The Ducky Diary

My long-term readers might remember that I’ve been keeping track of Ducky’s snarkiness toward Shadow for quite some time. First in my head  – for several months – and more recently in a journal.

This journal has been a life saver! Well, maybe not a life saver, but it has certainly been a HUGE memory booster.

The last two weeks had been “heavenly.” Ducky had been calm and happy and fine with Shadow. She gave me a wonderful – the best ever – Mother’s Day gift of getting along and playing with Shadow.  (Along with these beautiful roses from her daddy, her sister, and her.)

Last night – thanks to my notes in The Ducky Diary – I knew she wasn’t feeling quite right. Even hubby – who’s usually as observant as a fence post – noticed “his little girl” wasn’t feeling well.

This morning she was still giving off some negative energy, so I called the vet. They were able to work us into his schedule. And I was able to tell him exactly what has been going on. He “fixed her up”, gave me some meds for her, and sent us on our way. She’s already feeling better than she was this morning. 

So. The moral of the story? If you’re having an issue with your pet(s), start keeping a journal of it. Even if you think you’ll remember later, just jot it down quick and date it. Life has a way of distracting us and making us forget little details. And it’s usually those little things that matter most.

Creatures of Habit, Part 2

Well, I’ve given up on changing the girls’ breakfast time. Temporarily.

Last week Shadow had to get a re-check of her liver enzyme levels. 

Back in January when she had her annual exam, they were slightly elevated, but the vet wasn’t all that concerned. “We’ll re-check them in three months and take it from there.”

Well, they were still a little elevated last week, so the vet decided to try Denosyl – a nutritional supplement, not a prescription drug – to help “clean out” her “system”. That’s when her appetite really went south.

I started her on the Denosyl on Wednesday morning – on an empty stomach – and about two hours later put her food bowl down for her. (Instructions call for waiting at least an hour before feeding meals.) 

Shadow sniffed at the food and walked away. Would not even take a small bite. “Oh ****!” I said to hubby. “Between my routine change and now this, all that hard work of getting her weight and daily calories back up is going to be for naught.”

I spent the day worrying about her food intake. Stupid me. I should have just called the vet. But she was otherwise fine. She and Ducky played well together in the yard.
Well, to be honest, they played separately – Shadow with her ball, Ducky with her Bounzer – but there was no arguing between them. I worked with Ducky on her “place” and loose-leash walking and threw in some sit-stay-come work. And I threw Shadow’s ball back and forth across the yard. 

Thursday morning? Same scenario. Denosyl at 7 am, food bowl down at 9:30, a brief sniff and then refusal to eat. So, when I got to the vet’s office to do my externship hours, I mentioned the food issue to the vet tech who’s mentoring me. She immediately put my mind at ease.

“It’s a temporary thing. The Denosyl has a habit of making their stomachs feel weird the first two or three days until they’re used to it. If she’s still refusing to eat over the weekend, we’ll figure something else out on Monday. But my guess is she’ll be back to normal tomorrow.” So, I stopped worrying and sure enough, Shadow ate her regular breakfast and then some yesterday. 

Maybe, at some point, I’ll go back to changing the girls’ meal times. But for now at least, all’s well. And the teensy bit of extra attention that I’m giving Ducky each day is keeping her jealousy under control. Even yesterday when the guys were here putting the new roof on the house she was good. (Of course, being at daycare all day and taking her “chill pill” before we left to come home probably helped. Along with the 3/4-mile walk around the ball field.)​​

Here’s hoping that you’re all having a good weekend!

Creatures of Habit

Never has it been more obvious to me than the last few days….

Shadow needs to eat more food than what she had been eating. Things were going great until the other day.

I started my externship for my Vet Assistant course on Tuesday so my routine changed.

Shadow definitely does not like change. Ducky? She couldn’t care less. As long as she gets fed, loved, and played with, she’s happy.  

Back to Shadow. Tuesday, while I brought Ducky to daycare, I had hubby put Shadow’s breakfast bowl down for her. She ate some – well, most – of it but not all. Later, she barely touched her lunch. She did eat her dinner but only because she was hungry. And even then she picked and poked at it first. Wednesday she was even less willing to eat. And Thursday morning she left part of her breakfast again. 

I’m trying to change their meal times to make it easier on all of us. Ducky’s being very cooperative. Shadow is not. She is a creature of habit – like her mama – and doesn’t like having her applecart upset. 

