Friday, November 29, 2013

Ready or Not

Just as we planned, it was a quiet Thanksgiving for us. By late morning we had both spoken to all of our siblings and other family members. For breakfast we enjoyed a holiday tradition of my homemade cinnamon rolls that are baked in a well seasoned cast-iron-frying pan (or skillet) that once belonged to my grandparents.  (recipe can be found here)
The rest of the day was spent relaxing and getting some much needed rest.
Today in the mail came a pop-up holiday card from one of my dearest friends, that we just love!!  So, with Thanksgiving behind us, ready or not, let the Christmas season begin!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lovely words: Staying Home for Thanksgiving

I really do love Thanksgiving.  I didn't always. When we first came to Virginia, Thanksgiving used to mean traveling home to Kentucky.  This meant a 12 hour drive in ridiculous traffic on Wednesday and a high-speed return on Sunday to be back to work on Monday.  But that craziness came to an end when after consecutive years there was horrible weather when we crossed over the mountains of West Virginia.  So, we decided to start staying home.  When we did that there was none of the dread and worry I used to feel over the thought of dicey weather, slippery roads and terrible traffic.
When we eliminated 12 hours of driving, a world of possibilities opened up. We received invitations from friends to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, or we could simply stay home.  Having that choice totally changed the holiday for us and became one I looked forward too.  This year is no different.  We had 5 thoughtful friends invite us to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at their homes, but we said no to all of them--This was only because its been a very busy and stressful few weeks, with the dogs, work, and everything else life has handed us and we are tired and worn out.  More than once the last couple of days, I found that being able to say those lovely words: "we're staying home for Thanksgiving," sounded as good as the dinner itself...Well, almost as good!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

He's a Scottie After All

The coldest day since last winter with temperatures that didn't get above freezing all day.  The hummingbird feeder left out for any stragglers, was frozen almost solid.  

The Goldens on days like this, had moments of being invigorated by the cold, but preferred  the warmth of the inside.
~CarrieAnne sharing her crate with Shadow (right)~ 
Todd on the other hand, wanted to stay outside.  As he sat, unflinching, facing the cold north winds of November, I noticed that he had a stoic and aristocratic air about him.  But he's supposed to be that way, he's a Scottie after all.

The Road Most Traveled

The road most traveled these days seems to be to the vets office.  For the 3rd Saturday in a row, that's where we were, bright and early--Why do I always take the 8 AM appointment?
Today the appointment was for Josh.  Late Thursday evening he was standing with his head down low, and turned toward his back-leg, and he wouldn't/couldn't stand straight--And when he walked, he walked in very slow circles, like a twirl.  He wouldn't move his head, so I knew it was his neck and of course I was worried that he may have slipped a disc. To make it all the more worrisome, he wouldn't lay down, and just stood there, looking at me.  I gave Josh a pain-pill, and we went to bed hoping he'd finally lay down and get some rest.  I woke up a couple of hours later to Josh's whining, and his still standing in about the same place. Of course I became even more concerned, but eventually he did find a place to lay down.  By morning there was a slight improvement. Once at work, I did a search on the internet which took me to a site that told about someone's dog who'd sprained their neck--I had no idea that was possible, did you?  A lot of my worry about Josh left when he was wagging his tail and was definitely better by Friday afternoon.  But just to be sure it was a sprained neck, I made an appointment for him to see the vet who confirmed what I thought. He's now on a muscle relaxer and rimadyl.  He's still holding his head to his left a little, but he's moving it more, standing straighter and is no longer 'twirling' when he walks.  Josh will be fine (I hope) in a few more days.  But until he is, no tugging the frisbee with Sheba. Sheba is okay with that, and in the photo below you can see her on the right showing off to Josh on the other side of the fence that she has the frisbee all to herself!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Better Day

