Saturday, April 27, 2013

Josh - His Place in the Pack

Off to the vet first thing this morning with Josh and Annie.  We found out after Annie came to us last year that she has some damage to her liver and kidneys from medication that she was being given. Thankfully with a supplement we were able to stabilize them.  But Annie's last blood work results showed some changes in her kidneys so she needed to have a couple of more tests done. One was to check her blood pressure.  A laid-back-and easy going 14 year old Golden Retriever with high blood pressure just doesn't seem possible, does it?  But  apparently it can be in dogs suffering from kidney issues and if it is left untreated, hypertension can contribute to the damage done by kidney failure.  Thankfully Annie's blood pressure was just fine.  
For Josh it was a yearly exam, and a required rabies vaccine.  He also has a pretty good ear infection so that needed tending to as well.  I don't write too much about Josh. He found his way to us in 2002 as 3-4 month old puppy that was found on the side of the road after he'd been hit by a car.  It took 5 orthopedic surgeries to both hips, pelvis and front leg and a very long recovery to get him back on all four feet again.
Josh's position in the pack has changed little over the years.  He's a relatively quiet and very easy going dog, that loves to chase the frisbee and stays in the background, allowing the others to shine. Within the pack I think that he is probably considered one of the lowest dogs, but I can't be sure.  When he comes to me for attention, most often he is nuzzled out of the way by one of the other dogs. When I try to get him to jump onto the bed he won't if Charlie or another dog is there first.  Josh patiently waits for his turn to be given his dinner and his treats.  I have watched him interact with the other dogs and he seems to have their respect and he (thankfully) is not being bullied or picked on, which the lowest dog can be. It all just reminds me how complex pack-dynamics can sometimes be, so I guess I should just give up trying to figure it out.  But what wasn't hard to figure out is that it was really nice to spend one-on-one time with him (and Annie) and I think he really enjoyed his outing as well, even if it meant having to have a sore ear and vaccine to get it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Three Milestones

The week is off to its usual pace and slipping past.  It's nice to be able to come home and still have a little daylight left because it allows me to get some work done outside.  Last evening I enjoyed seeing the Barred Owls that take up residence in our woods each year.  I hear them often enough, but to actually see the pair together is rare.  My camera only captured the outline of one as the sun was setting.
This week we have had three little celebrations that went recognized here at home with the celebratory cookies for the dog, and a bakery treat for Carl and I.

The first one was the 22nd, where we celebrated the one year arrival of our girl Annie. I remember so vividly   the first day I met her.  It was a bittersweet day when her owner who was terminally ill with cancer said his good-byes to her, and I made a new friend.  Annie was welcomed into the pack, and has found her place here.  It is truly like she has always been here, a tribute to her spirit and the good life she has had.
The second milestone is Cissy.  Today she has been here exactly a month.  You all have followed her journey back to health and even though she still has a ways to go, your cheering her on has truly made a difference--Because I really thought (as did several others) that in those first days, that this little milestone was not going to be reached.
The third is that Carl is finally going back to work today.  There is still plenty of healing left to occur, with a heel broken in 3 places and a fractured ankle, it's a slow process. But we hope that the worst of it is finally behind us.  Thank-you all for the good thoughts you've been sending for him as well.
With both of us gone today, I am wondering what the dogs will do?
I say catch up on the 20 hour naps that they've missed...That's what Wendy (below) will be doing.
Enjoy your Wednesday!

Friday, April 19, 2013


The end of the week finally comes.  A long week of working every day, getting home by 7 PM and then starting my 'other job' of doing the things that Carl is unable to do. He is feeling really well and is finally done with the twice-daily IV antibiotics.  The hope is that he might be able to go back to work next week--Paws crossed!

Cissy continues to do well.  Her skin in some places is still red and itchy, (especially her feet) and other infections are still not quite cleared up, so she remains on medication and frequent baths with a prescription shampoo. She has a good appetite, but for whatever reason, she won't or can't eat out of a dog bowl and so I feed her from an old pie pan that works well for her.  I find Cissy's personality very sweet and endearing.  She hobbles around, has to be in the middle of what's going on, and with a bark that is a slightly hoarse, howling and rambling, she gives us her opinion about whatever may be happening!  She really loves attention and frequently surprises me by licking me when I least expect it.  We really enjoy having her as part of our household and I think we've become good friends.
To end my week this afternoon I had lunch with a couple that I consider long-time friends.  They are the very first friends I (we) made when Carl and I came to Virginia in 1995.  We've both moved twice since that time and even though we don't live too far from one another, life takes us in totally different directions, and we only are able to get together once every couple of months or so.  My friend personifies all the best qualities a friend could be and she is one of the few people with who I can truly “let down my hair.”  She has known me in good times and not so good times.  I know I can share my thoughts with her and she won’t criticize or judge me and I trust her completely.  I only hope I am as good of a friend to her as she is to me.

