Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Good-Bye to a 'Lost Boy' Named Teddy

It is with a sad heart that I tell you that yesterday, we sent Teddy to the Rainbow Bridge.  If you had told me that after only having him for 16 days, that I would be writing this post about him, I would not have believed it.
~Teddy on the ride home the day we met~
But I'd taken Teddy to the vet on Monday, holding onto a thread of hope that maybe, just maybe, there was something that could be done. The vet was very kind and patient and answered all of my "what if we tried this questions" about possible treatment.  But none of them were options for Teddy because of what we are certain were the advanced symptoms of a brain tumor. Added to that, his heartbeat was slow, his lungs were starting to sound "crackly" and he'd begun having focal seizures. It was time for Teddy to go.

I'll admit to feeling an overwhelming sadness that our time with Teddy was cut so short. I suppose it's natural to ask, "was there a reason that he came to us?  Is there a lesson to be learned in his loss?"  At the moment, I just don't know, and I may never know. But what I do know with absolute certainty, is that for those 16 days, Teddy was safe, warm and he was loved.
~One of our last days with Teddy~
Teddy loved attention and was an affectionate boy that would lean into you when you petted him. When I would kiss him on the head, or whisper in his ear and tell him how glad I was he was with us, and what a good boy he was, he always would wag his tail.  That made it easy to see that he liked being told that, and when he'd look at me with such soul filled eyes it melted my heart and brought a smile to my face. And so on Monday, when it was time for the vet to end his suffering, I held him and as he left this life for the next, I told him one last time that he was a good boy and that I was grateful that I'd gotten the chance to meet him.
The well known quote by Irving Townsend has been tumbling around in my head since I let Teddy go, and it seems appropriate.  
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan." 
While I may not have the answers to my questions about "why" I have no regrets, and I would live no other way.  I would welcome Teddy all over again.  And I so hope I get to see him again healthy and full of life one day!

Some of you may recall that the dogs that come to us as strays are affectionately called " the lost boys."  So, I say God-speed to this lost boy, that I am so grateful found his way to us, and who I have lit a candle for to help him find his way to the Rainbow Bridge. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Occupied Inside and Out

I want to start by thanking everyone who visited here last week and left kind thoughts and support for Eva.  Your comments and visits really mean a lot to me.
~The end of the day from my front porch~
This past week, the dogs have really kept me occupied and taken up practically all of my spare time.

I'll admit to still reeling about Eva's diagnosis.  One evening, on my way home from work, I did what many women do when they're down, and that's a little bit of shopping.  It was for Eva. Replaced is her plain black collar she was wearing with a pink-hearted-plaid one.
I made a big deal about the collar which she seemed to like.  But it was hard to tell if she liked the treats I was giving her just a little bit more.

One thing it's not hard to tell is that Todd does like Eva.  Even if she doesn't always see what he does.
They've become pals, and he has been a good mentor - Teaching her that when outside, to look left....
And to look right...  

On the inside, we've been struggling with our newest arrival, Teddy.  Getting him to eat this week has been a real challenge. I've been hoping that with time, rest, and medications maybe Teddy would improve, but I've seen no improvement.  Actually, we've been losing ground with Teddy the last few days.  He's only eating a few bites at mealtime. I've tried everything to entice him, finally settling with green tripe and cheese mixed with kibble, which he seems to like. --What dog wouldn't, right?
Today Teddy, is very quiet, with slowed breathing. He is sleeping most of the time, and will barely look up when we rouse him. Holistic Vet came to see Jake on Friday and did a good thorough exam of Teddy.  She gently and kindly suggested I consider letting him go.  But I'd felt like it wasn't time.  Teddy is not in any pain, and there is a noticeable peace and calm around him. It's how it should be. Tomorrow we see the vet again and will decide then what the next step will be.

I will end on a positive note and say that we have signed and returned the contract, and have officially added Bo as a permanent member of our household. It's how it should be with him as well.
~Teddy and Bo snoozing together~

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eva's Past, Present and Future

Friday was a particularly long day that began with a lot of hope, and ended with a lot of discouragement.  Exhausted from it all, I went to bed early.

