KIWIE ! A Dog’s Life


I was never much of a dog person.  Sure I liked dogs, but other people’s.  It wasn’t until one random day in 2003, while walking around the mall near where I worked at my first job, that I passed by the pet store.  I always stop in mall pet stores to watch the doggies in the window.  First thing I saw when I walked in was the cutest maltese puppy in a cage near the front 🐾🐾🐾  There were several other maltese puppies in other cages but this one was different.  She had the sweetest little face and smile !  I must have watched her for about 5 minutes before a store clerk came over and asked me if I wanted to take her out to play.  This was the first time any clerk at any pet store proactively offered and I had never been inclined to ask.  So I said, “Sure !”  And that was how it all began

I was shown to a cubicle area and waited for the clerk to bring the puppy over.  As soon as he set her down, she began running all over and hopping around with her hind legs together like Pepe Le Pew.  She also spun around in circles very excitedly 💫💫💫  It was the most adorable thing I’d ever seen !  She was so happy to be out of that cage.  I played with her for a while and then the clerk tried to convince me to put down a deposit.  I had not come into the store looking to purchase a puppy and I still lived at home at the time, so sadly I had to decline.  When I got home that evening, I asked my parents if we could get a puppy (yes, I was already an adult having graduated college).  They of course said no and gave all the reasons one would give for not wanting to have a puppy.  I of course had all the answers.  Who would clean up after her ?  Me !  Who would feed her?  Me !  Who would take her out for walks ?  Me !  What about when she dies ?  Well, I would be very sad but that’s not a reason not to have a puppy.  They were not convinced

For the rest of that week, I asked again every day, almost just for the sake of asking to be annoying 😜😜😜  Then towards the end of the week after I had tapered off asking, to my surprise, they told me that they had discussed and decided that I could get a puppy.  I was shocked !  To be honest, I didn’t even really know how serious I was about it because I just assumed it was no.  But I was thrilled and the next evening, I went back to the pet store

When I arrived at the store and went to the location at the front where her cage had been, I did not see her.  I saw all the other maltese in their nearby cages, but she was not there.  I looked again at each and every face just to make sure, but none were her.  Sadness started to set in as I thought that I was too late and someone had already taken her home.  I didn’t want just any dog.  As I walked further into the store along the row of cages, my heart sank more and more as I passed by without finding her.  It wasn’t until I got to the very last cage near the back that I saw her !  I was so relieved.  She was still there !  It was meant to be.  I immediately told the clerk that I wanted to take her home.  I opted for the full puppy package which came with a crate, a few toys of choice including her best friend and doppelganger Lamb Chop 🐑🐑🐑, dog food, nylabones, a pink leash and harness which she still wears to this day, dog shampoo, an informative book about maltese, and wee wee pads.  The total came out to $1,462 – my biggest purchase to-date at that time and on a entry-level salary

When I got home, I introduced her to my family.  My mom had been terrified of dogs all her life ever since a big dog bit her as a child.  So I was surprised she even agreed to let me get one in the first place.  She watched cautiously and eventually hesitantly pet her.  My dad and sister thought she was adorable.  We spent the rest of that night and many more nights sitting together in the family room chatting and playing with her 💖💖💖

Well, my favorite drink at the time was Kiwi Strawberry Snapple.  The first time I tried it was in elementary school when Snapple fruit cocktail flavors were just coming out and they were giving away free cans.  I was soon hooked and continued drinking it long after it was no longer free.  It continued to be my beverage of choice through Intermediate and High School.  This was also around the time that AOL became widely used, so naturally the screen name that I tried to set up was “Kiwi Strawberry.”  However, as it was already in use, I modified it to “Kiwie Strawberry.”  Kiwi with an E 🥝🥝🥝  I no longer drink Kiwi Strawberry Snapple as I find it too sweet now, but the name has carried through in various instances throughout my life, most importantly with Kiwie Dog

After reading up on how to potty train a dog, I opted for crate training and wee wee pads.  So every evening, I would put Kiwie in her crate for the night as dogs usually won’t peepoo where they sleep.  Then in the morning before work, I would wake up extra early and bring her to a designated penned in area of the kitchen and wait for her to go.  Consistency and repetition in training is key.  In less than a week, she began going to the spot on her own ! 🚺🚺🚺  The first time I saw her do this, I was completely amazed and awestruck at how smart dogs are.  Of course she still had her accidents here and there, of which carpet cleaner came in handy.  Her puppy ways also included chewing up shoes, getting into garbage, munching on paper (the dog really did eat my homework !) and the infamous Dumpling Incident

One evening, I heated up 6 dumplings for dinner and brought my bowl to the family room to eat 🥢🥢🥢  I ate 1 dumpling and then got up to get something.  When I got back 5 minutes later, Kiwie had eaten all 5 of my dumplings !  She avoided eye contact because she knew she was guilty.  I was annoyed because now I had no dinner.  Plus I was worried that she might have stomach problems.  She seemed to be ok afterwards, just really sleepy with a bigger belly.  My parents and I still refer to that time when Kiwie celebrated an impromptu Chinese New Year

