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Family of 7 to Lose 3rd Dog in 1 Yr

$9,670 of $9,670 goal

Raised by 155 people in 1 month
We are a family of seven: Omar, Jessica and our five young children, ages 11, 9, 7, 6 and 4. Over the past year, we've experienced both joy and heartbreak with relation to our pets - a long story that has taken another difficult turn in the last few days. I'd like to share with you our experience, and ask for your consideration of my most heartfelt, sincere request for support.

The Beginning

In February 2017, our family said goodbye to our senior retriever, Connor. He lived a happy 17 years with us, spending his last years on the farm we moved to in early 2016. With so much love and joy to give, shortly after Connor passed away, we soon began looking for a new dog to share our home.



Selfless Love

Through my posts on social media, as well as word of mouth, I was put in touch with an inspiring family, who , although heartbroken to rehome their beloved Brody, demonstrated the most incredible selflessness - understanding that their true love for him could be best demonstrated by giving him the best life possible, putting his well-being ahead of their own. They loved him enough to let him go.

Brody was incredible. We spent two blissful months falling in love with our new pet, until suddenly, at the end of August, we learned the unimaginable. Within a period of 10 days, Brody went from healthy and happy, to unable to walk, eat or drink. He had terminal cancer. He was 2.5 years old.



We were distraught. I still don't understand the 'why'. It sure felt incredibly unfair. Having to put our children through not the loss of one pet, but two within 6 months, was unbelievably difficult.  It was a tough lesson in giving, loving and letting go.

And then there was Nukka.



A stranger heard about our story with Connor and Brody, and reached out to let us know that if we ever considered adopting a dog again, she would be thrilled if we'd consider meeting her foster pet. We did - and it was love at first sight. Nukka, a giant 1.5 year old ball of love, joined the Sultan clan in early September 2017, as we opened our house and hearts to love again.

Words cannot describe the amazingness that is Nukka. She is constantly smiling - the most trusting, faithful companion one could ever hope to meet. She is gentle and kind,  a never-tiring playmate for my children. Nukka stays by the side of 'her people', always wanting to be close - despite her 107lb size, she considers herself a lap dog and won't hesitate to cuddle right in :).



Two weeks ago, Nukka started having trouble walking. It started with her not wanting to walk long distances, but progressed rapidly to not being able to go up stairs, to finally literally falling down. Her back legs give out. She can't always stand up anymore. It is breaking our hearts.



Although dreading the bad news that could come, we of course took her to the vet. The exam was thorough, and ruled out physical issues such as hip dysplasia. Bloodwork confirmed a normal CBC and the absence of Lyme Disease or other infections in the same family.

The vet did notice a major swelling and muscular injury/problem on her back left leg. There is knuckling on that leg as well as the left front, and the left side of Nukka's whole body does not respond to touch the same way. It's as if it's numb.

The vet suspects a neurological cause to Nukka's symptoms. It could be a pinching nerve bundle, or possibly a cyst in her spinal column. A response to a traumatic injury that may have occurred in her past is also a possibility - we don't know if she may have experienced something like this before coming to live with our family.

Nukka is 22 months old.



Tears falling and in utter disbelief, I listened to the vet tell me yesterday that without further tests, the cause cannot be confirmed, and the problem can't be fixed.

The recommended course of action is a CT scan, plus an MRI, to determine the cause of Nukka's problems. A consult at the neurological vet is $450. A CT scan is $1000 and an MRI is $2200. Then, depending what is found, a decision will need to be made. If the cause is a disease, it is likely not fixable. If it is pinched nerves or a cyst, it IS treatable, with surgery that could range from $3,500 to $10,000.

Nukka's symptoms indicate that the problem is physical (nerve or cyst) as opposed to a degenerative disease; therefore, the prognosis is rather positive. This is likely treatable. It's just incredibly expensive.

We've brought her home for now on pain medication while we decide on next steps. Our children don't know about any of this - I cannot imagine telling them that they are going to  lose Nukka too.

 

I struggled with whether to post this story or not. I am not one to hold my hand out to ask for this type of support. It's difficult to do. Those of you who know us know that we work hard to make ends meet for our family of seven, on one income, as Omar has stayed home with our children. The cost for this testing and potential treatment is just impossible for our family. 

I've been convinced to try this Go Fund Me campaign by three things.

1 - The love I have for this amazing dog, who is truly the best companion in the world. Nukka is just incredible - one of a kind. You should come meet her: she loves new friends.



2 - My children and their relationship with their Nuney. The trust and love between my five kids and Nukka is deep and true, and I will do everything I can so as not to have to break their hearts. Again.


