Love for Sugar


Sugar, riding the waves on the Manistee River 2 summers ago

Sugar’s been with us for 9 years now.

We got her as a 3-year old from a breeder who rescued her from a puppy mill, neutered her and gave her away ‘free to a good home’.   She has been my true companion, my little black and white shadow who looks at me dearly whenever I say her name. She gets so upset when I leave her that she’s been known to hide under the bed for days, not eating or drinking until she just can’t stand it anymore. She relies on me to be there for her, to be the consistency that her life so lacked before we were put together.


Rob and I know the things that make her happy—her favorite foods and more importantly her favorite chewies, where she loves to be scratched, her favorite places to go, people she likes, her ‘comfortable’ places. We know words that calm her when she’s upset and others that get her so excited and happy she can barely contain herself. We’ve learned these things and make sure her life is filled with happy things because we love her very much.


Lately, she’s been slowing down—she stopped jumping up into the car anymore and has been asking for shorter walks for a while now.   Her muzzle and ears are starting to grey and for a few years she’s been getting those ‘age lumps,’ non-cancerous bumps skin that some cockers get as they get older.   We compensate for her limitations because she’s a part of our family.

We knew she’d love the adventure of being out in the RV with us this summer.

It’s been thrilling to watch the dogs explore new places with us, discovering the outdoors as we’ve wound our way across the country.  I’ve looked forward to our daily ‘walk in the woods’ (one of their favorite expressions).


Unfortunately, we think Sugar ate something in the woods during one of our walks last week that has really affected her nerve functioning.   She’s lethargic, unmoving in her bed until we make her get up. When we prop her up to walk she looks like a drunken sailor, her paws rolling forward causing her to stumble.

We rushed her to the emergency vet in Kalispell when we realized she was so sick. They filled her with fluids, steroids and antibiotics and after a couple of days, pronounced her well enough to go home. She wasn’t better, but they had done what they could for her.   The doc thought her age affected her immune function, increasing the severity of her response to whatever she ate.


That was yesterday, and while I’m glad she’s home so I can take care of her, we can see that she’s really on the fence.

We’re doing everything we can think of…I made her some chicken and rice and set up a comfortable bed for her next to me. Rob and I carry her outside every couple of hours and offer her water every hour or so. I talk to her, pet her and love her…and hope she will get better. She wasn’t eating or drinking at all this morning, but rallied this afternoon and had a bite to eat.

Last evening she sat outside with us, feeling the warm breeze and looking through the woods at the lake as she drowsed under the Airstream.


We’re taking it day by day, doing the best we can to urge her to get better and as I write this morning, she remains lethargic but is still eating and drinking.

So we continue to hope.


  1. Deb | 3rd Aug 16

    I’m so sorry to read about Sugar’s decline. We have our Cooper, 4 1/2yrs., a Goldendoodle, and we would be crushed if that were to happen to him! Right now he has a cold, been sneezing forms couple of days and lounging around. Our prayers are with you.


    • Stella | 5th Aug 16

      Hi Deb, Poor Cooper! I hope he feels better soon. Our very first dog, a very energetic butterscotch colored mutt, was named Cooper–great name choice! Sugar is hanging in there and we are hopeful for a recovery. Thanks for your prayers. Ruste

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