Photos, scrapbooks, and journals are great tools for preserving wonderful memories. Without these tools, one can only rely on the brain to preserve pictures of people, things, and events that we hold dear. Such memories can resurface when triggered by something that reminds us of that special someone or special experience. Recently, I was playing around with the camera of my phone when a snapshot of memories with my beloved pet Noni came to mind.
I have always been fond of animals even as a kid. During my bachelor years I had a pet cat and dog with me but I had to give up my pets after I got married. My wife, Iris of PinayAds.com, and I moved to a condominium that doesn’t allow pets in their units so I had no choice in the matter. Eventually we moved to a house and I convinced my wife to get a pet dog even if she is scared of dogs. It was sometime in December 2013 in Clark Pampanga where we got an opportunity to get a pet of our own. We chanced upon a pet shop with plenty of dogs to choose from. Call it weird but we felt a connection with one of the puppies. He seemed to be communicating with us somehow and was really affectionate when I picked him up. What can I say? It was a done deal. We went home with the puppy and named him Noni.
I still remember how well behaved Noni was when we took him back to our home in Antipolo. He was just quiet and seemed to be contented in staying with us. It was so easy to like him, even our relatives who live near us were quickly taken by his charm and affectionate nature. During that time we didn’t have our own baby yet so Noni became our first baby.
Noni’s affectionate nature encouraged my wife’s cousins to get pet dogs too. Little did we know that this will drastically affect Noni’s life and ours.
The new puppies looked healthy at first and nobody was aware that one of the puppies was sick. We just noticed one day that there was some yellowish discharge in the eye of one puppy. This puppy died the following day. After 3 days, another puppy from the same batch died. Then a week after, my brother-in-law’s puppy seemed to have a seizure. It looked like it was going crazy and couldn’t recognize any of us. We decided to seek professional help and brought him to a vet.
The puppy was diagnosed with canine distemper, a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. Later on, that puppy also died just like the other two. The vet suggested that we thoroughly clean the areas where the dead puppies used to stay. It was further advised that we disinfect the immediate vicinity and move the surviving puppies to a safer or non-contagious area. And that was exactly what we did, we gave the whole house a through clean and disinfected it too.
A week after following the vet’s advice, Noni seemed fine and didn’t exhibit any symptoms of an illness. We thought we got through the crisis and everything is going to be alright. But we were wrong. Noni got coughs and colds so we took him to the vet. The doctor said that Noni has a fever but it may just be due to the weather. That was the 1st week of Jan 2014. Noni was given medicines to make him feel better and then they sent us home with prescriptions.
After several days of medication, it seemed that Noni was getting worse contrary to the results that we were expecting. We decided to do our own research on canine distemper. There were a number of forums and blogs about the topic but they were all saying the same thing.
Canine Distemper is a highly contagious virus that can cause a life-threatening illness. The virus affects the respiratory system, the conjunctiva membrane of the eyes, gastrointestinal and nervous systems.
Symptoms of the disease include sneezing, thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose, fever, lethargy, coughing, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and loss of appetite, seizures, pneumonia, shaking and trembling.
The virus is spread through, direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva, sneezing, coughing sharing food bowls and beddings.
Dogs that are affected with canine distemper have a slim chance of survival. But we are not about to give up on Noni. A fellow pet owner suggested that we bring Noni to Vets in Practice. This veterinary clinic is said to be accepting patients with canine distemper. We brought Noni and Lebron, my brother-in-law’s dog, to the clinic. Both dogs were given an antibiotic before being sent home with us. According to the staff they do not confine dogs in the clinic especially those with canine distemper because it’s really contagious.
Lebron’s condition improved after the medication but this was not the case with Noni. We brought him back to Vets in Practice after 3 days. The vets suggested that we do a spinal tap to prevent the virus from reaching the brain otherwise he might get a seizure. The vet also discussed the risks of a spinal tap including the possibility that the dog may not wake-up from the procedure. It was very difficult for my wife and I to make the crucial decision for Noni especially since both choices are equally risky. But we didn’t want to give up on Noni, so we chose to give him better chances of survival with the spinal tap.
The procedure was done in the garage of the veterinary clinic because it wasn’t allowed to be done inside. I suppose this was because of the contagious nature of the disease and they were protecting other patients of the clinic. We didn’t mind though, as long as Noni is safe and comfortable during the procedure. We spoke to him before the procedure assuring him that we will be in his side through it all and that everything will be alright afterwards. As the doctors were putting Noni to sleep, my wife and I prayed really hard for everything to be okay. And yes, we did stay at his side throughout the procedure. It was just a quick process but we had to wait for Noni to wake-up before we can assess his condition. At that time it felt like the longest wait of my life. He finally woke up after 30 minutes and what a relief it was for me and my wife. The doctors advised us that Noni is fit to be taken home and that we just need to observe him in the next few days.
His condition improved when we got home. He became more active and playful. But after a day he became a bit sluggish and seemed to have little appetite. My wife also noticed that his head was shaking a bit. It got to a point where we had to feed him using a dropper so he could eat. We would also take him to bed with us to help him sleep. My wife would cuddle him in her embrace while sleeping, just like a baby. Most of the time, Noni would fall asleep in the arms of my wife Iris.
