Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mid-Week Ramblings

My day off switched this week to today.  Its been a quiet uneventful one spent at home watching it rain, and not doing much.

Here are a few random things from our week so far...

It has been exactly 301 days since our boy Jake came to us.  I'm not sure why I've kept track of how many days it has been since we met him. I guess it's knowing how close he came to not making it out of the shelter in February.  I will always be grateful to the shelter for asking his owner to give him that chance, and to the rescue for being there for him.  Jake continues to do well and there's no doubt that he's happy.  The spinal-stenosis is progressing, but it's not slowing him down too much.
~Jake, celebrating 301 days!~
I've decided that if there were a TV reality show about animals that hoard, the lovely Evah would be the star. She takes *every *single *toy we have into the ex-pen with her. We take them out, scatter them around, and she takes them back in.  I've told her it was okay, because now we know where to find them.
~Evah, making no excuses for taking all the toys~
I've been in touch with Lab Rescue about our foster boy Bo. With his health problems mostly resolved, it's time to decide about who will be his forever home.  We are really on the fence with Bo and definitely leaning towards keeping him. His adjustment to his surroundings and our house has taken some time. Bo doesn't have a lot of confidence in himself and I've no doubt this is probably because of how he lived before he came to us. I describe him as aloof, a bit of a loner and he spends a lot of time alone and is a little disconnected with what is happening around him -- I'm sure that living in unimaginable circumstances with 40 other dogs has contributed to all that. I don't think that Bo has adjusted to his blindness like other blind dogs we've had before him.  We've spent a lot of time leading him around the house and yard and showing him how to get back to the door. Despite our doing that, he's still getting "lost."  But he's much-much better than he was.
~Bo made me laugh when he got comfy on a cat bed yesterday~
On the flip side, there's the endearing side of Bo that grabs my heart.  He is a gentle soul.  He perks up and will stand and wag his tail when he hears our voices. He loves attention and of course mealtime and treats.  Bo gets along great with the other dogs, and they like him too.  We've decided to roll the dice, let fate decide and see if anyone comes forward that's interested in adopting him.  I told Lab Rescue that we'll give it until about the middle of December, so Bo will have a forever family in time for Christmas.
Christmas...  It will be here before we all know it, and I think Todd can't believe it either.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Other Characters

The weekend is coming to an end.  It has gone way too quickly.  As always, I had plans to get more done than I actually did.  There's always next week, right?
Our new arrival Evah, may have taken center stage, but there has still been plenty going on with our other cast of characters. And while I've been caring for those characters inside, the main-character in our house Todd is taking care of what's going on outside.  What would be do without him?
Max returned for his final evaluation with the orthopedic surgeon.  He was happy with how Max has healed, and he was given the all clear on his left knee. His right knee as expected will also need surgery.  There is no reason to think that the rescue won't approve it being done, but it's going to have to wait.
Max has got a pretty ugly ear infection going on right now, and to avoid any cross contamination, he'll have to wait until it's all cleared up.  Max is okay with waiting
~Max has been doing a lot of head-shaking with this ear infection~
Also at the vet was our foster boy for Lab Rescue, Bo.  You'll recall that his previous career was similar to the one that Evah had.  Suffice it to say, that his "procedure" now means that his puppy-making days are over too.
The cats also couldn't be ignored.  We had our other little foster girl, Lucille at the vet too.  The same orthopedic surgeon that sees Max, sees her as well.  She's been given a good report and is healing well.  But Lucille still has "six more weeks of winter" before she is allowed to resume the life of an active and acrobatic cat.
Todd is just glad that none of this is happening to him.  At least he hopes it won't.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Better Days Ahead for Evah!

Another blur of a week for us.  I'm sure many of you are like me and are enjoying the Thanksgiving break as much as I am.  The only thing we have planned is dinner with good friends and their family today (Thursday) and spending some time at home.

