Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Christmas Present

When I was a little girl my grandmother liked to find ways to keep me busy. At this time of year she would hand me the Sears Roebuck catalog and a pen and tell me to circle what I wanted Santa to bring me. This was an all day or even two day project as I got busy circling almost every item in the catalog.



When I was a bit older my Mom would ask me and my siblings to make a list for her. She usually gave us something from our list.
Most years Rob asks me what I want for Christmas and I sometimes have a hard time coming up with an answer.

This year, it seems that I won't have to think up anything, my dogs have taken care of that for me. Fudge is still wearing a cone to protect his eye, but the eye is looking much better today. He gets warm compresses on his eye several times a day and loves that treatment. He still gets eyedrops three times a day and I still give him a pain pill at night to help him, and everyone else, sleep.
Sebastian's hip was responding well to the antibiotics, the swelling was almost gone. Then he finished the antibiotics a couple days ago and yesterday I noticed that the area was starting to swell again. Last night he started licking his hip and wouldn't stop. I took a look at it and it was very swollen and red and angry looking. I put a cone on him to keep him from licking and sprayed the area with a steroid spray to help with the itching. He spent the evening glaring at me.
This morning when we checked it, it looked really bad, so we put him in the car and went to visit Dr B.  The doctor said the infection was still active and we'd have to do another course of antibiotics. Then he applied a little pressure to the area and it erupted with nasty looking stuff that resembled cottage cheese. The doctor seemed pleased and said that made it much easier to diagnose. It seems that Sebastian has a sebaceous cyst and after a few days on antibiotics to calm it, we'll have it removed. That should take care of the problem. We scheduled his surgery for next Tuesday.

Yes, that's two dogs in cones at the same time. Try that sometime, it makes life exciting. So this year my gift will be a group of healthy dogs. I'll settle for that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Big Kitty

We like our Mom to be happy. If Mom's happy, you can be pretty sure that the rest of us will be happy, too. Even Dad likes to make sure Mom's happy. Lately, Mom's been talking to herself and not looking so happy. It seems that her big apple has been talking back to her.

She spends a lot of time on her big apple and she buys stuff on there and she meets with all of you, but she's been getting some bad messages from the big apple, saying it won't do this and it can't do that. Mom doesn't like that kind of message and she was getting kind of mad about it.

But you see, our Mom knows a wizard. He has a name, Curtis, but Mom calls him her wizard. So one morning Dad called Mom's wizard and told him about the bad messages Mom was getting. The wizard called Mom and asked her a couple questions, then he said he could solve all her apple problems, that's what good wizards do.

So Mom and Dad told us to be good because they were going to go see the wizard. And off they went with the big apple.
They came home without Mom's big apple and we were all worried, but the next day they went back and the big apple was better than ever and it came home with them. Do you know what the wizard did? He put a big kitty inside the big apple. 
We've never seen the kitty and I can't even smell it, but Mom says it's purring like a nice kitty should and Mom and her big apple are best friends again.

Aren't humans crazy?
Your pal, Fudge

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We're Thankful

It's been a very sad week, but this morning I've been thinking about Thanksgiving Day and I really do have much to be thankful for. I have a loving, supportive husband who loves our crazy lifestyle and house full of animal as much as I do.
I have a comfortable home that accommodates our large furred and feathered family.

I've had the honor of knowing some incredible dogs and sharing their lives.
I'm especially grateful that eight of our dogs survived the infection that took Samba and Sky. They were able, for whatever reason, to fight off the infection and are now healthy and happy and awaiting Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm thankful that Fudge's injury is relatively minor and he still has his eye. Dr B said one of the lacerations nicked a blood vessel causing all the blood last Saturday. The eyeball is uninjured and we're using drops and doing some therapy by moving the eyelid so that scar tissue doesn't adhere to the eye. Because Fudge is a little too excited about the whole event and is trying desperately to rub his eye, he's now receiving a light sedative along with his pain meds.
I'm thankful that we have a lovely, peaceful pet cemetery near us called Friends of the Family where Sky has joined Pylon, Bentley, Lucy, Monty and Tsar. He was cremated and his ashes scattered.
I'm thankful that Samba is back here at home with me.
I'm thankful for all the friends I've made thru blogging and very grateful for the support you've given us during this difficult year.

There's much to be thankful for today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Ghost Story

Let me start by saying I don't believe in ghosts.
We've lost three wonderful dogs this year. Tsar was a character! He was a loner in a large pack. He needed space and though he was a big dog, he would let out high pitched squeaks when any of the others invaded his personal space. The others all learned to respect those squeaks and give him room.
He was also quite an accomplished singer and would throw back his head and howl on command often causing the rest of the pack to join in.
He would sit beside me at breakfast and watch my bagel. When I was getting close to finishing it, he'd nudge my arm to remind me that he also liked bagels, especially with cream cheese spread on it.

He enjoyed playing by himself and one of his favorite toys was his big yellow duck.

