My little boy is spending some time with his grandpa, doggie mama, auntie, and cousins – being taught doggie manners by five adult dogs in the same house. And getting a break from the stress of dealing with his human daddy’s dementia. And giving me a break from his teething. 🐊 🦈
“Grandpa Chuck” has been enjoying Zen’s time with him, too. I get glowing reports – and photos and/or videos – daily. Zen is being an absolutely perfect house guest. No teething, no biting, and no “accidents” to clean up. He did need a bath though after spending part of last Saturday helping his grandpa wash his truck. 🤪
Meanwhile, I’m here at home, working with hubby’s dementia doctor, trying to help him deal with the challenges of the dementia. I’m alone physically but I do have emotional support in the form of family and friends. And I can call our medical professionals any time I have questions.
I miss my canine emotional support team (Ducky and Bogie) and my “little ray of sunshine” (Zen) but I’m managing. At least I don’t have to worry about any of them getting hurt or feeling neglected.
So, on this Friday after Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for caring, supportive medical professionals, family members, and friends (both online and IRL). More thankful than any words can convey.
Have a great weekend everyone! If it’s hot where you live – like it is here – stay cool and hydrated! If it’s cold, then keep warm (and hydrated). Love you all! Thanks for being our friends!
No, I’m NOT sending him away to training boarding school. That’s not even an option in my opinion.
Poor little Zen had an upset tummy yesterday, that – as far as I know – started around 3:30 in the morning. I cleaned up the mess around 4 am when his crying kept his HuDaddy and me awake. Once I had him and the kitchen cleaned up, I gave him a little rug to lay on until we all got up later.
We all went back to sleep until about 11:25. I got dressed and happily noted first that there were no more messes to clean up. Then I brought the little guy outside for his first potty break of the day. His first poop was a bit on the soft side but at least not all liquid. A little later it was, well, let’s say “wet”. So, when hubby and I went to the grocery store, I bought a can of organic pumpkin purée. And it, along with some ground chicken and white rice, for dinner had him feeling better by bedtime.
This morning he’s feeling more like himself. And he ended up chewing a small corner piece off his Lickimat and swallowing it. Hopefully it’ll come out the other end soon. 🙄
Right now he’s napping because I left him in the kitchen to stop him from biting my clothes and me. For so many reasons I wish Ducky were still here physically – mostly because I miss her so much; but also because I need her help with this furry little alligator. The kind of help that only a mature dog can provide.
I can’t believe it’s been more than three months since my last post. Still, considering all that’s been going on, I’m surprised it’s only three months.
Where to start? Well, August was fairly normal – crazy busy trying to keep Bogie from being too much of a pest to Ducky. Bogie is an absolute love bug…sweet, loving, gentle…but still very much a puppy. And his youthful exuberance makes Ducky nervous at times. Frequently, to be totally honest.
Then came September. Things were changing rapidly at our long-time vet’s office. Staff members that I had worked with while doing my vet assistant course externship had started leaving over the course of 2018, 2019 and 2020, but by the beginning of September only two remained. I knew from one of the last to leave that things had turned toxic. It was breaking my heart as well as my friends’ hearts.
Ducky had her annual wellness visit on September 23rd, and I could feel the tension just walking in the door. While the techs ran the various tests in the treatment area, hubby and I spoke with Dr. Simpson about Ducky’s hip dysplasia, discomfort, and frequent avoidance of Bogie. Dr. Simpson and I shared an unstated understanding of the sadness we felt over the changes. I told him I would stand by him, and I sealed it with a hug. And then the tech brought Ducky back into the exam room. A week later Dr. Simpson was gone as well. 😥 But we remain in touch. We’re like family to each other. He’s been Ducky’s primary vet for most of the last five years. And he’d been Bogie’s vet, too, since we first brought him home.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been busy managing hubby’s dementia issues, Ducky’s and Bogie’s relationship, Ducky’s hip issues, and Bogie’s “growing pains”. At times I’ve felt like running away from home, but the adult in me kept me from it.
