Sunday, June 24, 2018

Chipper Arrives at Golden Pines

From Lancaster Pennsylvania, a temporary addition named Chipper has arrived at Golden Pines. And to answer the question some of you familiar with that corner of the world may be wondering, the answer is YES.  Yes, Chipper is an "Amish Dog."  Those of you not familiar with that title, I'll tell you that dog farming is a large part of the economy for many Amish communities. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and counties in Ohio and even Indiana are home to thousands of breeding dogs that will and do spend their lives in puppy mills. The dogs in these Amish mills are treated like livestock. Many times, they don't even live that well.  

At 9 years old, Chipper's breeding days and his past are now behind him. And through a series of events that I'm not really sure about, it took nearly a month for him to make it into the rescue.  His back legs have pressure sores from laying on the concrete and he had to have several teeth taken out. 

On the inside, Chipper is really fearful and afraid and will "pancake" when approached too quickly or he will try to get away from us. He won't walk on a leash, and is submissively urinating.  It's really very sad.
So, how did Chipper make it to our house?  Well, Lab Rescue was boarding Chipper, but he was becoming more scared and withdrawn, and so the rescue asked if I'd take him for a few days. They were also concerned about his pressure sores not healing in the kennel, and his just needing a more quiet place to be.  Since we live pretty close to the kennel, it just made sense.  We're happy to welcome him, and give him the chance to feel safe.

Finally, there's our girl Eva.  Your suggestions and advice about what to feed her, and your prayers and good vibes are appreciated more than you know. They are making a difference. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and for caring about Eva.
She ends a really busy week on a pretty good note. Eva returned to the vet on Friday to have her blood pressure checked, (still high) and recheck other renal values.  There hasn't been much change, and her infection is still not cleared up, so we've added another antibiotic until the culture is returned.
~Blood pressure check at the vet~
I've started a diary to keep track of when Eva eats, misses a meal, and receives fluids. But this weekend, she ate most of her meals and even though she's not totally herself, she was in pretty good spirits. 
~Fluids again on Saturday~
And so am I.  And Todd too!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Battle

~Eva last Saturday~
Those of us who have lived with dogs who have kidney failure will know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's that daily challenge I am facing in trying to get our beautiful Eva to eat.  She is now in the final stages of kidney failure and because of nausea, she refuses to eat. The heavy doses of medication that are supposed to alleviate her nausea, aren't really working.

Last week she had been eating pretty well, but by Monday morning I could see that her appetite was starting to wane a bit. Then she didn't eat, and the battle to get her to eat began again.  I try everything and anything to interest Eva in food.  Nothing is off limits since she has now decided she doesn't like the stinky-green-tripe.  I just hope, hope, hope, that maybe I'll find the one thing she'll eat for that one meal. That's all that matters.  Because the next meal, I can fix the exact same thing and Eva will decide that she doesn't want it. And so the next battle begins.....  With apprehension and trepidation I put Eva's bowl down in front of her.  I always keep it light and fun on the outside, giving her lots of of praise - But it's all an act. Inside I am praying and pleading and my heart is breaking as I hold my breath hoping that Eva will find what I have prepared for her a little bit appetizing and she'll eat a bite or two, or even better, the whole meal. When she does, we of course celebrate.  When she doesn't, I'll admit, I end up in tears. It's hard to not take it personal, because it really is.

This morning Eva's meal consisted of some canned cat food and a cooked cut-up hot dog mixed in with her kibble.  As you can see in the photo below, she ate.  We all celebrated.
~I even try different bowls for Eva's meals~
Eva's kidney disease is a war that we sadly won't win in the end.  Eva's being given fluids here at home twice a week now. But this morning WE won this battle and for that, I'm thankful and grateful and it gives me hope.
~IV Fluids at home for Eva now~

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Good Place

~a nasturtium bloom~
A hot muggy and buggy weekend as I took Rhett with me to water our little garden and check on the wild blackberries that grow along the edge of our property.  I didn't stay out too long. But the berries are just starting to ripen. 
My worries about Eva (below) continued through the week.  She was taken back to the vet on Wednesday for IV fluids that did seem to help her feel better.  For more than a week we've had to put a leash on Eva to get her to go outside.  But by Friday, she was volunteering to go out on her own.
Her appetite is much improved, with the help of the very-stinky-green-tripe most dogs can't resist.  But it's all good signs that she's continuing to feel better.
Not wanting to venture outside much is our newest addition, Brandon.  He'll just stand at the door and watch us.
He's a good natured fellow that follows me around the house.  He's fit in really well and has settled into his new life and routine. His appetite has also returned (thanks again to the very-stinky-green-tripe) and he'll wait with the others in the kitchen while I get their meals ready.
With this, I'd say that we're ending the weekend in a good place.  And for Todd, that good place is on the front porch this evening.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brandon Arrives at Golden Pines

A busy week as the worrying about Eva continues. There has been some improvement, but not enough to make me feel like we're on firm footing with her. Your continued good vibes for Eva are very much appreciated.