Kiwie was a wonderful addition to our family.  Over the course of months, it became clear that she was the bond that brought us all together.  Rather than being in our rooms talking on the phone or watching TV, we now spent every evening together sitting in the family room playing with Kiwie.  My mom became more and more comfortable with her and started petting and even holding her.  My dad loved her and treated her like a third daughter, sometimes mistakenly calling my sister by Kiwie’s name 😂😂😂  My sister graced us with her presence rather than being holed up in her room on the phone.  It was nice spending quality time together as a family with our sweet puppy

When Kiwie was about 7 years old, she gave me quite a scare.  On the evening of my birthday, I stepped out for about a half hour to run errands before dinner.  When I came home, Kiwie had gotten into a goodie bag that I had received from an event earlier that week.  Little did I know, the bag included a bar of 100% pure dark chocolate 🍫🍫🍫 The only remnants were some gold foil and a partially eaten wrapper.  I panicked as chocolate is poisonous for dogs and pure dark chocolate is the worst.  I rushed her straight to the emergency hospital.  They gave her activated charcoal and kept her overnight for monitoring.  I was so worried.  When I called to check in on her later that evening, they told me that she was stable.  The next morning when I called to confirm her pick up time, they told me that she was good and that “She’s a tail wagger !”  That’s our Kiwie.  I was so relieved.  Expensive lesson learned

Kiwie has moved a few times with us over the years, first from our 4 bedroom house, to my parent’s 2 bedroom duplex condo, to their 2 bedroom apartment, and finally to my studio apartment in the city.  Now she is getting ready to move to our new 2 bedroom apartment in Queens.  Dogs really do have their own individual personalities just like people and she has made each place her home 🏠🏠🏠

Will spin in circles for food.  Kiwie is a food enthusiast aka monger.  Every morning when I wake up, she is so excited for breakfast 😋😋😋  She practically inhales her food.  Every evening when I get home, she is so excited to see me…or for dinner.  Sigh

Kiwie LOVES her Greenies 💚💚💚  She will sit next to her treat jar and stare at us all night until she gets one.  We are always wondering what exactly is in those Greenies that make them like dog crack.  Maybe soylent green?  Hope not

The majority of Kiwie’s day is spent sleeping 💤💤💤  But don’t ever touch her when she’s asleep.  She will get startled and become snippy.  Now I understand the saying and it definitely applies to her…best to let sleeping dogs lie

Like Elf, Kiwie loves to smile, almost as much as she loves to eat.  Her smiley face when I come home from work brightens my day 😊😊😊  Somehow she knows when I’m taking a photo of her as she always seems to look at the camera and flash her smile

Kiwie has had many nicknames over the years.  Here are some of my favorites.  Ki-Wee-Wee as my Mom likes to call her.  Xiao Ki-Wee meaning Little Kiwie in Chinese.  Peeg like a pee pig.  Puppy Wuppy which evolved to Muppy with a variation of Poopy Doopy 💩💩💩 which evolved to her now pseudo name, Moopy.  Kiwie likes to moop about at home doing her moopy-like things and doing whatever a moopy dog does.  Kraken as in release her from her dog carrier after putting down her wee wee pad and water.  She runs around and checks out each area before settling into her favorite spot in the apartment or if not at home, in a similarly private and cool spot

I have become a dog person because of Kiwie.  I’m so glad my husband loves Kiwie too.  He takes such good care of her including feeding her, buying and prepping her favorite veggies, giving her baths, and even cleaning her poopy butt.  It would never have worked out otherwise 😘😘😘

In early 2017, Kiwie started coughing.  We monitored it but after it got progressively worse, we planned to bring her to the vet.  But before we got the chance, one evening late at night around 2AM, I heard an ear piercing scream.  Kiwie had been sound asleep in her bed before she woke up and screamed.  It was like no other noise I have ever heard.  I rushed over where I found her in a contorted position.  Half her body was twisted to one side and the other half was twisted to the other side.  She was shaking with her eyes half closed in what I thought might be a seizure.  Within a few seconds, her eyes glazed over, her whole body dropped, and she lay there lifeless.  I was convinced that she was gone.  I didn’t even get a chance to prepare or say good-bye.  I was completely heart broken 💔💔💔

Within what felt like forever but was probably only a minute, Kiwie was miraculously back.  She got up out of her bed, wagged her tail, and started walking around as if nothing had happened.  I was in shock and completely confused but at the same time relieved that I still had time with her 😨😨😨  What had just happened ?  I was ready to rush her to the emergency vet but because of a bad snow storm, I decided to call first.  I explained what had happened and the person on the other end said that it was probably a seizure and that I should wait and bring her in to her regular vet in the next few days if it happened again