Meanwhile, Dr. Simpson has been working on a project that he asked my help with, and I’m delighted to be a part of it. I feel so strongly about it that I offered to publish a blog post and ask for feedback from you, my pet blogging buddies.
After suffering the heartbreak of losing his beloved chocolate Lab, Nestle (Ness), he started thinking/wondering why he was expending so much energy on mediocre pet owners. He wants to help pet parents who love and treat their pets like beloved family members. And help protect them from the bad, sometimes dangerous misinformation they might find on “Dr. Google”.
The project involves building a community of likeminded pet parents; and eventually building a by-referral-only clinic to serve them and their beloved pets. One where he and the pet parents would work together to help the pets lead their best possible lives. One where mutual respect and trust is what drives the partnership between vet and pet parent.
For my part in this project, I agreed to reach out to my fellow bloggers for help. So, I have two questions for you:
1) As true pet parents, what is your biggest fear?
2) What makes you turn to Dr. Google for answers to your pets’ health issues? What are you searching for?
We all know there is a lot of misleading, sometimes dangerous information out there in cyberspace. Dr. Simpson would like to make a difference in pets’ lives by helping their humans find real, safe information when they need it.
I realize the holidays are right around the corner and that you’re probably already busy with preparations. So, if you could take take a few minutes to answer those questions for me I would greatly appreciate it. So would Dr. Simpson.
Finally, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, so to all who celebrate it, I hope you have a safe, wonderful holiday!
*ACE stands for Animal Centred Education, and is a program conceived and built from the ground up by a British gal by the name of Sarah Fischer.
To greatly simplify and shorten a long and complicated story, Sarah has been doing free work with many different animals for several years in an attempt to find reasons for their unwanted behavior, including reactivity and/or sensitivity to many things, people, and other animals. She also uses Tellington TTouch body work to introduce handling but ACE includes Free Work and detailed observations which give clues to a dog’s sensitivities.
I first learned about ACE and Free Work from my friend, Janet Finlay, who owns and operates Canine Confidence Academy in the U.K. and provides online learning as well as person-to-person workshops (up until the pandemic shutdown and will start again as mitigation makes it possible). I’ve taken several of Janet’s online courses over the years since we adopted Ducky, including the current (ongoing) one – Your End of the Lead 2.0 (an updated version of her original course by the same name) – to help me deal with Ducky’s reactivity. The courses also include private communities/forums where those of us taking the course can share our videos and stories without fear of judgment and form valuable alliances with other guardians of reactive dogs.
In some ways, Free Work for dogs is similar to beginner nose work; but instead of hiding treats, you put them in full view of the dog. Generally, we use a variety of surfaces, enrichment toys, etcetera, as the “course” layout so that the dog gets sensory information through its feet, nose, eyes, ears, etc. Once the course is set up, you invite the dog to explore it.
If possible, video the session (so you can watch later to pick up on those things you might miss) while the dog is exploring and getting the treats and observe her/his movement and posture, noting things that they like, nervous system responses, preferences (with respect to the direction they move in, objects they interact with, etc). Don’t include items in the course that you know are concerning to the dog, or remove an item if the dog appears to be wary of it. And, importantly, observe without any expectations as to the outcome. (Believe me, that last part takes some practice!)
The great thing about Free Work is that you don’t have to buy any special equipment – you can use whatever items you already own. And you can lay out just one or two items, or four or five, with enough room for the dog to move freely around them. (If your dog is super sensitive or tentative to her/his environment, it’s probably better to start with only one or two items so as not to overwhelm them.)
For Ducky, I needed a space where I could give her the freedom of eating her breakfast away from the main source of her anxiety – her “Daddy”. And, because she was so anxious at times that she wouldn’t eat out of her regular food bowl, I got out some different lickimats that I’ve purchased over the last couple of years. At first I just laid out the lickimats on the floor of my “office”. Then I experimented with different heights – like a 12-pack of toilet paper, an overturned Amazon box, and an agility cone (with the lickimat bowl inverted over it). Over the last several months, this has become Ducky’s preferred way to eat her breakfast.