I'll begin this post by telling you the rest of the story about our girl that you know as "Eevah, or Evah."  Because of where she came from, and how I got her, I felt strongly that I needed to protect her from her past. But on Friday, that past caught up with her. And I feel like it's time to share that past with all of you.  Eva (the actual spelling of her name) came from a commercial kennel here in Virginia.  The dogs at this kennel (puppy mill) are kept, bred and are exploited purely for profit.  Students at a nearby college consider it a "fun afternoon" to go there, pay a $5 donation to get to play with the Golden Retriever puppies and walk the parents.  "Commercial Kennel" advertises doing this, and a friend of mine has a daughter who attends this college, and she has gone there many times with her friends.  Eva was even part of their advertising as were her puppies. The $5 donation supposedly goes to "charity" but there is little doubt, at least in my mind, about where that money is actually going.  Commercial Kennel, with their carefully kept records, operates within the law and despite how you or I may feel about it, it's a legal business. Unfortunately.

I don't really want to dwell on Eva's past.  But that past of her having puppies twice a year for about 7 years, now appears to be affecting her future health that we will all agree is of course the top priority.  As you know, I took Eva on Friday for an ultrasound to see if a spay surgery had been done when her last litter of puppies were delivered via c-section in October. The results were that Eva is still able to have puppies. The other not-so-good-news is that there is not going to be anything that we can do to change that.
Tests we've been doing on Eva show a protein loss in her urine and high blood pressure.  Tying it all back to the ultrasound which showed that her kidney's have abnormalities in their appearance.  The diagnosis is Chronic Kidney disease.  Eva being put under anesthetic could cause renal failure, so it makes doing a spay surgery, too risky.

It's possible that her kidney's may have been an issue for awhile, and Commercial Kennel probably never had any kind of blood work done to have known that.  It's also possible that the anesthetic from the c-section that Eva had in October could have been the culprit for the current condition of her kidney's. It's impossible to know for sure.

The plan is to put Eva on medication (enalapril) with the hopes that it will help with the protein loss, and high blood pressure. Eva will be 8 years old in a few weeks. This disease usually affects dogs a few years older than she is and progresses slowly.  So, our goal will be to try and slow it down, with medications and diet.
There are few words to say how sad and disappointed I am that Eva's life is going to be shortened by this disease.  It's a truly helpless feeling.

But if there's anything I have learned in living with dogs, is that they live in the present. They don't drag their history with them into the present moment and they don't project their worries into the future.  They leave that to us!  They're happy doing what they do, wagging their tails and never missing the chance to enjoy life.  As you can see in the video below that I made at the start of the year of Eva, she's no exception.
At times like this, I need to remember and hang onto this lesson. And do it - For Eva.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reintroductions and Settling In

The week began with me home from work because I wasn't feeling well, yet again.  But we end the week with a spring-like temperatures that would anyone feel better!
Our former-diva-foster, Bella has returned for her visit while her owners are on a cruise. Her reintroduction to our dogs went really well.  There are those that will say that dogs do not remember one another or places.  Others like me, feel like they maybe they do.  Bella sure seemed like she does.  For example, the first meal I gave her after she arrived, she stood in her place where she used to wait for me to bring her bowl of food to her, and she is sleeping in the same place as well.    
~Bella - Does she remember?~
Max's recovery is going pretty well. I added another medication to help with some discomfort that I thought he was having, and he seems much happier and content.
~Max, one week into recovering a 2nd time~ 
Our newest addition, Teddy has adjusted nicely. I was able to get him to the vet and he tested positive for 2 tick borne illnesses, lyme and ehrlichiosis. He is also anemic, that we think has been caused by his intestinal parasites.  We began 2 antibiotics and my hope is that he'll perk up in a few days.  He sleeps a lot of the time, but it's hard to say if it's because of his age, or that he doesn't feel well. Maybe it's both. Time will tell.
Back at the vet on Friday will be Eevah.  She was scheduled to have her spay surgery but that has been postponed because she has high blood pressure.  Until we can get that under control, it will have to wait.  However, there is a question as to if she needs to spayed at all.  You might recall that when she had puppies this past fall, they were delivered via cesarean. Because of her age, it has left a question in all of our minds, including the vets that maybe it was done when her last litter arrived.  It might explain why the "breeder" sold her.  But because we cannot contact anyone connected to her past, and "Retired Lady" who I got her from doesn't know either, we're doing an ultrasound to find out.  So, Friday the 13th will either be a lucky or unlucky day for Eevah - Lucky that she may not need to have another surgery, unlucky in that she may.  
~Eevah, keeping the secret as to if she can have puppies or not~
Eevah is not worried about any of that.  But when I put the monkey hat on her, as she stood there totally still, not knowing what to do, she may have been a little worried about what her life may be coming to.
Todd knew exactly how she felt!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Teddy Arrives at Golden Pines!

