Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three O'Clock in the Morning

~The full moon around October 15th~
I was suddenly awake just after 3 o'clock in the morning by an unmistakable smell, that dog owners know.  The one that says the bag of cat food that Sunny got off the counter and was enjoyed by the other dogs wasn't agreeing with someone.  That someone was Jake.  I let him outside, and got everything cleaned up. None of the other dogs had stirred, so it was back to bed and lights out.  
~Jake, still feeling the effects of an upset stomach~
Then Todd jumped off the bed.  That always means he needs to go out, or should be let out.  He quickly came back inside.  He stood there for a moment looking at me because he was expecting a treat.  But the rule is, I don't give treats in the middle of the night.  
Silence once again as I again turned the lamp off.  A few minutes later, a whiny bark was coming from Sunny which is his signal that he needs out.  Of course I got up to let him out. Several minutes later, I was putting my shoes on to bring him back inside.  He didn't get a treat either.
~A rare smile from Sunny for the camera~
When we came back in, Charlie was awake and getting a good drink of water.  I knew to make sure he was let out.  No treat for him either....
~Charlie, still not feeling 100%~
Back to bed again but not before I noticed that it was about 3:45. From the living room I could hear the sad forlorn meow from Lucille.  I drifted back to sleep feeling badly that she was out there alone.
I was suddenly awakened by Charlie who was vomiting all the water he'd just had. Another clean up, and I decided to wash all the towels I'd used.  As everything settled down I tried to clear my mind, but couldn't help but worry about Charlie whose cough has cleared up, but he still hasn't got much of an appetite.

Then it was Josh's turn.  He was whining - His signal that he needs help getting onto his feet.   I 'd noticed that a back leg was tucked under him, and so I knew he probably needed to stand up so could stretch and get comfortable again.
Up once more after that to turn off a light I'd left on, and finally there was silence once again. Then the radio came on, signaling that it was 4:30, and time for Carl to start his day.  I'm glad he got his sleep.  I'm glad I was off today.
~A sleepy Cissy~

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Shock and Disaster

The word "disaster" is one that we've been hearing a lot from one of the presidential candidates. I didn't count, but one report said that it was used 14 times in the second presidential debate, and who knows for sure how many times he has said it since then. I've gotten so I cringe when I hear the word.  But I have to say, that "disaster" is the word I would use to describe what happened when the family came to meet Mo on Saturday.
I was all ready for them to come.  The dogs were all settled, everything was in its place. But when the family came in, to my shock, Mo got scared, and he ran off and hid in the only place he could find which was under the washing machine.  I couldn't even see him because he was tucked so far under it. I really tried to act like it wasn't a big deal, that this was no problem, and Mo was such a nice cat, and they were going to love him...If I could only get to him....  I chatted away and I kept the mood light, and joked about the whole situation as I casually asked Carl to "please come and move the washer and dryer and get Mo out from underneath".  When Carl was able to finally get to Mo (not an easy feat because there's not a lot of room in our laundry room), he got away from me again and with all the doors closed he ran to the only place he could find to hide which was under the couch. My attempts to inject humor into the whole situation was getting harder to do.  And I'll admit that my embarrassment in front of a couple I'd just met and their two children was also getting hard to conceal -- Also getting hard to say was that Mo was a really friendly and sociable cat.
When Carl finally managed to get him out from under the sofa, he handed him to me, and Mo again got away from me and hid once more under the sofa.  The third time, I wasn't going to let him escape and I tightly held onto him and put him into a small crate, but not before he scratched me several times.  By this time we were all at a loss for words, and the husband more out of politeness than anything, slowly opened the crate and made a half-hearted attempt to make friends with Mo. Looking back at it, I guess given what had happened and seeing the scratches on my hand and arm may have made them all a bit wary of doing that. But really by this time, we all had to be honest and admit defeat and agree that Mo was not the cat for them.
My mind was reeling from the whole thing, and in a vain attempt to salvage any of my dignity and make the family feel that maybe their more than one hour drive to our house wasn't a waste of time, I brought out Jake.  I thought that letting the kids meet him and put treats onto his nose for him to catch may help end the visit on a good note.  It's a good trick, but it did little to change the mood of everyone.
What we all really wanted was this whole event to be over, so I walked them out and came back inside to get Mo out from under the couch. What a total disaster...

I talked with the cat-director of the SPCA and she did a great job of helping me to not feel badly about what happened and to see the humor in the whole thing.  She's going to come over in a few days to see Mo, and we'll decide how to move forward with placing him into a new home then.

We did decide to go ahead and bring in the new addition, who was supposed to be Mo's replacement.  Her name is Lucille and she's about 4 months old.  She was found on the side of the road, after she'd been hit by a car. Lucille has had surgery to repair a severe break in her front leg by the same surgeon as Max. And like Max, she also needs total crate rest while it mends.  The plan is for us to keep her during the initial recovery time and move her to another foster home when she gets the "all clear" from the surgeon.
It may sound like a lot to handle, but Charlie is there to offer lots of help and support. Longtime readers of this blog will recall that for some reason he really, really loves kittens and the lovely little Lucille is no exception.
Charlie is very attentive to Lucille and he's always right there when I'm tending to her, letting me know that he's there to help.  And, just in case she does need something, the last 2 nights he's been been sleeping by her crate.  Tonight, he's also there making sure she's okay.  
Mo really didn't make a good impression on the family that hoped to adopt him.  But Charlie really does make a pretty good nurse.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Whatta Saturday!