The ACE Free Work not only gave me a way to relieve Ducky’s morning anxieties enough for her to eat; but it also gave me a learning opportunity. While observing her movement around the room via the videos I posted, several of my course mates (and Janet) started picking up on clues that she had some definite areas of bodily discomfort. When those clues were pointed out to me – in addition to the clues I was picking up on myself – I saw something that greatly concerned me: that Ducky might have cruciate disease in her left hind leg. As you know from an earlier post, that didn’t turn out to be the case; but she does have dysplasia in her left hip and we now have options for relieving and managing the pain.
So, with all that said, if you’re interested in learning more about ACE Free Work, I suggest checking out Sarah Fisher’s website: http://www.tilleyfarm.org.uk. There is a private group on Facebook, as well, called “ACE Connections” that you can ask to join.
For those of you who haven’t “met” Radar yet, you can read our introductory post here.
Radar’s future is – as far as we’re concerned – decided. He is our boy; and we are his family. Forever. Always. Infinitely. No questions asked.
He has been a joy to have around the house these last 4 weeks! He’s easy-going, happy, active, smart, and adaptable.
When hubby and I were away from home last week – visiting family – we left Ducky and Radar at home in the very capable, reliable care of our long-time pet sitters. Radar adapted to the change in his routine and our absence quite well. Ducky was another story, but she’s fine now so not to worry.
Now that Radar has settled into his new life – life with people and a canine sister who love him – he will be starting his treatment for heartworm disease next Tuesday (11/12/19). So I’m asking for your prayers, POTP, healing energies, or whatever you call it that he will recover quickly and safely.
Heartworm disease is scary, complicated, and can have lifelong effects on a dog’s overall health. Even after the infection itself has been successfully treated – resulting in a negative test return – the damage to the dog’s cardiovascular system can be permanent.
The treatments are preceded by an antiobiotic protocol of doxycycline to kill any bacteria which live in the heartworms. Those nasty bacteria are what help the worms survive and reproduce. They also may cause worsening inflammation when the adult heartworms die. By giving the antibiotic prior to the medication to kill the adult heartworms, the likelihood of complications from the treatment is decreased, and the chance for complete elimination of the infection is optimized.
Radar has also been getting his monthly Heartgard preventive to kill immature heartworms and prevent new infections from developing.
Meanwhile, I’ve had Radar to his vet a few times about other minor issues, and each time she has checked his “vitals”. His heart and lungs have sounded good each time so we’re hopeful that the treatments will work and Radar won’t have any future issues.
To learn more about heartworm treatment, go to the AHS’s website at the above link.
Hubby and I will have to be vigilant in our observation and care of Radar during his recovery. We will have to watch (and listen) for coughing, gagging, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or loss of appetite. And we will have to continue to restrict Radar’s exercise in order to minimize complications. We let him play with Ducky a little bit now, but he will have to be on complete crate rest once the treatments start. This is because when the adult worms die, they collapse and are pushed deeper into the smaller branches of the vessels that supply blood to the lungs. Since exercise increases blood flow to the lungs, it increases the likelihood that dead worms will block blood flow which can result in severe complications and possibly death. Makes it pretty obvious that we need to restrict Radar’s activity. We love this boy, and he’s even won Ducky over, so we’re going to do all we can to get him healthy and keep him healthy.
So, we thank you in advance for your POTP, prayers, and good wishes for Radar as he starts his heartworm treatments. We will keep you posted on his progress.
Oh, Ducky! Seven years ago today I found your name (and photo) on the shelter’s super urgent list in the morning, and by 1 PM you were officially a member of our little family.
Seven years ago today, my life – and your Daddy’s, Callie’s, and Shadow’s lives – changed forever. I had no way of knowing then what it would be like raising a shelter pup. I started thinking you’d be better off with a different family; but then you spent a day at doggie daycare and your demeanor improved so much that I couldn’t give up on you.
