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News from Dr. Monica
The Pet Communicator
In This Issue
Miracle Number One
Miracle Number Two
Miracle Number Three
Good News About Two of My Books
My Next Trip to Argentina
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Greetings and Happy New Year!

In this newsletter, I want to share with you the miracles and blessings that have made my life and my husband's life very special during the past several months.
- We are Surrounded by Miracles -
Miracle Number One - Our Little Miracle Boy
Chopy & Desi

Chopy & Desi

Most of you who read my last e-newsletter in September already know a little bit about Desi. Desi is a Chiweenie, a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund breeds. He was around two years old when he was found at an animal hoarder's house living with 38 other dogs. When he was originally adopted out, he had a lot of trouble adjusting to a regular family setting, so he'd been returned to the Norco Animal Shelter because he'd bitten his new owners, twice.

The shelter then called me hoping that I could communicate with him to help him understand the rules that now applied to his new way of life. My husband and I quickly agreed to foster him in our own home for awhile, but we soon extended his stay with us when it became clear after about a month that he wasn't going to become adoptable into just any family. Because he feared people in general, his normal response was to growl, snap, and bite.

But, if you were to see Desi today, you wouldn't recognize that he's the same dog who joined our family back in September. He might still feel a little overwhelmed by people, especially a large group, and he still doesn't want to have anything to do with having a bath, but he's very smart, learns commands and rules very quickly, and is a devoted friend to our two-year-old male Shih-Tzu, Chopy. Every day finds them playing, running around the backyard, licking each other, and sunbathing together. It's such a joy to see so much transformation in Desi's behavior!

With all of the changes he's made, and the new behaviors he's learned in only a few months time, we now call him Our Little Miracle Boy. Since it wouldn't be wise for him to have to make the transition into any other home, or to leave his best friend, Chopy, we're happy to announce that Desi has now become a forever part of our family.

Miracle Number Two - Our Little Miracle Girl


Early in December, the Norco Animal Shelter called on us again. This time our mission was to provide a temporary foster home for a small Terrier/Bichon mix we named Sandy. Since she required specialized care after having been in the animal hospital for four days, my former experience as a veterinary assistant was just what she needed.

The day we picked her up at the veterinary clinic, her tail was down and she walked over to us at a very slow gait like a little old lady instead of like the two-to-three year old she actually was.

Her gums were white, and her lab tests showed that she was very anemic. She was to be given Prednisone daily along with another medication, and kept on a heating pad for continuous warmth.

She was listless and just laid there the whole first day without moving, eating, or drinking. She was so cold that almost nothing we did seemed to be enough to bring warmth back into her body. To tell you the truth, we thought she would die that very night.

A week later, though, she was still with us. Then she had a really bad night and no stamina, so we took her back to the clinic to see if anything could be done to help her. After performing more blood tests, the clinic then called the shelter to tell them she wasn't going to live much longer.

Since the shelter couldn't continue to pay for her medicine and veterinary visits, we agreed to cover those costs ourselves, and brought her home with us again. We continued to give her the medications, along with lots and lots of love, possibly the first real love she'd ever experienced in her young life.

Much to our surprise and delight, this little girl had such a will to live that she steadily improved at least a little bit each day for awhile. Within a short time, she began wagging her tail, shaking her fur, barking at noises, eating like a champ, and drinking well. She even gained over a pound in weight. We loved her dearly and petted her often. Her improvement was like another miracle in our lives, and she seemed really happy.

It wasn't long, though, before she began to throw up after eating. This time I took her to see
Dr. Sigdestad, my trusted veterinarian. After reviewing her first two sets of laboratory test results, Dr. Sig also said he didn't think Sandy could live much longer, and he felt it would be wise to have a specialist perform the next set of blood tests.

When he called us with the results the next day, he explained that Sandy had Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. This meant that her immune system was attacking and destroying her good blood cells. Given the severity of her test results, it was another miracle that she was still alive several weeks after she first came to us. But she was, in fact, dying and there was little we could do except to make her as comfortable as we could, and give her lots and lots of love.

About ten days later, into our fourth week together, and just before the New Year weekend, she suffered another relapse. After consulting with the shelter to see what they wanted to do, they did agree to have a different veterinarian see her. Based on this set of blood tests, the veterinarian didn't give her more than a few hours to live, so we took her home once again.

