1998 - 2011
Mama was our Steel Magnolia. Our red fawn was born in 1998 in Lorena, Texas, the daughter of the legendary Molotov. She began her racing career at the Corpus Christi track in December, 2000 and ran in 24 races (her fastest time 3l.20) before she was taken off the race track. Only one litter of 8 puppies were ever registered by her owner, but when I was introduced to her in 2007 when she was 9 years old it was evident that she’d produced far more than one litter of pups and that she no longer had any value to her owner.
Upon her first visit to AGA’s vet she had 38 teeth pulled leaving only her four canines to keep her tongue from hanging out. BTW, having only four teeth didn’t slow her down at all! She lived with Bob Trapp for several months before she came to live with us (most folks don’t want to adopt a senior dog). Our precious Faye had made room for her upon her death so Mama settled in quickly with Grappa, Danny & Stripes, the cat.
Things went great until August, 2008 when Mama and I were in an automobile accident and when two weeks later she was rushed to the Emergency Vet experiencing gastric torsion (her stomach flipped over). This is generally a deadly condition unless discovered quickly, so Mama’s life was in certain peril. After emergency surgery she spent a week in ICU and soon she was able to come home with instructions to feed her small portions 4 times a day. Her near-death experience didn’t slow her down either!
In early spring of 2010 she awoke one morning unable to move her back legs. We carried her to the car and rushed her to our vet. She was confined to a crate for a week and was permitted to go outside with our help only on lead. The enforced rest and meds did the trick. She was soon going for walks with the other two and enjoying the big yard she often wandered in. Even though she was quite mobile there was stiffness in her back legs that was not there before.
As we entered 2011 she began to weaken. She would often lose her balance and splay out on our wood floors. It tore our hearts out to see her pain, so non-slip rugs of various shapes and sizes were laid out to provide a path to her food bowl and the door. I happened to be in the laundry room one day when she followed the other dogs outside through the doggie door – except that she was stuck half in an half out – unable to lift those back legs over the opening. We always laughed with her about her weaknesses, but after that I didn’t leave her alone more than 2-3 hours at a time. The weakness continued to the point where we were helping her to get up out of her bed to go outside and to eat. Most of the time she struggled up by herself. She was so cute because she’d often take off running through the yard which was great fun if she ran in a straight line, but if she needed to turn or dodge something she ended up falling and lying in the yard. As we watched over her the last couple of weeks we’d often see her just “sitting” in the yard looking toward the door with an expression of “Hey, will one of you come help me up!!!” The day before she returned to spirit she was no longer able to potty with dignity and unable to stand on her own.
She was a tough old brood and lived to be just a few days short of 13 years old. Through it all we cried and laughed together, and she told us in no uncertain terms that she’d had enough of her life on earth. She was a goofy dog to the end with her tongue hanging out and her silly run, and we will miss her – our Steel Magnolia.
Gary & Lana Henley, Grappa, Danny & Stripes