Callie helped me so much with you. So did Maria and the other girls at A Dog’s Day Out. Daycare was great for you. It taught you how to get along with other dogs, helped you spend all that turbo-charged energy, and gave you some socialization time, too. And it gave Callie and Shadow a needed break from your rowdy puppy playfulness. As well as the quiet time together and with me that they cherished, that I cherished.
You were a little stinker. Always wanting to leave Shadow out of your fun with Callie. But Callie didn’t let you.
And that awful morning when we had to say goodbye to Callie. You gave her puppy kisses that said “I love you, sis.” And your attitude toward Shadow started to improve. Callie had taught you well.
You had your spats with Shadow over the next 3-1/2 years, but you always made up with her. And when I was at Uncle Doug’s house last year, you were a good girl for Daddy. Then, when Shadow got sick in February, you watched over her for me, along with Callie. You were always right there, keeping her company whenever we had to go out. And you looked for her that weekend when she was at the hospital. And that horrible Monday when we said goodbye to Shadow, you “protected” her in the exam room. And you kissed her, as you had Callie.
You’ve been my and Daddy’s rock since Shadow reunited with Callie. I don’t know what we would have done without you, especially those first few weeks. I know you’re fine on your own in the house when Daddy and I have to leave you for a time; but I miss you from the minute we leave to the minute we get home. If I could, I would take you every place I go, just so you wouldn’t have to be alone in the house. But, then you’re not really alone during those times. Callie and Shadow are here with you, in spirit, watching over you for me.
Ducky, you are definitely one of a kind! You exasperate me, you push my patience to its limits, and you make me question my sanity at times. BUT you are sweet, loving, fun, silly, challenging, and precious all wrapped up in one 30-pound package. And every day I thank God I adopted you from the shelter that warm September afternoon seven years ago!
Well, it’s Sunday again; and the beginning of a brand-new week. And time for a new post about #thisdog who keeps us on our toes constantly.
Remember on Friday last when I wrote about the charmed life that Ducky leads? As a reminder, you can read that post here.
Well, she wasn’t so lucky yesterday. As is our normal routine, after Ducky had her breakfast, she and I came out to the yard for a while. After we’d been out here for about an hour, I noticed she was making faces 🤪 and pawing at her nose. She looked like a pup who had just sampled a spoonful of vinegar. And then she started hacking – like she had something caught in her throat – so I opened her mouth but couldn’t see anything.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the hacking was what the vet world calls a “reverse sneeze”.
Anyway, it was time for me to get our roast started for dinner, so I brought Ducky inside and put hubby in charge of watching her. She seemed okay, so I took care of a few other things and went to check on her myself. And she started hacking again. So, I decided to take her to the emergency vet to see what was going on. She obviously wasn’t feeling up to par.
We got to the emergency vet, checked in, and I put Ducky in my lap. I turned her to face me and that’s when I saw it. Her upper left lip was swollen to where it was drooping over the lower lip even while she was panting. So I tied her leash to the bench and walked over to the receptionist to tell her what I’d just discovered. I went back to get Ducky so I could put her on the scale.
The receptionist and I put 2 and 2 together and decided Miss Ducky was having an allergic reaction to something. So one of the techs brought her to the back, the vet gave her a shot of Benadryl, and then they put her in one of the kennels so they could observe her for a little while. And I kept busy texting with two of my friends.
About half an hour later, the same tech came out to get me and we walked back to one of the exam rooms. We talked about what had been going on the last couple of days with this crazy dog. Then the vet brought Ducky into the room. In her attempts to make the itch go away, she had rubbed a small spot on her nose raw. And she had pooped in the kennel, so it was time to let her be with me. I noticed the swelling on her lip had gone down considerably already.
The vet, tech, and I talked a little bit and decided that Ducky had probably air snapped at a bee 🐝 buzzing near her earlier in the day and got stung in the lip in the process. Ouchie!!
