For the Love of Hanna
The Life of Hanna Banana (the "squirt")
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Hanna was affectionately known by many names.  Two that she frequently responded to were "Hanna Banana" and "squirt."  She seemed to love both and always responded by coming to the caller and or standing in front of the caller looking up and wagging her tail.  And some times...she would stretch across the floor on her belly (making a fuss would have her stretching in circles around ones legs).  She always made life fun and adventurous.

Hanna preparing to show

Hanna and her first
Group First

A friend, Rori, & Hanna
at training class

Hanna attended numerous obedience classes and learned rather quickly, she loved to perform!  Tricks were an exceptional pleasure as she loved the attention.  Hanna also was shone in conformation and did quite well, garnering a few group firsts, at Sanctioned Match Shows.  Her performance in the ring always drew applause as she would take a stance and perk her head, sending out her signals for everyone to say… “aaahhhhhhhh.”  But alas, after two years her owner became too stressed with grooming and competition and both Hanna and her owner retired from showing (much to Hanna’s chagrin). 

Hanna and her first
TV experience

Hanna and bubble machine

More presents!!

Hanna exploring
or maybe hiding

Hanna wants to know...
what's in there?

She always loved her presents

Hanna & Kidney Disease

Hanna was diagnosed with kidney disease at approximately 5 months of age, suspect of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.  She had several UTI’s early on and after visiting several specialists including a holistic vet and a veterinary acupuncturist, it was determined through extensive lab work and ultrasound that her kidneys were damaged.  Hanna, even as “little Hanna,” became a real trooper with taking pills, and learned to open her mouth when requested for a pill.  She was prescribed a home made diet and grew and matured very well.  She eventually was switched to a high quality dog food food, with careful monitoring of her dietary intake.  Hanna remained healthy and active throughout her life.  Her kidney levels were checked every few months and she remained very stable with her disease.  To see her, one would never know she had an illness.


We followed her disease not only through lab tests but also with ultrasounds, and one kidney biopsy, all revealing the same-kidney disease.  But Hanna never knew she had any problems, and continued to enjoy life in her own upbeat manner. 


I was told when she was a pup, that her life expectancy may be cut a bit short due to her kidney issues, and that she might succumb/fail at the approximate age of eight.  Well Hanna turned eight, and her disease was still stable.  Shortly after her eighth birthday, her kidney levels did begin to change, so she was started on enalapril.  We purchased a Doppler blood pressure machine to monitor her pressure, which also remained stable. 


Hanna did all the things she loved-playing with her Cuz toys, chasing squirrels, performing tricks, snuggling under the blanket, and eating like there was no tomorrow.  Her personality was always perky and curious, and she never was down. 


In March of 2006 her levels changed once again, and rose a bit more.  While she showed no outward signs of illness, we started to become concerned-but not Hanna!  She continued on!  Over the next few months we had her labs checked regularly, and while there were minor fluctuations, overall she remained stable, and most importantly she remained happy.


On her 12th birthday, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis and subsequent kidney failure.  She spent two nights and three days at an Emergency Hospital, and was eventually sent home with a poor prognosis.  However, true to Hanna, she bounced back after a few weeks, and continued her happy fun-loving ways.  Her levels once again remained stable and were checked monthly. We had added other treatments including Azodyl, Epakatin, daily sub q treatments, Aluminum Hydroxide, pepcid, and of course, vitamins.  She was also placed on a prescription diet, as she developed the pancreatitis when I tried to switch her to a veterinary prescribed homemade diet.  She loved the prescription diet especially the “canned portion.”  She always was a good eater, and now she was given a special treat of canned food. We provided her not only with several small meals a day to speed her recovery, but we made sure she had plenty of mental stimulation as well.  (I am a firm believer in providing the brain with varied input, especially when one (human or furry) is experiencing illness.)  So, we took short walks in the morning, to different places, and we always went for a car ride each day.  We’d drive through town or mall parking lots just to provide her with different sights. As she continued to heal, walks increased, and rides and visits to new places continued.  She loved, as did her other companion friends, to go-and go we did!


