Friday, March 15, 2019

The Australian Herbs for Joy

You all are the best! Thank-you all for the good vibes for Joy in my last post! She really is a nice little girl, quiet, eager to please and loves attention. A quintessential Golden Retriever. It goes without saying that we love having her as part of our household.

A few of  you asked about the herbs that we will be using for Joy that are on their way to us from Australia. Longtime readers know I'm a big believer in balancing the use of herbs with conventional care. However, in the more than 15 years that I've used them, I have always used Chinese herbs from the same company in the US or that I've gotten from a holistic vet.

The ones we'll be using for Joy are ones that I've never used before, from a company I've never ordered from previously. There have been a few dogs in the rescue I volunteer with that have had good results in their use and have allowed dogs diagnosed with lymphoma to continue to enjoy a good quality of life and extend it as well.

The combination we are going to use for Joy is not available here in the US. I will admit to being a bit skeptical of them. However hearing what the results have been, has caused me to be more hopeful and support willing to give them a try.

The name of the company is called McDowells Herbal Treatments.
Click here for the link 

One of the herbs we are using for Joy is Maritime Pine Bark Extract -
Click here for the link  This herb will help to boost Joy's immune system.

The other is a "support mix" specifically for lymphoma - 
Click here for the link

Here is a page that describes their recommended treatment for lymphoma -
Click here for the link 

As I said, I've never used these particular herbs before, and I know practically nothing about the company or the herbs. However, if any of you do, I hope you'll let me know. And I hope you'll stay tuned and I promise to let you know how they work for Joy.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Sounds of Spring with Bailey

Its been another not-so-bad week in our corner of Virginia. We had another wintry blast of cold this week. And, I stayed home from work one day because I wasn't feeling well.
All the tests have been returned for Joy. The results confirm that she does have lymphoma. The good news is that at the moment Joy is not symptomatic. This makes me hopeful that we will have more time with her. So, now that we have that diagnosis, we can now move forward with our plan for Joy's care. This will include herbs from Australia for her specifically for lymphoma that are now on their way to us.
On another day, Bailey began coughing, but it didn't keep her from getting her rest. Making sure Bailey getting up and walking around is key in keeping her airways open. So, I decided to take her with me on a little morning trip.
The first stop was at a friends home to drop something off.  Bailey met their puppy, a Flat Coated Retriever named Keeper. I didn't get any photos of their meeting one another - This was partly because my friend and I weren't quite sure of what Bailey would do. We all know that not all dogs, even including a couple at our house aren't crazy about the antics of a puppy. However Bailey is not one of them. She loved him and wanted to stay and play with Keeper.
Our next stop was Tractor Supply. It's one of the few stores nearby where dogs are allowed, so I took Bailey inside. When the door opened, I heard something that sounded like spring to me. It was the sound of baby chicks.  And they had plenty for sale!
Bailey watched intently as the chicks were taken out of the box. 
 And they had plenty of ducks too.
Bailey really enjoyed all the new smells, and meeting a few new faces too.
Our little outing did the trick for Bailey. Aside from being worn out by the time we got home, she didn't cough once the rest of the day and we've both had a good weekend.
Despite our time change, our lights going out overnight for about five hours, we're ready for the week ahead. And spring too!
~Todd on a recent snow-day, waiting for spring~

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Max's Circle of Trust

Is it really March?  This year is just kind of running by me.

A rainy wet snowfall on Friday morning stayed around just long enough to get a few photos as warm temps had it almost all melted by the end of the day. This morning the weathermen are telling us that we are on the edge of a big storm that promises to bring another messy mix of late winter weather to our region today. As I write this, the snow has yet to begin falling.

On the inside it's status quo for our big crew. We're still waiting for the report for Joy that has been sent off to Colorado State. But Bailey has had another pretty good week. She's been coughing a little more today than I'd like, but she's still up and around, so I'm hopeful it'll pass.
~Bailey on Thursday: Stop taking photos and feed me!~ 
On Friday I did however manage to offend Max. Of all the dogs, Max. Really. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and at the moment he was jumping up, (something only he and Todd can do) I moved my arm, accidentally blocking him, causing him to fall back. He was okay, but he'd taken it personally and stayed away from me.

Seeing that I may have fallen outside his circle of trust, to regain that trust, I took Max on a walk with just the two of us to feed the birds and take a few photos. He was reluctant to come with me, but did as I asked him to. And I will admit, I had to chuckle because at the first moment my back was turned, Max ran back to the house.
~Max retreating~
He's not as leary around me today, but he does not want to get onto the bed either. I am thinking that with a few more treats, I'll be back in his inner circle of trust by the end of the weekend. I can hope, right?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

WE Do Love Our Snow-Days!

