Sunday, November 17, 2019

Trying to Settle In

Whatta week it was!  It has not been an easy week with the Barkalot Brothers. Their constant barking is an issue. Nothing we say or do can get them to stop.  So if any of you have any tried and true remedy about how to stop their barking, please feel free to share. 
Abe and George know very few basics, and teaching them anything has its challenges. Can you teach old dogs new tricks?  I had thought so.
~George, what a handsome boy!~
Added is the pressure to make sure that Abe gets his insulin at the right time. On work days, I chase the clock from the minute I get up in the morning and of course at the office. Doing it after work is something I haven't had to do. But Abe needs to be fed as close to every 12 hours as possible, so he can be given the insulin afterwards. It adds to the stress I'm already feeling. I'm hoping as we continue settling into a routine it'll get easier.

Abe spent all day Thursday at the vet for a glucose curve test. Five blood-tests are done during the day to check the effectiveness and level of the insulin he's being given. We're adjusting his dose, and also giving him more food, which I think he needs because he's pretty thin. I'm also hoping more food will help to curb, at least a little bit, his obsession with it. I don't expect his fixation with food to go away, he is a Lab after all! 
Even though it hasn't been the best first week with the Barkalot Brothers, it has had its good moments.

They get along pretty well with our dogs.
There's no question that Abe and George are nice boys. They are bonded and they do love one another. Despite all their barking and chaos they have brought, Abe and George are easy to love too.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Barkalot Brothers Arrive at Golden Pines

Part two of our weekend came on Saturday when things got bumpy. You may remember that I'd agreed to foster the pair, Abe and George before Sadie came. But they got sick, so that was the end of their coming to us. At least that's what I thought. Well, they popped back up on the radar again. After they were feeling better, they went to another foster home who quickly returned them. So when Sadie went to her new home, I was asked again about fostering Abe and George. They were in boarding and the foster home coordinator really wanted them in a home setting.
~George on the left, Abe on the right~ 
So, I met Abe and George up on Saturday. High drama ensued, because both dogs were so wound up, okay, they were crazy, because they were so excited to be out of boarding and to see each other. I had to call Carl and ask him to make a 40 minute drive to where we were to help me get them home in seperate cars. Once home we let them explore the yard and play together until it started to get dark.

We brought them inside, and put them in a large-ex-pen and George started barking. For about 5 hours he barked. Nothing we said or did could get George to stop. Both dogs finally settled down around 10 o'clock. The barking started again at about 2 o'clock in the morning, continuing until around 4. I've no idea what George and sometimes Abe were barking at. So, needless to say we were all exhausted, tired and worn out, and yes, I was stressed out. I contacted the foster home coordinator and she made a couple of great suggestions, one involved medication, and that did the trick.  And that made Sunday a very quiet day as all of us caught up on missed sleep.

Despite that rough start, both Abe and George are nice dogs. For obvious reasons, I've nicknamed them "The Barkalot Brothers." I think it fits.
Of the two dogs, Abe is the more outgoing and curious one.  He's diabetic and needs insulin injections twice daily. He is also mostly blind from cataracts. But that doesn't stop him, Abe is totally engaged in what's going on and wants to be part of it, especially if there's food. He's good natured, and his tail is wrapped up because he has "happy tail." **Happy tail is also known as kennel tail when a dog whacks his tail hard enough on a hard surface that it causes a cut or split on the end of the tail.
George, the more vocal of the two has problems getting to his feet. He is equally friendly, a bit more laid back and silly and all that comes with his not being afraid to let us know his opinion.
So far, they are fine with our dogs, ignoring them and the cats. That of course, suits Todd
And Tiggy the crazy cat, just fine!! 

Welcome to the Barkalot Brothers!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Good News for Sadie and Sophie!

