First I want to thank everybody that has contributed to this site as over the last few months it has helped knowing that our plight was not unique. Even if most of the time it was to say “Oh well Ugg has not done that, It can’t possibly be PDE!” While our hearts are broken its also comforting that we are not alone.
I bought Ugg three years ago as an anniversary present for my wife from a reputable breeder who I researched quite thoroughly; it was our first anniversary. For years she had loved Pugs to the extent that our desktop was a picture of two Pugs that we named Stinky and Smelly. So being the loving husband I arranged for us to collect a little fawn Pug on the day of our anniversary, little did we know how much one small puppy would change our lives and us.
From the very first night he ruled this house and our lives revolved around him. He was full of energy and fun. Every single day he made us smile and his unconditional love really made us better people. We began by saying how he would not sleep on our bed at night, that lasted all of a few days before we couldn’t deny those eyes anymore. He would play with the weirdest of things – his favourites being a fabric butterfly he tore off my wife’s slippers, old toothbrushes and a dispenser for gel washing deterrent.
He loved us both in different ways. My wife was his Mummy, the one he cuddled and kissed. I was his play buddy who loved to be chased and play pull with his toys. He loved his spot on the window where he would bark at anyone that dared walk past the house. Or birds – he really hated them.
He was bought to be my wife’s pet but he became a family pet – my in laws especially my mother in law looked after him every day while we worked and he gave her the best company possible, My sister in law got to spend a lot of time with him while she was pregnant and he was so protective of her. His ear tickles from his granddad who was the only one who could do it right. My new niece may have harassed Ugg but he loved her, she is not the gentlest of children but he never got mad or nasty. Even our work colleagues were in love with him without meeting him; we may have talked about him a little! Everybody loved our son.
We had three years of wonderful memories and I have to say that earlier this year my wife had a very serious health scare. We thought that we could lose her but Ugg gave her reason to keep on going. Luckily it all turned out ok but I believe that he saved her so he was our hero.
I’m sorry if I have gone on a little too much before getting to the point but he was so special and I want as many people to know that as possible. So now the hard part. On the 16th July I returned home from work. He had spent the day sleeping with his Mummy but when he got up to greet us he collapsed and had a fit (less than 30 seconds). Now in the weeks running up to this we had noticed that he was not himself. He didn’t have his bounce but a visit to the vet had found nothing. After the first fit we rushed to the vet again who still didn’t think too much of it and gave us some rectal Valium in case it happened again. We got home and he was more himself then he had been before but a couple of hours later he had another fit much worse then before (about a minute), the howl he let out shattered my heart. We rushed back to the emergency vet this time who talked about the possibility that it was PDE and that we needed to go to a specialist in Liverpool (100 miles away) for diagnosis and possible treatments. We travelled up to Liverpool immediately and arrived at the centre just after midnight. He was a guest at the puppy spa as we called it for a week while they ran tests including MRI and spinal tap. On the Tuesday the specialist (one of the best in the country) rang and told us that he suspected PDE. He suggested a trial that would hopefully slow down its progression and even stop it. He also said that the damage to his brain was almost unidentifiable and that we couldn’t have caught it sooner. We agreed to the treatment as long as his quality of life was good.
The treatments started on the Wednesday – they consisted of 4 rounds of essentially chemotherapy (I want to say Chemix IV but I’m unsure now) taking place at three weeks intervals. This was combined with a course of steroids – 4 per day going down to 1 per day over a course of 5 weeks.
We picked him up on the Friday and while they said that he had not had any fits all week we knew that he had. He was out of it and had one in front of us (20 seconds). The vet then gave up phenobarb (30mg) to be taken twice a day as well.
He continued to have small fits every 20 mins on the way home (20 seconds) and several bigger ones that night (30 – 60 seconds). However the stubborn little man then had no more fits till this last week. On Tuesday September 7th he suffered several large fits one lasting more then 4 mins which took his sight in one eye. All of a sudden he showed all the symptoms of PDE – the pacing, the walking into things, the circling. We knew then that hope was gone. We spent the night with him, comforting him and him us – the kisses he gave us will be with us always. At about 4am Wednesday morning he woke up but (and I cant put this any better) he was no longer there. When we got up though he got up with us and seemed a little more with us, but by 12pm we knew that we had to help him on his way. At 4pm with his Mummy and Daddy holding him and comforting him he was helped into the next life. In his last moments he was himself again and the look that he gave us was one of love, thankfulness and relief.
He now rests at the top of our garden, forever guarding his home and looking out for us. We are getting a mature bush to mark where he is and he has Winnie the Pooh and Piglet keeping him company. Everyday we talk to him, and will forever and tell him how much we miss and love him. Our hearts are broken, our home is empty and now just a house. I know in time it will get easier but losing our little son has been the most heart breaking and difficult time in our lives. Never again will I have my Saturday lie in with him sleeping on my shoulder or see his excited little dance when I got home.
We were lucky to get the time we had with him, but 3 years is not enough. But he had the best possible life and even when we were at work he was cared for by his grandma (all of his life not just the illness)
To anyone that has suffered this terrible disease with their little boy or girl, I am so so sorry. Why such a disease can strike such a wonderful being is so unfair. Pugs are the most caring and loving beings in the world. We always called him a people pug, as he was so funny, clever, caring and beautiful, he was a real character who touched the lives of everyone around him. From family, to friends everybody loved him,
Now what advice can I give? If you suspect symptoms – get to the vet straight away. Have insurance, his bills totalled about £6000 now if they hadn’t covered it I would have found the money for him somehow but I am glad that I didn’t have to. At the end of the day though you know your little buddy and you know what they need, they will tell you when they cant fight anymore.
Do I think that any of the treatment helped? Yes I think that it slowed it down but I think that the Pheno was the biggest help. But I am grateful as it gave us 7 weeks that we wouldn’t have had with the real Ugg and also the time to say goodbye.
PDE is still fatal but we hoped that he would be the breakthrough. We have no regrets and while this week has been hard I am glad that we kept to the promise that we made to each other that when he had had enough that we would help him.
I have a request from everyone though. I am planning to donate a monthly amount of money to some charity or centre that is making efforts regarding PDE but I would like some valid suggestions. This is my way to honour him.
Thank you for reading – I know that this has gone on a while but I didn’t want to sell him short.
RIP Ugg White – You will be missed forever, We love you – Your Daddy and Mummy.