While the tech printed out the discharge instructions back in the treatment area, Ducky and I waited in the exam room. I could tell Ducky was already starting to feel better: she started whining and pawing at the door. “Let’s go home, Mom! I wanna get outta here!”
She slept on the couch most of the rest of the afternoon and evening and went right back to sleep in her crate at bedtime. 😴
She awoke this morning, “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as usual, and in full-on, turbo-charged mode. Ready to beg hubby for some of his cinnamon roll.
I wonder if this will be one of those life’s lessons learned for Ducky? I hope so!! If not, I at least have more Benadryl in the house now to treat her with. My crazy, lovable, challenging dog! I don’t know about her sometimes, but I love her to the moon and back! ❤️❤️
As hubby and a few of my local friends are aware, I’ve spent the last week or two considering adding a new Golden Retriever puppy to our little family.
I checked local GR rescue groups’ websites, tried reaching out to two breeders I knew of on FB Messenger, asked local friends – some of whom work for our vet – if they know of other breeders, etc.
Yesterday, I found the phone number of Callie’s breeder. And I called her. She has a litter, and one puppy left from that litter. A little female. I felt my heart skip a beat. I had had my heart set on a male; but hubby said the gender didn’t matter to him. And he’s the reason I was even considering getting another dog to begin with.
The price Debbie was asking nearly floored me. I mean, I know it’s been 15 years since we brought Callie home; but good grief! Anyway, I was willing to pay it if hubby really wanted another Golden puppy.
Then reality “hit” me square in the face: I’m. just. not. ready. I’m still too emotionally raw after “losing” Shadow four months ago. And I don’t believe Ducky’s quite ready for a younger sibling. And then there’s the long-term commitment: food, vet care, training, enrichment, time, etcetera.
So, I called Debbie back and thanked her for offering to lower her price “just because I know you and know you’re a good pet parent”; but I had to decline. She understands. I knew she would.
Some day, maybe, the time and circumstances will be right. I hope so, at least. I do sooooo want another Golden. I’m thankful that hubby understands that this is not the right time. And I’m thankful to my friends for their support on both sides of the decision.
There’s so much to be thankful for, but friends and family sums it all up pretty well. I love you all! ❤️
I’m joining Brian’s Home Blog in the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop! Visit some other blogs to see what they are thankful for.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
Happens when you leave your comfort zone way behind you and aren’t disappointed.
Today has been one of those days. I wish I had photos to share but I don’t. Please just enjoy the one at the end of the post.
I had to take Ducky to the vet for a weight check. I figured she would at least bark at Rachel or Morgan, but no. Once we got inside, she was quiet as a church mouse. And no resistance to being on the scale.
Then, I needed to go to our local pet supplies store to pick up some more “backup food” (for when I get low on homemade and don’t have time to make more).
Ducky has never been inside that store because I was always afraid she would try to bite another human who got too close to me. So, naturally, I was prepared to have hubby take her back outside if she got too anxious.
Ducky, Hubby, and I walked into the store behind another shopper and it was like we were the only three beings in the store. Not a sound, not an anxious look, not any reaction at all from Ducky. We walked to the back of the store where they keep (some of) the food I needed and back to the front where the rest of it is kept. All Ducky was interested in was all the new smells. 🐾🐾
So, hubby brought our items up to the cashier’s desk while I walked Ducky around the store. Her only reaction was a little growling at another dog on the other side of the glass door to the grooming room. And she stopped as soon as I asked her to and went back to sniffing. She even sniffed the cashier’s hand when the girl rolled out from behind the counter in a wheelchair!! 🥰
My little girl made me – and her Daddy – so proud today! I know her Golden Angel sisters are proud of her, too! 😇😇
Now Ducky and I are enjoying sunshine and fresh air in the backyard as we chill out. Ducky’s on squirrel patrol, and I’m about to start my walk around the yard. (Beats the boring old treadmill any time!)