Wednesday, July 22, 2015

These Boots Are Made For Walking and Chasing Squirrels

As you saw in his little video yesterday, Fudge is doing great. He can do almost everything he wants except scratch that left ear. His foot has feeling and he can support his weight on it.  This morning he accompanied Sebastian to the vet's office to show Dr B how well he can walk and he even stood up on his back legs to greet the doctor. Dr B says he'll improve even more over the next four weeks and he may even get to scratch his ear.
When Fudge first had the stroke, he dragged his left leg and it had no feeling. We needed to protect the foot from abrasions so I grabbed a pair of boots that I had for Samba. These were designed for protecting a wound, she'd had surgery to remove her dewclaws. They were really nice little boots that worked to keep her incisions safe and clean. I was worried about her walking out of them but they fasten so well that it was never a problem. They have a zipper plus a band with velcro strips to keep them secure.
These worked for Fudge long enough for me to order him a pair of boots designed especially for dogs that drag their feet from injury or stroke. These are nice strong boots. They are long to fasten high on the leg and keep them secure. They also have double sided leather foot pads to protect the skin on top of the foot when it's dragged across pavement.
 Both of these specialty boots came from a company called Pro-Active Paws. They make all sorts of specialty boots for dogs. They have boots for pets who don't want to get salt or ice between their pads, boots for sled dogs, boots for wound protection and more. They also have leg protectors for athletic dogs who slide and injure their legs or dew claws. They will even make custom boots for whatever your dog needs. They are wonderful to work with and answer any questions, make helpful suggestions and try to make your experience a good one. I can't recommend them enough.

Fudge is able to go without his boot most of the time now. If he's tired, he may drag his foot a little so we keep his fancy boots nearby. We're just so relieved that he has improved so much in such a short time. It was a scary experience for him and us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm Back

Hi Everybody,
Did you miss me? I'm back and almost as good as new.  I don't have to wear my boot unless Mom sees me dragging my foot and I try not to do that. Tomorrow Mom is going to show you my fancy boots and tell you all about them. They're really comfy and stylish too.

I just wanted to tell you that tomorrow it'll be two weeks since my awful ouchie in my back. It really hurt, then I couldn't walk. But now I can do almost everything I could do before. I can walk and run and chase squirrels. I can jump a little, not too high yet and best of all I can spin again.

Want to see? Here's a really short little video showing my first spin since my stroke.
video

It's so good to be back.
Your pal, Fudge

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day Ten

It's been ten days since Fudge's spinal stroke. At that time Dr B and I discussed possible improvement and I was warned that it could be slow and only partial. Fudge had other ideas.

Within two days he was getting around though he was dragging his left foot. He progressed from that to walking on the top of his foot. He had to wear a boot to prevent injury to the top of the foot.

After just a couple days he was able, with some difficulty, to climb onto the couch by himself. He also was attempting stairs though he couldn't lift the left leg up, so I lifted it for him.

Now at day ten, Fudge is walking almost normally. He steps on the pads instead of the top. He can do stairs by himself and he only has to wear his boot outside. His left leg is still weak and occasionally he still drags it, hence the boot. He wants to scratch his ear with his left leg, but so far hasn't been able to do that. He's tried to spin a couple times and falls over.

I can see that the leg is weak and that his gait isn't normal, but a casual observer wouldn't notice anything wrong. After speaking with his vet, we think he may have nearly complete recovery with time.

This is something I don't want to experience again. Thank you to all who had great advice and support, Carol and Tom especially. Bloggers are the best.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oops, There's A Leak

I meant to post this last week when it happened, but so much was going on at once that it got pushed aside. Still, I was so impressed in a horrified sort of way, that I wanted to post about it.

I grew up in a farmhouse about two miles outside a small village in Central New York.  The place was surrounded by acres of woods and there was a little creek running thru the property. When I was little it was a dirt road but it was later paved and well maintained by the town. Later my Aunt and her family moved there and she still lives in the farmhouse. Rob and I were married in the living room.

Central New York has been getting lots of rain lately. and last week this happened.
 It seems that an old, very large, active beaver dam sprung a leak from the heavy rains and the sweet little creek turned into this nightmare.
It doesn't seem possible that water can do so much damage so quickly, but there it is.
 The town got there quickly and did a temporary fix. They were to return in a few days to repave and get things back to normal
 Get to work Mr Beaver and repair that dam.


