Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I came home early from work today.  I don't know if it is just everything catching up with me, or if it's the post-Thanksgiving blahs that are clogging my brain. But when the schedule fell apart, I asked if I could take the afternoon off work and come home.
So far the week is off to a quiet start.  That is if you don't consider zebras sauntering around Loudoun County where I live.  This happened when a couple of them got loose from an animal park.  A maintenance man left a gate open allowing the zebras to escape.  Their adventure lasted about three hours before they were recaptured and returned home safely.
Todd is being kept home from day-care this week because of his surgery last Wednesday.  
I've no doubt that he misses the fun and games with his friends at 'Belly Rubs.'     
But there really is no place like home! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ending on a Good Note

Thank-you all for your kind thoughts that you left for the loss of our boy Jake.  Your e-mails and comments have again reminded me that I'm not alone in my loss.  I used Saturday as my personal day of mourning Jake. I didn't really do anything other than eat all the wrong things, nap, surf the internet, read blogs and tend to the dogs.  I have to admit, that I didn't even get dressed.  Today however I was ready and needed to rejoin the human race.  The weather could not have been nicer today with temps warm enough to have the windows open to bring in some fresh air.

Todd is doing really well since his surgery this past Wednesday.  We have followed the post-op instructions and not allowed him to over do it.  He's been resting quite nicely in his crate and not complaining. What a good patient he has been!  
~Todd taking it easy and not overdoing it~
I did hear from the family that Jasmine picked as her 'forever family.' They have decided to wait for her to recover from her surgery which is scheduled for Friday.
I also heard from some friends of mine who are also a foster home for the rescue.  Marilyn, who you will recall was also interested in Jasmine has found her new companion in their 10 year foster girl named Abigail!
~Marilyn and Abigail~
The weekend is ending quietly and peacefully and on a good note.  I hope yours is too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good Bye to a Dog Named Jake

There are some who wouldn't love or want an old Golden Retriever named Jake with a large growth over his eye, a thin dry coat, long lanky bowed legs and funny looking feet that thumped each time he took a step. But I did.  There are some who wouldn't want a dog named Jake that couldn't always make it outside in time and would have accidents in the house.  But I did.  There are some who wouldn't want a dog named Jake around that kept to himself and didn't interact much with you or your dogs.  But I did.  There are some who wouldn't notice the little endearing things a dog named Jake did like rub his head on your leg for a hug or attention.  But I did.  There are some who while holding the paw of a dog named Jake in their hands, and petting him for the last time, not be able to see that Jake was just as handsome, just as dignified and just as perfect as the Golden Retriever in the portrait above him.  But I did.  There are some who wouldn't allow an old dog named Jake to break an already broken heart.  But I did.    

God speed Jake until we meet you again at the Rainbow Bridge...
Thank-you for being part of our lives for 24 days.  

~~Some of you asked what caused Jake to leave us so quickly.  There was really no final diagnosis.  One vet thought Jake may have had a small stroke and a kidney infection.  Another thought it may have been Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) because he had many of the symptoms that appeared so quickly.  Whatever it was, because of Jake's age and already compromised and weakened system it was all just too much for him to overcome. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jake in Intensive Care

Thank-you to everyone who have stopped by today to leave your good thoughts and support for Jake.  At the vet this morning, 'Dr. Taylor' made up for what he lacks in sincerity with excellent care and brutal honesty which I respect and very much appreciated.  It has taken a little bit of doing, but the board of the rescue agreed to give Jake a chance, and he's been taken to a critical care unit and is in intensive care.  He is on a heavy dose of antibiotics and fluids to try and get him to come around.  However his condition has been described as 'grave'  and there is not much hope from the vet's that this will change.  Despite the cost of his care and the small odds of his recovering, the board of the rescue agreed with me to provide supportive care to see if there is any improvement by this evening.  I am holding onto a little bit of hope and a spark I saw in Jake's eyes as I held his paw and kissed him good-bye.  