Afterwards we stood outside the restaurant and chatted a little more before we said good-bye and got back to our daily lives.  Just as with every time we get together, I find myself not wanting my time with her to end.  I've decided that spending time with a good friend is just like the cheesecake that I brought home to share with Carl--Why do all good things need to come to an end?  I guess it's a good thing that I bought two pieces!
Finally, my blogging friends, I'm sorry my visits to your blogs haven't been as frequent as I would like.  And because the rain this weekend will keep me from mowing the grass, I'll look forward to catching up with your news!

**My apology to Jo, and to anyone else I may have offended when originally in this post I referred to Cissy as 'being like an old lady.' It was not my intention, and I meant it only in the most endearing way. ~Kim~

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Rocking Chair

A perfectly quiet weekend that some would probably see as a boring one.  To me, it was much needed time to think, reflect, spend time with the dogs, take a few naps and recharge my inner batteries.  We spent time on the front porch for the first time this year and watched the world go by.
For me there's just something about sitting in a rocking chair in the warmth of the afternoon sun. Maybe it's from seeing too many movies or reading too many books. Or maybe it's just because I'm overly sentimental because my siblings and I used to love to do it at my Grandfather's house when I was growing up.  Whatever the reason, for me sitting on a porch in a rocking chair and rocking is therapeutic--I find the repetition of it all soothing rather than monotonous.  In thinking about it, I guess that it's probably much the same way that runners feel with the repeated motion of their feet hitting the pavement.  My mind really benefited from just sitting, rocking, mulling over the weeks events, letting the thoughts and feelings come to the surface and be put into perspective or to just let them go.    
It all really helped. And of course the dogs helped too--With a face like Todd's (below) how could it not?? But I think I'm ready to rejoin the human race.
I hope you had a good weekend too.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Where the Violets Bloom

There are simply no words to express my heartfelt thanks for the kind words you have left here on my blog and on facebook for the unexpected loss of Lucas.  Knowing so many around the world are sharing his loss has provided much comfort  The words for a tribute to Lucas, still won't come, but in time they will.  Thursday was a sleepless night and Friday was spent rewinding the events that led to his loss and remembering him. In the end, letting him go was the only decision that could be made.  But in my heart and mind (and in your comments) I have found needed reassurance and have no doubt that his time with us was one of contentment and happiness for him that he showed in many ways.
I overslept on Friday morning and was late to work on rainy and dreary morning that reflected my mood.  I felt like I was in merely going through the motions--Even though I was reminded that life continues; I'm needed despite my wanting the world to stop if only for a little while.  To the vet with 3 of the girls.  Sheba is still trying to get over a bad ear infection, Annie needed a check up. Cissy's skin is very  much improved; the blood work taken will tell us the rest of the story.
Home again to a peaceful evening.  The earlier storms had passed and so after the dogs were given their dinner I spent some time outside with them.  I stood at the fence lost in thought as the pangs of Lucas's loss came again when I noticed the spot in the yard where Todd and Lucas dug a hole a few days ago.  My eyes went to the sunny place place that Lucas used to like to lay to soak up the sun.  I noticed wild violets were blooming there.  Perhaps it was the searched for reassurance and 'sign' that all was okay.  I know that with time, I will be too.


**Footnote of the events that led to the decision to let Lucas go:
Lucas's having laryngeal paralysis was confirmed during the first surgery to remove his teeth, and it became the chief concern during the two subsequent surgeries he would have. Many dog owners know about this, but for those who don't, in the normal respiratory cycle when inhalation occurs a laryngeal muscle contracts and opens the airway. Laryngeal paralysis does not allow this to happen and dogs like Lucas have to inhale against an obstructed airway. That airway became totally obstructed making it very, very difficult and nearly impossible for Lucas to breathe on his own. Treatment after more than 12 hours should have helped, but sadly it was ineffective.  The decision to let Lucas go was made with the help of a kind, caring and compassionate vet who I met last year when she and her family adopted from the rescue.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lucas at the Rainbow Bridge

"And every new morning, all I can do, is hold on to the promise that we all hope is true. That when it's all over--when this life is through--I'll wake up in heaven and run to find you."

Thank-you all for the good thoughts and prayers that you sent for Lucas.  Sadly, his getting better was not meant to be and this afternoon I said good-bye to Lucas.  My heart is broken and the words are not coming to write a fitting tribute to him.  I know those words will come and I know you understand.  But I'm truly going to miss that sweet-silly-goofy-cat-stalking-Golden that was part of our lives for over a year.

