Remembering DollarBill, the Pitbull

I lost my PitBull, DollarBill, July 8th, 2013. DollarBill was 13 years old and had had a very hard life before I found him. I took DollarBill in when he was 3 yrs old (approx). My ex-husband and I found him abandoned in crawl space of a house that we were looking at buying. I immediately took him to a vet who wanted to euthanize him because of the state he was found in (couldn’t stand up in the crate he was left in, 19 pounds, skin and bones, hardly a bark, and chewing his tail because he was hungry, etc) but I wanted to do whatever we could (begged my husband and the vet) to save him.We got him neutered, back up to weight and worked on socializing him better (also did obedience classes with him) and he was a pretty great dog considering what he went through. We had found other dogs along our journey together and took them in to make 4 of them and they got along great.

When my ex-husband and I split up, I left the dogs with him because I felt he was more financially able to look after them. He dumped them on my doorstep one day (I was living at my parents place at the time) but I took them all back with the help of my parents and transformed the basement into their playhouse.

In October 2011, DollarBill started to limp badly and I really couldn’t afford a vet bill, but sold a tv and some other items to help pay for a visit. By the time I had collected enough money he could hardly stand up and my vet of many years told me they wanted to do more tests (x-rays, etc) so I borrowed the money for that. The x-rays showed extensive hip dysphasia and significant indentations in the bones. I was told by the neighbours that the previous owner’s tactic with him was to beat him with a tow chain. I was heartbroken and my vet gave me two choices to; (1) do 2 surgeries 6 months apart that would cut the ball of his hip off and fuse it back together or (2) K9 Orthotics. DollarBill was almost 12 years old so I tried Orthotics (that my current husband helped me purchase).

We visited Jeff (K9 Orthotics) and he looked at DollarBill and asked if a vet had seen him. I said yes and, he asked if he was standing, and I said no. He then brought his wife in (Sol – a vet tech) and she examined him and referred me to an amazing vet Dr. Janis Fisher (who at the time worked at Dartmouth Vet Hospital); and the awesome staff including: Holly, Chelsey, Blair, & Heather whom were always there through the good, the bad and my 1000’s of phone calls – without all of them I don’t know if I could have made it through this. After the exam, we started doing weekly acupuncture and exercises with him, and you know what, he was standing and able to take a few steps again!

But in October 2012 he went downhill and we thought it was time to let him go, but a miracle happened and he turned around and we kept on going. We decided to try a wheelchair because his back legs were losing a lot of muscle mass and he was struggling to get up with them. DollarBill had a hard time with the wheelchair and had only been in it 3 times total.

We knew we were on borrowed time but with a little help from me, DollarBill would be able to keep going. So, that’s what we did. In January 2013 DollarBill started having troubles peeing and had constipation. After tests and exams, we found out he had a mass inside that was causing issues (accidents and some discomfort) and I was told I was probably getting close to the time I would have to say goodbye. But I didn’t give up, I stayed home and did the whole hospice care thing, took him in for vet treatments/checks more often, started pain medication and helped him with everything he needed including carrying him to use the bathroom, cooking all his meals at home (he was very picky about eating), we were using dog pads to assist with his accidents (I set an alarm in the beginning to wake up every half hour to change him if needed – and that became an automatic routine), same with water, making sure when I changed him I gave him his water dish, learned to help express him when the urine seemed to not be emptying and learning to assist him with different remedies when he was constipated.

But on July 3, 2013, I noticed him flooding his pads without noticing and his bladder would still not be completely empty. So with vet assistance, we started pain meds and other little things to help him. On July 6, 2013 I woke up and realized he wasn’t happy and I was prolonging his suffering even though I was giving it my all to help him. I lost him that coming Monday night through euthanasia (I held him and rocked him right until the end and still after he was gone), the worst day of my life and biggest nightmare had to be lived and I am still beyond heartbroken.

He had 14 tumours in the 10 years I had him but he fought hard and long for me and I did the same for him. His 15th tumour beat us both unfortunately in the end.  We had DollarBill cremated and he sits on my nightstand so I can keep him close at night like I once did (he slept beside me in bed on his very own pillow).

I just want to hold his memory high because I loved him so much and the ache of not having him to hold anymore is still devastating still to this day. He would have been 14 that coming Christmas Day!

by Dartmouth Veterinary Hosptial 


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