Having worked every day the previous week, I was looking forward to Thursday and Friday and getting a few things done at home and catching up. But the end of last week could not have been more hectic or stressful.
It began with Sadie on Thursday morning. After a vet visit to have her staples taken out and a few errands, it was time to come home to pack her up. Even though it had just been a week, someone was coming to meet Sadie with the hope of adopting her. I wasn't ready to let Sadie go. She is such an easy going girl with a gentle soul, and there was a big part of me that wanted to keep her.
~I loved Sadie's smiling face!~
But, I had to be honest because as hard as I tried to find fault with Sadie's hopeful adopter, I just couldn't find anything. She is kind, caring and compassionate. There was a connection between the THREE of them right away. And so I said good-bye to Sophie, who now has a dachshund brother named Marshall and she'll be going to work daily with her new owner, who is a Registered Nurse.
I've gotten several reports and photos, and all is going really well. Registered Nurse couldn't be happier to have Sadie as part of her life!  Judging by the photo below, I think Marshall agrees too.
***And I'll add here the the tumor that Sadie had was a Spindle cell sarcoma which is a type of connective tissue cancer. The slow-growing-tumor won't metastasize, but because there was not a good clean margin when it was removed, it will likely reoccur. Despite that it may grow back, it's still good news for Sadie!  

We landed on Friday when Sophie went to see the holistic vet for her first follow up since she started taking the chinese herbs for her thyroid cancer. Holistic Vet was happy with how Sophie was doing and felt confident in saying that she thought that the lump on Sophie's thyroid hasn't gotten any bigger. Like Sadie, that's good news for her too!

With the good news for the girls, I'll end this post asking if you remember these two boys from a previous post? On Monday, I'll tell you about them.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Sadie's Story

Thank-you all for your blogging-welcome to Sadie! What a nice, nice dog she is!! Sadie has fit right in and is getting along really well with our dogs and the cats too!  Being the 900th dog for Lab Rescue has meant that Sadie's story of rescue has been shared by them, so I am sharing that and a couple of their photos with you.
Image may contain: dog
Story as told by Lab Rescue:  Sadie's story before coming to Lab Rescue is a sad one. She originally belonged to an older woman who could no longer care for her, so she gave her to her daughter. Eventually, the daughter decided she could also not care for Sadie and gave her away to a couple. Sadie repeatedly escaped from the couple’s yard, and they eventually stopped going after her.

When she escaped, Sadie would wander down to the police station nearby as the police officers would share their chicken biscuits with her. Eventually, the officers told her owners to sign her over since they weren’t caring for her. The officers brought Sadie to the local shelter in North Carolina. Sadie was in very rough shape with a cantaloupe-sized tumor on her side and a small one in her mouth.
No photo description available.
The shelter asked if Lab Rescue could help, and we immediately said, “yes!”  Sadie’s transporter described Sadie as a “dreamboat of a dog” as she never stops smiling and wagging her tail. The Rescue quickly arranged for Sadie to get the veterinary care she needed, and she is now recovering from her surgery. We don’t have the final reports back on her biopsy, but no matter what, she will be safe and loved from now on!"

This is quite the sad story, isn't it?  The sharing of Sadie's story has also meant that there are hopeful adopters that want to meet her. I got an e-mail late Friday night from a coordinator that had someone that wanted to come Saturday morning.  For several reasons, I wouldn't let them come this weekend. One reason that may seem and probably is totally selfish, is that I really want this time to get to know Sadie, and let her settle in just a bit before she moves on to the next chapter of her life.
I did agree to let someone come on Thursday. Which means she may be leaving us. I'll be totally honest and admit that I am regretting that. But in my heart, I know that I am just the gateway to  help and keep dogs like Sadie safe and to get them to where they are supposed to be. But you know me, and you know it's not always easy for me to let them go.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Guess Who Arrived at Golden Pines!

As always, a busy week for me. But its been made a bit more that way because my counterpart at work is out sick and so I'm working every day this week to cover for her. At least I didn't miss our CPR update.