Tsar died in April. In July Sebastian turned up on our doorstep and joined the family. The two dogs never met, BUT Sebastian likes to remain apart from the crowd and now issues high pitched squeaks to warn off anyone getting in his personal space.
He has started coming up to me at breakfast and nudging me for my last bite of bagel.

He has a favorite toy, the big yellow duck.
Saturday at the vet's office, minutes after Sky died, Sebastian threw his head back and let out a howl. It made the hair on my neck stand up. It was so sad.
Samba was an accomplished counter surfer. She started at an early age. We left her confined to the kitchen when she was only three months old and couldn't reach the counters. No problem, she proceeded to push a chair over to the counter, jump on it and snatch some biscuits. She had some impressive successes including a container of Ben and Jerry's and a whole roast turkey.
Sebastian has never walked into the kitchen. I don't know if it's because he's afraid of slipping on the tile floor or if his first family taught him to stay out of the kitchen. Several times I've tried to coax him into the kitchen, but he stops at the door, sits and wags his tail at me.
So, imagine my surprise last week when Rob and I returned from saying goodbye to Samba at the vet's office to find Sebastian in the kitchen, his front feet planted on the counter, finishing Samba's uneaten breakfast.

Samba and Morgan were best friends and spent a lot of time grooming each other and whispering to each other.
Sebastian, who has never paid much attention to Morgan, this week has been licking her face and walking up and down the stairs with her. Morgan  is slow because of her age and her knee injuries. The other dogs fly past her on the stairs, but Sebastian walks very slowly beside her.
Sky loved to play ball. You all know that I was searching for a replacement ball for him just before he died. The people at Sergeant's sent a little soft ball that he carried around for several days. Yesterday Sebastian picked up the little ball and has been carrying it and tossing it in the air and catching it, just as Sky used to do.
Each of our dogs has his own place where he or she gets comfy in the evening when Rob and I settle down to watch Tv and I pick up my stitching. Sky always stretched out beside my chair and I would have to step over him if I got up. Last night when I went to stand up I had to step over Sebastian who was sleeping in Sky's spot.
He knows that Rob and I are sad and comes over and rests his head in our laps. He's a very sweet dog and I'm sure he's just trying to help us in whatever way he can.
It's a difficult time for all of us, human and canine.
As I said before, I don't believe in ghosts.  And yet.............

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Puppy Number Two

Red sky at night
Sailor's delight.                                      SKY

He was the second puppy born and for the first couple days was just called Number Two.
He was the first to bark and startled himself when he did it.
I called him my early warning system because he barked at anything that moved, including his brothers and sisters.
He was supposed to go live with a couple in Illinois, but days before he was to leave, I got a bad feeling. Rob asked some pointed questions and we learned that though the man was crazy about him, the wife wanted a little lap dog instead. I refused to send my Sky into a situation like that where he wouldn't be loved totally, so he stayed with us.
He was a big gentle puppy who grew into a big gentle dog. He was a good pup who didn't destroy things or mess up the house. He didn't even counter surf till last year.
He was a little lazy and didn't always pay attention. Samba had to talk to him about that sometimes.
His favorite thing in the world was to play ball. He would chase it till he was too tired to run. Then he would slowly bring it back and ask to have it thrown one more time.
He was a handsome boy with silver fox coloring.
Whenever he saw a camera, he'd sit up straight and smile.
He liked to help with whatever I was doing and if I was at the computer, he was at my side. In the evenings he'd stretch out beside my chair. That was his spot.

He loved to play or to ride or to just be with us, though he never did learn to like the water. When he saw the hose come out, he'd head for the other side of the yard. At the lake he'd just play in the shallow area. He was no swimmer.
I am heartbroken that we couldn't find a way to cure the infection that took him at only six years of age.
He will live forever in our hearts.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Politics Is A Rough Sport

I'm numb. I had anticipated posting some photos of my Sky dog today and I'll do that soon, but in the never ending saga of the Portie Blog, we have a new development.
As you all know, we lost two important pack members last week. Samba and Sky both died of cryptosporidium infection which went thru our entire pack. The others were all able to fight it off, though some were pretty sick for a while. Samba, with her compromised immune system from her three year battle with MMM, was too weak to fight the bacteria and Sky, for unknown reasons, also became too ill to recover. With help from our vet and from the vets at the Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, we tried everything we could think of to save them, but it didn't end well.

Yesterday we took Sebastian to the vet because of hair loss and swelling in his hip area. The diagnosis is an infection in the hair follicles. Sebastian has always been an itchy dog and we've given him antihistamines and fish oil since he's been living with us. When he first arrived in July, his coat and skin were in pretty bad condition and they've improved a lot, but we're not sure what the underlying problem may be. He doesn't appear to have food allergies, so perhaps once we get this infection cleared up, he may be less itchy and have better skin and coat. He's taking antibiotics and getting medicated baths and we're confident we can help him get over this.
Last night I went downstairs to feed the dogs. I let all eight of them into the yard while I prepared their meals. Then I let four of them in to eat. When they were finished, I sent them back outside and brought the other four in. As they finished eating, I picked up the empty bowls. Fudge was last to finish and when I reached for his bowl I saw that it was covered with blood. I sent the others out and examined him. There was blood all over his chest and leg so I though at first that he'd injured his leg. Then I looked at his face and almost lost it. Blood was pouring from his right eye. The lid and area around the eye were hugely swollen and I couldn't see the eye. I didn't know if it was still there.