Monday, July 13, 2015

A Chewy Review by Fudge

Hi everybody,
Did I have you all worried? Boy, I even had me worried this time. That was one really bad day. Mom tells me I'm doing great and that I'm a good boy but my back foot doesn't work. I wear this boot all the time but I can't feel it. Mom says I'm getting better and I trust her but it's pretty strange when you can't feel your own foot.

Mom and Dad are happy because I can lift either leg to pee. That makes me pretty happy too. I can also climb up on the couch and I can go up the stairs with only a little help. So I just don't know why she won't let me chase the squirrels. Today I tried to stand on my back feet to greet her and she freaked out. I'll never understand peeps.
Anyway, being disabled does have a couple of perks. I get lots more attention and that's a really good thing. I also get to eat some special food and that's what I want to tell you about.

Chewy sent us some cans of this stuff. It's called Evanger's and we chose duck and sweet potato. The kibble I eat is also duck and sweet potato so these should go together nicely and not disturb my tummy.
This is what it looks like. It's all ground up and Mom says the smell is kind of strong, but  that's partly why it's so good. 
She mixes it with my kibble like this.
Then she showed me.
I tried it and it was really tasty.
Please excuse me while I finish this.
As you can see this food really hits the spot and I think I'd like some more soon.
Chewy sent us some cans of Evanger's duck and sweet potato for our honest opinion. Dad didn't have to pay any dollars which makes him happy and I got to eat some really good food which makes me happy. Tell you peeps to try it. Evanger's makes lots of flavors for you to choose from.
Your pal, Fudge

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mr Determination or Don't Tell Me I Can't Do It

Last night I had a long conversation with Dr B. We discussed Fudge's condition, his possible recovery and how to help him thru it. He told me not to expect too much for about 21 days, to protect the dragging foot and basically just wait and see. He said we could hope for an 80 - 90 % recovery.

We both underestimated Fudge's determination and strong personality.
Soon after the talk with his vet I took Fudge outside. When we got down the steps he started doing a strange little walk. It was step, step, drag, drag, step step, drag, etc. He was trying to walk on the bad foot and partially succeeding. When I brought him inside again, I went to get him a cookie and with no help he had climbed onto the couch. He slept there all evening.

This morning when we went out he did the same funny walk around the front yard, then he looked up at me and balancing on his bad leg, he lifted the other leg to pee.  He was so very pleased with himself that he tried a silly little one legged kick back of the grass while balancing on his bad leg. When we got to the five front steps, he was able to lift the damaged leg up by himself and needed no help.

This boy wants to rejoin the activities of the pack and he's absolutely determined to overcome his disability. He's a bright light at the end of a couple very dark weeks. I now feel that he will manage to overcome this and we'll have our doofus back sooner than any of us thought.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Progress Report

Wow, Fudge and I want to thank you. We've received so many comments and emails and phone calls about the boy. I've been trying to answer them all but I have been pretty tied up with disabled dogs for the last few days. It seems that no sooner do I take care of one than another needs something. We'll get into a routine eventually but for now it's controlled chaos.

So here's where we stand. Sebastian is doing much better. He's eating normally now and the vomiting seems to have stopped, at least for the time being. We're keeping him close to us as soon as the sun goes down and the booming starts. He's still taking Prilosec and Dr B prescribed valium twice a day till we get thru the noisy season.

Morgan just goes on as if nothing has changed. She has her own routines and I try to keep up with them. Her favorite time of day is 9PM when she gets her milkshake, and I'd better not be late.

Then we have Mr Fudge. He was walking across the room on Wednesday when he collapsed and started shrieking. He couldn't stand up and once I got him calmed down a little it was obvious that he couldn't move his back legs. By the time we got to the clinic, he was able to use his right leg enough to stagger, but he was dragging the left leg.

He had an injection for pain and an IV of steroids and xrays. It seems that a bit of cartilage broke off and entered the bloodstream.It injured the spine giving him a spinal stroke. Dr B says we may see some improvement over the next six weeks, but he'll never be back to normal. This is a big blow to a boy who loves to run, jump and spin.

