 13 year old dog. The shelter vet told them that all were in end stage heart failure, but with Barry being the worst off, he was humanely euthanized. She put out a call if any of us could help with hospice.

As these poor creatures had seen enough suffering, my husband and I said we could give a happy ending home to one of them. (I already had two dogs and three is my town limit). We chose to hospice Maggie and took possession of her on 20 September 2014. I was given Lasix from the shelter vet who felt her abdomen was full of fluid from an enlarged heart due to her heart disease. Within hours of her entering my home, I noticed the copious amounts of water she was drinking and subsequently urinating all over the house; trust me when I say the house is lined with pee-pads! I attributed this to the diuretic she was taking. She was also starving, but that didn't surprise me as she had not had such a great life.

On Tuesday September 23rd, I took her to my vet for an exam and the quality of life discussion as to what I could expect to see to know it was 'time'. My vet completely shocked me by telling me she could not find any signs of heart disease! She also didn't feel that the pot belly was due to fluid either. She asked me if she could run a full CBC (Complete Blood Count) on Maggie and I let her. The results were off the wall liver values, but everything else within normal ranges. She looked at me and said, "I'll bet she has Cushing's syndrome!" A light bulb when off in my head and yes, I could see that too! Many years ago, I had a dog with Cushing's syndrome that we successfully treated. The vet had me take her off the Lasix. (Of course nothing changed in the input and output as she continued to drink gallons of water and pee accordingly). I spent $1,000 in her first week with us (my vet gives me a kennel discount).

Later that week, I got a clean urine catch for a creatinine screening and we submitted it to the lab and the lab could not rule out Cushing's. So, on Monday, we took her in to the vet to do a LDDST (Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test) and guess what the lab said yesterday? She is a Cushinoid dog, no surprise there. I picked up her prescription for Lysodren at Walmart last night and she has begun the treatment for Cushing's Disease, which is treatable, but for life.

Our group is now calling her the amazing Maggie! I brought home a dog to die in a happy, loving, clean environment, but it looks like she's going to live a little longer than expected in that environment, and that's okay with me and the fur kids! For everything she has been thru, she is the sweetest, best natured, funny old lady and we are happy to share our lives with her!

Maggie (left) greatly enjoyed her 15th birthday party,
which included a visit from her long-time best friend Martin.
The pic shows them on that happy day.

Within days of treatment, she started becoming a happy Corgi. She could barely walk when she first got to us, but now she actually runs and has a spring in her step and holds her head high! She smiles a lot and is really enjoying life. Within a month, her fur had started to grow back and a trip to the groomer, to remove the embedded feces in her fur, made her feel like a million bucks! I read her mind as she walked down the aisle with her groomer, thinking, "wow, it's been a while since I've seen this place!"

Her final Chapter
While I thought I'd have this dog for a few weeks, that grew to 2 full years of bliss for her, and us. She was a typical Corgi and would announce in her old lady bark every Friday when the Chinese food delivery guy was here, when there was a squirrel in the back yard (she was pretty much blind, but believed in my other Corgi and GSD) and when daddy came home.

Maggie enjoying the peace and quiet in her last home

She totally loved her life here, and we loved her company. I'll never ever forget her bounce and excitement about such simple things in life... the things we all take for granted.

Maggie taught me a lot of lessons along the way. Don't sweat the pee - floors can be replaced. How to really smell the roses, I mean really smell them to the point where the thorns get stuck in your nose - it just causes a tiny bit of blood. But the most important thing was love can be recycled... not a bad lesson from a 16 year old dog who knows a thing or two about life.

We lost dear Maggie a couple of weeks ago when she started to have cluster seizures. I hadn't had an ACTH test for her Cushing's disease done in about a year due to old Corgi veins not giving blood freely, but she opened them up for that final shot - she was ready. She completed her final chapter her way, but got to me to smell the roses her way and I'm a better person for that.

I miss you Maggie, but you taught me how not to not sweat the small stuff, and I'm forever grateful.

See you in heaven.
July 2016.

CorgiAid supporters were helping Maggie with the expense of caring for the rest of her life, including the Lysodren which was so greatly improving her quality of life.

Reproduced with kind permission from the author who wishes to remain anonymous.