3 - The two 'strangers' in this story, one being the first family who gifted us Brody and the second being a woman named Lisa, who cared for Nukka after she was surrendered by her original owner, until she could find  Nuney the most loving of homes. Both of these 'strangers' - now life-long friends of our family - have giant hearts of gold and they've inspired and encouraged me to try this campaign, stating that when people hear our story, there will be those who will want to help Nukka and our family. I do so very much hope this will be the case. Despite feeling somewhat uncomfortable about this, I'm going to try it, for both my canine bestie, who is my constant shadow, and for my babies.

 
Thank you for reading this and for  considering helping us to save our Nuney. Your generosity will not go unappreciated; rather, it will be the key to ensuring the love between our family and Nukka can continue for years to come, and will enable a happy end to this incredible journey.

Omar, Jessica and Family
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Update following Nukka's vet checkup yesterday, February 6th, two weeks after her surgery.

Short story: She's ROCKING this recovery thing!

As I walked into the vet, the whole team exclaimed on how well Nukka could walk and move around, and how well she was healing. There were many squeals of joy over her return to visit - as I've said before, Nukka is a special dog. She wins the hearts of everyone she meets. Many 'cookies' were exchanged for Nukka snuggles and her non-stop waggling tail: you'd think she might be nervous to go back into the vet, but no. She was so excited to greet her hospital-friends.

The vet assessed Nukka's reflexes post surgery. Her right side is amazing - a score of 10. Her left side is lagging a big behind. Still vastly improved, but a ways to go (8 on 10). The vet stated that for neurological recovery, the high points is at 8 weeks post-surgery, so Nukka has 6 weeks to go until full recovery/ultimate outcome is determined.

To restate: she is doing amazing. It's just that her left side could be MORE wonderful, and she has six weeks to continue to improve.

The vet and staff commented on how remarkable and quick her recovery has been; how fast it's gone, how strong she is; and just how happy and determined she is to get well soon. In fact, we've already been granted permission to start walking her for 10 minutes at a time on flat ground, increasing by five minutes each week. Normally this would have to wait until week 6, but Nukka is ready to do this at week 2.

I've promised to update the staff of the vet periodically, as they've officially discharged her at this point. We won't go back unless there is an issue.

Bottom line? Nukkey is back! And she's as awesome as ever. Nukka will be two on February 16th, and we'll be celebrating not only her bday, but the long, happy life she has in front of her from this point forward.

<3 <3 <3 <3

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I committed to sharing the invoices, in order to be transparent. These two pages comprise the cost of Nukka's surgery and overnight care throughout, as well as her pain medications.

For the next 5 days, Nukka remains on significant pain medication. She is on three different types, dosed every 8 hours around the clock. She's also on a steroid, as well as an antibiotic to fight off infections.

For the next 6 weeks, her movement is extremely restricted. Nothing beyond walking (no running, no jumping, no trotting) - she is allowed out to pee (restrained on a leash) and that's it. No walks. The end of this period is March 6 - my birthday :). What better gift.

The next 8 weeks following consist of a slow building up to normal activity: light walking, increasing by 5 minutes a week. No rough play (ever again), and for the rest of her life, care must be given to her neck where the bones were removed. It will be tough: and it will be worth every second.

I also have some big news to share: I have been contacted by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, who has offered to pay the remainder of what we need to cover Nukka's bills.

This means her first appointment with our family vet; our consult with the neurological specialist, her MRI and spinal tap for diagnosis, and Nukka's subsequent surgery and hospitalization have all been paid for. By all of you.

I won't beleaguer the point as there are only so many ways you can express a heartfelt thank you. I promise to post updates in days to come so that you can follow our progress.

I am left without the proper words to express my gratitude. THANK YOU.

Jessica and family
Page one - my address is covered.
Page two.
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Today was a big day! Nukka came home, and we are so thrilled to have her. She's on a lot of pain medication, so is very sleepy. She seems very happy to be home - not anxious as she was at the vet.

My kids arrive home at staggered times each day: every time one came through the door and Nukka heard their voices, she would start to whine and wag her tail like crazy, until they came to her bed to say hello.

The kids had lots of questions about her incision and her care, but the basis of all their questions was: is Nuney okay and what can we do to help her get better quickly?

This is one loved doggie, who will be so supported in her recovery. Here's to day one of many, many more together!!
At the vet, waiting to go home.
Being greeted by my eldest.
#4 is especially smitten with Nukka.
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Nukka out and about for her first walk post-surgery. She was up and walking at 7am this morning (ie 12 hours after surgery ended). She's doing great, and we'll be bringing her home tomorrow.
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