But nothing can really slow down the pace at home. I enjoyed getting your guesses about who you thought I'd been asked to foster. Those of you that guessed the pair, Abe and George were right!  We've not fostered a bonded pair in nearly 10 years, so I was a tad-bit reluctant. But there really is something special about fostering a pair, and so I agreed and was looking forward to welcoming them. Unfortunately Abe (who is diabetic and blind) has pneumonia and George has a respiratory infection. As of Wednesday, both are hospitalized. So, when they improve, they will be going to another foster home without other dogs to make sure no other dogs become sick, and where they have the best chance of regaining their health.  I'm disappointed, but I so hope these two boys feel better very soon!!
~The Great Pumpkin in a local pumpkin patch~
But knowing that my dog-beds were getting cold, I was asked to foster another dog. She has come to Virginia from a shelter in North Carolina, about 300 miles away. Her name is Sadie, and today we welcomed her into our home.
~On our way home!~
Sadie is about 11 years old, and she was turned into the shelter by her owner who could no longer care for her. Sadie had a very large tumor on her chest that needed to be removed and so she had surgery a few days ago.  Because Sadie is recovering from surgery, and we had really stormy weather this evening, we have opted to not do intros with our crew. There's plenty of time for that. Tonight after her dinner, and a walk outside in the rain, we're letting Sadie get her rest.
~At home this evening~
We look forward to getting to know Sadie, who by the way, comes with a little bit of celebrity. She is the 900th dog that Lab Rescue has taken in so far this year!  Welcome Sadie!!

And Happy Halloween from all of us!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Make Your Best Guess!

Okay friends, lets play this game again! Would you like to try and guess who I was asked to foster today? 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Lifting My Spirits

A pretty quiet week for us as the proverbial dust settled on the unexpected loss of Buddy. Thanks to a "memory reminder" on Facebook, I was reminded that Buddy's loss, as a coincidence, came a day before our last foster dog named Buddy left us 5 years ago. My hopes and dreams for them both were exactly the same, but not meant to be. I have to be honest, I've had a lot of feelings of guilt over everything that happened. I suppose it's only natural.
But your friendship and sharing Buddy's loss has really helped. I know that holding onto that guilt will not bring Buddy back. And it also doesn't allow room for positivity in moving forward, because life, our lives, must go on. 
And going on it has. The dogs have a way of pulling me back into reality and keeping me grounded and lifting my spirits. I had Thursday off work, and it was a good day to recharge. 
~Rhett & Max in the background~
It was a beautiful fall day as the sun shown brightly. A walk around our property allowed us to be outside, clearing my mind and enjoying the dogs.
We were outside again a bit later and I had to chuckle at the photo below of Todd. I'd noticed him rolling on something and when I got to him, he was so still, just laying there. My guess is he was trying to get whatever it was to soak into him? 
He is such a character, and his energy and spirit, makes me laugh every day. 
Actually, all the dogs do that. And for that, along with your friendship, I'm grateful.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

After 9 Days - Good-Bye to Buddy

I don't know how to start this post. Other than with a much shorter version of what I wrote to the rescue when I told them that Buddy had passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. The numbing, gut-punched feeling as I relive the events are consuming because my mind keeps going back to those moments and scrutinizing a timeline and moments that I cannot change. 
There had been nothing that gave us a hint that anything was wrong. It had been a normal and a good day for Buddy. It had ended with his spending time with us in the office, until he got restless around midnight, and I put him into the ex-pen that he was staying in at night. About an hour later, I turned out the lights and said good night to him. I can still hear the sound of his wagging tail as it hit the side of the ex-pen. I remember smiling. Not long after I'd gone to bed I was awakened by what sounded like Buddy scratching at the rug under the bed he was sleeping on, and bumping against the ex-pen. I'd told him "no" and it stopped for just a moment, but started again. I got out of bed, and for whatever reason, I noticed the time of 2:14.
When I turned on the light, I saw that Buddy was having a seizure. I sat with him, and when I thought the seizure would end, it began again. I know time is critical with seizures and I was keeping close track of how much time was passing. I had awakened Carl, and after about 10 minutes, I knew we had to get him to the animal emergency about 20 minutes away. We took turns staying with him as we quickly dressed and we were on our way. A blur of phone calls leaving messages for my contacts at the rescue and a call to the emergency vet along the way - Pleading prayers for safety on our drive to get there, and that Buddy would hang on, as Carl was with him in the back of my van.

