Life with Shadow & Ducky

I haven’t put up a blog post in a couple of weeks; and the ones I’ve put up lately have been mostly about either one or the other of my dogs.

So I thought I’d serve up a helping of both my dogs.

They get along pretty well these days. Some days they mostly ignore each other, and some days they look for squirrels together. *BUT* they get along.

Since her stem cell infusion nearly two months ago, Shadow has been rejuvenated. She has a new lease on life. That sparkle is back in her eyes. And her beautiful, floofy tail is more often than not in line with her backbone and wagging, or at least swishing back and forth.

And Ducky? Oh, this little one is quite the character. Just watching her stalk and chase the squirrels is entertainment without equal! She would literally spend the entire day in the back yard if one of us were out here with her.

And nothing makes my heart happier than seeing these two choose to share a tender moment, like this…

Have a tail-wagging weekend everyone!!

Finding Solutions

You might remember from my last post, “New Year, New Hopes“, that I’ve been trying (for a long time) to figure out why Shadow was being so “difficult” at meal times.

There were so many possible reasons for it that it made my head spin. And, it hurt my heart not being able to find a long-term solution.

Maybe, just maybe, the elevated bowl(s) will be that solution. Or at least one in a combination of solutions used together.

The probiotics are helping with the IBS issues; but that’s only a part of it.

It’s going to take time for her to get used to the new bowl setup.

I already had to change the height of the stand. And, I might need to change it again depending on if/how much Shadow’s neck muscles tense up on her again.

And, I had to move the food from the new bowl to her old one, wash the new one and set the old one inside of it.

And a few times I had to spoon feed the poor girl yesterday and this morning. BUT she ate her whole meal at one meal time! I can’t remember the last time that happened!

I also have a new floor mat for under the stand (the one in the photo). I’m not sure Shadow quite trusts it yet to stay put. But with the stand holding it in place, maybe she’ll trust it sooner.

Perhaps she needs to wear her slipper socks in the house. Perhaps just on her back paws. I know they help her walk better on the treadmill. She hadn’t seemed to need them this past week or two; but yesterday morning she seemed a teensy bit unsteady in the kitchen again.

With the changes I had to make for Shadow yesterday morning came the “revelation” that they won’t work for Ducky. A few minor, easy changes at and after meal times will take care of that. Like this one…The old placemat and water bowl on top of the new floor mat. And when it’s Ducky’s turn to eat, I’ll just move the stand to the other side of the dishwasher.

New Year, New Hopes

Happy New Year, Friends! I know, I’m two weeks late. That’s because our celebration got put on hold on New Year’s night.

Ducky has been on leash restriction in the back yard since January 2nd. She hurt herself during a zoomies attack on New Year’s Day.

Okay, so for the hopes…..

Ducky has been really, really “good” these past two weeks. She has had her moments; but generally speaking, she has dealt with the physical inactivity quite well. (Thanks to nose work games, some limited slow walks on the treadmill, and twice-daily pain meds.) It makes me hopeful that helping her to calm down – or stay calm – will continue to get easier. Today is her first day of freedom; and after 20 minutes of fun in the yard and another 10 here in the house, this is the result….Heehee.

Then there’s Shadow. I’m still having to spoon-feed her at times in order to get her to eat. And so many questions in my head. Up until the middle of last week, her knee was still bothering her. She had a hard time standing in the kitchen or bathroom. She didn’t trust the throw rugs to not skid underneath her.

Now the knee is healed, she’s enjoying her time outside, and she’s even inviting Ducky to play. Last week the vet watched a short video I made of Shadow attempting to eat her meals. I asked him if maybe her depth perception issues might be causing her “pecking” motions at her plate/bowl.

After watching the video, he felt around her neck and shoulders and said that her muscles were somewhat tense. That discomfort was more likely the cause. And, it made the proverbial lightbulb turn on over my head. That discomfort in her neck – especially – and shoulders was probably why she had been walking away from her bowl but gladly eating off the spoon that I was holding up to her normal chin level. It wasn’t that she was playing me for the special attention. It was that it hurt too much to lower her head close enough to her bowl long enough to eat.

The arctic air wave of the week plus around the holidays just made it tougher on all of us – my and hubby’s joints were bothering us more than normal too – but the last few days of sunshine and slightly warmer temps gave us all some relief.

This morning Shadow went right to the plate of food and ate it without pause. Well, she did pause when I turned it around for her but only for a moment.