Eva's not feeling well did cause the Foster Home Coordinator for the rescue to hesitate in asking me about taking a new senior boy.  I will admit, I didn't hesitate at all, and agreed to welcome him into our home.  On Tuesday, Brandon arrived at Golden Pines. 
~The trip Home~
At more than 14 years old (his birthday is in January) Brandon was given up by his owner who was moving and couldn't (wouldn't??) take him.  Brandon came into the rescue in the spring, and has been in another foster home, so I don't know much about his past. But I will add here, that the girl that brought Brandon to me and was fostering him, is the same volunteer for the rescue that brought me Jake.  I've not seen her since then, and had forgotten it was her - It was good to catch up with her and tell her about Jake's life with us.  Was this a coincidence or the cosmos?  

But going forward, aside from a few age related issues, Brandon has good general health. 

My camera batteries chose to die at the moment I started taking pictures of his meeting our crew.  So, take my word for it, he was really happy and excited and couldn't stop wagging his tail when he saw them.  So, he is getting along really well with his new packmates, and they like him too. 

It's hard not to like him. Brandon is an affectionate, easy going and gentle old soul.  I am enjoying getting to know him.  And I couldn't help but smile when I watched him try out several of the dog beds to find one he liked as he gets settled into his new life with us. 

Welcome Brandon!
We're glad to have you as part of our lives!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Caught Up and Going Forward

We end our weekend with all the spring grooming finally caught up. Todd and Max were at the groomers on Thursday. And yesterday, the girl that comes to the house to trim nails helped me with the rest.
~Todd pre and post grooming~
This past week also took us to see Holistic Vet with Eva and Charlie.  We have a good plan going forward with Charlie. I'm trying to stay and be optimistic that we can slow down the spread of the cancer.

Eva is a little more complicated. I've known that her kidney disease is something to keep an eye on. But up until now, she's not been symptomatic so I'd felt that despite the changes she had in her tests, that she was "okay."  Conventional Vet that sees her has not given me, or the medical coordinator for the rescue, a reason to think otherwise. We had not realized how wrong it has been to think that. Holistic Vet is very concerned about her latest lab results. Most recently because of an infection that Eva has, that Conventional Vet didn't seem too worried about. I'll fast forward through all my emotions about everything, and just say that a cocktail of medications and supplements have been added to Eva's meals with the hope that the lost ground can be regained.
~Eva's cocktail of medications for each meal~
I hope you'll send some good vibes for Eva that her appetite will return, and the good days of the past will return too.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Inside and Outside

We ended the month of May with Charlie having his post op visit with the surgeon. Everything has healed well, stitches were taken out and so he's no longer confined when we're gone, or wearing the e-collar that he hated. Charlie has an appointment with Holistic Vet on Thursday so we'll see where that takes us.
Also going with me on Thursday will be the lovely Eva.  I'd like her to see Holistic Vet for an herbal console to discuss her kidney disease.  Like Charlie, the goal will be to also use herbs to try and stop its progression and keep her kidneys functioning the best we can. 

Happening on the outside there's our outdoor kitty, Gino.  He's no longer being confined and just as we hoped, he's made his home in the garage.  He'll roam a bit, but never goes too far. We're only having two little problems with him.  The first one is that he's pulling out his fur.  We know there are no little "critters" on him, so we're thinking it may be caused by stress from the short times he is confined.  If you have any ideas about what could be causing it, I hope you'll share them. 

And the second problem is that Gino attacks the dogs.  Yes, you read that right.  He attacks the dogs. Not a "lets play" attack, but a "you're on my turf, I'm going to get you" kind of attack. 
~The innocent face of an attack-cat~
This has the dogs like Cissy, a little bit, okay, a lot confused. Because she barely even looks at him. So, now that Gino is free to roam, we'll have to work on that relationship.
~Cissy, confused about why Gino the cat doesn't like her~ 
Todd on the other hand, isn't interested in anything related to Gino. At least not at the moment.  For the past 2 days, he's been watching something under our barn.  We've looked several times and don't see anything. But apparently there's something that's keeping his attention.

You'll recall that he's done this before, and nothing, not even the rain that is falling tonight can keep him away.  He is one determined and a very shaggie Scottie!