Wager was a bitch like no other. Right from birth she was different, special. She was born in the middle of the night, one the coldest day of the year, shortly after her sister, Ella. Tragically we lost Ella at 9 days of age due to an accident of an inexperienced Mother, which left Wager a singleton. Inka (Wager's Dam) never recovered from losing Ella and lost interest in motherhood. Lucky for Wager, we had another litter on the ground that was just a few days younger than she. The Dam of that litter, Oakley (Inka's littermate sister), happily took over the rearing of Wager and Inka went back home never batting an eye about her kid she was leaving behind. Many years later, we brought Inka and Wager back together again, and there was no love between these two hard heads. Always wondered if Wager knew....I believe she did.
Wager thought it was great fun to toddle into the whelping box of her inherited siblings and knock them all off the milk bar, sending them scattered and crying. She'd then settle in and have herself a nice lunch while the rest tried to figure out what just happened. And so was how Wager walked through the rest of her life - kinda like a wrecking ball. She faced every challenge (and there were plenty of them) head on, crashed through it and walked out the other side of the wreckage with a grin.
Wager's show career was spectacular, albeit brief. She finished her Championship quickly and at 17 months of age she was awarded Best of Opposite Sex at our National Specialty! She earned many Best of Breed wins and group placements throughout the remainder of 2009 and finished that year the #1 Rottweiler Bitch in Canada. Early 2010 brought the end of her show career, the dash of any hopes of breeding her and the death of a dream. It was discovered upon review of her OFA rads that she was mildly dysplastic. A few weeks after that news, she broke through the crusted snow and tore her cruciate in her show side knee. What followed was nothing short of a nightmare.
Within 24 hours of bringing her home from the clinic her knee was horribly swollen and I knew something was very wrong. It took me days to convince the front end staff at my vet clinic that what was happening with Wager was not "normal post op swelling". Several days after her surgery, she was lethargic, not eating, not even lifting her head up, the vet came to check on her. Upon walking in and seeing Wager her first words were "OH MY GOD". Long story short, Wager had contracted MRSA during the surgery. The infection was now raging out of control. I was genuinely concerned that she was not going to survive. It was a LONG road to come out the other side of this mess and the battle included a total of 6 surgeries on Wager's knee - the final one being to remove all crimps and line placed in her leg during the initial repair. It took us a YEAR to kill the MRSA virus in her body - steroids, heavy duty antibiotics that we could not let touch our skin as they would cause kidney failure in people, and pain meds. Lots and lots of pain meds. But eventually Wager was victorious.
At 4.5 years of age Wager developed pyometria and required emergency surgery. This was an incredibly frightening prospect for all as it was decided after the MRSA infection that no one wanted to open Wager up again...EVER....as doing so presented a real risk of her getting MRSA again. There were not a lot of options for us - we did the emergency spay or she would succumb to the pyo. She was spayed and healed up like a Champ!
About a year after that, her other knee gave out. She tore the meniscus and the cruciate in her "good" leg. The choice NOT to operate was easy. There was no way I was putting any of us through that again.
In June 2017 she was diagnosed with hemangiopericytoma in her left front leg. This is a type of soft tissue sarcoma. This time our options were operate to remove the tumor or she would likely have about 6 months. We opted to do the surgery. Once again, our warrior came out the other side of her battle, this time with cancer, like a hero and with a smile.
In August 2018, I took Wager to a Regional Specialty to let her play in the ring as a veteran. Being a show dog was what she had lived for as a youngster and she had been robbed of that enjoyment. She hobbled around the ring, but loved every second of it! It was a true joy to be in the ring with her again and to see her huge smile.
By October 2018 Wager's mobility had decreased greatly. The hemangiopericytoma tumor was back in her left front leg and she was limping and had swelling in her right front foot (possibly a spread). My girl literally did not have a good leg left to stand on. Despite being on gabapentin, meloxicam and cartrophen injections, she was in discomfort and getting irritable with the other dogs. Lying down and getting up were becoming quite a struggle for her. Her hips, knees and neck/shoulders were full of severe arthritis. It was time to let our warrior rest.
Our oldest daughter, Ashley (pictured above with Wager) wrote this tribute for Wager:
You beautiful sweet sweet girl.
You are the utter definition of resilience. Persistence. Living life to the fullest. Never giving up. Always being true to oneself.
So beautifully pure..
Yet so complicated.
In all honesty your a phenomenon.
On multiple levels.
You leveled the competition in the show ring with your looks.
You always over took obstacles and set backs like they didn’t even exist.
In ways life was really unfair to you.
You were robbed in ways.
But you lived like no one ever told you that.
You were a superhero. A superstar.
A survivor. A massive accomplishment. A beautiful creature. A life changing sweet spirit... Strong spirit.
You kicked life’s ass wiggles. You were an inspiration every day.
Not that you ever cared.. But at least now we know you're not in pain anymore baby. You can play in endless green fields with endless eggies and wait for Mum with the rest of the gang waiting for our beautiful family at the bridge 💋💋💕💕❤️❤️
See you there baby girl. Rest Easy Lovely.
CH. Ashemburg's Uppin' The Ante HIC
January 18, 2008 ~ November 6, 2018
Ashemburg Reg'd. Rottweilers