Yesterday was not a good day for him. He was having trouble walking. He did have his appetite back but I knew how unhappy he was because as he rested on his blanket, he kept making little grumbling noises, half growl and half moan. He's very unhappy about this whole situation.
He doesn't want me out of his sight. We're keeping him leashed so that he won't try to follow me up or downstairs. One of us is always close by in case he needs us. Trips outside were a problem. At first we tried the towel under the hips thing but that didn't work too well. I remembered a special harness I had for Morgan when she tore her knees so we're using that. It has two padded loops that go around his legs and a strap that attaches to his collar. I can hold the strap to help him on steps and to balance him as he walks.

Since he's dragging the leg, I was afraid he'd injure the top of the foot. I found Samba's boots that she wore when she had a foot injury. They're tall thick boots designed for disable dogs. They zip on and then have velcro straps that wrap around the leg. I had no trouble putting one on him because he has no feeling in the foot or leg. I put it on while he was sleeping and he didn't even know I was doing it.

Today, day 2, is a little better. He can walk unsteadily, though he falls a lot. Learning to walk again is hard work and he can only take a few steps before he has to sit and rest. You can all imagine how heart wrenching it is to watch him struggling. He was such a very active dog.

I'm hoping he's starting to accept the way things are and that some of his happy personality comes back. I'll be talking to his vet this afternoon and may have some more ideas on how to help him. For now we're just taking things one wobbly step at a time.

We're all trying to smile and go on.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Under A Cloud

Sometimes it feels like I exist under my own little storm cloud that follows me around.  Yesterday, after a week of losses and illness, we got hit hard. Fudge, my special little doofus, developed fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy (FCEM).

To put it more clearly, Fudge had a stroke and now one of his back legs is paralyzed. He has started treatment and we're hoping for some improvement over the next six weeks, but his future is uncertain.
We need to borrow your paws again. Our Blogville family is a great support. Fudge and I will post more once we've had a little rest.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gibson

 He was puppy # 6, a beautiful boy who we called Indy.

When he was 12 weeks old he went to live in Oklahoma with a nice man and his two teenaged children. The kids loved teaching him tricks.
They changed his name to Gibson and called him Gib.

They bought a boat so they could take him swimming, one of his favorite activities.
Last night I got a call. Gib had gotten  very sick and they made the heartbreaking decision to let him go.

I feel honored that my puppy buyers have both turned to me hoping that I was still breeding. It assures me that my choices were good and that the pups inherited the very best qualities of both their parents.
I will try to help them find another puppy to fill the enormous void in their lives, but we know that Gib will forever hold a giant piece of their hearts.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Great Cookie War

"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!"
                   From Horton Hatches The Egg by Dr Seuss

I can say the very same about someone else, Amazon.com. They said the critter trap would be here on July 4th, and it was delivered on July 4th. Fortunately I wasn't outside to greet the poor delivery person who had to work the holiday, but I was very glad to get the trap and try to win the Cookie War.

The boomers started yesterday in the early afternoon, so we had our hands full. I gave Sebastian some Valium and kept him close to me. Tess, who is terrified of boomers, either manmade or natural, refused to go outside so I had to leash her to get her out. Even then she pulled to go back inside and didn't take time for anything else. At 10 I gave them their yogurt and offered to let them out but no one wanted to set foot in the scary outdoors. Instead I put everyone in their crates and decided to try and wait out the noise.

Rob set the trap in the garage and used a few biscuits as bait. At 11 I went to the garage to see if any of the dogs were ready to go outside, but none would even go into the garage. I glanced at the trap and it was sprung and the cookies were gone but it was empty. WHAT???

I reported back to Rob and he had to go see for himself. What is this creature? We thought about the possibilities. Maybe it was a mouse that could squeeze thru the wire because I bought the possum sized trap. Maybe it was something strong enough to force the door open. That was a scary thought. Maybe it was reaching thru the wire to pull the cookies out without entering the trap. Whatever it was, I wasn't happy thinking that this creature might be smarter than we are.

He pushed the trap back into the box it came in and left the door exposed. He baited it with more biscuits and set it again. Maybe if it was small enough to get through the wire, it wouldn't squeeze out of the box, maybe...

We went to bed at midnight and the boomers were still loud and frequent. I heard the last ones around 2AM. Very considerate, you morons!