~Annie, feeling better~
Time has really gotten away from me, and it feels like so long since I've been here.  Today I was off work because of a broken cable on our garage door. The serviceman, arrived on time, quickly repaired the cable, put the door back on its track, oiled and tightened everything and charged way less than I thought he would, left me feeling really relieved!  So with that, the dogs and I enjoyed some outside time together in the chilly but sunny day, and nice warm nap together afterwards.  
Several times today the cheerfulness of a good friend of mine who always says, "I've never had a better day" kept coming to mind.  I really do think that dogs think that every day, don't you?  But because it's easy to see that Annie feeling a bit better, and knowing that it's safe to say that the infection that Wendy has, hasn't gotten any worse, and because today is my 32nd wedding anniversary, for today I can say that "I've never had a better day" too!  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Another almost nearly sleepless night because of the off and on cries of Annie which couldn't be ignored.  I'd thought when it started that it was Sunny who wanted to go outside.  But when it began again about an hour later, I realized it was Annie.  I did the best I could to make sure that she was comfortable and warm.  By about 4 o'clock this morning I was trying to decide if I should take her to the emergency vet, but decided to wait.  The appointment was made for 9 o'clock to send her to the rainbow bridge. She slept soundly as we got the other dogs outside and settled.  When we got Annie up, she was shaky at first, but she shook it off, and went outside.  I offered her breakfast, and she ate....well....okay.... I took her to the vet and she walked in and greeted everyone.  I was even more baffled.  We went through everything of the previous hours, did some tests, and while there are a few changes, such as she's become anemic, the vet felt as do I that it was nothing that warranted making that final decision for her.  So I brought Annie home.  I have to admit to feeling like I'm 'crying wolf' because of what happened with Wendy on Wednesday.  But I know what has been happening with Annie over the past week and what I heard in the early morning hours.  And I also know that for now and for today, that the rainbow bridge will have to wait for Miss Annie to arrive.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sleepless Nights and Worry

To start, my apologies for not being able to stop by your blogs and catch up on your news this week.  But it has been a week of sleepless nights and a lot of worry because of our girls, Wendy and Annie.

Annie's appetite has been on the decline for more than a week, and she didn't eat at all on Thursday or Friday morning.  I tried to remedy that by tempting  her with the smelliest of foods, but she wanted none of it. Annie also hasn't wanted to go for walks, and has been sleeping for hours in the same place.  Trips outside have been very brief.  The middle of the night I've been awakened by her incessant drinking, and constant barking at what appears to be nothing.   When she's not doing either of those, I've been awake just to check on her (and Wendy).
Then there's Wendy.  A tumor that she has had for more than a year, started to grow a few weeks ago, and has now become ulcerated and infected.  From past experience with large tumors, by Wednesday I was so sure that the only option for Wendy would be to do surgery to remove the tumor--But at Wendy's tender age of 16, there is no way whatsoever that I would put her through that.  And so I reluctantly made a vet appointment and convinced myself that the only thing that could be done would be to say good-bye to her.  Once at the vets office, Wendy was visibly shaking as we waited to be seen, which was unusual for her--Did Wendy know what I had already decided?  Whether she knew or not, the vet didn't see it my way at all.  She feels that we should try two strong antibiotics to try and knock down the infection, keep it clean and see if that makes a difference.  I understand that this may not work, but I totally agree that it's worth a try.
So with that new found optimism, and a twinge of guilt for the hopelessness I'd been feeling, as I was getting Wendy back into my van to go home, her hopeful and soul filled eyes looked into mine and she barked, a single bark at me--A reminder no doubt for me to stop giving up so easily.  That same reminder is what I'm hanging onto for Annie too.  She ate her meal this evening; so as I silently celebrate, I'm trying to be positive that our two very special girls, Annie and Wendy will be okay.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Sunday Visit

We've had sunshine all weekend, but there’s been a definite crispness to the air this weekend here in northern Virginia. We’ve had frost a couple of mornings and each evening has required turning up the heat to take the chill off.  If we still lived in a subdivision, we would have leaf raking galore to do.  But here in the country, no one rakes and so we just let the leaves blow away.  
~Josh (left) and Sheba~
I was looking forward to another quiet weekend, where I didn't have to go anywhere beyond our property lines, but of course that didn't happen.  I was on the road early Saturday morning to take Cissy to the vet to have the drain in her ear removed.  We'll be scheduling surgery for her very soon, and she was also given an antibiotic for a skin infection.  She was exhausted when we got home and was sound asleep after her dinner.
Today I got a call from Shadow's first family, asking if they could see him this afternoon.  It goes without saying that I feel like he belongs to and with us.
But there are those first 12 years of Shadow's life that will always connect them to one another, and I know they still care about what happens to him. We had a really pleasant visit, and I could tell Shadow was happy to see them again.  As I drove home afterwards I realized that Shadow is lucky; he has always had a home and a family that cares about him--Every dog should have that.
And maybe the chance to roll in the leaves too.
~Sheba (front) and CarrieAnne~

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Best Part

~Our driveway today~
I'm home today enjoying my first of two Thursday's off a month and it's cold and rainy outside.  After catching up on a few things, I had an early lunch which was the last of a vegetable soup that I made at the start of the week. As a kid growing up and even now, homemade soup on days like this is a perfect comfort food.  My Mom had no recipe when she made vegetable soup. That was because it depended on what was leftover in the refrigerator--Green beans or corn and just about everything else from a previous nights dinner, would all be added and served in white porcelain bowls with wide rims along with cornbread on the side. As we were enjoying a bowl of soup on the first night, I had that overwhelming desire for cornbread. It was so powerful in fact, that I made a pan just so I could eat a huge wedge warm from the oven at ten o'clock that night.  Talk about a memory in a bowl of soup--but those memories are among the best part of my life.
I hope you're enjoying your Thursday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Me Worry??

