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. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rhett Arrives at Golden Pines

We round the corner to the end of what has been a hectic and busy week.  Carl has been out of town, and when he returned, we had out of town company. 
~Crossing the bridge to Maryland~
And, to make sure there was no extra spare time, we welcomed a new addition named Rhett.  He comes to us from the very distant town of Lynchburg Virginia.
Rhett is a very handsome and very big 12 year old boy that has been diagnosed with epilepsy.  From the rescue I received this information about his past life:
"Owner got Rhett from a friend who was unable to care for him. The previous owner got Rhett from a shelter and only had him about 6 months, Rhett had been in several homes before the previous owner - it seems like people didn’t know why he was having seizures and rather than trying to find out people gave him up."  
Rhett has been given to the rescue because his last owner is expecting a baby, and is unable to pay for his needed medications.  Unfortunately, one of the medications he's been taking did not come with him.  I am hoping that until we are able to have Rhett seen by the vet, he'll be okay, and he won't have any seizures.
~Eva meeting Rhett~
On the flip side, our dogs like Rhett.
Todd (below) of course has given his opinion of what he thinks about him...
But my attempts to keep Rhett away from our dogs so he could settle in, didn't work. Several times, I turned around and he was behind me.
I could see that he was okay with our crew, who are either too worn out from meeting new arrivals, or they are just used to newcomers.  Maybe it's both.
~The new girl Bailey, meeting the new boy, Rhett~
Either way, I am looking forward to the chance to get to know Rhett and have him as part of our lives. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Not a Match for Max

Has it been a week already?  However many days it has been, its been enough for our newest addition, Bailey to get totally settled in.  She did great adjusting to her new schedule. And, even though she was a little nervous at the vet, Bailey charmed everyone there.

I got a phone call from a "perspective adopter" interested in meeting Max.  Despite that I didn't get a good vibe from perspective adopter, I overlooked it because on paper, perspective adopter seemed perfect.  So, we arranged a time to meet.
 We got to the park on time and we waited.............And we waited...
When we finally met, Max, who likes everyone, wanted nothing to do with perspective adopter.  I let them go for a walk together alone, but Max only wanted to come back to me. From a distance I watched the two together, and I just didn't feel like they were connecting.  The rest of our nearly 2 hour visit fell flat. When we parted, I told her we'd talk in a couple of days. But I decided to not wait and I let her know that evening that I felt that she and Max were not a match. I never heard back from prospective adopter, so I'm not sure if she agreed or not.  If she did or didn't, it was my choice to make.

So, onward through the week we've gone.  This little intruder found its way into our garage. I was so sure it was poisonous and its sole mission was to kill me and the dogs.  I was insisting that Carl "make it dead" but he refused and scooped it up and tossed it into the neighboring field.  It turned out to be a (non-poisonous) baby rat-snake, so I guess that was okay.
It was also okay that the rest of the week was quiet and uneventful.
That just doesn't seem possible with Todd around. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bailey Arrives at Golden Pines

We all know that life doesn't stop, even if you want it too.  Your heart keeps beating, and life somehow goes on. In the midst of Josh leaving us, another life was starting over.  On Sunday we welcomed a new addition named Bailey.
~Bailey on the ride home~
Bailey is 12 years old, and she tragically and sadly lost her owner last week.  She and several other dogs were left without a place to go.  The fiancee of her former owner wanted Bailey to be happy, so she turned her over to the rescue.
Bailey was a little nervous and tentative at first. But our dogs liked her right away and she's got the approval of Todd.
It hasn't taken long for Bailey's big personality to emerge.  She's affectionate, will bark when she wants something or for reasons that I can't quite figure out yet.  As I write this, she's snoozing at my feet.
I think these are all good signs!  I'm happy that this girl (with a spotted tongue) that once lived overseas for several years is settling in nicely in our little corner of Virginia.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


~Josh, March 2011~
Thank-you all for your kind words and sharing Josh's loss. I realized yesterday that Josh was not the oldest dog we've lost, but he was the one we had the longest. Josh was a gentle soul.  He was also a  "pleaser" by nature, and (usually) did what we asked of him. But yesterday was his day and a day that was totally out of my control. It was a humbling place to be. Josh peacefully passed away on the front porch that he loved before the vet would arrive.