Today It's About Jake

Jake is not doing well.  He was sick throughout the day on Thursday and I thought that maybe it was the stress of being caged at the vet all day on Wednesday.  Perhaps it was.  Whatever caused it, he's unable to stand this morning. Both preferred vets are out of town and we'll have to be seen by the vet I like the least.  I need to remember that it's about getting Jake back on his feet and not my feelings about the vet who I have seen more than once give my senior dogs a roll of his eyes and shake of his head. The current appearance of Jake, I know will elicit this same response.  I can only hope for compassion and that I'm wrong.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and a Memory

One of the things I'm thankful for today is that Todd, although he's a little worse for wear and as you can see in the picture, he's not very happy, he did just fine with his surgery yesterday.  He ate part of an evening meal and slept all night.  
A question was asked on a radio station yesterday that if  you could only have one item for your Thanksgiving dinner, what would it be?  Of course the answers varied from the obvious of the turkey to someone saying their Grandmother's tripe stew (blech!!).  Mine would have to be my Mother's cornbread dressing.  There was no written recipe so it varied from year to year.  Sometimes there would be to much sage in it, other years it may have been to dry, another it would be perfect.  Even though its been a long time since I had it, I can still remember its taste and smell.  I'll be missing it and my family today....  
What's your single favorite dish for Thanksgiving?  Whatever it is, and wherever your Thanksgiving takes you, I hope your day is a safe and enjoyable one!  
~Fallen pine needles on our road yesterday~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crossing My Fingers and T's

The day before Thanksgiving started out cloudy, rainy and foggy.  But as the morning has progressed there has been some clearing and we are getting some welcomed sun and temps well above freezing.    

Todd is having surgery this morning to be 'altered.' You'll recall it had to be rescheduled when I gave him a teeny-tiny training treat last week.

Also spending the day at the vet with Todd is Jake, our newest addition.  He's having x-rays taken of his heart and lungs and a couple of other tests.  Results were returned on a thyroid panel that was done, and it came back 'normal.'  What explanation could there be for his baldness and very thin coat?  Could the reason be as simple as a poor diet?  I have no idea, but I do know that I'm going to have to find my dog coats for him, because he's going to be cold this winter.

Following Todd and Jake will be Bubba.  He's going in later today to have follow up blood work to check the level of seizure medication in his system.  So far, he's not had any seizures, so I'm hopeful that the vet got the dosage right on the first try.

~Jasmine and Toby~
Then, last but not least Jasmine's adoption has been put on hold because she's having surgery next week.  I really wanted to make sure to cross my T's and make sure she was healthy prior to her adoption.  So I called the vet to make sure a hard and lumpy quarter-size tumor on her belly wasn't an issue.  Apparently, it is an issue.  Jasmine's initial test results were coming in at the same time Bubba was having his cluster of seizures so somewhere it didn't register that aspirate confirmed that something should be done about it.  But it may explain why I was a little unsettled about the lump in the first place if  (when) the vet mentioned that it should be removed and biopsied.  At any rate, I dropped the ball and feel really terrible about it.  But her having this surgery will ensure that she's healthy at the start of her new life.  Which is the positive that I need to keep in mind.

I'm off work today and am going to spend it catching up on your blogs, which will also help to keep my mind off worrying about our crew.  I hope you'll keep your fingers crossed and positive thoughts in mind for Todd, Jake, Jasmine and Bubba.

Enjoy your Wednesday!
~Charlie and Barney the donkey~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jasmine Makes Her Choice

I took Jasmine to meet two families this weekend.  The first, was the lady in her 60's named Marilyn.  As expected, she was very kind, caring and compassionate.  She had a lovely home and a perfect setting for any dog.  Jasmine made herself right at home, and was relaxed and seemed to like Marilyn.  I left there thinking that Jasmine would be very lucky to have this as her forever home.