The next day everything was closed due to the snow storm ❄️❄️❄️  I continued to monitor Kiwie and she seemed to be ok.  Then the day after, since her coughing was still getting worse, I brought her to her regular vet.  She was taken into the back room for a blood sample and testing.  A few moments later, the vet came out and said that Kiwie had had another syncope episode whereby there is a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure.  She instructed me to bring Kiwie to the emergency hospital immediately

When we arrived at the emergency hospital ⚕⚕⚕, the doctor took an EKG and saw what looked to be a large mass on her heart.  They also saw fluid building up in her heart chamber of which the coughing was a symptom.  They recommended draining the fluid right away, which turned out to be blood, likely from the mass.  After the procedure, we went to visit her and she looked so frail and exhausted.  We left to let her rest and then went back that evening to visit.  She was connected to many monitors and was still weak.  It was difficult to leave her there overnight


The next morning, we went back to the emergency hospital and got some bad news.  The bleeding had not stopped and while it was no longer filling up in her heart chamber, it was now filling up in her chest cavity due to leakage from the first puncture that was made 😟😟😟  This bought us some time as the chest cavity is larger but the immediate threat was still there.  The doctor suspected that Kiwie had heart cancer and that the tumor was bleeding.  If it did not stop, they would need to continue draining every few days, which would not be realistic or sustainable.  Long term prognosis was not good as the tumor looked to be buried within the wall of the heart making it inoperable.  Kiwie didn’t even have an appetite for her Greenie


The doctor suggested that we consider and prepare that it might be her time.  I was not ready.  Kiwie still acted like a puppy with so much life and energy.  How could I make that decision ? 😭😭😭  My husband and I decided that we would do whatever we could to treat her as long as she wasn’t in any pain.  We opted to have the blood drained again.  She was prescribed Vetmedin and at the suggestion of the doctor, we also went to purchase a Chinese herbal medicine, Yunnan Bai Yao, that is said to be effective at controlling bleeding.  We brought her home that afternoon and she was exhausted


2 days later, we returned to the hospital to check her fluid levels.  The medicine seemed to be working as the rate of the bleeding had slowed significantly.  Best of all, the second EKG no longer showed the shadow that was initially thought to be a heart tumor so the diagnosis was inconclusive 💓💓💓  We brought Kiwie home that afternoon and began calling around for cardiologists, despite the emergency vet’s advice that nothing could really be done at that point.  Somehow we knew that if it was Kiwie’s time, she would let us know

The first doctor I called was the Head of Cardiology at the Animal Medical Center.  Based on the information I provided and after speaking with the emergency vet for background, the cardiologist suggested that at 13 years old, there was nothing else that could be done for Kiwie so it might not make sense for us to bring her in.  It was discouraging that he just wrote her off without even seeing her, but I understood that given the details, it was not sounding hopeful.  We wanted a completely unbiased opinion and based on a referral, trekked out to Long Island to Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialist later that week to see the leading cardiologist, Dr. Kramer 😷😷😷

After conducting his own assessment, Dr. Kramer immediately concluded that Kiwie did not have heart cancer.  The emergency vet had been completely wrong.  In fact, draining the fluid was actually not a recommended treatment for her condition as it could have made it worse.  Kiwie had congestive heart disease and a valve in her heart had torn and was bleeding.  She was very lucky as the valve had begun to heal but it could easily have burst instead.  Dr. Kramer put Kiwie on a slew of medications that she will likely need to take for the rest of her life – Hydrocodone, Furosemide, Diltiazem, Digoxin, Vetmedin, Enalapril.  We left the vet with renewed hope.  I was especially grateful to my husband 💕💕💕 for not giving up on our Kiwie and also for finding this highly specialized and caring cardiologist


Initially giving Kiwie her medicine was a big challenge 💊💊💊  The meds must taste pretty yucky and she can smell them from a mile away.  Hiding them in her food did not work.  She would eat every single morsel of food and leave the medicine.  Smart one, that Kiwie.  My husband and I searched for options and found Pill Pockets by Greenies.  They must be made of the same dog crack as regular Greenies.  Now Kiwie will sit obediently and wait for her treat (aka medicine)

Kiwie celebrated her 14th birthday on June 10, 2017.  As of October, it’s been 7 months since her initial fainting syncope incident.  Kiwie recently went to her second 3 month follow-up and the medications are working wonders.  She is stable if not improving just a bit.  She will always have the heart disease but it can be managed for the time being, which we are ever so thankful for 🙏🙏🙏



2 thoughts on “KIWIE ! A Dog’s Life

  1. What an adventure and your love for Kiwie did not let up! I am so glad you did not give up and your hubby finding the good vet that literally saved her. Like human docs, no one should discount it to age and let pets or humans die. I am glad you did not agree. Garfield hugs and 💕💕to Kiwie for continued good health🤗🤗


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