My hopes for Shadow? No more pulled CCL’s; no more severe arctic air waves to worsen her joint and muscle aches; and, fewer age-related health issues. And many more happy, playful days here with us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 🎉🐶🐶💗

My (Crazy) Golden Life

We’re still here. A little tattered after a busy summer and fall, but here.

Ducky is still her crazy, sometimes hyper, drama-queen, lovable self. Trying to work with her in between hubby’s various doctor appointments and my own school work wore. me. out. I’m not as young as I used to be. 🙄

Then, there’s poor Shadow. Oh, don’t worry…she’s still healthy and happy.

But her digestive issues have been concerning me the last several weeks. To start with, the company that makes her food went to an “improved formula”. (Improved my butt!) And that so-called improved formula has been giving her some “silent-but-deadly” gas, especially at night. So she was refusing to eat her full meals. Add to that her refusal to stand on floor mats while she eats, despite her arthritis, and the Denamarin for her liver function. And her depth-perception vision issues. I discussed all this with our vet on Tuesday morning while we were there for an unrelated matter. He suggested waiting until after she eats breakfast to give her the Denamarin. It works best on an empty stomach, but still works on a somewhat full one as well.

So, I tried waiting and it made no difference. And I tried using a different food bowl. And I tried spoon-feeding her. Nothing made any difference.

Until yesterday. I was feeling totally at a loss, totally frustrated. Shadow’s IBS makes it inadvisable to change her food, even gradually, so that’s out. I ordered some probiotic chews. Hopefully they will help with the flatulence.

Meanwhile, I was on FB Messenger with my friend, Jan. You know her as “the Momz” over on Wag-n-Woof Pets. I needed a different perspective on my problem. Jan mentioned that she uses a plate, rather than a bowl, for beagle Cricket’s food. It was close to time for Shadow’s lunch, so I pulled one of our dinner plates out of the cabinet and used it instead of her bowl to feed her.

Voilá! One problem seemingly fixed. Now to dismiss the notion that she should only eat twice (or thrice) a day. So, since I’d already split her breakfast into two meals, why not her dinner as well? No noticeable flatulence last night. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

That’s what my life has been like these last few months. Crazy, sometimes exhausting, puzzling, but much better and preferable than the alternative. The girls, the hubby, and I will get through it.

Happy Howlidays to ALL our friends and family. ❤️🎄❄️☃️

Now THAT’S Focus!

I marvel constantly at Ducky’s focus. Whether she’s sitting in the grass or standing on the cement driveway, when something captures her attention it’s amazing how focused she becomes.

Watch her in this video…​

I know, it’s long at nearly a minute and a half. But in the time it took to upload, I continued watching my little part demon, part angel dog remain focused on whatever it was she was watching. I was mesmerized by her focus quite frankly.

It’s not just outside, either. Look at this focus she has on her Daddy while he eats his dinner…

I need to work more on harnessing Ducky’s incredible focus abilities. Can you imagine the progress we could make on her not becoming Cujo-like with house guests and strangers?!  WOW

Okay, so now it’s time for breakfast. Shadow should be past the Denamarin-induced full tummy feeling by now. 

Have a great day my friends!!

You’ve Come A Long Way, Ducky

Today – Sunday, September 17, 2017 – is Ducky’s 5th Gotcha Day.  These five years have flown by at the speed of light, in spite of some days that seemed never ending.

When I look back on your first weekend with us – those two days you spent tormenting and pestering Callie and Shadow – I can’t help but laugh. You were such a little demon, but cute as a button.

And that fateful Monday morning when your picture showed up in my email from the shelter. You were on their list of “most urgently in need of rescue or adoption”. In those first several weeks that you were part of the family, I questioned my own sanity constantly. Even Dr. Steve marvels at my steadfast dedication to our “wild child”. 😉

Callie did her best to help me raise you. And, frankly, she did a much better job of it than I did. She taught you how to be a family dog. She tried to teach you to play nicely with Shadow. And Lordy, how she tried to teach you some manners. When all else failed, she disciplined you as only another dog could.


Your relationship with Shadow has improved substantially since Callie got her angel wings. Even though you had some months mixed in when you were a true brat toward Shadow, you have really come a long way in improving your attitude toward your sister.


We still need more work on your acceptance of other humans in my presence, but we’ll get there. 

All in all, you’ve grown into a truly good dog. You have your bad days – like Daddy and me – but we’re not looking for perfection. You have given us unconditional love, have entertained us and made us laugh ourselves silly, and have perplexed us with your attitude at times. Yet all you ask for in return is a place in our hearts and a safe, warm place to call home. And you know you have both.