But later I received another call asking about Jasmine, and was a little bit surprised.  Typically there are not many calls for the senior dogs.  But it was a couple with an 8 year old daughter, and a 14 year old Golden named Sugar.  We decided to meet yesterday afternoon in Gettysburg, (a 3 day battle took place here during the civil war in July, 1863)  The meeting went really well.  Jasmine responded the family and was so attentive, going to them for attention and ear rubs.  She really seemed to connect with them.  We had a very nice visit, and when it was time to go, I told them I would let them know by the end of the week if Jasmine would be going to their home, or Marilyn's--I honestly didn't know.  As we walked to my van, Jasmine seemed a bit confused about why they were going in one direction and we were going in another.  I think she had made her choice of who she liked and wants as her  forever home. I called them this evening and they were so happy!  Jasmine will probably be leaving us by the end of the week.  It's bittersweet because I feel kind of sad for Marilyn who has no one, and I hope she will understand that it's what's best for Jasmine.

Finally, many thanks to all of you who entered the drawing for the book 'Pure Gold!'  I wish I could give each of you a book, but unfortunately I can't.  We held the drawing in our kitchen, letting Todd pick the name after we tipped the hat filled with the names.
I learned to not let a puppy grab a piece of paper because you may not get it back.  But after a brief chase around the kitchen, living room, and dining room, we got it back from Todd and he had picked, Noreen whose blog is titled 'Life Blessings' as the winner!  Congratulations Noreen, and thank-you all for your interest in the book and entering the drawing!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Unsung Hero

~Todd & Josh~
Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Although we felt 'grown up' when we got married, I was 20 years old, Carl was 23, we were just kids.  We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We just knew we couldn’t imagine the world without us together in it.  Like most young couples we schemed, dreamed and planned our way into a picture perfect future. But life doesn’t always work out exactly as you plan.  After graduating from college in Wisconsin, Carl went to Georgia for 'Officer Candidate School' while I stayed behind in Oshkosh. He was then off to Virginia to an advanced course, and the army then sent us to Alaska.  After a year of Carl being unemployed, he got his dream job and it brought us back to Virginia. Through all the changes and lost dreams new ones took their place. And a partnership emerged that wasn't based on a pre-scripted end state but instead a winding journey that twists, turns and entangled us, making us stronger than either of us would be on our own.  Carl has talked me off of ledges that no one has seen me on. He's stood up for me when I felt I couldn't defend myself.  He also calls me out when no one else will, and believes in me when no one else does.  Too often spouses are unsung heroes, so thank-you for letting me sing the praises of mine today--Happy 30th Anniversary Carl!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It All Worked Out!

I'm so glad that it's Friday!  The week started off routinely enough, but some where it seemed to change direction. Some of you saw and commented on the post I had on Wednesday about Todd but later deleted.  I planned about 3 weeks ago to take Todd in to be 'altered.' I knew that he wasn't supposed to have any food or water, but I gave him a small training treat before I remembered that I shouldn't.  Not thinking it would create a problem, I didn't worry about it.  Well, it created a problem and the vet wouldn't do the surgery and I had to reschedule it for next week.  As upset as I was, of course I would have been more upset if something would have happened to Todd during the procedure because of it.  
~Yet another picture of a Tennessee barn~
The next problem I had was what to do with a hungry puppy for the day.  Too far from home and patients scheduled, the day-care thankfully had room for Todd that afternoon.  So I took him to work with me for the morning and the shop where I buy dog-food gave me a small sample bag so I didn't have to purchase any.
~And another...~
This was just how the week went.  Whenever things didn't seem to go as I thought they should, something happened and they would work out another way.  Unfortunately I didn't realize that until I started writing this post...I guess I really need to work on being a bit more flexible...  
I'm really excited that Jasmine and I are going to meet someone tomorrow morning that is interested in adopting her. Marilyn is a widow in her early sixties and lost her last Golden several months ago.  She has adopted senior dogs from the rescue 3 times before.  And in talking with her, she seems to have a tremendous capacity to give, grieve and give again.  I'm looking forward to meeting her and I so hope that she and Jasmine have a connection.  Marilyn is meeting other senior dogs next week so we'll see how it goes.
Finally, don't forget, if you'd like to be entered in the drawing for the book, Pure GOLD, please post a comment on my previous post by Sunday.  Enjoy your weekend! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pure GOLD--A Book Review and Giveaway