Cold and windy is our forecast for the weekend. The bright sunshine is doing little to take that edge off.  All of our windows are closed, and I'm sitting here with a sweater on.
The only one who is unphased by the sudden change in weather is Todd.  His tough Scottish roots serve him well on  the chilliest of days.  
I heard from the orthopedic surgeon about Max.  He's happy with how Max is healing and wants to see him in a couple of weeks when we do the next set of x-rays.   At that time we'll decide where to go next.  It's not confirmed yet, but we're pretty positive that Max is headed towards another knee surgery.  
Feeling somewhat better this weekend is Charlie.  He is getting over a respiratory infection that brought with it a deep, dry hacking cough with some sneezing, snorting and gagging to go along with it.  When Bo came to us, he had something pretty similar but not as bad.  I called Mobile Vet who was unable to come.  But he thought as I did that given the symptoms, and because of Bo, that it's probably "kennel cough," and so he called in an antibiotic for Charlie to a pharmacy.  It seems to be working, and he's not coughing nearly as frequently as he was.
We will end the weekend with maybe saying good-bye to our foster cat, Mohawk. A phone call from the cat-director of the SPCA that a family saw Mo online and were very interested in meeting and adopting him.  I knew this was going to happen, but I just expected it later, rather than sooner. If all goes well, and he likes them, and the feeling is mutual, he'll leave and we will be welcoming a new little foster girl named Lucille on Sunday.
~Good-bye to Mohawk?~
 What a busy Saturday we're having!!

   Even though it's a little chilly, I hope you're enjoying yours, as much as Cissy (below) is!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two Weeks

~Mt. Rainier~
It has been a very long two weeks at Golden Pines with my husband Carl out of town. He traveled (via train) to visit his youngest brother in Vancouver Washington.  Even though he had been ill for quite some time, he passed away unexpectedly while he was there. As brothers they shared a unique bond.  This has made his loss a very sad and profound one, not just for him but his entire family.  It's understandable.

At home, and with work, it left little spare time.  I felt like I kept up with all the work and things went pretty well.  Even if it hadn't gone well, of course I was not going to complain.
~Charlie and Todd kept busy looking at who-knows-what? ~

While Carl was gone, as you know, Bo arrived. He's getting along nicely with all the dogs.  However I was hoping that after nearly 2 weeks he would be a little more adjusted to the routine, but he's not.  Maybe it's the blindness, and because how he is living is so different than what he has always known.
Bo is not a very confident boy, but I feel like he trusts me. Because he still "wanders around" when outside, I've been working on teaching him to come in the direction of my voice.  He's a work in progress, but as you can see in the video below, he's getting better.

Max returned last Saturday to have his "healing x-rays" taken, and to also snap a picture of his other knee.  One of the screws in Max's knee (3rd from the bottom) looks like it may have drifted, but otherwise, everything looks pretty good.

We're continuing with weekly cold laser therapy and acupuncture for both knees and his back which is sore.  In between treatments I've been shown how to massage Max's back, and I apply warm compresses. He loves the extra attention and the pampering!  Max is getting around pretty well and he's putting his full weight onto his repaired knee, but is still really tentative on his right knee.  We're waiting to hear from the surgeon about the next step for Max.  Until then, he's kept on a leash and is on "restricted activity" for (at least) a few more weeks.

Yes, there's no doubt that the last two weeks have been mostly business at our house.  But there is the comic relief from "You Know Who" that always makes me laugh.

What would I do without him?

Thank-you so much for stopping by!  I've really missed having the time read blogs, but I know you understand.  I so look forward to being able to catch up with you!!  
~A late season Monarch Butterfly on Sunday~

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bo Arrives at Golden Pines

Bo, our new foster boy, via Lab Rescue arrived late yesterday afternoon.  After letting him explore the yard and unwind from his time in the kennel, it was time to come inside.  Carl is out of town, so one-on-one intros were limited and guarded. This is partly because Bo comes from a "puppy mill" and was used as a stud-dog, until last year when he went blind.  He is "unaltered" and my concern about his hormones, especially around our boys has made me overly cautious. I didn't want there to be any problems, especially on the first day
... and especially with Todd who you may be surprised to know can be a little bossy. (I know, a shock, right?)
~Todd, bossy?~
It turned into a quiet evening. After dinner and another trip outside, it was lights out for Bo -- Even before I could get a dog bed for him, he was out for the count!  
At about 3 o'clock this morning, he was stirring in the crate so I took him out not thinking I'd have an entourage following us. I held my breath as Charlie, Sunny and of course Todd all quietly met the new boy.  It went well, and soon we were back in bed, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was feeling a little more sure about Bo this morning on our first walk, so I just let the dogs interact with him.  I was so grateful that it had gone well!
Bo is understandably unsure and very tentative about his new surroundings.  Unlike Deizel who I thought could see a little, I am pretty sure that Bo's matured cataracts don't allow him to see at all.
But he'll wag his tail when I speak to him or when he hears me call him from across the yard.
He is really a nice boy that enjoys and eagerly soaks up attention, that I am more than happy to give. And despite some uncertainty about his long-term-health, I hope he knows he's going to be okay.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Landing on Thursday

