Goodbye Mozart T.

Mozart T.

Mozart T.

We said goodbye to Mozart T. this afternoon.  He died peacefully with his head in my lap, after enthusiastically consuming a bottle of ‘baby beef’ and a bottle of ‘baby chicken’.  Rest in peace, dear Mozart, you have earned it.

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We brought Mozart T. into our home from the Baldwin Park Shelter in Los Angeles about a month ago.  He melded smoothly into our pack and into our lives, without a ripple of disturbance.  He was a very easy dog to be around.  But he had his problems, physically.  He was almost immobile when he arrived, with back legs that he could only use with help and great difficulty.  We rearranged our house to ease his arrival, and helped him with his regular activities.

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As the weeks went on, we began to let our hopes rise as he began to use his rear legs more, and to move about more independently.  That is not to say that we had hopes of curing his horrible disease, but we were encouraged to believe that we could extend his quality life a bit, and to make him more independent.  And when he needed help, he developed a very efficient means of transmitting that message to us so that we could assist him.  By last week, although his rear end would still collapse on occasion, and he never was able to walk smoothly, he was able to walk on all four feet about 60% of the time.

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Then yesterday, disaster struck.  Within the span of less than an hour, he stopped using his rear legs entirely, and would drag them stretched out behind him whenever he moved from one spot to another.  We gave him 24 hours to see if things would improve, but there was no sign of improvement.

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So we took him into the vet hospital.  X-Rays gave no hint as to what might be causing his difficulty.  But we did learn that he had essentially no feeling in his rear end from about his mid-spine back.  None.

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With information from the veterinarian, I made the final ‘quality of life’ decision, and let him go.  We still do not know the precise cause of this sudden, catastrophic failure, but we could readily see what condition he was in, and that was not tolerable.

Oh no--Not Madonna!!

Oh no–Not Madonna!!

We learned a lot from Mozart about coping, stoic behavior, love, gentle interactions, and other life lessons.  We think his last month was a happy one for him—we know it was for us in a bittersweet sort of way.
Fare thee well, Mozart.  We will meet again.

Bob Jachens
Director of Thulani
German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California

Posted on August 20, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. You killed Mozart. He DID NOT EVEN have a cart. Did you once ever Consult with Dr. J. Coates at Univ. of Missouri? Did you send off for DM DNA test. Why was a DM dog x-rayed? Did you consult with Dr. Roger Clemmons of Univ of Florida about ALL the DO’s and DON’T’s to do with ALL DM DOGS. Doubtful considering he was ONLY in your care 31 days. Did you give him all the supplements vitamins and cooked food required for a DM dog? And why didn’t he get opportunity to have a cart at the very least. As soon as I can locate your phone number I will call. This was wrong on so many levels. Where was hos cold laser treatment? His water treadmill treatments? His acupuncture? I want answers. RIP beautiful Mozart you deserved many more months and so much better.

  2. Dear Ms Watson,

    I am sorry you feel this way. I made what I consider the best decision for Mozart, based on having lived with him, on witnessing his catastrophic collapse, and after consultation with a veterinarian.

    Respectfully
    Robert Jachens

    • I have cared for many old dogs, I love old dogs, and do have a cart and have used it but… Carts don’t go in the home and big dogs can’t lay down in a cart so it is only for walking about and then not unsupervised. Some dogs don’t take to the cart or are too weak and old to pull one. There are many problems to deal with when the hind legs no longer work, pee, poop, anal glands, pressure sores, cleaning of fur and skin as dogs have sensitive skin. Also, if you have more than one dog, the problem of protecting a weak dog from being picked on, seeing they don’t lay in their own pee and poop, lifting them up to move them around in the house. I have done all of this and would again but there is a quality of life for the dog that must be considered.

      Bob has helped countess dogs and has his own pack to care for as well as limited resources that must be spread over many dogs. You are upset but it is unfair to expend all resources on one dog and let many other go begging, it is an imperfect world and we all do our best. Dogs live in the moment and Bob made his moments good and he will continue to work to make many more dogs moments good.

    • Dear Bob,
      I am sorry my original message was so untactful. I was in shock after reading the loss of Mozart.

      Could please give details of the catastrophic collaspe you mention. I realize you feel you did all you could. And possibly I am judging too emptionally based on my extensive knowledge of degenerative myelopathy. I take since you did not answer one of my above questions about the 2 top DM researchers in our Nation no one ever bothered to call or email either. Which Dr. J. Coates will reply. Even answer the phone. There were many supplements that should have been started day one. It matters not now. Mozart is at peace in Heaven. I on the other hand am far from at peace without being given further details about this collaspe you mention. Which is not detailed in the abobe about “Goodbye Mozart T”.

      Respectfully
      Gwen Watson

  3. I can,t believe this, He was pulled from Death Row and now hes dead. I honestly don,t know what to say.. Rip Mozart.. Omg awful just awful.