For just today, I'm switching the channel on my blog.  Sugar's Mom, from Sugar the Golden Retriever was given a copy of a book titled 'Pure GOLD' by Holli Pfau and she thought I would enjoy reading it because it's about life with six rescued Golden Retrievers.  I really appreciated their thinking of me, because they were right, it is a book I enjoyed reading!  I was also asked to review the book on my blog, and the publisher will give a copy to someone else who would like to read it.  So today, that's what I'm doing--My very first review and giveaway!

I will start by saying that I love to read.  But unfortunately these days, I don't have much time for it.  But when I do, a book like Pure GOLD is the kind of book I'll slow down to read because it inspires me!  The book is thoughtfully written about six rescued Goldens and how the direction of Holli's life was changed and enriched because of them.  However, it was not only her life that was changed, but others as well through a hospital program of animal-assisted therapy.

Pure GOLD begins by telling about Nikki who came to Holli from a very sad 'backyard breeding' situation. Because of Nikki, Holli becomes inspired to pursue a new career path.  Along the way, Holli finds that Nikki has a debth of spirit and wisdom that became her inspiration and the true cornerstone of what was to come.  
~Daisy, Chatter and Holli~
As you read the book, one by one, Holli tells of her journey from beginning to end as these Goldens find their way to she and her husband Walter.  Each one that she opened her home to, had something unique that the other didn't.  There was Bodie, who loved adventure and provided his own brand of care and comfort to those in wheelchairs.  Tucker came next, and after hip surgery was able to enjoy the life he born for.  Another Golden that found their way to Holli and her husband was named Sophie whose spirit healed as she overcame phobias and fears of a her first year living in a kennel.  Life as we know, can take unexpected turns and a visit to the local shelter brought Daisy bursting into Holli's life.  Her enthusiasm for life introduced Holli to rally obedience and agility.  Finally there was Chatter.  A true diamond in the rough that was suffering from 'emotional neglect,' Holli and her husband Walter understood her needs, not only emotionally, but physically and patiently helped her to become the gem she was meant to be!  

I will end my review by saying how much I enjoyed reading Pure GOLD! Even after 10 years of being involved in Golden Retriever Rescue, I am always touched and inspired by those who open their hearts to a 'second hand dog' (or any animal in need) by not only giving them a good home, but because they look into their eyes and see the potential that is there and the love looking back at them.

I recommend this book not only for those who love Goldens, but for those who love animals or an inspirational story with a happy ending!  Don't forget, if you'd like the chance to be in the drawing for this book, please leave a comment by the end of this weekend and let me know!  

To read more about Pure GOLD, you can visit the website here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Return Home

~The back seat drivers~
We arrived home from Tennessee on Sunday evening.  A good trip that was met with happy 'left-behinders' when we walked in the door!  As we brought everything inside, I'd taken everything out of the cooler and left it sitting on the floor.

In the corner of my eye I saw Bubba eating the ice (which he loves). I didn't think anything of it, and just let him help himself.  After I fed the dogs their dinner,  I noticed Bubba's teeth were chattering and he was shivering.  He was laying under a window fan, so I turned it off and covered him up.  Bubba's gums were pale and his feet were also cold and we had a hard time getting him to stand.  We put an insulated dog coat on him and got him off the floor and onto a dog bed.  I added more warmed towels and blankets under and on top of him.  Eventually Bubba stopped shivering, and he felt much warmer.  He seemed so tired and fell asleep, however, his gum color didn't improve.  I checked on him through the night, making sure I could wake him, and each time I did that, he seemed a bit more alert and responsive. (Probably wondering why I was waking him up!) But I've no idea why this happened.  I wonder if it could have been the combination of eating the ice, not having eaten, then being given a full meal and all of his medications all at once.  Could it have been a hypoglycemic reaction?  Have any of you had this happen with one of your dogs before?  Yesterday and this morning Bubba seems fine...Me, of course I'm still worried because, well, that's just what I do.
Other than that, while just a little bit behind because of being out of town, our week is off to a good start!  I hope all of you are doing well. I'm sorry I've not been able to visit many of your blogs, but I'm working on it, and looking forward to reading what you're up too!  Enjoy your Tuesday!
~Another Tennessee Barn~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The View from the Drivers Seat

