Chivas, our adopted boy, passed on in our arms last Friday. It all happened in a matter of two weeks. One moment he was our source of joy and the next moment he was gone. I’m going to try and not make this a one big sob story. My goal is to share everything I have learned through this experience. If you happen to be a pet owner or are considering becoming one, this letter is for you.
For only being 7lbs., Chivas was able to spread infinite amount of joy. I have never seen another being bring so many smiles to so many faces. From delivery people at the door to those just passing us by on the street, no one escaped his charm. For his tiny body, he had a massive personality. He liked long naps, playing games with his kibbles, getting his back scratched, and playing zoomies. Even though our time was cut short, we shared many fulfilling memories. As the saying goes “they may be in just a small part of our lives, but to them, we are their whole life”. Make memories with your pets as often as you can. Treat them as kindly as you can. They are not here for us, they are here with us.
What happened to Chivas? He lost a lot of weight and interest in food in a matter of a few short weeks. He started being less active than his usual self and sleeping more often. We took him in to his vet and his blood work had alarming values pointing to kidney failure. None of this made sense as we took very good care of him, he had all his shots, and he was barely 5 years old. After he stayed 6 nights at a veterinary internal medicine center, his doctor told us Chivas was suffering from protein losing nephropathy (PLN). He had days, at a maximum a few weeks, to live. This was 6 days after we learned something was wrong with him. We were told there was nothing we could do and that catching it early wouldn’t have changed anything as he was born with this disease, and it was his destiny to die very young. I asked the doctor why Chivas was born with this disease. She said it was likely because Chivas was selectively bred for profit. Breeding a dog that will fit in a purse and looking cute means more money for the breeders, and they likely did not care about screening for genetic traits that would lead to a terminal disease.
We adopted Chivas from someone who purchased him for her daughter only to realize that his daughter was unable to take care of a dog. Adopting is the best way to deter breeders from profiting and visiting a reputable shelter near you is a great way to start. Shelters also typically provide initial vaccines and health checks to homeless animals for free. Another way to deter breeders is by supporting organizations such as the Humane Society through donations. They fight back on the legal front against puppy mills.
As for the well-being of your pet, it’s very important to monitor their behavior. Even slight changes could be cause for major concern. Take them in for regular check-ups and ask for blood test to be performed. Without your knowledge, some veterinary offices avoid expensive tests unless they are deemed very necessary, so it’s always good to ask. Also, seek another professional when necessary and get a second opinion. It wouldn’t have made a difference for Chivas, but in most cases early detection of disease significantly helps avoid fatalities. Doctors mostly recognize disease based on their experience, so finding a specialist is helpful. Finding a kidney specialist helped us understand what Chivas was going through and what was ahead for us.
How did we try to save him? Chivas needed several special meds, supplements, and liquid food fed through a feeding tube. He needed to be hospitalized and put under special care away from other dogs. We took him to the only veterinary specialty center in the state that had dialysis for pets. In just 1 week of doctors treating him, the hospital bill quickly reached above 10K. Unless it caused him pain or was done in vain, we would’ve tried anything. How could we turn down the chance of saving him because it would be too expensive to do so? Thankfully Chivas had pet insurance, and I strongly suggest you consider it if you have pets. Here is a recent article comparing some of the popular choices. When choosing a pet insurance, be mindful of the following:
Not all vet visits or services are covered (most insurance does not cover wellness checks / shots, special diet foods / supplements)
There is usually a waiting period on when you can file a claim, especially a longer one for knee related injuries
Most policies have deductibles which often mean small incidents are paid out of pocket
Most reasonable plans only cover 60% to 80% of your total bill
Most insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, some also don’t cover health issues attributed to specific breeds
Switching insurance policies or companies may reset the starting point of pre-existing conditions
Chivas had a very skilled and experienced internist, Dr. Mimi. After 6 days at the hospital, she sat us down and delivered the awful news as gently as one could. Chivas was not getting better, and he should go home to be with us for his remaining days. We had about 4 days with him until one morning his failing kidney took him from us. Losing a loved one is very hard to live through and it changes you. After feeling numb for a couple days, I sought help and found a lot of it in this article.
Life is a gift and meant to be lived to its fullest. I’m taking all the lessons I have learned from Chivas more seriously than ever. Spread smiles as much as you can, find joy in everything you do, and love those who love you back.
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead
26 of the Best New Features in iOS 16
After three months of software testing, Apple has finally released its big new iPhone update to all compatible devices. With it comes a slew of new and exciting features. Some you might know already, such as the ability to edit iMessages, but others you definitely don’t. Here are 26 features you need to know about before you install iOS 16 on your iPhone.
First Day of Autumn is September 23rd
The autumnal equinox is not on the same day each year, though it always falls between September 21 and 24, and it marks the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The autumnal equinox coincides with the fall harvest, and many ancient harvest celebrations occur on or around the fall equinox. Get your fall on by celebrating with a tradition of your own! Here are a few ideas to get started.
Tile QR Labels for Lost Items
Tile announced its latest product, new QR code labels to help folks find their lost items. The Lost and Found Labels are meant to be used with things that don’t work well with regular Bluetooth item trackers, like earbud cases and school textbooks. Read more here.
National Cooking Day is September 25th
It can be easy to get in a rut of constantly ordering takeout, heating-up frozen meals, or settling for a dinner of apples and cheese. But if you want to feel truly nourished, nothing beats a home-cooked meal. It’s nice to slow down and enjoy the process of preparing your own food — and the joy of eating it! A few suggestions from our team on what to cook:
Kugelis (a potato & bacon dish from Lithuania). This dish is a favorite of Hannah & her family, and it is very simple to make! Though you will spend a little bit of time grating potatoes…
Milanesa. In Daniel’s home, you’ll find his dad frying up large potions of this treat for the whole family. While their recipe is not written down (as is usually true for family favorites), this one should bring you the same joy.
Chickpea Salad. Arguably the easiest dish on this list, you can thank Burak for this tasty suggestion! Use it to make sandwiches or serve it as a dip – regardless, you are sure to enjoy this dish!