In the beginning (more) - The first 6 months (more) - Sassi & Summer (more) Sassi's difficult 6 months (more) - Sassi today (more)
Being present at the birth of a dog that will be part of the pack was an amazing experience - more amazing was that she was born at all as, when Kiva was scanned the vet said to expect a litter of 3 puppies and with the 3 boys being born Louise and I were a little disappointed that we weren't to be blessed with a girl to keep - well that was until Kiva gently lifted her bottom off the vet bed so as to give puppy number 4 some room - this really was the icing on the cake for us, a 4th puppy and, even better, for us, a girl. Louise was delighted that she looked to be black tan and white as that colour way is one of her favourites.
The past 6 months have been an amazing experience for us all and Sassi has been a true joy. She and Mylo get on fabulously and there are moments when she is so close and loving to her mum that it brings a lump to my throat.
Sassi sailed through her Puppy Foundation Course and proved to be totally bombproof around other dogs. We must have done a pretty good job with her socialisation as, to be honest, she is unfazed by just about everything.
We have recently started ringcraft classes and though she moves and stands well she isn't comfortable with being gone over by the judge - this is something we will be working on as, from what some people in the know say, Sassi is a very good example of the breed.
Sassi's days are somewhat full on as she has Summer to play with - trust me 2 puppies playing is a sight to be seen. I am sure that she will miss Summer dreadfully when she leaves us at the end of the year - perhaps we'll get her another playmate.
Sassi did end up with a playmate though the background to it is somewhat convuluted; I'll start at the beginning.
In the summer of 2013 Sassi started to show signs of not being 100% - her energy levels were very low, she struggled to get on, and off the bed, would lie down to eat. She still enjoyed her walks however over the August Bank Holiday she appeared to faint whilst on a walk - she quickly recovered and by quick I mean seconds, and was able to walk back home. I contacted the vet as soon as they were open and made an appointment to have her checked over. She was given a thorough examination and blood samples were taken. The next day I received a phone call from the vets asking me to take Sassi back in for more bloods to be taken as her original sample was inadequate in volume and too thick.
The next day I received another call from the vets informing me that the results of the sample showed that Sassi was suffering from Polycythemia and that a course of treatment was required. Polycythemia is a condition whereby the bone marrow overproduces red blood cells causing the blood to be too thick. When tested Sassi's PCV (the measuring scale for RBCs) was 74 as opposed to it being in the normal range of between 35 - 40.
There were 2 courses of treatment available, blood letting and chemotherapy. After discussing the options with the vet we agreed to a course of blood letting (draining blood off through the opening of a vein). Over the course of the next 2 weeks Sassi underwent this treatment a number of times - sadly to no effect and the vet suggested that she had a general anaesthetic and a much greater volume of blood be taken and it replaced with a saline solution to thin the blood. Unfortunately this didn't work that well and a week after the procedure Sassi's PCV level was as high as it had everv been at 84.
A fortunate encounter with a different vet who specialised in animal blood resulted in us deciding to opt for chemotherapy, something I was originally quite concerned about due to the effects and the cost (Sassi wasn't insured. Our vet researched where to get the drugs from and how much they might cost and phoned me to tell me that they would cost just under £50.00 - per tablet, per week, per month? I asked. For 100 he informed me. Next question, how many per day.
We started on 1 a day and over the course of the next 2 weeks her PCV level dropped to below 35 - one a day was obviously too much, however at least we know they work. Over the course of the next month we tried various quantities and since early 2014 Sassi has been on 3 per week and one wouldn't know that anything was wrong with her.
We had hoped to breed on from Sassi however to do so with her suffering from Polycythemia we obviously wouldn't - the condition isn't hereditary, however she would have to be off her meds during the pregnancy, not something we would consider so our mating plans were forced to change and we decided to mate Kiva again sometime in the summer of 2014. We had already met a number of families who we were confident would provide great homes for the puppies when the time came for them to leave and one of those families was the Godfreys, Amy and Callum and their son Maximilian.
Though they were pretty sure that a Lappy would be the right addition to their family they did have a few concerns as 5 year old Max was autistic and they wanted to make sure that a dog would have a positive effect, rather than a negative effect, on his well being. Simple solution; borrow a dog until Kiva's litter were ready to go to their furever homes - and that is how Sassi came to stay with them.
The plan was for Sassi to stay with them until their new puppy was ready to join them, however they asked if they could hang on to Sassi so she could show Sura (their puppy) the ropes .... 2 years on and she's still there having a great life with Amy, Callum, Max and their youngest son Tristan. Do we miss her? Yes we do, but we know that she is loved where she is and, more importantly, that she is well and happy. We are also fortunate that she, and Sura, come to visit quite often and, when they do it is wonderful to see mum Kiva with 2 of her daughters.