 We are cruising through the week, and have finally landed on Thursday. The end of the week is in sight.  My thanks to all of you for your kind, supportive thoughts and helping to quiet "the lady in my head."  I am still hearing her, but because of you, I'm keeping her at bay and not pouring (as much) guilt on myself because of Max.
The Holistic Vet was here earlier this morning to reassess Max and do acupuncture and cold laser therapy.  We both feel good about the plan we have put together in moving ahead with him.  A physical therapist is coming next week to see Max for massage and cold laser treatments.  We're also adding "Adequan" to his list of medications.  (Adequan is an injectable medication used to control symptoms associated with degenerative or traumatic arthritis)  Next week Max will be taken for x-rays which will tell us how the healing is progressing.  
Despite a few itchy ears, Todd and the rest of the dogs are doing pretty well.  For that I'm really grateful.

Todd is enjoying the cooler evenings and sitting in the yard watching the world go by.  I have to wonder what Todd is thinking when he's sitting there?  Is he reflecting on the meaning of life and the mysteries of the universe?  Or is he simply waiting patiently for the deer to stumble out of the woods again?
Whatever Todd is thinking, I'm thinking about the new addition that may be coming on Friday via Lab Rescue.  "Bo" is ten years old, and is coming to us with several medical issues. His bloodwork is showing elevated white blood cells and a low thyroid level.  On the outside, Bo has rotten teeth, and an aural hematoma. And just like our last foster boy, Diezel, he's also blind.
Lab Rescue didn't (and probably won't) tell me exactly where he came from. However the foster home coordinator said he "came from some hell hole with 40 other dogs."  The plan is for us to only keep him until he's well enough to be neutered.  But if he's a good fit, it could be longer.  We'll see.

Finally for all of you who are and will be affected by Hurricane Matthew, please stay safe!  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Lady Inside My Head

I've decided that there's a problem with caring for dogs for the last 20 years --  It's that (when asked) I think I’ve gotten pretty good at giving supportive thoughts to people who are struggling to care for and make the best decision for their dogs.

But here's the thing when it comes to my own dogs and the foster dogs --  I am not very good at hearing the same kind, reasonable, forgiving lady that lives in my head. Sure, she'll talk to everyone else, but she ignores me when I ask her to weigh in on my problems. When she does finally say something to me, most of the time all I hear is a weepy confused lady running around in panicked circles calling me names for not being a better caregiver to the dogs.  That lady really gets to me sometimes.  And I couldn't help but hear her weepy voice this week when I was discussing Max with the Holistic Vet.  I found myself fighting off those hot-tears when I had to come to the realization that Max may need yet another knee surgery.
-Max after having his staples removed~
Max's recovery from surgery was going pretty well.  When the staples were taken out this week, everyone commented on how well he was doing. That made me feel pretty good because we've been following the post surgical instructions to the letter.  Then it happened. Actually, I don't know what happened.
All I know is that Max was holding up his OTHER (good) leg and not putting any weight onto it. It appears that he may have torn his other cruciate.  I had no idea that it's not uncommon for dogs to have the same injury occur to the other knee after surgery because they're having to compensate and shift their weight onto their good knee. I was told by the Rescue and the Holistic Vet that it was not my fault, and that I shouldn't feel guilty about it.  This is exactly what I may have told any of you if you were in the same spot. And I would have said that to myself if that weepy lady in my head wasn’t busy shouting about how I had failed Max.

At any rate, that's what seems to have happened.  The Holistic Vet recommended putting Max back on anti-inflammatory and pain medications.  She did acupuncture and cold laser therapy which seems to have helped.  Max is to be kept on strict crate-rest, nothing off leash, no jumping, etc.  All this in hopes of turning it around.
By Thursday, he was still tentative when he walked, but he was balancing his weight a little more. On Friday when I got home from work, the note from our dog-walker commented on how Max was "holding his leg up really close to himself when he came back in."  I found out that she'd misunderstood what the staples coming out meant, and she unknowingly let Max out without a leash. The lady in my head said a lot of nice things to our dog-walker, but to me, she wasn't so understanding.
Today, it appears that we're back to where we were earlier in the week.  And whatever happens, I know Max will be just fine.  He's not worried about another knee-surgery because he's too busy thinking about chasing the cat, getting some extra attention and watching what's on TV.
The lady inside my head has been quiet.  At least she is for the moment. However I know she'll be back -- She never really goes away. That's just how she is.  But maybe Todd can scare her away.