Saturday was a long day that took me right though the heart of horse country.  Despite the snow flurries and the cold, it's a really pretty and scenic part of Virginia in any season.  
Middleburg Virginia has the reputation as the “Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital,” drawing in distinguished and well-known visitors from all over the U.S.
It's also a charming town with lovely boutiques and shops. and there are beautiful and (big) historic horse farms tucked all around.
But it wasn't a shopping trip today.  I was meeting someone who was bringing me a senior boy named Teddy.

Estimated to be about 13-14 years old, Teddy was found as a stray, walking in circles in someones yard.  The county Animal Control was called, and he was taken to the shelter to "do his time."  As expected, no one came looking for this "lost boy" and he was officially turned over to the rescue.  I'll just add right here that it's always mind-boggling to me that someone could have a dog for so many years, and then not be looking for them.     
~Teddy at his temporary foster home~
Teddy tilts his head, and along with his walking in circles it makes us all quite positive that he has  "old dog vestibular syndrome." He is also very thin, had a terrible ear infection and tested positive for several different kinds of parasites, all of which he has been treated for. Given all of this, maybe this is the reason why no came to claim him at the shelter?      

After our introductions, Teddy got comfy for the drive home.
Soon enough we were back home and it was time for a few more introductions. Because Teddy loses his balance when he walks, I limited his meeting everyone - Meaning he did not meet Todd, who I call the "wild card" one on one.  After some rest, and a full meal, it was lights out until early this morning. We finished the intros...Or he met Todd, and all went well.  Teddy is a very friendly boy and I don't think his tails has stopped wagging since we met. .
~First meeting at the fence - Notice Todd telling him off~
I'm grateful that with the snow and the temperatures below freezing the last couple of days, that this sweet senior boy named Teddy is safe and warm.  And I look forward to getting to know him.

Friday, January 6, 2017

His Own Bed

The first measurable snow today brought a delay at work.  I was okay with that because it gave me just a little bit of time to get things ready for Max to come home.

About midday I got a call from the rescue's medical coordinator letting me know she'd heard from the surgeons's office about Max.  Despite their best efforts, Max didn't want to eat or drink. They were asking me to come and take him home to try and get him to eat something.  Max may have Golden Retriever in his genetic makeup, but he clearly channels his poodle side when it comes to eating.  He is as finicky as a cat when it comes to food and treats.
By the time I got Max home and settled, he fell asleep. I woke him up to feed him and he only ate about about a 1/3 of his meal. But he had water, and wanted to be taken out.  So, I'm hoping Max just needs a good nights sleep in his own bed. Who doesn't benefit from that?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Blogging in 2017

My blog is now a little more seven years old, and I’ve published just under a thousand posts in that time. Along the way, I have written and still have about 100 drafts that I have never published. Sometimes I just didn’t finish the posts. Sometimes I thought they were too boring. Sometimes I wrote an entire blog post then changed my mind about publishing it for whatever reason.
~Todd never changes his mind --  He loves his red ball!~
Last year, as you may know, was a struggle to keep my blog going.  Many times I thought about just giving it up. But I have changed my mind about doing that because as bad as I am about blogging, I hold onto what I why I began this blog in the first place.  It was because I wanted a place where the dogs who are so often forgotten about, are remembered. YOU have helped that to become a reality.  You have helped to celebrate our successes, helped me welcome the new additions and shared in the lowest moments and the losses -- For that and so much more, I am truly humbled and so very, very grateful.
~A loss in 2016, our beloved friend and companion, Sheba~
Another reason I want to continue blogging is because I also have come to truly value my cyber friendships that keep me going.  Blogging has given me a chance to connect to people. I love reading your comments, and I love reading your blogs.  I am never bored when I blog.  I get to experience snippets of your lives I would otherwise not see.  I can have adventures I otherwise don't get to have. And I really believe that blogging has given me the chance to connect to humanity as a whole because it takes me one step closer to other people in the world.
~Eva, seeing the world for the first time...  Or a bird!~ 
There are some of you who no longer blog, or don't have one. You know who you are, and I also want to thank you for your kind thoughts, support and friendship as well.  This year, my hope and goal for "Life at Golden Pines" is to try and do better.
So, onward we go.  At a fast pace.  Today was the day that Max had his 2nd knee surgery.  The report tonight was that all has gone pretty well.  He'll be home tomorrow.
We have a busy, busy weekend ahead - We will welcome back the lovely Bella (below with her family) who we placed in a new home this past summer.  She'll be here for two weeks while "Dick and Judy" take a two week cruise of the Panama Canal.
AND, we may be welcoming a new addition.  Stay tuned!

Happy, Happy New Year!!