TruStory: Maxie

Maxie the dog—the fifth and only non-human member of our family, has undergone a seemingly endless series of grave medical problems. Trupanion has made it possible for Maxie to make it through these often frustrating and mysterious processes of diagnosis and treatment. Trupanion has been with us every step of the way and without them, we wouldn’t have our Maxie.

Maxie is unlike any other dog I know. She is looking at me right now, and even after all she has been through, she still keeps her eye on me, watching my every move just in case I need her.

When we found her she was five months old. She was at a shelter with kennel cough and what our vet described as “a depressed state.” She had been found by the side of the road, lying next to her sister who had been run over and killed.
We took her home, nursed her back to health and she immediately became the fifth member of our family. She became “mama Maxie” to our children, guarding and protecting them, a loyal companion to my husband and as for me, my partner.

Every morning, as soon as she heard the sound of my keys, she was glued to the door, patiently waiting for our day to begin. She and I went everywhere together. She sat at the passenger seat, watching people, behaving as if the most natural thing in the world is our togetherness.

In April 2011, she got sick. Her jaw locked, her eyes swelled; she stopped eating and drinking. She began hemorrhaging and after taking her to VCA in Lynwood, she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. For several weeks, we took care of her, keeping her on a stringent regimen of steroids, eye drops (her eyes had filled with blood, she had become blind), painkillers, etc. Even though she was terribly ill, she still followed the sound of my keys in the morning, wanting to come along.

She survived and slowly got better, even regaining her sight after two weeks. We thought we were out of the woods, but it turns out it was just the beginning. The massive doses of prednisone needed to keep her immune system from taking over made her prone to all sorts of secondary illnesses and accidents: a fungus that is usually fought off by a healthy body took over in her nose, nearly eating through to her brain and seriously damaging the cartilage and bone. She needed three or four procedures to get rid of it but has been left fragile and prone to bacterial infections.

Her weakened state caused her to tear her ACL in her left knee and start seriously limping, unable to run after the ball, which is her favorite thing in the world. She was operated on in January but never regained full mobility; the latest diagnostic being that she now has rheumatoid arthritis in both knees as well as a ruptured ACL in the right knee with severe atrophy in the back legs.

Her internist –she has had a team of doctors that has rivaled the attention devoted to royalty—has said to me:
“With Maxie, we have many questions and few answers.”

She has gone through a ridiculous amount of hardship and yet she remains entirely devoted to loving us and happy to be with us. She is a fighter, and on the days that are particularly difficult and painful, she will simply walk on her front legs, without using her back legs at all-even to squat.

Several months before this quasi-incessant ordeal of illness and injury began, I signed up Maxie with Trupanion. I did it mainly because, as a family member, I viewed as natural for her to be covered as it is for us. When the bills started coming in, they were astonishing. Trupanion stepped in immediately and took care of them. What they did, for me, aside from the obvious taking care of the financial aspect of Maxie’s hardships, is remove the possibility of having to consider the alternative to treating my companion. Thanks to Trupanion, we have not had to ask ourselves the unthinkable question. That – in itself – has been a tremendous help for which we are grateful beyond what words can express.

I know Maxie is fragile and I know I can’t expect her to live a long life, but the days we have with her are cherished, and we all feel lucky to be with her this far.

Every step of this hard road, Trupanion has been right by us, never letting us down, surprising us even in the way they address the bills as they come in, with concern and efficiency, exhibiting both heart and responsibility. If only Trupanion could cover the human members of our family!

Thank you, Trupanion.
Lisa Luengo

About Stacy @Trupanion

Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.

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