Despite being past the peak season for the fall colors, Tennessee could not be more beautiful.  There is so much to look at and take pictures of--I'm getting better at taking them while I drive.  I just couldn't resist taking the one below of a farmer and his 2 dogs in an old Chevy pick-up.
I've no idea how many pictures of barns I've taken.  They are one of my favorite thing to take photos of.
      Scenery like this is as well.  

Of course it goes without saying that I really enjoy photographing the dogs while they are exploring and having fun.  Its been a little hard on this trip because they are constant motion.  But they do stop and recharge their batteries.
Todd has not missed a thing. 
  In true terrier form, he has loved and barked at all the sites and smells!
But I don't think Charlie knows if he's missing anything or not...
It's been a nice and relaxing trip to Tennessee. Tomorrow we head back to Virginia.  But today our goal is Ashevile North Carolina and maybe the Biltmore Estate.  We'll see where we end up.  Wherever we go, I will certainly be taking pictures of it.  Wherever your weekend takes you, I hope it's an enjoyable one!   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Update on Jake and a Road Trip

Today we're off to eastern Tennessee near Gatlinburg, to spend a few days at Autumn Dancer Llama Farm with a few of our pups. You'll recall that the trip had to be rescheduled when Todd swallowed a cap from a plastic water jug in September.  There are no water jugs in the house this time, and I'm hopeful that we'll make it out of town.  I'm hoping to be able to keep up with your news while we're away, but if not, I'll look forward to catching up when we return on Sunday.

I did take Jake to the vet last evening.  We did all the senior blood-work, including a thyroid test which may help to explain his thin coat and bald patches.  Preliminary test results will be in on Friday, the thyroid test in a couple of weeks.  He has severe arthritis in all his limbs, it's worse in his front legs.  We discussed his feet and he received a really good nail trim.  The vet feels that the problem with his feet could be congenital  because all 4 feet and all his toes are wide and spread apart.  The tendons are really stretched, and all of this together makes it difficult for him to walk because his reflexes are delayed, especially in the back, but they are better in the front.  I have decided that watching him walk reminds me of someone with scuba flippers on.  Jake also has a 'Grade 3' heart murmur and his lungs have a raspy sound.  As expected, and as you can see, there is a lot going on.  But my vet and I have made a pact to keep Jake going as long as we can.  Not just for him, but because we've lost 4 dogs in the past 6 months, and I don't want to make it 5.  So please, keep those good thoughts coming for Jake!!

THANK YOU for stopping by, I hope you enjoy your day!!    

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jake and Todd -- Good Boys!

Thank-you all for your good thoughts for Jake!  He's really a sweet old boy and continues to settle in nicely.  He spends most of his time in our bedroom.  Getting him out without their being an accident remains the challenge because he's still leery of our kitchen.  But I have decided that the distance from our bedroom to the living room, is the same as it was for him to go from the place in his old house where he used to stay, to the outside because his accidents seem to happen in the same place each time.  Old habits I suppose. My 'usual' vet has finally returned from maternity leave and he'll be seeing her on Wednesday, so we'll see where we stand medically with him.

Tomorrow, as you know is the 9th of November--Todd will be 7 months old.  He is growing up much too quickly and it shows.  He's learned so much...

He comes when he's called.
He's learned to stay out of things.
 And he knows to leave the cat alone.
Even though he's a terrier, he doesn't dig holes in the yard...
He really does seem to listen and understand me...
Todd is such a good boy!!
Enjoy your Tuesday!!