The seizures only stopped as we rounded the corner to the animal emergency and as Buddy passed away at 3 AM.

I know the shock and the sting of this day will ease. But today, I've cried and slept for most of it. I'm still in shock and heartbroken because I cannot believe what happened. A reminder from the "logical side" of me and kind friends tell me that I couldn't have done anything differently. In my heart I know that. Maybe having that peace is Buddy's gift to me?

More than anything I wish it would have ended differently for Buddy. But the hopes and dreams I had for him of his finding a forever home was my dream, and not the one that was meant to be. How I wish more than anything that this easy going and always smiling boy could have stayed with us a little longer. How I wish I could have had the chance to get to know him better. How I wish I could do those 9 days with us all over again.

God speed Buddy. You were here for such a short time, and in those 9 short days, you found your very own place in our hearts.You will not be forgotten, and we hope tonight you are finding your way to the rainbow bridge where I hope to see you again.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Hospital Visit

I mentioned in my last post that I was in "foster home rehab." And I just realized that in keeping with that theme, my overnight trip on Thursday goes along with that. Our trip was to the small town of Weston, West Virginia, where there is an imposing, formidable building that, at nearly a quarter mile long is nearly impossible to miss. This building in its history, has gone by three names, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, and Weston State Hospital.  Whatever you call it, my brothers and my sister-in-law and I went pay the former hospital a little visit...  as a tourists of course.
~Thanks to Retired Navy Brother for this photo!
The hospital was in operation from 1864 - 1994. It's a Gothic and Tudor Revival style, hand-cut stone building that housed thousands of patients who suffered from mental illness and many who did not.

It was built in a beautiful rural area of West Virginia because social reformers were convinced of the healing powers of fresh air and picturesque landscapes.

Today, the former hospital is privately owned and offers various history and paranormal tours.  The building's name has also been changed back to its original name - Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Being superstitious especially at a place like a mental hospital, Irish workers added faces like these to ward off evil spirits. They believed evil could only enter through the back, so only the back entrances have these carvings.~ 
The hospital was originally designed to house 250 patients. But during the peak of its overcrowding in the 1950s and 60s, it housed upwards of 2,400 patients.

By the 1980s, wide sweeping changes had been made in mental health treatment and the hospital's population was in decline.  All of the operational and maintenance costs were no longer cost effective and the hospital was closed in 1994.

The building sat empty for 13 years and during that time fell into disrepair.  It was also subjected to looting and vandalism.  In 2007, the building and grounds were purchased at auction for $1.5 million and renovations on the building began. Today the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum offers various tours and other seasonal activities held on the property. All proceeds go towards the restoration of the historical building.
A photo of one of the upper floors that has been renovated.  This floor housed nurse and doctor apartments.

We took two tours. The first night, it was the paranormal tour. The guide, dressed in all black, with a flashlight led us throughout the main parts of the building recounting stories of some of the hospital’s better-known spirits, including a little girl named Lilly who was born in the asylum, a man named Jesse who died of a heart attack in a bathtub, Civil War soldiers, and a patient who was brutally murdered by his roommates. And several others I can't remember.
~Thanks again to Retired Navy Brother for this photo!~
The hospital is so vast that it is easy to feel lost amid the maze of hallways and patient rooms covered in peeling paint. Of course everyone on the tour is hoping for some kind of a paranormal experience. But we all agreed that walking through the building and learning its history in the dark was plenty thrilling, ghosts or no ghosts

