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500 Days and Counting – Adverse Rabies Vaccine Reaction


Friday, June 7, 2013, marks 500 days since Lilly received the ill-fated rabies vaccine that has forever changed all of our lives. Her widespread brain and spinal cord inflammation remains and requires numerous daily medications and others (including a chemo drug ~ 4 injections, over 2 days, every 3 weeks) to keep her alive. June also marks a full year since Lilly became completely incontinent (both ways). Taking care of her (and working a lot to pay her veterinary bills) consumes my every day. This is our new norm, and that’s OK … until I look at old videos and remember how strong she used to be. Then I’m super sad.

I’m trying to flip my thinking and to be HAPPY at all the opportunities Lilly has had for a fun and fulfilling life. Our world is much smaller now, with few adventures, but we still have fun being best, best friends.

A few old videos, if you’re in a nostalgic mood.

Lilly and Ginko Playing Chase in the Snow (March 2010)

Lilly Racing to Me (June 2011)

Lilly Herding Goats (badly) January 2011


Below is my favorite recent photo from last Saturday’s 12+ hour road trip to pick up Tom’s new hot rod. I came out of the truck stop north of Pueblo to find Tom and Lilly sharing beef jerky and grinning like mad.

There are indeed times I fear I made a mistake by not calling and end to the fight last August, when we nearly lost Lilly again after that massive relapse. BUT, then we have days like this, little moments like this of pure joy … and I cannot imagine not having these many (extra) months together.

Lilly can no longer run or jump well. She doesn’t have the strength or stamina to take walks or hikes. She is too slow mentally and physically for agility or herding lessons. But, she is happy.

Lilly loves her Daddy, but I’m pretty sure a good part of this smile is knowing he has beef jerky.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, tom and lilly


Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Jennifer P - June 10, 2013

What a lovely photo. It is pet people like you who don’t abandon their pets when adversity strikes that imbue me with what little faith I have in humanity, and who make me proud to say I am a “dog person and animal lover”.

Amy@GoPetFriendly - June 5, 2013

Looking back and remembering is hard – but it’s something we all experience as our dogs get older. Lilly’s situation is more severe and was more immediate than most of us with dogs getting older, but the memories of the good days keep us all going. Hugs to you and Lil.

Sam - June 5, 2013

What a lovely photo – I bet you have it framed and on display already, I know I would if I could get one o my dog(s) and my other half!

Hilary - June 5, 2013

Great pic of Lilly and Tom. She’s not ready to give up yet, and I think she does have enough good days yet ahead… I know you’re spending so much time on her care, but she’s still very present. As long as she’s enjoying her time, even with limits, then you’re doing right.

Julie - June 4, 2013

🙁 she is a lucky, lucky girl to have the two of you!!

Jen - June 4, 2013

That is such a sweet picture!

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