Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's About Sam

It has been a difficult week with Sam.  The high hopes that I had for the prednisone to make a difference for him has been dashed because it made him very, very sick. We took Sam off of all the medications to give his stomach a break, and have restarted everything again this morning.  The tumor continues to grow and is affecting his eye even more this morning than yesterday.  The picture below was taken on Monday and seeing it today, reminds me of that.  I know that Sam's time with us is nearing its end.  But we all know that sometimes when we think that, it may not be.
With the exception of what I thought was a bit heartless and a callus comment left this morning on my previous post, I have really appreciated all of your very kind, caring thoughts and support you have left for Sam and I. It helps more than you know and makes this burden a little easier to bear knowing that this journey is not being taken alone.  For those of you who think I am a 'strong person' to get through all of this and other losses, thank-you for thinking that, but you don't see me behind the scenes--The truth is, right now I am a 'blubbering mess!'  I don't know how I get through it all, I just know that I will because it's not about me, this time it's about Sam.    Enjoy your Thursday!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Sun and Sam

Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off for summer, and that's exactly what it is here in Virginia.  Hot temperatures and lots of sun have been plentiful all weekend.  The dogs have opted to stay inside where it's cool, only going out when coaxed and when they have too.  The only one with any real interest in being outside is Todd, especially if the water-hose is turned on.  On hot days like we've been having, I remember as a kid, playing in the sprinklers.  Where there was water, there were kids playing. At our house, it's Todd and it's just what Todd loves to do.

Sam's vet visit on Saturday was not the best.  I've done a lot of reading about the oral cancer that Sam has. As I have found out, it's very fast growing.  I think that I have mentioned that the treatment for it would be a radical and very invasive surgery to remove a large portion of the side of his face, and chemotherapy and radiation.  In the end, it would (probably) only prolong his life for a few months past what he would have without it.  I cannot and will not put him through it.  So, with not many options my vet and I decided to put Sam on prednisone to try and get rid of the inflamation and hopefully shrink the size of the tumor to give him some comfort.  The side effects of the medication are outweighed by the relief that he'll hopefully get from it, but it will only be temporary.  My vet said that on the steroid he probably has about 2 months that should hopefully provide him with a good quality of life.  Without being on the medication, he probably would have those same 2 months, but would be miserable.  I'm hoping for a miracle and more time.  It's all I can do.

Today Sam seems to be feeling a little better, which made me feel better too.  Its been a good day for both of us.  I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Karma

Hot, sunny and searing temperatures end the week.  I was in a hurry to get home this afternoon after work, but had to run a few errands. While I was waiting at a red-light, an elderly gentleman was crossing the road and as he hurried across, he tripped and fell right in front of me--I watched him try twice to get back to his feet, but both times he fell again. I got out of my van to help him, and a man in the car next to me did too.  As we were helping him to his feet, the red light changed.  I couldn't believe it when the person in the car behind me impatiently started honking his horn--He also rolled down his window and started yelling and swearing at us to hurry up. The man that had fallen said he was okay (although terribly embarrassed) and he thanked us.  I took my time getting back in my car, but not before I smiled and blew a kiss to the man who was still upset that we were delaying him.  My gesture of course made him a little madder but I thought to myself how sad that he put himself above someone who needed help.

I rushed in and out of the grocery store and as I was putting my groceries into my van, I looked down and there was a little Yorkshire Terrier looking at me.  I was a bit surprised and looked around to see if I could see where he'd come from.  I realized he was a little renegade so I tried to catch him but he ran off, through the parking lot.  About that time I heard a woman's frantic voice calling a name.  I went to her and found out that the dog belonged to her.  Pointing in the direction where the dog had gone, I got into my van and tried to keep track of the dog.  I caught only glimpses of him through the cars and traffic.  Because he was so small, I lost sight of him and his owner as well.  Another quick circle around the parking lot, and I saw the owner holding her dog!  I was so thankful she'd managed to catch him!  The dog was so hot (as was she) and I gave them each a couple of bottles of water and a portable dog bowl I had. She thanked me and offered to pay me for the water and bowl.  Of course I refused and started home, glad that owner and dog were reunited!  