God-speed my precious Lu-Lu...I hope you are met by our crew that have gone before you and you gave them my message.  And until we're all together again, I hope you enjoy the company of a cat that will let you chase them.   

Prayers for Lucas

It's nearly 3 o'clock in the morning and I've just gotten home.  Lucas's laryngeal paralysis was causing him to have breathing problems throughout Wednesday.  With warmer temperatures, we kept him inside and he was given benedryl to calm him down a bit and help with his breathing.  But I woke up before midnight hearing him wheezing to try and catch his breath.  At the animal-emergency we were going to be given medications to help with any irritation of his vocal cords and a little sedative to calm him down and we would be on our way home.  Unfortunately when they gave him the sedative, Lucas collapsed and was unable to breathe at all and he had to be intubated.  I've left him there, sedated and on oxygen and later today they will try to wean him off everything to see if he'll be able to breathe on his own.  I hope he will...  I hope you'll send some good thoughts and prayers for him, he can really use them.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Birthday

And today, Todd is turning two......
Time has flown so by fast and my puppy is now 2 years old.  Today I am recalling those memories of the first time I saw the photos of a litter of puppies that were so innocent and brand new.  I remember so vividly how I felt knowing that one of the little boys would be ours. Todd has been everything that I wanted when we decided to get a puppy. Todd has added spark and laughter to what was an otherwise quiet life.  

For Todd, life is serious, and met with dignity, reserve and a stout heart. He is by nature aloof, but to his accepted friends, family and pack members his devotion is deep.  In spite of his independent spirit, Todd's strong desire for approval has won his compliance with our wishes.  It goes without saying that I love this most unique character and his high spirit.  Todd is truly a friend and a companion, second to none.  

Thank-you, Lynn at Rocky Creek Scotties 
for allowing us to give a home to one of your most special Scotties!     


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Golden Enough

With all the errands done on Friday there was nothing planned for the weekend.  I was thrilled to be able to just stay home and finish catching up on things around the house. Outside the Eastern Phoebe for the third year in a row is busy building its "house" above our garage door.  This cheeky little bird is one of my favorites.  Its return a few weeks ago was a sure sign of that spring had to be on its way--The Phoebe was right, it has finally shown up.  Warming temperatures are forecast for the rest of our week.  Blossoms like the forsythia that is just starting to bloom will be in abundance by the end of the week.
Yesterday at her own choosing Cissy spent most of the day outside.  She really seems to enjoy the warmth of the sun.
Today she was quieter and she chose to stay inside most of the time.  Because of her very low thyroid level, her coat is thin, and she has no coat at all on her stomach side.  With a cool breeze, this evening I've warmed a towel and blanket for her and as I write this she's sleeping soundly.  I'm just hoping it's not an indication that she's not feeling well again.
I had a conversation with someone from the rescue about Cissy.  It's easy enough to see that she's not a 'full bred Golden Retriever' but a mix of something that I can't even begin to guess. But I was asked my thoughts about maybe transferring Cissy to an "all breed rescue" when she feels better. This would be because people coming to a breed specific rescue almost always are looking to adopt that particular breed and not a mixed breed. Placing Cissy into a new forever home via the Golden Retriever Rescue could be a challenge and added to that is her age and her health.  It was a good, frank discussion and one that had to take place. In the end we agreed that she is "golden enough" and will not be transferred to another rescue.  She is now an "honorary Golden Retriever."  

I wonder what Todd would think about being an "honorary Golden Retriever?"   

Friday, April 5, 2013

Her Best Day

I've worked every day this week, and with Carl still home recovering its left very little free time. But the week has ended on a good note with warmth and sunshine. My work day ends early on Friday so I quickly got my errands done and hurried home so the dogs and I could spend some time outdoors.
~Sheba (left) and Josh~
Also spending time outdoors with us was Cissy.  
~Lucas (left) and Cissy~
The change in her as we near the end of her second week with us, is nothing short of miraculous.  The vet caring for Cissy, who is not my regular vet but one I totally trust, told me at the start of the week to not be too hopeful about Cissy fully recovering. I reluctantly agreed with her, but it was only because of the difficult first week Cissy had with us--The thought that tough (and final) decisions would have to be made were very seriously being discussed with the vet and the rescue during those first several days.  But as this week passed, and I was seeing improvement in how she was feeling, and that her strength and appetite were returning, I couldn't (and can't) help but be optimistic and hopeful that Cissy will regain her health. There is no doubt as the video below shows, that she still has some hurdles to get over because her health and especially her skin issues are a result of long time neglect, and won't be 'cured' in just a matter of a few weeks.  But the video also shows that there is no doubt whatsoever that she is feeling better and Cissy thinks she is too--And today when she was standing in the yard, she was telling everyone about it who would listen.  I think it was her best day.