We continued our research on Noni’s condition, determined to find a cure or anything that can help improve Noni’s condition. Someone suggested that we take him to Pendragon clinic because they accommodate canine distempter patients for confinement. And they have NDV-Induced Serum that may be a cute for dogs with distemper. We decided to bring Noni there immediately. The doctors said that he was already getting real weak when we got there and they had to hook him on an IV.
We were also advised to leave Noni with them for confinement and since Noni had a spinal tap before, they can’t give him the NDV Serum (which I forgot their reasons, I was confused that time. The look at Noni’s eyes was so heartbreaking. But they said they will do their best to save our Noni and another spinal tap will be scheduled for him in the morning. They allowed us to spend some time with Noni before they took him in for confinement. He was still sweet and very affectionate even though we could see that he was so weak already. But when the time we had to leave, Noni cried na parang he didn’t want us to leave. This made it more difficult for us to leave. We actually didn’t want to leave him in the clinic. My wife even suggested that we sleep in the car in case something happens. But the staff assured us that they will contact us in case anything happens or for any update. I looked at my wife and saw that she was close to tears, afraid to leave Noni at the clinic. I also felt the weight of the situation and was saddened by it, but I had to be strong for my wife. I kept telling her that Noni will get better.
We didn’t have trouble falling asleep when we got home. This is probably the effect of several sleepless nights spent on taking care of Noni. My wife woke me up that morning, she was crying. According to her, she got a text message that Noni was already getting very weak around 4:00am so they didn’t push through with the spinal tap. Despite the weakness, he kept on fighting for his life for as long as he could. At around 7:00 am Noni was gone. Like a warrior he fought valiantly until the end.
My wife kept on crying and I also couldn’t keep myself from crying. I felt sadness with a mix of anger at Pendragon for not calling us earlier when they knew that Noni is getting very weak already. We could have been there sooner to comfort him in his last hours. The clinic was just a 30 minute drive from our place and there was approximately a 2-3 hour window from the time that Noni got weaker to the time he expired. There was plenty of time for us to drive there and say our goodbyes to Noni. Now the only thing we can do is to cry and ask for Noni’s forgiveness because we weren’t there for him when it happened. Had we known that he would leave us already, I wouldn’t have left him at Pendragon for confinement. February 13, 2014 was Noni’s last day on Earth but he still remains in our hearts and minds until now.
Losing a dog is like losing a family member
My last photo with Noni
Some people may find my story funny or laughable. They may think it’s amusing that we cried so hard over a dog that stayed with us for only 2 months. But in those two months we had some of the happiest and most memorable experiences of our life.
With Noni, we were a complete family and that brought me and my wife closer to each other.
Had I known that Noni will only be with us for a short while, I would’ve taken lots of pictures of him and with him. I have a daughter now it would be nice if I could share with her the happy moments we had with Noni. During that time I was using a DSLR camera for taking pictures and that could be a real hassle for taking impromptu pictures.
If I had an Oppo F3 phone back then, it would’ve been a lot easier to take photos with Noni.
This #SelfieExpert smartphone has a 16mp front camera which is great for producing best selfies. I can imagine myself taking a selfie holding Noni on one hand and the Oppo F3 on my palm (Palm Shutter).
It also has an F2.0 aperture that allows you to take good photos even at low light conditions. This also means that our indoor shots would turn out as clear and bright photos too. My snapshot of memories with Noni will always be etched in my mind. But it would’ve helped if I had clear and bright pictures on the Oppo F3 to help me preserve our memories.
Save Dogs From Distemper
Distemper is most successfully treated before before the dog goes through the sixth day of symptoms — before seizures — by using Dr. Sears’ NDV-induced serum. If seizures or other neurologic problems have occurred — that includes spasms, tics, loss of balance, etc. — then the treatment needed is the NDV spinal tap. Understand that the survival rate for dogs going through the NDV spinal tap is only about 50 percent, but that is more than if left untreated. Distemper is usually fatal.
Symptoms of Canine Distemper:
Canine Distemper usually starts with several common signs of respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and eye and nasal discharge. Other, symptoms include:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, dehydration and weight loss.
These signs are typically seen shortly after the onset of the respiratory illness.
- Neurological signs such as tremors of the head, neck and/or one or more legs (most often seen when a dog is asleep), stumbling, seizures and/or paralysis.
These signs can accompany the respiratory and GI problems but usually occur one to three weeks after recovery from these signs.
- Physical changes such as overgrowth of the foot pads can also occur. Teeth abnormalities can be seen in dogs that recover from the disease.
Please see your vet right away if you suspect your dog has been infected with the canine distemper virus. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it’s discovered.
If you are in Metro Manila or nearby it then go to Pendragon Veterinary Clinic or Vets In Practice
Pendragon Veterinary Clinic
Ground Floor Amaremca Bldg. 107A Kalayaan avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Metro Manila, Philippines
Vets in Practice Inc.
63 Maysilo Cir, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines
Dogs that have been diagnosed with and are recovering from distemper should be separated from other dogs for at least two weeks after they have stopped showing clinical signs.