Georgie came to me in the most unexpected time of my life. My sister who had recently moved to Sydney and working as a vet nurse, had taken home a ‘pet shop reject’, caring for him whilst the breeder ‘decided what to do with him’. My sister visited me one day with this tiny little puppy, who weighed 1.1kg and resembling a little piece of fried chicken, luckily we were able to keep him and this beautiful little boy never left me from that day forward. I was single then, living alone in the city and working full time, I quickly got acquainted with local dog walkers and met many other dog owners. It took me a while to get used to all the attention and strangers smiling at me going down the street, as Georgie was simply the cutest, funniest little creature and he knew it, he was adored whenever we went. He came to work with me via the train many times and he became a firm office favourite visitor.
Georgie was no stranger to vets, in fact his first visit to SASH was when he was barely 16 weeks old, to see a specialist there as being the runt of the litter, he had just one anal gland. Luckily this issue caused no major concern or need for surgery throughout his life, we managed it with a high fibre diet and supplements aswell as baked pumpkin in every meal. He had lots of favourite treats too, with roast chicken being top of the list.
My fiancé and I were first alerted to Georgie being unwell, when I woke at 2am on 16 August 2023, to Georgie having a seizure. At first I thought it was just a bad dream, little did I know then it was just the start of our worst nightmare. We lived very close to SASH and we had him there within 20 minutes. He was in a cluster seizure that would last for several hours into the day. The next few days were just the worst as the neurology team uncovered what was happening to our boy. With a mass covering 25% of Georgie’s brain showing from an MRI, Dr Lydia explained to us that our best hope was to treat as GME (Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis) and to start this treatment immediately, the first dose of the medication being given that day. He was out of the ICU later that week, with a rigorous home medication plan.
It was weeks full of ups and downs that followed, and around 6 weeks later we found ourselves in another cluster seizure, with another stint in the ICU. All up 6 days this time. We were so grateful for the constant communication from SASH, with Dr Stacey looking after Georgie, determined to break through the seizure and keeping us filled with hope.
During this time Georgie was in for chemo every 3 weeks. The last time he had it, Dr Lydia told me Georgie was the little showman of the ward whenever he was in. I hold this dear to my heart because that’s exactly what Georgie was, my sister and I used to joke that Georgie’s ancestors were surely in the circus, as toy poodles were many years ago.
When he was in puppy school and other puppies were learning how to sit and stay, Georgie was up on his back legs doing spins and twirls of his own accord. He was the most clever little boy who knew all the tricks in the book and was a born entertainer. He loved to get dressed up, with a bright and colourful wardrobe that would rival Elton John. He carried his best little mate Monster with him wherever he went, a bedraggled little teddy bear, who lost all his limbs but never his squeak.
The third and final time Georgie was in the ICU was the shortest. He had developed HGE (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis) and it broke our hearts to know he wouldn’t be coming home this time. I’m so grateful to Dr Samuel and the team for resuscitating him in front of my eyes, so he could hold on long enough to the next day so his dad and aunty could be there with us too to say goodbye.
Dr Dominique and Nurse Renee were with Georgie to the end with us, and I can never express the gratitude I have for these two wonderful people. Renee told me something which comforted me greatly over the days and weeks to come, that euthanasia was the greatest gift we can give to our pets at this stage of their life, to take their pain away.
Georgie has left us with so many wonderful, perfect memories. He was the happiest, best little boy who knew nothing but love in his 5 years and 4 months on this earth. Ironically we got a second dog to keep Georgie company, on July 1 this year. Now a little bit of him lives on, in the form of a Kelpie x Australian Cattle Dog named Jinx, the little sister who shadowed and adored him during their time together and now for many ways considers herself a toy poodle.
We will be forever grateful to all at SASH and those who cared for Georgie, Dr Patrick who was there for first ICU admission, Dr Stacey for the second, Dr Samuel for the last, Dr Bryanna who took special care of Georgie throughout, smiley Nurse Jess and the reception team who always greeted us, but especially Dr Lydia who was like a guardian angel for him and us throughout. Thank you to you all from the bottom of our hearts, to be as passionate, kind and empathetic each day as you are, is a testament to SASH and your families. Take care of yourselves and be proud. Wishing you all the very best for 2024, keep shining bright beautiful people.