With the holiday weekend, traffic was unbearable--But I think because I'd helped 2 strangers, 'good-karma' was there and I found a way around it and got home pretty easily.  I'm hoping that tomorrow morning when I take Sam to the vet, there will be 'good karma' for him too.  The left side of his face has become really swollen this week and is affecting his eye.  I know he's in pain.  I've increased the dose of pain medication and it seems to help.  I'm hopeful there will be something that can be done.  Paws crossed...I'm overwhelmingly worried about Sam.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Welcome Home Old Friend!

I love living in Virginia because of the distinct change of seasons.  We all know that when leaves begin to fall autumn is here. And when flowers awaken from their winters sleep we know that spring has indeed sprung. But on nights like tonight, when I see the first lightning bug of the year it’s like welcoming home an old friend--One who’s been gone for months and now suddenly comes back bringing with it the feeling of summer!  As a kid there was always a feeling of wonder as I caught one of these little critters and then watched it slowly climb to the highest part of my finger, spread it’s wings and fly away.

Like so many kids would do, I'd capture them and put them in an old jar (mason jars worked the best) with holes poked in the lid from the sharpest and usually my Mom's best kitchen knife.  Then I’d fill the jar with long blades of grass to contain my treasures. 
Of course at some point the lights in the jar would start to go out as the lightning bugs would begin to succumb to the lack of air--And with that, I’d have to release them on my Mom's demands.

But it's nights like tonight when I have no interest in watching television or doing anything inside because there's a pretty good show right outside my window.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Enjoying the Day

The weather this weekend could not be better!  Bright sun, warmth and not doing much have all helped me to FINALLY feel like myself again!  The trip to the farmers market on Saturday helped too.  I enjoy walking around seeing all the produce and plants--However I have to admit to not buying much.  
I know my feeling better makes Carl and the dogs happy because I have to be honest and admit, that I've not been the most pleasant person to be around.  Even Sam seems to be feeling better.  This morning when the timed-light in the office came on he started barking, giving the wake up call to the entire house.  Its such a good feeling to know that he's enjoying the day.
I think the other dogs enjoyed being on the porch watching me while I worked in my flower garden.  They were quick to point out any weeds I didn't pull and where the poison ivy is.  
The butterflies were finding something they loved around the driveway....Any idea what it could be?   
Whatever you've done this weekend, I hope you've enjoyed it too!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Post-Partum Blues

I've decided that I'm suffering from a kind of 'post-partum-blues.'  I think this is partly due to the let down and end of the county wide food drive that I've been working on since February.  Along with working every day this week, Todd and the toxic-toad, and Sam I am, once again at the end of the week, totally exhausted.  

Sam's tumor has unfortunately gotten bigger.  The Chinese herbs that I've been giving him don't seem to be working to shrink its size.  I ordered new ones that arrived on Wednesday, but my fear is that we missed the window of time where they would have been effective.  Sam does seem to feel pretty well, but I've started him on pain medication to ease any discomfort he may be having.  I've not yet been able to take him to see 'the Mom' of his previous family.  She's been undergoing medical treatment this past week, so I am hoping next week she'll feel well enough for us to meet.

When I finally arrived home this afternoon, I felt consumed by sadness for Sam and a few other things that have occurred.  But in a moment when I was almost totally lost in those feelings, I turned on the hose to water my flowers and Todd became excited about the chance to play.
A couple of minutes of watching him have fun and my blues were gone.  
Just in time for the weekend.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Todd and the Toad

There's a saying 'life is merrier with a Scottish Terrier.'  I have to say that I'm actually finding that 'life is hairier with a Scottish Terrier.'  I don't even know how to start in telling you what happened this morning...The day started out okay. But Todd, right away, was really interested in something by the corner of the back porch.  I just shooed him away from it, thinking he'd just leave whatever had captured his attention, alone.  I went back inside and forgot about it.  Todd however, didn't forget.  When I went out to check on him 5 or 10 minutes later, all I saw was 'foam' all over the backyard and all over Todd.