We – Daddy, Mommy, Shadow, and Angel Callie – all love you Ducky Doodle! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 

And, last but certainly not least, another sweet rescue girl celebrated her first Gotcha Day yesterday (September 16th). Miss Elsa aka “The Little Ninja” over at Tails Around the Ranch. Happy Gotcha Day Weekend Miss Elsa! You’ve come a LONG way, too, Sweetie! ❤️

Back to The Ducky Diary

My brother spent most of this past week with us and Ducky was not happy about it.

I met Doug at the airport on Saturday afternoon (8/19) and from the time we got back here to the house until he left on Wednesday afternoon to visit with a friend in Asheville, Ducky was in snark mode. At least toward her uncle. So much so that we had to keep her on a leash the whole time she was in the house. (Well, except during the night while she slept in her crate.)

Thank goodness for doggie daycare! She spent most of the day there on Monday and Tuesday. At least she was able to relax and enjoy the company of her doggie and other human friends for a while each day. 

Since Doug was going home yesterday (Friday) after returning from Asheville, I felt Ducky would be better off at daycare (again) for even just the few hours her uncle was in the house. 

It worked out nicely, actually, because her daycare facility is not that much out of the way coming home from the airport.

I chuckled a bit on Wednesday afternoon because as soon as Doug left for Asheville, Ducky spent a good 10 minutes running around the house looking for him. She knew his scent but couldn’t find him. She finally gave up and went back to nap on her bed. 

When I picked her up at daycare yesterday, she sniffed the air in the car for a moment. Satisfied that Uncle Doug wasn’t hiding anywhere, she laid down on the back seat and slept all the way home. By the time we arrived at the house, she seemed satisfied that the tall stranger wasn’t here any more. She played out in the yard with Shadow for a bit and then took a nap in her bed.

Doug’s dog isn’t comfortable with strangers, either, so he understands what it’s like to have a human-reactive dog. I’m grateful for that understanding. Especially when I’m feeling ready to wring Ducky’s neck for being such a noisy brat.

Having said all that, I know what I need to do. Sort of. First step is writing it all down, like an outline. (Maybe in The Ducky Diary. Better yet in the Training Notebook that I haven’t started using yet.) When I get that done, I’ll figure out Step Two: Implementation.

Have a great weekend, dear readers. And those of you threatened by Harvey, please stay safe. We’re sending out positive energy and thoughts to all of you.

We’re Still Here

The girls and I are still here. We’ve been busy. Well, their daddy and I have been busy. I won’t go into details, but my mind has been focused on more pressing things.

I’ve been on FB, Twitter, and Instagram sporadically trying to keep up with everyone. But writing and reading blog posts has gone by the wayside. And it looks like it’ll be at least another month or two before I can get back to the blog. Other than this post that is.

I will tell you this much: Ducky’s snarky attitude toward Shadow continues to diminish. She has her moments, but they’ve been fewer and further between. And, Shadow’s arthritis is an on again/off again issue. It’s not too bad this week, despite the cooler, wetter days. But that could change just like my own arthritis.

So I’ll leave you with these photos of the girls and say “til then…”

 Revisiting The Ducky Diary


The times that I have to make an entry in The Ducky Diary are dwindling down to about once a month. Sometimes twice, but the last entry was only a single page. And it was mostly about how proud I am of Ducky these days.

Yes, she still has her moments. Sometimes she reminds me of a small child who wants all of Mommy’s attention to herself and has a hissy fit when a sibling tries to butt in. Yet, unlike the days before I started keeping track of her snarky moments, I’m highly tuned into the energy …

I can literally see her start to tense up. And I can cup her little chin in the palm of my one hand (while holding her collar with the other hand), look into her eyes, and calmly tell her “No. There’s no need for that. Settle down.” And she does. I can see the hairs on her scruff soften, her gaze soften, and the rest of her body relax …

Then I can let go of her collar without worrying if she’ll go after Shadow.  She won’t. She either walks right past Shadow without acknowledging her presence; or, she’ll stop and give her older sister a few puppy kisses on top of her snout or forehead. So sweet! Tension defused.

Serene Saturday

It has been such a beautiful weekend so far … sunshine, blue skies, puffy white clouds … 

In between games with the ball or Bounzer, the girls have been like this …


Or wanting to run the fence line with the neighbors’ bulldog, Jupiter. A quick hello is all they need, in my opinion.

There’s a nice breeze out here right now. Ducky is looking around her – nose twitching and ears moving to catch every sound. Shadow just changes position a little to get comfortable.