Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Labs: Breaking a Rule

I have to admit, that I'm a tiny bit superstitious.  I'd had a random thought that when I posted previously about "the Labs" I may be putting something out into the cosmos that would cause things to change.  And that's what happened.

On Monday morning, Bo wasn't feeling well and he refused his breakfast. I've been giving him Yunnan Baiyao. (a Chinese herb used during the Vietnam war to stop bleeding by activating platelets, and helping to stop any internal hemorrhaging.)  There is what's called a "rescue or emergency pill," so I gave him that, and by early afternoon he was feeling better. But Bo was still not himself. Knowing "mobile vet" was coming today, we've kept a close eye on him, and he seemed to be feeling a bit better.  Bo has been up and eating the last few days, but I can tell that he's not feeling well. Mobile Vet came this morning, and did a good exam and blood work that will be returned by tomorrow.  I've a feeling that the news will not be the best for Bo, but I'm trying to remain optimistic.
Mobile Vet also took a look at Peanut Butter/Georgie for me. I have something to confess in doing this. Because last week I called the rescue and asked if I could take him to the vet to have the tumors looked at, and I was not given permission to have him seen.  I explained that my goal is to keep Georgie comfortable, because I know there is no cure for the cancer that he has.  I continued by telling the coordinator that I fully realized that it's a fine line to walk in his being considered hospice care and treating the cancerous tumors. But she still would not allow me to have him seen. I was told by the coordinator that if Georgie is uncomfortable, that perhaps it's time to consider letting him go.  I told her that I felt strongly that it's not yet time.  But I was still not given permission for him to be seen by a vet.  **I will just add here that I really try very hard to follow the guidelines and rules of the rescues we volunteer with.  But I really felt that Georgie needed to be seen by a vet. So, this is why I broke a rule and had him seen by a vet anyway.
I so appreciated the time Mobile Vet took to explain to me all about Georgie's cancer. I really needed to talk to someone about my thoughts and concerns. Mobile Vet told me what to expect as the cancer progresses and what our care of him should be as well as what we've done right, and what we've done wrong. By the end of our visit, Mobile Vet had provided a good palliative plan going forward. This plan is completely and totally in line with the hospice care the rescue has asked me to provide for him, so I feel good about it. However, it also reminded me that our days with Georgie are limited.  But I have to hope that there are still many more good days ahead with him, and Bo too.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Labs

Facebook reminded me that we have reached a 1 year anniversary with our boy Bo.  He's been doing pretty well these days and is up and around.  You'll recall that he finished his beginner nose-class at the start of summer.  I was going to enroll him in the advanced class, but I missed the deadline that came at the same time Josh left us.  Maybe I'll put him in the next one. But his sense of smell is totally engaged. Bo almost always comes to the table during mealtime and looks for a sample of whatever we're eating. I don't usually like dogs begging at the table, but for Bo, I make an exception. Overall, Bo seems to be feeling pretty well, (knock on wood!).  On Thursday "mobile vet" is coming, and we're going to repeat the blood work he had done a couple of months ago when he wasn't feeling well to see if there's any change.  I'm hoping there will be.

The other Lab in our household that doesn't get mentioned much, is our chocolate lab, Peanut-butter, or Georgie as I call him.  He's been here since July, and to be honest, he was a hard dog to find a connection with. This has been for several reasons from his constant pacing inside and never settling down; probably because he's probably never lived inside before - And he wasn't housetrained, and he had a lot of "digestive upset" so that made it even worse. Georgie was so focused on food and ate everything and anything. I was really discouraged.
Then one day, I asked the manager at the shop where I buy dog food his thoughts and he suggested raw goat's milk.  Almost immediately, everything changed when I started adding goat's milk to his breakfast. His stomach settled down, and so did he.  It has been easy to see that he is finally feeling better and seems content and happy. His eyes that never met mine, are looking at me and listening as I talk to him. We are finally connecting and for that that I've been grateful. 
His feeling better on the inside, has allowed me to focus more on Georgie's health on the outside. The mast cell tumors have gotten worse, especially on his back. He wears a shirt to keep them covered and clean. On Thursday, Georgie meets "mobile vet" who will give me his thoughts for any treatment that will not cure the cancer, but make him comfortable.
~Georgie in early September~
We all know that being comfortable is what it's all about. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

On Our Ear!

We are officially a house hold that has been turned onto its ear!  All week long, I've gotten up about a half hour early to walk and try to wear out Simba before going to work and played with him when I've gotten home.  Its all gone pretty well as we get to know Simba as he settles into his new routine.  He likes the other dogs, and while some of the tempers are a little short with the kid, Simba takes the hint to leave them alone. 
~Simba taking a hint from Charlie!~
My friend that I'd hoped would take Simba has decided not to.  We've been friends for more than 10 years, and I respect and understand that she would like a dog that's a bit more grown up, instead of a boy like Simba who has just barely turned a year old.
Last evening I did take him to meet "Couple #2".  They live on a farm with more than 20 acres and the husband telecommutes from home.  Whenever he does need to leave home for work, it's all outside and it takes him to places like the Appalachian Trail and he would like Simba to go with him. I know Simba would enjoy doing that. The only problem with Couple #2 is that they have free-range chickens.  Simba would have to learn to co-exist with them.  This could be a problem for the dog that has been chasing our cat.  So, Couple #2 is going out of town this coming week and when they return, we'll figure out a time to get together to see how Simba and the chickens get along.

The other newcomer to our household,  Rhett, is doing pretty well.
Unfortunately he did have a seizure on Sunday evening.  I have to admit, that I feel I may be partly to blame for it. I knew that rosemary extract found in dog (and cat) foods, can cause seizures. And I kept forgetting to check the ingredient list of the food I was giving him.  Sure enough, there is rosemary extract.  It's also in the treats that he's been getting.  On both lists, it is the next to the last ingredient, so there may not be much in the food or the treats.  However, I'm not taking any chances, and I've found another good quality food and treats without it.

It goes without saying that Todd and the other dogs don't care about rosemary in their food. But they all like Rhett and so I've no doubt that they are all more than willing to take any of those treats that he can't have.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Simba Arrives at Golden Pines

YES, you are reading that right.  We have added a second new addition.  Simba, a smart, bouncy, energetic one year old silly boy arrived on Friday.  A "friend of a friend" knew someone who needed to rehome her Golden Retriever.  Life had changed and become "complicated" and Simba's owner felt it was better if he found a new home.  Fast forward through a few messages via my friend and Simba's owner and I were finally speaking to one another.  After chatting with "nice lady" I offered to take him. I was given Simba with the promise to "nice lady" that I will make sure he has a good and permanent home.
 As you can guess, he's constant motion and hard to get a good picture of. But he's a really good-boy and it's hard not to like him, or laugh at his antics.  So far, Simba has gotten along with all the dogs. But because he's so excitable and life is a party, we have really limited his one on one interactions with Todd.
Today a friend of mine is calling to talk to me about Simba.  She lost her Golden Retriever the same day that I lost Josh.  She and her husband are hoping for a new addition to their home but are looking for a pup that's a little older.
My friend is someone I've known for more than 10 years.  She and her husband are both very dog savvy and kind and devoted dog-owners. They are both retired and would have the time for Simba and be a good home for him. So, we'll see what happens with this endearing counter-surfing, cat chasing new kid that has arrived at Golden Pines.

Finally, thank-you all for your welcome to Rhett, who I think looks more like a "Chief"...  But I was able to get him into my vet on Friday morning, and he's now back on his seizure medications.  He is doing really well, and I'll admit that I am totally smitten by this boy who is showing what a kind, gentle and old soul he is.