I grabbed Todd and ran my fingers through his mouth to get rid of whatever was causing the reaction, but there was nothing.  I thought that his tongue looked gray and he was also coughing just a little bit.  I took him into the kitchen and shoved his face under the faucet and washed his face off and opened up his mouth to rinse that out as well.  I grabbed a towel and continued to wipe is mouth out and clean off his tongue and gums.    

When I put  Todd down on the floor to get a better assessment of how he was, he ran away from me and messed all over the rug.  I had NO idea what he'd gotten into and I was really starting to panic.  I was also feeling the urgency to get him to an animal emergency clinic.  I was relieved that Todd was no longer foaming from his mouth so I gave him some ice and water and put him in his crate while I got dressed.

No more than 20 minutes had passed since all this started, but Todd was looking better.  He seemed comfortable and he even ate a piece of ice.  With that, I decided to sit and wait and see what happened.  With the calm it occurred to me that he must've bitten one of the toads that we have around our porch.  I'd seen them last evening and had told Carl that we needed to watch for them because they are poisonous and Todd was taking an interest in them when they hopped.

As I sat there with Todd, I looked it up 'dogs and toads' on the internet.  Sure enough, what happened to Todd was the exact thing that had happened to other dogs who had come in contact with these particular toads.  While eating them can be fatal, I really thought that Todd had only ingested their poison when he either licked one, or tried to pick one up in his mouth. Because dogs get sick immediately after direct contact, the articles said that rinsing their mouths out was the prescribed treatment.  It also mentioned that the 'episodes' pass in about  half an hour.  I was feeling much better and confident that he'd be okay, but to be sure, I called the animal emergency and spoke to a vet (that I happen to know).  Of course she told me to bring him in for a check and observation.  But because he'd eaten his entire breakfast and seemed okay I opted to take him to work with me instead.

Todd was really good at work with me today.  This evening he played with his ball and harassed the cat.  He seems to have totally forgotten the events of the morning.  I wish I could...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Scottish Terrier...

The Scottish Terrier...

"As a guard it is impossible to better him.
He gives his warning, and if it passes unheeded, he shows very definitely that he is there and in charge.
He is self-centered, deep-natured with a soul both for laughter and tragedy…
There is nothing frothy or shallow in the nature of a Scottie.
He never forgets–his heart may break with grief, but he will not yowl about it.
He is absolutely honorable, incapable of a mean or petty action, large hearted and loving...
With the soul and mind of an honest gentleman."

Dorothy Gabriel, The Scottish Terrier, 1934

I really loved this and had to share...Enjoy your Saturday!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am so far behind on 'normal life' this week.  I'm so sorry I've not been able to read your blogs. But the food drive is consuming much, if any, of my spare time as we head into the last 2 days.
~Our little hungry hatchlings~
But I've been behind in getting to work on time
Although it helps when there is something like this to look at...
Instead of reading license plates...
I've been behind in getting home...
And behind in spending time with the dogs.  This week I heard from Sam's former family.  They have been thinking about him, and have asked to see him again.  You'll recall that Sam came to us from a family at the church I attend.  They had him for about 5 years, and when 'the Mom' was diagnosed with cancer, because of her health and a move, they were unable to keep him, and they gave Sam to us.  Its been about 4 years since they saw him, and 'the Mom' in particular would like to see him one more time.  I've no doubt that they dearly loved Sam, and I know had it not been for 'the Mom's' health, they would have kept him.  Of course I have agreed to the meeting which will probably be next week.  I noticed this week that the swelling has returned to Sam's cheek.  We've started him on antibiotics again, and I continue to hope and pray that along with the medication and the Chinese herbs they will work to reduce swelling and the size of the tumor.