Thank-you all for your kind words and supportive comments for our newest arrival Evah. One comment that Stoermann Home left and deleted, was one I really thought was a good and valid thought about Evah's care that asked about her staying with Retired Lady, Stoermann Home said:
 "isn't there a program out there that helps the elderly keep their companion dogs when they get financially difficult to keep? I mean, its great that you got the dog, but what if SHE kept the dog and didn't have to bear the cost of the unexpected medical issues."  
The answer to that question is yes there are vets offices that provide routine care to senior pet owners at a reduced fee or for no charge.  Understandably it's also up to individual practices to decide what discounted services they'll provide beyond that. The vet care that Evah needed by Thursday was more than Retired Lady was able and willing to pay, and my vets office and any nearby were willing to provide at no cost to her.
It all began when Retired Lady got Evah on Saturday afternoon.  From that time until Tuesday when she was first taken to see the vet, Evah had not relieved herself. The vet emptied her very full bladder, but did nothing about her bowels.  Retired Lady wasn't charged for other palliative care and they were hoping Evah would be okay. But by Thursday, no matter how many times she was taken outside, Evah would do nothing but try to go back inside because she was afraid of the noise made by passing cars. By Thursday Evah was (understandably) beginning to not feel well and hadn't eaten.  When I got Evah home I'd hoped that letting her off lead in our big yard, with no cars around would do the trick.  It didn't, and she even became sick overnight.  On Friday morning I dropped Evah off at the vets office and she received all the needed treatment including blood work and a few other tests.  Twelve hours later I was picked up an exhausted Evah who was feeling much better.
~Evah last Saturday, showing off her post-puppy figure~
Caring for the other dogs (in my next post) and getting Evah all settled in has taken us to a week later. Evah has ended her first week with us on a good note and with everything (now) working like clock-work. A needed antibiotic has kicked in, and that has helped as well.

Evah is just as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside.  She gets along really well with all the dogs, and is also learning about cats.  In true Golden Retriever fashion she takes everything in stride, loves her meals and happily takes treats.  If we're having any problems with her, it's that she is very nervous about exploring the house. I've tried to introduce her to other rooms but she gets nervous and wants to go back to the ex-pen where she feels safe. I'm sure in time that will change as she gets more confidence.
I decided to sign over my ownership of Evah to the rescue.  This was in part in the event that there are unforeseen repercussions between the kennel and Retired Lady no longer having her. I think that there being another link between Evah and where she originally came from is best for her.  And the Rescue as Evah's owner are in a better position to stand up against the kennel that she came from.
I think we'd all agree that Evah should only go forward to a new life and not back to her old one.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Evah Arrives at Golden Pines

Its been an unusually busy and hectic week for us, that shows no signs of slowing down even though the weekend is in sight.  Some appointments that were made weeks ago were rescheduled to make time for other more pressing ones.
The week also took a turn when I received a call from my vets office on Tuesday.  A retired lady in her 70's had come in with a Golden Retriever that she'd recently bought from a kennel named Evah.  Her new addition has several medical issues. Medical issues that her limited budget does not allow her to pay for. Retired lady was overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn, a vet-technician contacted me in hopes the rescue I volunteer with could help.  I called Retired Lady and chatted with her. The bottom line was her concern about the money she had already spent and the funds that are needed to provide the care for Evah.  She'd decided to return her to the kennel for a refund.  Fast forward through a couple of phone conversations, and I felt like I had to do something. Rescues (understandably) never buy dogs from people.  Normally, I would never, ever have considered doing it either. But given the circumstances to which Evah would be returned has totally outweighed everything some would say was sensible.  So, I made an offer to Retired Lady to buy Evah from her, and she accepted my offer.
Evah has been used solely for breeding.  Every single season for this nearly 7 year old girl has produced a litter of puppies. According to her papers, Evah was born at this kennel, and her parents were also born there.  The website and facebook page for this kennel show her puppies off, as well as the litters of several other dogs just like her.  Her last litter of 13 puppies born only 6 weeks ago via c-section, is probably why Evah was sold -- Her "job" as a puppy-machine are finally over.  ***I will add here that I am absolutely no way whatsoever against those who responsibly breed dogs because they are devoted to a particular breed, and do it with the health, soundness and welfare of all dogs being first and foremost. What I am against are dogs that are bred solely and purely for profit, which is how this girl has been used.***   
Retired Lady and I met this evening, and I became Evah's legal owner.  Retired Lady could not have been more kind and grateful that she will be cared for. Tomorrow I'll drop her off at the vets office to have blood work and tests done while I'm at work.  I don't know what the future holds for Evah.  But she now has options.  I spoke to a coordinator with the rescue a couple of days ago, and I may sign my ownership of Evah over to the Golden Retriever Rescue. However, I'll admit that I've not really thought that far because my goal was just to get Evah from Retired Lady before she changed her mind about taking her back to the kennel.
Thankfully, tonight and right now in this moment, there are no decisions to be made.  Evah now has a bright future, free of a kennel and that to me is worth more than any amount of money that has changed hands.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Side Trip