~Our cat CC~
It was lunchtime at my office today and I was anxiously waiting for a text from Lydia (new dog-walker) to find out how day two had gone for her at our house.  If her schedule was the same as yesterday, I thought she would be at our house around 12:30 and I'd asked her to let me know how it went.  But I didn't want Lydia to think that I didn't trust her or have confidence in her, so I didn't try to contact her. However, when I didn't hear from her by about 1:30, my imagination took over.  I wondered, had Lydia come today?  Had she accidentally left the gate open and the dogs all got out, and she was running around the county to round them all up?  Had Todd or Sunny bitten her, and she didn't have use of her fingers to call or thumbs to text? Had Shadow seen the cat, attacked her, and Lydia couldn't call because she was putting CC back together again?  Why hadn't she let me know how it had gone?  I decided to do the only thing I could, I texted her.  I got the below response....
Remember that Sunny growled at her yesterday.  So, score one point for Lydia...

I received two more texts from Lydia telling me that things had gone much better today with Todd being on a leash and she'd gotten him back inside with no problem.  Score another point for Lydia.
I just knew there was nothing to worry about.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Todd verses Lydia

It was not the best first day for Lydia, as our new dog-walker.  Just as I was leaving for lunch, I got a phone call from her telling me that Sunny had gone into one of the crates and was growling at her.  I told her to just leave him alone and try to avoid eye contact with him, and that he would be fine.  Sunny met Lydia like they were old friends on Friday and was really relaxed around her. However, history is showing that he gets nervous and unsure about someone he doesn't know that well, (or at all) when either Carl or I aren't around. We both agreed it will just take him some time.
Then my phone rang again about 30 minutes later.  It was Lydia. She couldn't get Todd to come inside.  He'd been barking at her since she arrived, and despite the best of bribes (all of which he ate) and hardest of efforts he would not come into the house.  Lydia is an experienced dog-walker with about 8+ years of experience, but does not have much experience with Scottie's. I know she is trying really hard to be friends with the dogs, and with the exception of Sunny and Todd, today that pretty much worked.  But Todd doesn't yet see Lydia as a friend, and I think he may also see her as a bit of a pushover. It goes right along with something that I read once that said, "when you own a Scottie, you live with a dog that thinks he's smarter than you."  And today, Todd showed Lydia that he was. And in the end, we decided that nothing she could do would get Todd back inside, and he would be okay left outside for the afternoon. So, with the nip Todd gave Lydia on Friday, and the events of today, the score is now:  Todd: 2 -- Lydia: 0 .  I don't know about you, but I'm rooting for the current underdog in all of this right now, and that's Lydia. And I'm hoping that tomorrow with Todd on a leash, she'll at least get on the score board.  We'll see.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Welcoming Committee

The week has been a non eventful and very quiet one for us. Cissy is doing just okay.  Being a girl, and an independent one at that, she has decided that she no longer wants me care for her tender ear.  She started to run away from me when she saw me coming towards her with a wash-cloth -- Who knew a gal of her unknown and respectable age could be so quick and agile?   She would also whine when I would try to put the compresses on it, or even just to move it gently for a look.  But it's easy to tell that there is some swelling. Given that, I don't think we're going to be able to avoid surgery.
~Cissy styling in her cone of shame and coat~
Our week ended with the firing of our dog-walker of 6 years, and the arrival of the new one to meet the pack.  Actually, 'Lydia' is not new to some of the dogs.  She used to work for 'CC' and came to our home for about 3 years, and left almost that long ago to work for another service. I really liked her, and was disappointed when she left.  But Lydia now has her own business and was more than happy to take us on as clients.  When the Goldens meet someone new, it's like they are meeting a friend, so I don't know if Sheba, Josh and Carrie remembered Lydia or not. Charlie is always a little shy when meeting someone new, however Lydia and I both thought he seemed to remember her because he was so happy when she came in, and tried several times to get into her lap.
~The welcoming committee~
Todd was one of the dogs she'd never met.  And like many Scottie's he is aloof by nature and he is also a bit territorial.  Despite the warm welcome from the Goldens, all Todd could do at first was bark and bark at Lydia.  And when she sat down on the steps he nipped at her, nearly tearing her shirt in the process.  By the end of the visit, when Todd was done showing off, he was still a bit reserved, but was taking treats from her hand. I have a feeling that two are going to be great friends, and Lydia is determined that they will be.