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You’ll always be in my heart, Miss Daisy Lee

by | NEPA, Shanty Town News

I’m hoping this is the last time I’ll have to write about this or talk about it, at least for a while so I can allow myself to start healing. Daisy was so important in my day to day life and it’s really hard without her here.

At the end of last month, the weekend right before AOTS, she started acting unlike her usual chipper self. Tim & I were concerned but had no idea how serious the issue was until Sunday night. We came home to find her walking with a wobbly gate and then the next thing we knew, she couldn’t walk. We took her to the vet on Monday morning to find out she had Intervertebral Disc Disease. It’s a back/spine issue common in beagles. Our vet informed us that the most effective way to treat it was emergency surgery, which costs around the $6000 range. Our only other option was a more conservative route, with a combination of medication and strict bed rest.

I was doing research on IVDD all that week, as we read that it is definitely possible for the conservative option to work, it just takes longer to heal. Dodgerslist was super helpful with all of the information we found on there. However, Daisy was quickly getting worse. We took her for a second opinion and it seems that over night she started losing her deep pain feeling, meaning that there was an even slimmer chance of the surgery working, and that the conservative route was more than likely not going to take and she would be completely paralyzed in no time. We kept our heads up though. We started researching doggy wheelchairs and ways that we can make sure she lives a happy and positive quality of life. I turned to social media for support and advice and the outcome was so overwhelmingly positive I cried every time someone left a comment. We didn’t want to give up and we saw so many people reaching out and referring us to holistic practices. We expected a struggle, especially with having to help her go to the bathroom if paralysis did hit, but we didn’t care as long as our baby was happy. We kept with the research and asking questions and saw so many success stories that we started to find ourselves a little bit in denial of the other outcome. We expected her to be ok.

Our vet called us every day to check in on her. Our friends came over to see her. We realized that Daisy has touched so many people’s hearts, even people who’ve never met her. I’m so happy for that.

But, Friday night hit, the night before AOTS, and things took a turn for the worse. Daisy was in her crate all week, only coming out to go to the bathroom. She ate, took her meds, and cuddled with her bunny all day. Late that night, we took her out one last time before bed. She didn’t want to come out of her cage. We didn’t want to force her because we didn’t know how much pain she was in, even though she was on 2 different pain pills. She cried and yelped when we finally got her out, and as I was carrying her she flailed and her instincts kicked in. She was in so much pain that she wriggled out of my arms and bit both me and Tim pretty good while we were trying to help her. Daisy has NEVER bit anyone in her life. She’s never even showed her teeth for any reason. She’s such a mellow, happy, and friendly dog that when that happened, that is when we knew. We took her to the emergency clinic early the next morning. We kept her in her cage to see if the vet techs had any advice for how we can keep her comfortable and get her in and out without pain. She kept trying to nip and they recommended keeping her overnight to manage her pain. We asked about our odds again and what we can do to make sure she was happy. They informed us that the pain was going to be hard to manage, given what she was already on, and that she would end up having to be on pain medicine for the rest of her life. There was also a high possibility that she would not be comfortable in a wheelchair.

Tim & I sat in the patient room for a long time.

Everything happened so fast. Suddenly all the success stories I read had a hole in it. I didn’t care about the money for the surgery, but neither of us had it.

We imagined what her life would be like and realized the things that made her so unique and so happy would never happen again. She wouldn’t be able to curl up on her green chair. She wouldn’t be able to climb into her favorite corner spot on the top of the couch. She wouldn’t be able to lay with us on the bed. She wouldn’t be able to dig or run around the yarn as freely as before. She wouldn’t be able to clap or dance. Ultimately, we couldn’t see her happy again. Our hearts were and still are, so broken. The whole week, her ears were down and she was so sad. I couldn’t bare thinking that those perfect little ears would never pop up with curiosity again, causing her to jolt up and run to the door to see our friends walk in.

Daisy has been a huge part of my life since I was 21. She was still just a pup (5 years old). I stumbled upon a blog post from L Bee and the Moneytree, the other day that said everything I felt to a tee. She was the center of attention whenever our friends got together. She was the family pet amongst all of us. She was my best friend.

It was the toughest decision I ever had to make, but deep down, I knew it was for the best.

We decided to put her down.

I’ll never forget everything that little pup brought into my life, and the lives of all our friends. There will be a hole in my heart for a while, and it’s going to be hard. None of this was fair.

I hope wherever she is, she’s as happy as she was before. I, and so many others, will miss you forever, Daisy Lee Flower Donut Nardelli. <3




Samantha is the founder and creative director for Shanty Town Design. She spends much of her day discussing clients' brand and web strategies, directing and creating with team members to achieve design goals, and brainstorming business opportunities. She enjoys gardening, astrology, traveling, exploring everything strange & unusual, and spending time with her small pack of dogs.


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