Routine change is hard on me, too. Normally, I hate it. So, I feel for Shadow. And like with Ducky’s attitude changes last week, I had an “ah-ha!” moment with Shadow Thursday morning. I’ll just keep feeding her at the new times – picking up the bowl if she doesn’t eat within 15 minutes – until she gets used to the new routine. 

The changes due to my externship will only last nine or ten, maybe twelve, weeks. Hubby will give Shadow her chest and neck rubs in the afternoons, and let both girls play out in the yard, while I’m working at the vet’s office the three afternoons a week. 

All that said, I’m thankful that Shadow is healthy and that her body can tolerate the upheaval of her routine. 

Dog Mom Shames Self

You would think that after watching and writing about Ducky’s interactions – good, bad, or neutral – with Shadow since Callie got her angel wings that I would realize when something is amiss.

But noooooo. DUHHH! After nearly 16 months it finally sunk in on Wednesday morning. 

I made an appointment with the vet on Monday thinking Ducky had somehow ended up with another UTI, despite the surgery in late February. She had been licking back there – almost constantly – all day Sunday. 

Ducky had been increasingly bratty toward Shadow (again!) since the previous Thursday night. She was snarky almost every waking moment; and hubby was getting snarky with her and me. Talk about stress overload! But we all survived.

Wednesday morning while Ducky and I waited in the exam room, it hit me like a smack upside the head. πŸ™„

Since Callie πŸ˜‡ went to Heaven/the Rainbow Bridge/ in late August 2015, Ducky had been acting sweeter, more considerate/respectful of Shadow. EXCEPT when she wasn’t feeling well. 

Every. Single. Time. Ducky isn’t feeling well, she takes it out on poor Shadow. Because Shadow won’t “tell her off” like Callie used to, or like hubby and I do. Shadow just isn’t built that way.  

Anyway, Ducky’s medical issue this time was a slightly impacted, somewhat inflamed right anal gland. How she ended up with that is beyond me. But the vet cleaned her out, gave her some loving, and sent some Carprofen and antibiotics home with us. She started feeling better almost immediately afterward. And having a spa treatment at daycare a few hours later? Well, she was just in doggie heaven that night! ☺️

During the exam, I mentioned to the vet how hubby and I were seriously considering consulting a veterinary behaviorist about Ducky’s bratitude. 

And how it had finally dawned on me that it’s only really problematic when she isn’t feeling well. So, since we really can’t afford a behaviorist anyway, the vet suggested I start keeping track of Ducky’s worst days/nights and obsessive behaviors.  He feels I’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, but the only way to be sure is to keep a written record of it. So, that’s what I’m going to do from this point forward. 

Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal. We spent most of the day Thursday in the yard without a peep out of Ducky. Even when Shadow sniffed at “her” toy for a moment. (I was so stunned by Ducky’s lack of reaction that I couldn’t even say “good girl!” in time for her to know why I’d said it.)

Pot Pourri Friday

Usually, when we get to a certain point in the ride down to daycare, Ducky will start barking at people at the gas station on the corner.

This morning she just chilled out on the back seat. So, since we were waiting at the red light, I grabbed my phone and took this pic….

Isn’t she adorable with that head tilt? And, oh! Those ears! Those ears still “get” me every. damn. time!

And, lest we forget Shadow….how could I ever forget my sweet Golden Girl?! 


With Ducky at daycare, we girls can relax in the shade of the carport. The sun is HOT this afternoon. At least for this time of year. Shadow is resting on the driveway.  I wonder if she’s thinking about Callie – like I am – and all the fun times they spent in the yard together?


In this pic, they were resting after a game of keep-away/catch-me-if-you-can. That was their favorite game out here in the yard. Sometimes I played with them; other times I just watched them play together. 

Just Me and My Shadow

To look at Shadow today, you would never know she was feeling a bit under the weather this past weekend.

Poor Shadow had a slightly upset digestive tract this past weekend. Thankfully, it only manifested itself via the back end so I didn’t have to call the vet via his smartphone. A few Imodium tablets – broken in half – and a slight change of diet had her feeling better by Sunday night. 

I did take her to the vet on Monday morning, though, as a precautionary measure. After all, next Sunday is her half-year birthday. (And Callie’s second birthday in Heaven.) My sweet girl isn’t getting any younger. 