It was a mix bag in our corner of the world this past week. We had a snow-day on Wednesday and the office where I work closed for the day.
So, this unplanned day where we had to stay home, turned into the best day of the week.
I made beef stew ....
~A hearty meal on a snowy day~
The dogs played in the snow ...
~Max and Ginger~
We watched TV and took a nap.
~Ginger taking a nap - She's such a lady!~
The snow was really not the prettiest because it was mixed with rain, so we made sure to enjoy it while it lasted.
~A Scottie snow-Angel?~
On Thursday it was back to real-life which was a trip to the vet for Rhett and Alf. I've decided that having two vets in two opposite directions an hour apart, didn't make sense for us. So, just as I've done with Alf and Bailey, I've turned Rhett's care over to Mobile Vet. **You may have noticed that Mobile Vet is not all mobile all the time. He will and does come to our house, but he also has a brick and mortar office, so whenever possible we go there to save the rescue the house-call fee.**   
~A quick-stop before the V - E - T~ 
Rhett was due for a six-month check up. I don't know if I've mentioned, at least lately, that he has epilepsy. So this appointment was to check the levels of the phenobarbital that he has in his system, and make sure that his liver remains healthy.
Joy tagged along because I'd noticed a lump on her neck that I thought needed to be looked at. I'd also heard from the oncologist. The assistant felt that there was nothing that could be done for either Joy or Bailey because we didn't and don't have a definitive diagnosis for either one. **Uh, I thought that's why we were seeing an oncologist, to get that diagnosis...**  So I talked it all over with Mobile Vet who agreed. He knows the oncologist pretty well and promised to talk to him about them both.
~Mobile Vet and his assistant doing an aspirate on Joy's lump~
And finally, Bailey has had a pretty good week. She's been coughing a little bit, but not enough to make me overly concerned. She has been up and around and is in good spirits.
I think we're in a good place as we start the new week.
 Knock on wood that it stays that way! 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

On About Day 70 of Grace for Bailey

I'm grateful that we are rounding the corner to another week. Last week was quite a week for both me and part of our pack. On Friday our foster girl Ginger had her spay done. It all went well. She's home and resting.
Most of the drama was Bailey. And I've been feeling the emotional fallout from it since. It began when I got home from work Tuesday evening, and found Bailey laying in the same place as she was when I'd left for work more than 10 hours before. My dog-walker hadn't gotten her up and outside, and my brother and husband had no idea about any of it when they'd arrived home before me.
~Bailey not feeling well~
Being in one position for so long had made Bailey sick, and she was refusing to move. We got her up and moving and outside, but she continued getting sick and was having problems breathing. By bedtime she seemed brighter, so we opted to monitor her overnight. It was a mostly sleepless night for both of us.

By the time the sun was coming up, I was exhausted and stayed home from work. I called Bailey's vet when they opened, but they were unable to see us until late afternoon. I didn't want to wait that long, so I called my Mobile Vet, who could see her a few hours earlier.

Having someone else see Bailey turned out to be a good decision. Mobile Vet decided to take x-rays.
With all the coughing up of fluid, we thought she might have pneumonia. But she does not. 
The x-ray below was taken with Bailey on her back. I've "enhanced" the x-ray so you can see that the darkened area in between the two arrows is her trachea. You can see that there is a curve. It should of course be straight/smooth. The tumor which is on your left has displaced that.  This is why Bailey has breathing problems. When she's in the same position for too long, fluid pools in that curve and obstructs her airway, and she coughs. If she's up and around, it helps to open up her airway and allow any fluid to move through.
Mobile Vet took the time to talk to me about everything that he thinks are options for Bailey's care. There are not many, but Mobile Vet thinks that a visit to the oncologist is a good place to start. His thought is that a bronchodilator may be something Bailey may benefit from. So, next week, Joy and Bailey will be off to see the oncologist.

And as we start a new week, Bailey is doing much, much better and is hardly coughing. Her appetite is back, and Mobile Vet gave me some new ideas for helping to keep Bailey's airway clear. My hope and optimism that all but vanished mid-week has returned as we continue on our "days of Grace with Bailey."

On a much lighter note, I hope you had a good Valentine's day! 
Here are a few photos used to mark ours. 


