This is a very, very difficult story for me to write. It’s about Bishop, a wonderful, sweet pit bull that Chain of Hope became involved with last fall. Bishop’s owner, Troy, called back in Oct. of 2011 and asked for help with his pit bull. He had gotten the dog from some guy who wasn’t taking care of him. Troy told me that he bought him for $20 just to get him away from the guy.
Bishop was very skinny and Troy could not get any weight on him. He didn’t know what was wrong. He had bought him all different kinds of food, both dry and canned and Bishop just didn’t have much of an appetite. He also limped pretty bad on his back right leg. Troy was not aware of anything that had happened to Bishop, but he was definitely limping. We made arrangements for me to come over and meet Bishop and see what was up.
Troy lived with his girlfriend in a pretty much empty apartment. They really had no furniture downstairs at all and they had a bed and a tv upstairs. They were hurting for money. Troy had a job, but the girlfriend didn’t. They were a nice young couple trying to make it with Bishop .When I met Bishop, I fell in love! Bishop had the absolutely most adorable face that I’ve ever seen. One ear went up and the other one flopped over. I loved him from the minute I met him.
He was excited to see me every time I took him to the vet. The first time I took him in, he had a 104 degree fever and was limping pretty bad. We decided to put him on antibiotics and pain meds. He had to have an infection somewhere and it was probably in that back leg. We put him on 3 days of Panacur for a good de-worming. Chain of Hope would touch base with Troy and Bishop seemed to be feeling a little better. He started eating a little better. Things were going along good until he finished up his medicine and it started all over again. Troy called and said that poor Bishop wasn’t eating again and was pretty lethargic. I went over to get him to take him back to the vet, and when I stepped inside to get him, he went nuts to see me and was jumping up on me, etc. Troy said, “you’re the only one he does that with-otherwise, he’s just laying around”. They told me that Bishop could not jump up on the bed anymore. He was still very skinny. I took him back into the vet. He was running a 105 fever! There was something really wrong with this boy, but we couldn’t figure it out. To make a long story short, Dr. Kennedy who was treating Bishop, took Bishop’s records, his X-rays, test results, etc. to a specialist at VSEC. He recommended a bone culture of that back leg. Bishop was limping again badly. We had treated Bishop for a possible fungal infection of the bone. That treatment did not help. We could not figure out what was going on. After all of these visits back and forth from the vet, I totally fell in love with Bishop. I adored this dog. After months of trying different things and running tests and conferring with other doctors, we still did not know what was wrong with Bishop.
Troy and his girlfriend were very sad and frustrated to keep watching Bishop go down hill. They finally told us that this was all over their heads and asked us if we could take Bishop. I immediately said yes! I was not going to let this boy fall through the cracks-no way! We were trying so hard to get him healthy. Every time we backed him off of his medicine, he would spike a fever and start limping and stop eating. It really hurt my spirit to watch this boy struggle. The whole time, though, he was a trooper. I knew he didn’t always feel very well, but he’d still be so happy when I’d get there to pick him up for another trip to the vet. He loved his pig ears I took him and sometimes he’d get excited about some new canned food, but it didn’t last long. He might eat good for a couple of days and then pretty much stop eating.
We had moved out of the house on Tracy street and we were in between facilities. Bishop boarded where Dr. Kennedy was working at the time. He did fine there. He was on his meds and he had lots of walks. When I’d come in the back door at the clinic and he’d hear my voice, Bishop would cry and cry until I got back there to see him. He was gaining a little bit of weight and was kind of maintaining while on medication.
After a month or so, we transferred all of our boarding dogs to a facility in south KC where they could get outside more and run around. Bishop did ok there. He was still pretty thin-he just couldn’t gain weight for whatever reason. Unfortunately, one day when he was being walked by a volunteer, Bishop was attacked by a dog that had jumped the fence and came at him. When the dogs were gotten apart, Bishop sure had the worst of it. His ear was bitten clean through in the middle of it. It bled pretty bad. This poor boy had just had so much happen to him. I went out and got him and took him into the vet. Unfortunately, he lost 1/2 of his ear. Dr. Kennedy had to go ahead and take it off at the middle. Poor Bishop. That boy would still get excited to see me and wag that tail and want to go out for a walk. What a wonderful spirit Bishop had.
Marilyn and I would put Bishop on a tie-out while we cleaned and stocked the van to go out for outreach. He loved laying out there in the parking lot in the sun, watching us and getting loved on all the time.
After his surgery, Bishop stayed at Kennedy’s Animal Clinic,where Dr. Kennedy had opened her own clinic. When he was knocked out for his ear surgery, Dr. Kennedy x-rayed his lungs again. I don’t quite understand it all, but the specialist was concerned that Bishop could have one of 2 issues. One of them involved getting tumors in the lungs, etc. We had x-rayed Bishop’s lungs a long time ago to try to rule that out and his lungs were clear in late 2011. This time, there were several nodules in his lungs. She told me that his x-rays didn’t look good at all and that this had basically turned into a hospice situation. I couldn’t believe it after all these months and all of the effort that everyone put into trying to save this boy. He was my little buddy. We got to be great friends because of all the times that I would pick him up, go to the vet, bring him back home. He’d just ride in the backseat with that silly look with one ear up and one ear down. I loved that boy! Now, he was dying. I could see it though. He went down hill very quickly. His face was swollen from the ear trauma. He would drool out the side of his mouth, and then the drool became pink-tinged with blood. On the last day. he was blowing bloody bubbles out of his nose and was really struggling. We had him laying out in the parking lot on his doggie bed, just laying in the sun like he loved to do. We loved on him, talked to him and massaged him. He went peacefully surrounded by a lot of love. I will miss that boy. Bishop was very special to me. I always wanted to bring him comfort and help him feel better. I know Dr. Kennedy did, too. I could see that something wasn’t right with him physically and I wanted to make up for the pain and discomfort that I knew he had. He felt so good when he was on his pain meds. He could just be a dog and go for long walks and run! That is how I will try to remember him.
I have held a lot of dogs to comfort them while they are euthanized. It is never easy-ever. This one hit me hard. I loved this boy. I whispered to him as I loved on him while he was euthanized that we would march on in his memory and continue to help the neglected and abused animals in the inner city. Bishop didn’t deserve the deck that was handed to him, but he was an amazing, resilient boy. I am so sad and have cried many, many tears. I am still so glad that I was able to meet Bishop and bring him the joy and comfort that he did have. Thank you, Dr. Kennedy, for everything y0u did to help Bishop. I know we gave him some happy, pain-free days in the sun and for that I will be forever grateful.
Follow-up: Dr. Kennedy performed a necropsy on Bishop after he died. He had several nodules in his lungs that Dr. Kennedy sent off to pathology. He also had a mass on his sternum that didn’t look good and was sent off and he had a lot of fluid around his heart.