I wished I'd had another day off of work, but I didn't. It was a long day that ended with my having to go to the grocery store for a few things.  I really didn't want to go, but I had to, so I dragged myself there.

I hurried inside, quickly got the few things I needed and rushed to the checkout. I got into a little longer line because I saw my favorite cashier.  I'm not sure when "Nora" became my favorite cashier.  But every time I have been in her line, I have heard her compliment every customer she interacts with. I’ve liked watching the people light up as she finds something positive to say about them.  She has such a refreshing attitude and I love chatting with her.  I think Nora is an example to follow.

When it was my turn, she asked me how I was doing, noting that I was looking a "little tired." I told her that I was doing okay, and that I was just really worn out.  And then, she asked me how our dogs were doing. As you can guess, the loss of Josh is still pretty raw and I'm not at a point where I can just blurt out what happened to him. So, I replied with my usual answer that "the dogs were all present and accounted for when I left home this morning."  I think that Nora knew there was more to my answer. Because she stopped scanning my groceries, and said to me, "I know just the thing you need," and she rushed away.  I'll admit that I was a little confused and embarrassed because there were other people standing in line in back of me.  But when Nora came back she had a little pot of bright yellow mums in her hand, and said to me, "here's something to cheer you up, and they're on me!"

I know my mouth dropped open because I was so surprised by her unexpected kindness - And, through the sting of tears that have been so close to the surface all day, all I could say was "thank-you" over and over again.  I thought afterwards that I really hope Nora knows that her small gesture of kindness at a low moment made a difference, and is one I won't soon forget.

Monday, September 11, 2017


While so many are remembering the events of September 11th, I mean no disrespect, but today, I am remembering our 15 years with Josh who will make his journey to the Rainbow Bridge later today.  I hope you will light your candle for him to find his way there, where I know he will have quite a greeting.  There are no words that can articulate the heartbreak or say how much Josh will be missed.  
God speed to my "Missta-Jay."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Right Day

Back to the groomers on the right day.  Todd as always was happy to be home
Charlie was worn out afterwards because he had a little more of a workout.
He has a very dense, thick coat and doesn't shed, and it doesn't mat or tangle until it's really grown out. The groomer was looking over Charlie's coat as we were catching up and my heart sank when she found what looked like a dead flea - Now nothing strikes fear in my heart more than a flea, including a dead one because they may have friends - But the groomer called me after she'd bathed both Charlie and Todd to tell me that she found no live or dead fleas on either dog - But I still spent a couple of hours doing "preventative" cleaning just in case. I did have to grin that despite Charlie's thick and dense coat, the groomer had so easily (and hopefully!) found the one and only dead flea on him -- I guess that's how good she is!
~The look on the faces of Eva & Charlie made me laugh~
Finally, Josh's bucket list got another check. With a 3 day weekend last week, Josh got to do something he's never done, and that was to go camping.  What's a better thing to do than sit around a camp-fire with good friends, toast marshmallows and enjoy a good s'more?  Well, okay, I enjoyed the s'more, and Josh enjoyed a marshmallow.    

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Lucky Dogs!

I rounded the corner to a long weekend with a planned day at the groomers for Todd and Charlie. Because of Todd's injury to his neck, I'd delayed his appointment to make sure everything is healed. I raced to get everyone fed wondering why I'd made their appointment for 9 AM?  I arrived just after nine o'clock to a surprised groomer, who was not expecting me - Until next week.  She graciously offered to take one of the dogs, but not both because she was working alone.  I opted to just wait until next week.  I don't think Charlie minded at all.
I'm sure if I'd asked Todd, he would have agreed with Charlie.

Later in the afternoon it was time to check something off Josh's bucket-list.  He has had a good and active life. In his younger days, he loved going for walks, sleeping on our bed and as you can see in the video below from 2012, chasing frisbee was a favorite game.

All of this was possible because of a well funded rescue and a good and talented orthopedic surgeon. So, Josh's bucket-list began with a visit to Dr. W who did his surgeries in 2002. Dr. W said it wasn't very often that he got to see dogs that he did surgery on so long ago.  Dr. W is someone who doesn't like the spotlight.  But there was a smile and quiet pride about him during our visit, and he seemed quite pleased to see Josh again after all these years.  We feel very lucky to know Dr. W., who also did Max's surgery this past year.  And I think that Josh has been lucky too.