 In the rush of the week, I am so glad that I was able to carve out some time to meet a fellow blogger, 'Louise,' writer of the blog, Wildlife, Wildflowers and a Window, who was in my neck of the woods from New York to see her Aunt.  We had such a delightful visit, and she brought me some of her Tartarian Asters.  They were originally transplanted from her Aunts garden, to hers in New York, and now they have once again found a home here in Virginia.  I hope I can remember what they are, because for some reason, 'Aunt Dottie's Asters' are what I have been calling them.

Whatever you call your week, I hope all is well and I look forward to a slower pace and  catching up with your news!  Thanks for stopping by and catching up with us at Golden Pines! (Mom or Dad Phoebe with a meal for their hungry hatchlings)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Place for Annie

Its been two weeks since Annie came to live with us.  Unfortunately, as you know, we got off to a bumpy start with her because of Lucas.  Thankfully his school-boy crush has all but vanished for the fair and lovely Annie.
I've heard from Annie's previous owner several times asking how she was doing.  I didn't mention to 'Steve' the problems that I was having with Lucas.  But instead, I told him I thought she was happy living with us.  I told Steve about how well she fits in and gets along with our dogs.  I keep having to remind myself that Annie has only been with us for two weeks.   
I also mentioned to Steve how much I liked Annie's spark, and that when she wants something, she always lets us know...
And that along with finding a place on our bed at night, 
 I told Steve that Annie has found a place in our hearts too.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Pace of the Day

Today marked the start of the pursuit of fresh and delicious produce from our local farmer's markets.  This morning I loved seeing the fresh vine ripened strawberries and rhubarb all together with baked goods and plants from local gardeners. 
It was a much welcome break from the pace of the last few days as the food-drive is consuming a lot of my time and energy as it ramps up and heads into its last week.    
Once home I continued taking a break from everything by letting the dogs out to wander and explore.  The new owners of the property in back of us have been keeping the property mowed, so we took advantage of the freshly cut grass for a walk.  
My goal for the rest of the day is to continue to keep the pace slow. And with that, I just may go and take a nap. (Below is Sam, who is doing well after his bout of a terrible upset stomach)
  I hope you're enjoying your day!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Peaceful Week-END?

The very early morning routine was the same.  Carl got up about 4 o'clock to get ready for work.  He let Todd out of his crate and got him outside.  The backdoor was left open to allow the other dogs to go in and out as they please.  I, of course, stayed in bed.  This morning's peace and quiet was abruptly interrupted by the unmistakable high pitched wild and frenzied bark of Todd--The other dogs quickly join in and pandemonium and bedlam filled the darkness.  I don't think my feet touched the floor when I leapt out of bed and ran outside, (not stopping to put shoes on).  The dogs were all barking and jumping at the fence.  In the darkness I didn't see anything but I somehow managed to herd them all out of that part of the yard and close the gate.  I got all the dogs back inside and once I caught Todd, I gave him a really good once over.  Other than being on the edge of hysteria, he was fine.  Of course there is no question it was all caused by 'something' that didn't belong in the yard. With peace restored, Carl left for work.  

However somehow in the chaos and trying to get Todd settled down, I hadn't noticed that Sam was missing. Whenever I call him he always comes.  I searched the entire house, the garage, and he was nowhere.  I turned on the barn lights and walked out to the closed gate and called him, no movement, nothing.  But when I shined the flashlight into the darkness, I saw him laying in a dark corner of the yard.  My heart literally sank and my knees turned to jello.  I went to him to try and get him to stand up and he wouldn't.  Of course I thought that he'd been injured by whatever was in the yard.  But I manged to give him a really good once over and saw nothing that indicated he may have been hurt.  What I did HEAR was his stomach really gurgling--Obviously he's eaten something that hasn't agreed with him.  He's since gotten up a drank some water.  He declined his breakfast but I'm hoping that it's just a bad restaurant review and nothing serious. He wants to be outside laying in the grass, so if it makes him feel better, I'm just going to let him.

The week has been an extremely busy and hectic one with work and the county-wide food drive that I'm helping to organize. I'm really hoping that it ends peacefully with all in good health and spirits.