Before winter sets in, the holidays come and a few other things on the agenda, I was off to Kentucky for a few days to see my youngest brother. Weather is always concern when driving over the mountains of West Virginia this time of year.  But it was a good day for an 11 hour drive.
A stay at a hotel for one night...
A stay at my favorite Air BnB the rest of my visit.
My Father was in the Army and was originally from Texas. My Mom's family roots are from around the little farming community of Yeaman, Kentucky located about 100 miles southwest of Louisville in Grayson County. There are mostly farms along the country road to get to a church that is just as I remember it growing up.  Next to it is a small cemetery where my Grandparents and other family members are buried. One headstone had the below quote, that I thought was worth remembering.
My visit ended all too soon, and I was on my way back to Virginia.  Heading out of Charleston West Virginia, on Route 60, there is the classic section of what is known as the Midland Trail that begins as Charleston’s downtown skyline disappears.
It stretches 120 curving miles and is a road full of West Virginia scenery and history that you miss by taking speedier interstate.  The two photos below are of Kanawha Falls that drops over a cofferdam built to redirect the river’s flow toward an old hydropower house at the left edge of the photo.

My favorite stop is Hawks Nest State Park.  
It's a peak on Gauley Mountain in Ansted, West Virginia. The name came from the many fish hawks which inhabited the massive cliffs. When the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway railroad began blasting in the area in the 1800's the hawks left the area and never returned.  Travelers like me stop to see the beautiful view of the river below. 

And for this building...  The bathroom...
The side trip slowed down my return home -- And when it was getting dark and I still had a ways to go, I was regretting that I'd made that decision.
But all that vanished when I finally got home.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Todd's Post Election Recovery Advice

I went out of town for a few days this past week without the dogs. All was well when I returned.  But while I get the post about my trip ready to share, Todd is helping me out. We both know pretty well how people may be feeling about the election results on Tuesday.  I've chosen to not post my views here -- But in hopes of helping us to come to terms with what has truly been an extraordinary series of events, Todd would like to share his "post election recovery advice."

1. Feel free to scream or bark, whichever one you prefer.
2. Manage your exposure  ..... to social media...or just people in general.
3. Create an exit plan, or a strategy to get out of any anxiety-provoking situation.
Number 4 and 5.  Practice acceptance and know what your triggers are.
6. No matter how much you may want to, don't engage "them."  No one wins.  Well, maybe if you're Todd.  But remember to respect your family members, friends and pack-mates.
7.  Practice good behavior.
8. Slow down and do something that you enjoy.  Ripping up a new toy works for Todd.
9. Look for and/or remember your support system and spend some time with them.
10. Perspective and personal reflection may help too.
....So, go for a walk, or just spend time outdoors enjoying the fresh air.
With your dogs of course...

We hope this advice helps, and if you have any you'd like to share, please do.  As always thank-you for taking a moment and stopping by.  I hope you'll stop by again! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Middle of the Week Already!

We have rounded the corner to the middle of the week.  Where does the time go? All the dogs seem to be having a pretty good week.  No stomach upset, (knock on wood), no wanting out in the middle of the night (knock on wood) and no more counter-surfing for cat food or anything else. (knock on wood).  
You'll recall that Charlie was a concern because he wasn't eating. I called Mobile Vet a few days ago, and we talked about it.  Again, instead of coming he prescribed a medication for nausea (Cerenia) that I already had, so I gave that to him.  As of this evening, it looks like Charlie's appetite has returned -- However I'll admit to topping his meal with a little bit of baby food to tempt him. Whatever works, right?
The lovely little Lucille that we have for the SPCA also had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  It was time for her to have the staples taken out of her leg, and to have her first healing x-ray taken.  It looks like she's mending really well, but still has to wear the "cone of shame" for now, and remain crated.  I think she's okay with that.

Max was happy that Lucille saw the surgeon and not him.  His turn will come next week.
Another vet visit was needed for some follow up tests for our foster-boy Bo from Lab Rescue. The results will be returned in a few more days. He seems to be feeling pretty well.  I'm really happy with how he's finally settled into the routine and the household. I have to say that it seemed to start coming together when we just let him set the pace and decide for himself where he wanted to be, and what he wanted to do. When we were on our way back from the vets office the other day, I have to say, he looked so happy sitting on the back seat. I had the windows open and he was sniffing the air and to me, he looked like he didn't have a care in the world. Maybe he didn't.
Another dog that doesn't have a care in the world appears to be Deizel (previous foster boy for Lab Rescue).  I got the below picture from his family yesterday.  The e-mails I've gotten from them have left no doubt about how well he's doing and it's really clear that they all adore Deizel.  And I've no doubt that Deizel would say that the feeling is mutual.