We decided to keep her on the blander diet for a while, just to help her system stabilize. We’ll keep track of her weight, too, because the vet feels she lost a little too much weight since her annual exam in January. He did a thorough hands-on exam of her abdominal area and everything felt fine, no change. So we’re increasing her daily calories a bit. We don’t want her losing any more muscle mass than an aging dog normally would lose.

After taking Ducky to daycare and having breakfast with hubby this morning, I put Shadow’s harness on her and we went to the ballfield across the road for a walk. Just the two of us. We walked around the field twice and came home. Then we came out to the back yard to play. 

Again. Just me and my Shadow. I love this sweet Golden Girl. She lights up my days and sweetens my nights. My sunshine comes from the love light in her eyes. 

Sunny Saturday

After several days of overcast skies and thunderstorm-filled late nights, we finally have a most-welcome visitor: Mr. Sun! And he’s supposed to stick around for the whole weekend.

Anyway, not one to miss an opportunity to spend time outdoors, I brought the girls back out in the yard – along with their yard toys – so the three of us can enjoy the sunshine. 

The girls are watching our neighbor mow his back lawn. They were barking at the lawn mower for a little while but have both settled down.

I’m just sitting here soaking up the sun and fresh air while I can. Once mid May rolls around it’ll probably be too hot and muggy to stay out here all day.
 

Clean-up Time

Did we ever have a hail storm last night!! The back yard and screened-in porch are a mess! And the rain and mud came in under the back door and soaked the carpet. (I had the ceiling fan running all night to try to dry it out. And I’ll leave it running as long as necessary.)


Thankfully, it’s indoor/outdoor carpet so it’ll dry in a day or two; but meanwhile it looks like hell. And stinks, too.

Some of you may have seen my Facebook post last night…

To make a long story short, the storm started just as we were leaving the restaurant parking lot to come home. It made a normally 10-minute drive into a nearly 25-minute trip. And it was LOUD. It even cracked the outer glass of my windshield – and that of hubby’s truck – so I had to call our insurance guy.

By the time we got home, the girls were frantic. Shadow stuck to us like glue until hubby sat down in his chair; and Ducky was barking and  crying in her crate. When I let her out, she was visibly shaking. I got her calmed down while she growled and snarled at Shadow for a moment or two. But she settled down in her nest bed. And then I gave her a “chill pill”.  

Our neighbor sent me a text around 10 o’clock to warn me that the hazard lights were flashing on the car; but the phone was charging and muted in the back bedroom, and I didn’t see the text until after midnight. The battery is dead as a door nail right now. 

If things – good and bad – come in threes, we are done with the bad for now. The sun keeps going behind the clouds and back out again. It’s quite a bit cooler than it was yesterday, but at least things are drying out a little bit. 

Here’s one of my two piles of tree branches: 

The other pile is about the same size. Most of the hail has melted away, but there are still some patches of it here and there. Last night the yard looked like we’d had a blizzard.

Me and My Shadow πŸŽΌ

….Strollin down the avenue….

Or in our case, around the ball field.

Just the two of us at the ball field across the road. 

Ducky’s at daycare. She needs the time with her doggie friends. It’s been nearly 5 weeks since the last time. And nearly 4 weeks/a month since her surgery. She was getting antsy and driving us all crazy.

So, today is Shadow’s day to have Mom and Dad all to herself. 

It’s about 75β€’F outside, even here in the backyard where it usually feels about ten degrees cooler. So, we will enjoy the breeze sweeping through the carport for a little while longer. Then I have some studying to do. Meanwhile, Shadow’s enjoying the peace and quiet.

Enjoy your day – whatever the weather brings – and we’ll see you soon.

Oh Ducky, Part 5 -You’re Growing Up!

So, here it is three weeks after Ducky’s back-end surgery and the great news is that she is completely healed physically.

And the physical healing seems to be having a healing effect on her emotions/anxieties/attitude. 

Since the vet removed the sutures and the “cone of shame”, Ducky has been showing her sweeter side more often.

I can’t really call her “Demonbrat” any more. This realization makes me sad and glad at the same time.

Sad because, despite her snarky behavior toward Shadow, I have always loved this little girl and used the nickname affectionately.

Glad because the snarkiness has been much less intense these last couple of weeks. And much easier to catch and manage. 

My little girl is growing up. And her “bratitude” is morphing into a “big” girl’s attitude. Her Corgi heritage, her herding instincts, will always be a part of her.  And her Lab heritage, her retrieving instincts, added in make for an interesting, lovable mix of personality “quirks”.