  4. Really did you consult with Dr. Coates or Dr. Clemmons. Who was the Vet?

  5. I too have made that hard decision for a large breed dog. Having lived with Mozart I am sure you made the compassionate decision for him. Not every dog is a candidate for a cart. Mine couldn’t even stand degrading diapers. The look she gave me helped me make the decision that was best for her. I am s sorry people are being so judgmental at such a difficult time for you. Thanks for taking Mozart and showing him love at the end of his life. Without that, he would have died in a cold impersonal shelter. Run free sweet Mozart

  6. The Quality of life is more important than life itself – Alexis Carrel
    Thank you for giving Mozart what he clearly didn’t have in that cold cell soaked in urine, quality

  7. I will say they gave him LOVE! No doubt. But I would have given him 90-120 days of LOVE. And sure got lots of money never used. Or sure should not have been used. I Pm’d what not to do with a DM dog EVER! According to Dr. Roger Clemmons DVM

  8. Here is what good people do with DM dogs. If one is not able they should allow someone that is.

    http://billbblog.com/Pets/5/Geriatric-Dog

    • I Know the cart as I have one – Doggon.com sells them. As I have said there is lots more than getting them a pretty cart. Once the dog’s backside no longer works you have problems with pee and poop. I have cleaned anal glands – often vets don’t want to do this – , helped a dog poop as he could not do so anymore, carried a dogs backside in a sling as the dog was no longer able to use the chair, put diapers on many a dog so I know about caring. You need to back off and consider how much is involved in caring for an old dog and how far should someone go. This program is unique as the dirty secret about most breed rescue is they don’t “rescue” old dogs and leave the shelters to put them down. We who take old dogs know the pain of loving them and losing them. I have tried to talk people into taking old dogs but most don’t want the pain of losing them so soon – by the way it still hurts.

      I cared for Sigmund who had dementia, paid for meds out of my own pocket – very expensive meds – and cleaned up after him loved him and cried when it was time to let him go. He pooped in the house over 40 times, peed more than that as he didn’t understand. never did I punish him as he could not help it. I put him down when his dementia progressed to the point that he was stressed all the time. I do not need somebody second guessing me and my vets decision – especially not someone who has not walked in my shoes.

      The pretty pictures of the dogs with carts is not the whole story – GROW UP!!!!

  9. Tuesdi Woodworth

    Thank you for giving Mozart great care at the end of his life. This program is wonderful, with a wonderful track record. People WHO WEREN’T THERE LIVING IT should stop SECOND GUESSING this rescue. Try looking into some rescues that don’t care for and vet their dogs and pull dogs for the money, and dump them into unchecked homes and fosters. Thank you Thulani project for all you do for these dogs. You people are incredible.

  10. thank you for taking care of Mozart.. I was so gald that I was able to pledge and get him out of that shelter and into a home for him to live out his final days with people aand a pack that loved him. I will keep you always on my FB so I can continue to send pledges when I am able to . thank you for doing what you do for this wonderful breed!!!!!

  11. First let me say, Thank you, Bob, for pulling Mozart from the shelter and bringing him into your home for possibly the best month of his life. For everyone else, I have personally know and have worked with Bob in GSD for years and I will say that this man has saved the lives and given second chances to more dogs than most people will meet in a lifetime. If he had not stepped in and brought Mozart in to the Thulani program, this dog would have most likely been euthanized.
    Yes, it is sad that Mozart did not have a longer life, but the month he did have out of the shelter was full of love and warmth. This is more than can be said for whoever was heartless enough to let Mozart end up in the shelter because he was old and in poor health!!
    In the past two years, I have put two of my personal GSD’s down because of DM. The second of these was just a week ago. I was also criticized for not getting a cart. It is very easy for everyone to condemn when they are not in the shoes of others, but putting a dog in a cart is not for every owner and not for every dog.
    It is a dog owners choice to spend whatever finances they can (or sometimes cannot afford to) spend, but remember this is a rescue organization funded solely by donations and fundraisers. The goal of the Thulani program is to enable the dog to be comfortable and free of pain, so that he/she may live each day as fully as possible. That goal was met by Bob with regards to Mozart.
    I know that if Bob made the choice then it was the right choice to be made. So, Instead of criticizing his actions, perhaps you could praise him for allowing the last month of Mozart’s life to be a happy, loving one.

  12. First let me say, Thank you, Bob, for pulling Mozart from the shelter and bringing him into your home for possibly the best month of his life. For everyone else, I have personally know and have worked with Bob in GSD for years and I will say that this man has saved the lives and given second chances to more dogs than most people will meet in a lifetime. If he had not stepped in and brought Mozart in to the Thulani program, this dog would have most likely been euthanized.
    Yes, it is sad that Mozart did not have a longer life, but the month he did have out of the shelter was full of love and warmth. This is more than can be said for whoever was heartless enough to let Mozart end up in the shelter because he was old and in poor health!!
    In the past two years, I have put two of my personal GSD’s down because of DM. The second of these was just a week ago. I was also criticized for not getting a cart. It is very easy for everyone to condemn when they are not in the shoes of others, but putting a dog in a cart is not for every owner and not for every dog.
    It is a dog owners choice to spend whatever finances they can (or sometimes cannot afford to) spend, but remember this is a rescue organization funded solely by donations and fundraisers. The goal of the Thulani program is to enable the dog to be comfortable and free of pain, so that he/she may live each day as fully as possible. That goal was met by Bob with regards to Mozart.
    I know that if Bob made the choice then it was the right choice to be made. So, Instead of criticizing his actions, perhaps you could praise him for allowing the last month of Mozart’s life to be a happy, loving one.