Before we left town, we took another (daylight) 90-minute historic guided tour. We were again able to visit all four floors of the main building as well as the Civil War section and the Medical Center.  Our guide, a young woman dressed in an all-white nurses uniform, lead us throughout the grounds and shared so much history about the 160-year old facility that it was a little overwhelming.
~A solitary confinement room~

Two of the most disturbing things I learned during the tour were 1) some of the treatment methods that were used on patients in the hospital and 2) some of the utterly ridiculous things people, especially women, could be admitted for early in the hospital's history. --Notice the ingredients on the medication below....Chocolate covered??!!  

Some of the early treatments of mental illness were simply barbaric.  Patients were often shackled to the walls in isolation rooms, restrained in bathtubs for hours on end in cold baths (which was thought to cool the blood to the brain and calm the patient), subjected to electroshock therapy or insulin shock therapy (the latter put patients into  medically induced comas), or worst case scenario, given a lobotomy.
~The ingredients on the cough syrup would put anyone to sleep!~
In the early 1950s, the Weston State Hospital was home to what has been called the West Virginia Lobotomy Project.  Dr. Walter Freeman, the father of the lobotomy who was responsible for performing Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy, visited the Weston State Hospital numerous times throughout the 1950s.  He developed a more "efficient" method of performing a lobotomy that didn't require drilling a hole into the person's skull. I'll spare you the gory details of this horrible and barbaric procedure and just say that this crude practice left many patients in a vegetative state or reduced them to child-like behavior.  It is reported that Freeman performed 228 lobotomies within a two-week period while visiting the Weston State Hospital. How awful.
Doorknobs used on the inside of patient rooms.  This style prevented the patient from being able to hang him/herself from it, and to allow to open it  from the outside, or to be used a weapon.
The other thing I learned that I found disturbing was that often people in the late 1880s were admitted for utterly ridiculous reasons.  Sadly, asylums were often viewed as repositories for more than just the insane and people were committed for ridiculous reasons.
~Many of those who worked at the asylum were also required to live there - This top floor is where they slept.
If I had lived in the time after the Civil War, there are many reasons why I could have been admitted.  For instance, I could've been admitted for a dog bite or novel reading. Yes, a dog bite or novel reading - And that my friends, as you can see in the list below, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Women were at a distinct disadvantage during this time because they were viewed as the property of their husbands.  If I had lived in the last nineteenth century, my husband could admit me to the insane asylum if I inherited money.  Yes, the man in my life could've locked me away until he decided to come back and get me or he could've just left me there until I died.  And of course, he would get the money.  Also if you were a woman and your husband decided to cast you aside, your children would be admitted to the hospital as well. An innocent child (or children) could have their childhood taken away from them merely at a father’s whim if he chose.
~One of the restored first floor spaces. This would have been for the more well-off and mildly ill patients~
What was further disturbing was learning that when a male child reached the age of 16, if he was deemed to be mentally fit, he would be allowed to leave the asylum but a female child, she would stay indefinitely since she was after all the “mother’s daughter.”  To think of the number of lives that were destroyed by having been sent to a place like this for no legitimate reason was just heart-breaking.
All I can say is THANK GOODNESS times have changed because it really was not easy being a woman late 1800s!  But I digress....
~Coffin style staircase~
I found the history of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum absolutely fascinating!  There's just so much history you just can't fully comprehend it all. One of my brothers wants to return next year to do an overnight ghost hunt. He thinks it'll be great fun.  I so enjoy getting together with my brothers and their families because I don't see them often enough.  And I did offer to buy my brother's ticket if he decides to do the overnight tour.  So, we'll see.... We'll see ....

THANK YOU FRIENDS for stopping by, and reading this very long post!  I hope you enjoyed it and like me, maybe learned a thing or two as well!! Enjoy your weekend!
~From a rest stop on the way home~