Thanks for stopping by - Have a good week! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Hardest Part - Update on Joy

For me, there is no way to articulate the rewards that have come from fostering the senior dogs for both the Golden Retriever Rescue, and Lab Rescue.

Last week, Joy met Mobile Vet for follow-up blood work. Her previous vet had been concerned about her high white blood cell count, and Mobile Vet was concerned about her elevated lymphocytes. I was hoping now that she is past being so ill, there would be improvement from the previous tests done just 2 weeks ago. But below is an e-mail that I woke up to this morning.
As Dr. R suspected, the blood work is consistent with lymphoma/leukemia.  He can add on another test to help confirm, but it may be best to see an internal medicine specialist for ultrasound, chest reds, and consultation...And/ or an oncologist for consultation.
Sorry for the bad news
This is truly the hardest part of fostering senior dogs like Joy. Especially when it's a dog like her that you've practically just met, and have hopes and dreams for. Knowing those dreams cannot be, for me, is heartbreaking.   

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Do You Remember Chipper?

With arrival of Joy last week I'm behind in telling you about Chipper. Do you remember that we even have him?  I've hardly written about him, so it's okay.  Chip arrived here in June from Lancaster Pennsylvania. He'd been used for breeding, and was given to Lab Rescue by an Amish farmer.
~Chip the day we met him in June, 2018~ 
Chip is a dog with a gentle heart and a wounded soul. He is afraid of practically everything. In the nearly 20 years that we've been fostering dogs, I have to say, that he is the most fearful dog we've ever had.  Honestly, he spends most of his time, running away from everything. Even including us. The picture below is an example of that - he's worried and his head and tail are down, and he's avoiding any eye contact as he tries to get away. It's very sad.

But I think Chip is torn by what he wants to do, and what he's always known. In the past 6 months that we've had him, he has made good progress and is much more relaxed. But the progress is slow, and sometimes we take steps forward, only to go back several more. There is no doubt, he has a long way to go and so much to learn. The progress that has been made is that he'll come to us for treats and attention so I know that he has come to trust us. It does help that he is highly food motivated.
In December when Lab Rescue announced their waived adoption fee for the senior dogs, it generated some interest in Chip, who is about 10 years old. But among those few calls about him, no one really seemed to understand the challenges of having a shy and fearful dog like Chip. And for that matter, no one had an interest in helping Chip overcome his fears and find his confidence. They appeared only interested in him because of the waived adoption fee.

I talked to Lab Rescue about my concerns, worries and hopes and dreams for Chip. The coordinator totally agreed with me about his special needs. And others who've met him also agreed that Chip needed a special adopter. I knew that we could continue to wait, and eventually someone may come.  But those of you who have lived with dogs like Chip know there is a unique and strong bond that develops when a fearful dog has given you their trust. The more time that passes, I feel that trust and bond with Chip. And last week when I was bent over and greeting another dog, Chip snuck up on me and quickly licked my cheek. He'd never done that before, so it surprised me, and he quickly backed away. But he didn't go to his "safe place." Instead he stood several feet away, looking at me and wagging his tail. And I knew in that moment that the decision that was made a few days before was the right one.  Chip has found his forever home, with us.
~Chip this morning, with his pack-mates~

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Joy Arrives at Golden Pines

At our house it may be wet, soggy and cold outside, but there's always room inside for a senior dog that needs a place to go.
~The view from our front porch this morning~
And on Monday that's what we did, we made room for one more, and we welcomed Joy. Found abandoned on a road in West Virginia by a family that couldn't afford to keep her, Joy eventually found her way to the Golden Retriever Rescue. I will add here that even though the family that found Joy couldn't keep her, they bought her a dog bed and sent it along with her. The bed may not be a well made one, but I'm touched by their thoughtfulness that says a lot about them. 
~Joy's first night with us~
We did not start out as Joy's foster home. But there was a bit of a "mishap" between Joy and a 5 pound smoked fillet of salmon in which the salmon and Joy both lost. She became very ill, and ended up hospitalized for about a week. The rescue felt it would be best for Joy if she went to another foster home.

Our dogs easily accepted this new comer who is quiet and very easy going. She's estimated to be about 11 years old, and her tail does not stop wagging. At just over 40 pounds, Joy has a few pounds to gain. She also has a few health-hurdles to get over; anemia, lyme disease, and of course her bout of severe gastroenteritis.

But this endearing little girl that was left abandoned on a road in West Virginia, now has a pretty brand new collar, and most importantly Joy has a bright future.

Welcome Joy, we're glad you're here!