In the 27 years that Helen and I have been together we have shared our love with several of God's four legged angels. None have touched our hearts quite like Windemere. Her love for us knows no bounds.
As a young puppy she was given to us by the spouse of a soldier who was being deployed out of the country back in 2010. I'll never forget coming home and seeing Helen holding this beautiful little Dachshund who immediately gave me her signature look...the ol' "side eye" checking me out wondering what's up with this guy. Dachshunds are known to be one owner dogs and I knew right away I had my work cut out for me to win her over seeing as she had obviously already bonded with Helen.
Fortunately for me, given that Windy shared our bed and the couch wasn't so comfortable, the good lord sought fit to give Windy a BIG heart and she found the energy to love us both unconditionally. During the last 14 years the kisses have never ceased, and the bond between all three of us have grown as we have shared our daily lives together. Including participating as vendors at so many reptile and exotic shows over that time. We are a team and have traveled so far together.....literally and figuratively.
Several months ago we learned that Windy's heart had enlarged, an already huge heart full of love had physically grown inside her body. She was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) which is a heart condition that affects small to medium sized dogs as they age. The mitral valve undergoes degenerative changes such as thickening. These changes prevent the valve from closing properly which causes the valve to leak. There is no cure, just expensive medications to support the heart function and sustain a healthy quality of life prior to the onset of Congestive Heart Failure. (CHF)
Over the years we've helped all of our fur and purr babies through hospice or palliative care before helping them over the Rainbow Bridge. It's a very difficult process wherein we believe that quality of life is the most important factor to consider. We monitor their health through regular checkups, and we monitor their quality of life by spending time with them and looking for signs they share with us to gage their well being. Along with a big heart the Good Lord has blessed Windy with a zest for living.....a "joie de vivre" if you will.
We received news last week that a growth on one of Windy's mammary glands was cancerous.....breast cancer would be the human equivalent. Given that her spirit is full of life we have decided to have her undergo surgery to remove the tumor, and to acquire biopsies from other smaller lumps on her body and have them sent off for pathology tests. This will be a very difficult operation for Windy given the nature of her enlarged heart diagnosis. The prognosis at this time is positive but guarded.
We are asking for your support, primarily through prayers, words of encouragement, and of course positive vibes! As you might imagine the costs for an operation, pathology/oncology support, medications, and potential for future needed treatments, are very expensive. We will be posting items for sale at special pricing. We will also be creating a GoFund Me campaign for anyone who wants to support Windy's care without purchasing one of our special items.
The revenue generated from these sales will go directly towards Windy's care. We will provide regular updates on how she is doing both here on our website and our Face Book page. Any funds generated over and above the actual costs of her care will be donated to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter located in House Springs, Missouri.
We want to thank the staff at the Creve Coeur Animal Hospital, and specifically Dr. Claire Ronnie, for the love and professionalism they have showed Windy, Helen, and I since we walked in their doors looking for help earlier this year. We feel blessed to have Windy in your care.
Finally we want to thank you for your support of Royal Roaches over the years. We have met so many of you personally and your friendship means a lot to us. Having vended so many reptile shows with Windy at our side, I can't begin to note all the folks who have touched us with stories of their loved ones, or who's days were brightened by seeing Windemere. I can see your smiling faces though and those memories help us through this difficult time.
Mike, Helen, and Windemere
Sale items will be posted throughout the week!
November 3rd Update
Windy did very well during her surgery and a large cancerous tumor was removed. The skill, knowledge, and experience of Dr. Claire Ronnie and the staff of Creve Coeur Animal Hospital provided us and Windy with the very best outcome we ever could of hoped for! We are not of the woods yet as the recovery process is fraught with potential problems given her heart condition, the possibility of infection of the incision, and of course the pathology tests which are now being reviewed at the University of Missouri. When we learn more about the type and aggressiveness of her cancer we can focus on her future needs. We did learn that a couple of other lumps on her body were just fatty tissue, and no cancer cells were seen in nearby lymph nodes....we are keeping our fingers crossed!
November 11th Update
Windy continues to do well. We got her pathology report back and although the tumor removed was cancerous with a grade of 2, there was no cancer seen in an adjoining mammary gland nor the down hill (so to speak) lymph node. Nothing we can do for her enlarged heart except keep her on the meds and keep loving her....we are so grateful for everyone's support!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the great friends of Windemere who have expressed concern, prayers, and positive vibes....I can't tell you how much that has meant to us. And a BIG thank you to everyone who have purchased a "Support Windemere" item on our website and/or made a donation to her care.
Mike, Helen, and of course Windemere