  13. I would just like to say Thank you. Mozart was sick and even knowing this, YOU STILL TOOK HIM which is what most people would not have done. Thank you for giving him a great goodbye. I respect you!

  14. Thank you so much for taking such gentle, thoughtful care of Mozart. His condition was so delicate from the start when he joined the Thulani Program. Yet you kept him close and watched him carefully and made the decision when he took a severe turn for the worse. This is what we do. This is so difficult, yet we commit to these dogs to love them for whatever time they have left. Some last longer than we can dream and some have health issues and we help them cross. We can learn from them about how to act with grace and dignity.

  15. valerie Auerbach

    I cannot thank you enough Bob, for all the thoughtful and sensitive care you give to every dog you have had in your care. Your thorough and intelligent and respectful relationships with each of them is beyond reproach….it is beyond belief that reproaches would even enter the conversations that ought be happening as you say your good byes to a dog you cared for so beautifully. Your ability to attend to the “whole” dog…the complex issues of quality in the lifetime is an inspiration…thank you for one more sterling example of how to show up in hard decisions and show up with grace. Mozart . he will be remembered.

  16. I need to speak/email with someone at your organization and could not find a “contact us” tab. I am Tammy Willet, CoFounder and President of Vegas Shepherd Rescue here in Las Vegas. We are the only 501(c)3 non profit helping unwanted and abandoned shepherds here in the valley. Please provide me contact info to speak with you. Thank you so much!

  17. Roberta Peters

    I believe the person who is caring enough to take in an elderly dog , with great health issues
    needs praise for having a compassionate heart and a generous spirit. When the time comes for all of these animals, and someone is there to hold them, and love them we owe that person respect. Unfortunately many dogs will never know the kindness Mozart experienced in his last month of life….Bob I hope you will always know you followed your heart and your gut, and did what was in the end the best for Mozart.

  18. AnnLining Smith

    It’s interesting to me how expert so many folk are about how another person could take better care of his/her dog than he/she is doing. My June T. made her last trip to the vet to day, and I came home to find the latest offering of a jar of this-will-probably-fix-what-ails-her. They mean well. Fortunately, I could always fall back on ‘The people at the Program, in concert with the vet, think this or that, and they’re the ones making the decisions, and that would end the pushing. I’ve never run into the righteous indignation displayed here. Perhaps the indignant one would like to financially pledge to support the expenses connected with the care she proposed, and foster such a dog herself, spending her time more fruitfully than in criticizing someone in an organization of which she may have no experience whatsoever. Or, maybe just become a Thulani volunteer, so that she could contribute her extensive knowledge early in a dog’s Thulani life, along with some form of hands-on and/or financial help to make it possible to implement her recommendations Volunteers come with many gifts; her passion for dogs and her expertise would make her a valuable Thulani asset. Perhaps she is passionate enough to give direct assistance as well as post her knowledge and experience, perhaps in ignorance of the workings and deep caring, and limitations inherent in this program. My June could have had a better foster; she had me. Even so, from day one, she didn’t want me out of her sight. I could have done a better job; in the end, I did what I could, which was a lot more than what she had before. Limitations are what they are. It’s amazing what is accomplished without five star facilities, etc., etc., and unlimited resources to buy consults with vets, acupuncturists, et al,, Thulani dogs can’t become science projects, kept alive and moving just because it’s theorectically possible to do it. I can’t judge Bob’s decision. I wasn’t there, and I’m no good at figuring out when it’s time to let a dog go, anyway. But I do understand constraints of time and money and how many dogs there are who are waiting to be helped, and how many people there are to do what it takes to help them. More and more dogs require more and more and more volunteers and donors. It is what it is. Bob is still going to be Bob, a deeply passionate, caring, full-time volunteer, with a home full of his own dogs, and frequently 4-5 thulani dogs being assessed or under his direct care. What can change is the number of supportive volunteers, and donors to fund the procedures and medications. Passion and expertise are admirable and to be honored; passion and expertise plus active involvement are much more useful.

  19. Roberta Peters

    The people who are part of the Thulani Project are old souls committed to the care of the terminally ill animals who they so kindly take in and show great patience and love to.
    If an animal was not domesticated they would go somewhere out in the wild and lay
    down and await death…..there is a time for all of us to face our last days, I hope we are shown the compassion from our human freinds and relatives that this group gives it’s animals.

  20. Thank you Ann-Linning and Roberta. Your comments are most welcome, and reinforce to those of us in this business that there are many members of the human species that treasure the same commitment to these companion animals that we in the Thulani Program do. A much needed offset to the actions of people we indirectly deal with each day who have betrayed their loyal companions. The incredible volunteers and donors to the Thulani Program have provided a warm and loving final chapter to more than 110 of these most vulnerable dogs over the past four years, and the numbers keep accelerating. We are committed to our work and appreciate your support. Bob

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