In April of 2007, I began to notice some changes; she began to refuse the one prescription canned food, but continued to eat everything else.  Each time the canned food was offered, she turned away abruptly.  When this first started, I immediately took her for lab levels; they were still stable as before.  I was advised to continue to keep her on her diet.  I trusted the diet because it helped her before.  So I forced the issue somewhat.  I began mixing it with a homemade diet.  She began to tremble when her food was placed and show a strong aversion to that one food.  Now I know that some times kidney disease affects appetites, but why was she only refusing that one food?  Two weeks passed, and I returned to her vet with my same concerns.  Upon exam he felt she was stable, and did not feel a need to run labs so soon again, since almost three weeks earlier she was stable as before.  While totally out of context for her, I thought she was suddenly becoming finicky.  The following day, she refused all food except home made. By the following morning, I was determined to have another lab test completed, due to my concern of her not getting sufficient nutrition.  The words resonated in my ears-kidney failure!  There was a sudden spike in all levels after she began refusing the batch of canned prescription diet.  Historically her levels fluctuated slowly and it was always a gradual increase-so why all of a sudden did she spike out of control?  I feared this time she would not recover, and she didn’t.  With a broken heart, on May 9, 2007, my precious upbeat happy Hanna, was laid to rest.

            I now sit in disbelief at the sudden changes that occurred instead of her historically slow peaks and valleys.  Why did her course of disease suddenly change?  I have my suspicions, and it tears my heart to think, my thoughts are a distinct possibility.

       What do you think?


Puppy Hanna when diagnosed
note front paw bandages

Trevar & Hanna enjoying the day w/us at the Pet
Expo-three days before she had to leave us

Hanna 12 years later + -her front paws shaved once
again for treatment

More coming soon!

Reindeer Dogs
Darby, Trevar, & Hanna

Hanna & The Claus
(possible publication upcoming, will post after publication)

Cross fingers for publication, will post after publication.

Hanna's 1st Christmas

Hanna's 12th Birthday
Celebrated 19 days after her birthday

Reflections of Happy Birthdays


As I reflect on years gone by on this date, I have to smile.  November first is Hanna’s birthday.  It is was always a joy to see her reactions as her birthday was announced first thing in the morning, and she was told there would be presents.  Her immediately reaction was eye contact and a happy tail wag. 


She would frequent the “present room” in search of presents throughout the day, but alas they were always well hidden.  Some times I would feel eyes upon me only to look down and find Hanna staring at me as if to say, “Hey where are my presents?”  When told she would have to wait, she would often spin into a three sixty, and eventually retreat to my side, only to go through the same routine periodically throughout the day.  Of course I encouraged this as well, by asking her “Whose birthday is today?” and excitedly repeating “Oh boy presents!” Hanna loved presents and was always a willing participant in opening her own gifts or others.


I’ve always been amazed at the level of comprehension of this dog throughout her life.  My words to her always seemed to have some meaning. She would actually follow conversations often by turning to the individual speaker and tilting her head.  Hanna was always “in” on everything.  She participated in life to the fullest, beyond the comprehension and much to the amazement of humans.  Hanna was “game” for anything and left everyone know she was always “ready.”


As I look back to November 1, 2006, my heart becomes heavy, as we awoke that morning with anticipation of her birthday celebration that evening.  However, as evening approached Hanna began throwing up.  She was rushed to our vet and diagnosed with pancreatitis, and her kidney levels were rising.  It was a double heart break day as she spent her birthday in the hospital and the fear of losing her became a reality.  A few days later she was rushed to an emergency hospital with kidney failure, and any hopes of birthday celebrations were crushed.  Fear became a reality as her levels were unchanged and she was sent home with a poor prognosis.


But Hanna, resilient Hanna, proved the doctors all wrong!  She began to recover and her kidney levels came down.  She never lost her spirit throughout the illness.  We celebrated her 12th birthday, nineteen days after her actual birthday.  Of course presents, pictures, and candles and cake (which she did not receive) were welcomed by her with great excitement.  Ironically as I set-up her birthday photos in my photo program, I noticed on the one picture where Hanna sat ever so proudly behind her lit candles and cake, that there was an obvious tear coming from the outside of her right eye.  I cried at that discovery.  While I cognitively assume dogs are not capable of crying like humans, that sight made me wonder.  Hanna was very smart and intuitive-did she know her time may be limited?  That thought and reflection still brings me to tears. 


So we celebrated Hanna’s 12th birthday nineteen days later, and she enjoyed each gift, and all of the attention.  She filled our hearts with her spirit and love for life. 

Today November 1, 2007, was to be Hanna’s 13th birthday.  There was no gleeful response when I awoke to announce it was a “birthday.”  No “present room” was checked, and the birthday chair remains empty today.  Instead of happily celebrating a special day, tears overwhelm.  I miss my girl, and her zest for celebrations.  Hanna’s day will now have to be remembered in our hearts, forever and until we meet again.


Happy Birthday Squirt!  We miss you every day and in every way!



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We are blessed by those we allow to touch our lives-D. Smith-Mansell

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