I called Rob who was out buying some groceries and I grabbed some cloths, wet them and held them to the eye to try and stop the bleeding. When Rob got home he called Dr B, but he was too far away and sent us to the emergency room. I sat in the back seat next to Fudge, who was very agitated, and held a compress to the eye. The emergency doctor took him right in, sedated him and checked the eye.
The eyeball is OK. He has three small lacerations to the inside of the upper eyelid. They were too small to suture, so he was given pain medication and drops were put in his eye and he was sent home, still unconscious. He woke up around 9 last night and was very groggy. We put drops in the eye before bed and this morning he could open the lid, though it's still very swollen. It's also a lovely rainbow hue, with lots of purple and blue amidst a little red and yellow. I was planning to take our Christmas picture today with Fudge wearing a Santa hat, but instead he needs a pirate's eyepatch.

So, what happened? There are several things going on here. First: Fudge is a bully and tease. He loves to grab another dog's toy and then shove it in their face while humming. Naturally the other dogs, don't appreciate this behavior and some react worse than others. Noah gets fed up and fights back and any other dog that touches Monkey has to deal with the wrath of Bailey.

Second: Rob and I are dealing with an overflow of stress this week. I know the dogs pick up on it and I've noticed short tempers several times over the past few days.

Third: There are two pack members gone, one was the pack leader. Now we're facing a realignment of the pack order and there are several candidates vying for the top spot. I know Fudge would love to be leader, but he's not all that popular with his pack mates. Bailey would have been my guess a few weeks ago, but suddenly I notice a change in Norma Jean and then there is the dark horse, Sebastian. He's acting more sure of himself and is starting to look like a possible leader.

Fudge may have run into something outside last night, but he probably got in the face of the wrong dog and found some teeth poking into his face. When we returned from the hospital we inspected everyone and didn't find any blood on any of the other dogs. We'll never know just what happened, but I suspect the campaign for pack order got a little too rough. From now on Rob and I'll supervise more closely till they get this all sorted out.
Fudge is going to be OK in a week or two and that's the important part right now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sky

                                                 Legacy's Red Sky At Night

October 26,2006 - November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Glow Ball Search

Wow! Thank you to all of you who searched for the perfect glow ball for Sky. Pet stores all over the country were getting requests from bloggers about starry glow balls. Unfortunately, none are to be found. Shame on Petco for advertising an item that they don't actually carry. There are a couple other balls I'm considering. They're the same size and have raised areas for him to grab. There are also some other glow balls that work on batteries and that worries me so I don't think I'll try them.


The nice lady from Sergeant's, her name is Julie, got back to me and even they couldn't locate one of the raised star glow balls. Yesterday a package arrived from Sergeant's addressed to Sky and inside were a couple of presents. First was this glow torpedo. Julie thought since it was the same material and approximate size as his favorite ball, he might accept it. He did take it from me and carried it into the other room to inspect it.
Then look who decided it was actually a birthday gift sent to the wrong dog.
But there was another little gift tucked away in the box. It's the same size as his glow ball, but it's soft and fuzzy and squeaks. Sky immediately carried it off and he's had it beside him ever since, except when Fudge steals it. We have to keep checking inside Fudge's big mouth to make sure he isn't trying to sneak it outside.


Last night Lynn at the  Rocky Creek Scottie blog gave me a wonderful suggestion. She asked if I'd tried soaking Sky's food in goat's milk. When the pups were little I used to make their food using goat's milk and they all loved it. I always keep a couple cans on hand to use as special treats, but I'd forgotten about them. Last night and again today we used goat's milk on his food and he ate a little by himself. We still had to resort to force feeding him the rest, but it's a good sign.

Today was a lovely day and Sky went into the yard with the other dogs this afternoon. He doesn't have a lot of strength, but he carried his ball around and even asked me to throw it for him. I only rolled it a few feet and he trotted over and picked it up. Then he had to lie down and rest.

 You can see in this shot how much weight he's lost. His collar hangs on him. He hasn't been wearing it lately because of the hair loss on his neck, but we put it on to help hold him when we feed him. I need to adjust it.
We're feeding him three or four times a day with his enzyme soaked food and he's taking a special vitamin B12 supplement twice daily. We'll be visiting Dr B on Monday to see if theres any improvement in his weight.

I saw this on Facebook a few days ago and since that's a Portie looking up at the sky, it reminded me of all the nights that Samba woke me to go gaze at the moon and stars. I miss my little girl.
Hug your dogs tonight and look up at the brightest star in the sky.