And again, she defied the odds for awhile longer. But on January 17th, almost six weeks after she first joined our family, we lost our courageous little Sandy.

She hadn't been feeling well that day, which wasn't particularly unusual. Although she was still walking on her own, going outside to do her business, and following us around, her breathing had become labored, and she was no longer wagging her tail. There was also another sign that something wasn't right. She wasn't lying down and sleeping. Instead, she'd stand up most of the time, even springing up to a standing position whenever we put her on her bed.

We made her as comfortable as we could during the day, and gave her pain medication as often as we could, but when the pain medication wasn't helping at all, we knew that her time had finally come.

Ordinarily, I would have asked my favorite vet, Dr. Sig, to help her make her transition, but since she was a foster dog, we needed to take her to a shelter-approved veterinarian.

Around 5:30 PM on January 17th, my husband Albert gently picked her up to carry her out to the car, but she yelped so loud and so long that he put her back down until she calmed down again. When he picked her up a few minutes later, her breathing was labored but she wasn't complaining or crying out as he put her into the car next to me.

As we began our last trip to the vet, I was stroking her gently and reassuring her that we would be there soon. Her breathing was a little calmer and she was watching me the whole time. But just before we reached the corner to turn onto the main road, she took one last big breath and her head dropped down. Just like that, I knew our precious Sandy had let her beautiful spirit go free at last.

She was our Little Miracle Girl because she had defied all the odds. She had an autoimmune disease that should have taken her life within days, if not hours, of the time we first brought her home from the clinic, but instead, with dignity and patience, she had taught us to enjoy life fully until the very end.

In exchange, we loved her dearly and gave her the very best care we possibly could. Her leaving was a mixed blessing, but the length of time we were able to share with each other, and the healing effects of love that we observed in her, were truly a part of this miracle.

Miracle Number Three - A Very Special Blessing
Stork and baby The third miracle is a little more personal. We were called at 1:34 on the morning of December 17th. It was our daughter-in-law telling us she was going to the hospital. Her baby was originally due on December 28th but later in the pregnancy the due date had been pushed all the way out to January 4th, so we weren't expecting that kind of a phone call as early as the 17th.

With four dogs, three peacocks, two hens, and 18 koi fish in our menagerie, my husband and I couldn't both leave on the 4-hour trip to the hospital without first providing for the care of the dogs, and figuring out who would feed the rest of the animals while we were away.

I made an executive decision within the first 5 minutes, packed a small bag with essentials, and within 15 minutes, was on my way to Las Vegas by myself so that at least one of us would be there in time to greet the new arrival.

When I got to the hospital in Las Vegas after only a 3 hour drive (shhh!... don't tell the authorities how fast I made it!), I had more than a half hour to spare before the birth of our sixth grandbaby. A healthy boy named Zachary James Diedrich, weighing 5 lbs and 2 oz, was born at 6:05 AM on December 17th.

Now that's a big miracle!

Good News About Two of My Books...
I'm very happy to report that the first book of the series For Pet's Sake, Do Something! is being sold to a Japanese publisher for printing in Japan.

The second book of the same series, For Pet's Sake, Do Something! Book 2, is currently being translated and will hopefully be available in Spanish by the end of 2011.

Announcing My Next Trip to Argentina
For those who want to plan ahead, I'll be visiting Argentina in October 2011. Although we're still finalizing exact dates and places, in-person consultation appointments will be available in Buenos Aires starting the week of October 10th, and a workshop (or two) will be presented the following weekend.

More information to come...

Do You Need A Consultation?
I continue to have clients, new and established, who call me from all over the world on a daily basis. In just the past few months alone, there have been calls from Canada, Japan, Brazil, Singapore, Croatia, South Africa, and Spain.

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, you'll find me at my computer for e-mail consultations, or answering the phone at (714) 772-2207. If you don't reach me directly when you first call or write, rest assured that I will return all phone calls and e-mail messages just as quickly as I can.

Although I'm very successful at fitting in as many people as I can within a two-week waiting period, there may be times when the wait may be just a little bit longer, unless you have an emergency situation. While emergencies do take priority, I'll always rearrange my schedule to accommodate everyone as quickly as I can, so please feel free to call or write to schedule an appointment.

Until next time...

Love and Light, 

Dr. Monica Diedrich