We were up at six with dogs that desperately needed to get outside fast. There had been no accidents overnight which was remarkable. Good dogs! When we came back in Rob went to check the trap. It had been sprung, so we opened the garage door and carefully carried the box outside and away from the house. When we pulled the box off, there he was..................


............a very, very fat mouse.
Rob set the trap on the ground and Mr Fatso Mouse squeezed his fuzzy bulk thru the wire and raced across the yard and up a tree. I've never seen a mouse climb a tree before but this guy did it in record time. Of course he carried ten pounds of dog biscuits across the garage in just five hours, so the guy can move.

We came in, reset the trap in case he has family living in the garage and we'll see what happens tonight. We won the battle but the war may not be over yet.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Quick Update

I had a different post planned for today but this week has been extraordinarily difficult on a number of levels, so I'll save that one for another day when my mood is lighter.

I'll catch you up on why I haven't been around to leave comments on your blogs much this week. As you know we have a mystery creature collecting dog biscuits in the garage. He has not yet been captured as the trap was due to be delivered today but it's a holiday. Instead I'm leaving a few of his recycled biscuits out each night for him and so far he hasn't gotten into anything else, at least we haven't found anything. Amazon says the trap should be here tomorrow, we'll see.

Sebastian is doing fairly well. I was very worried about him last night. He looks so sick and of course the neighbors started shooting fireworks even before it got dark. His vomiting stopped in the afternoon as did the diarrhea. He seemed to sleep better till the boomers started, then he got all upset. I leashed him, gave him some valium, closed the blinds, turned the TV up way too loud and kept him close to me all evening. None of the dogs would go out for last call even though we waited till almost midnight. We were all up around 4 so they could go out and there was only one accident overnight, from Morgan.
 Today Sebastian has had two very small meals and so far has kept them down. He looks less stressed and seems more like his usual self. I am not looking forward to tonight.

Finally, I got a phone call early this morning that I was expecting but hoping not to get. My cousin's wife Mary died yesterday. Mary had breast cancer several years ago and we all thought she had beaten it, but recently it came back and had spread. Tuesday when I posted the ribbon, she had been sent to hospice care and we knew she didn't have much time left. This is Mary at a much happier time.
It's very hard to be far from one's family when there's a crisis. My thoughts are back in Mexico, New York and have been for most of the week.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Worst Holiday

I have started to dread July 4th and not only the 4th, but the first couple weeks of July. As you can probably guess it's the fireworks and accompanying noise that causes this feeling.
You may remember that Sebastian turned up on the 4th of July, three years ago. He was then and continues to be terrified of loud noises. This week has been  a nightmare for him because we've had many thunder storms and also some of the people on the street have been shooting off fireworks. They can't wait for the designated day, they have to annoy everyone and terrify the animals for several days before and after the 4th.

Last night I sent the dogs outside around 9:45 for their last outing of the day. No sooner had they walked out the door than one of the obnoxious neighbors shot off some fireworks. The dogs all came running in completely panicked. It took quite a while to calm them down and get them settled for the night. Then at 2AM, Sebastian woke me. He almost never wakes me so I knew it was important. I took him outside and we walked around the yard but he didn't do anything so we went back inside. We went out a second time and still he just walked around.

About ten minutes later he was asking to go out again, so Rob got up and took him out twice, but he didn't do anything. After settling down to sleep I noted that Sebastian was still restless. Then the vomiting started and it continued over and over again.

When the clinic opened we took Sebastian in to see Dr M. I was afraid to treat his nausea because of his pancreatitis and needed advice on what to do. Sebastian didn't greet everyone with hugs as he usually does but just curled up on the floor looking sick.

Dr M examined him and said his temperature was normal, his pancreas wasn't painful and he didn't seem to be having a pancreatic flare up. Instead she diagnosed stress ulcers. He received an injection for nausea and came home with nausea medicine. He's to take Prilosec for a month and eat the homemade food for several days starting tomorrow. She also gave us a referral to the emergency clinic in case he gets worse over the weekend.
Once we got home he vomited a couple more times, then developed bloody diarrhea. I called the doc and she added an antibiotic and probiotic to his routine. He looks and acts really sick and just wants to lie next to me and be gently stroked on the head.

Why can't people realize that not only dogs, but young children and people with stress disorders and others are all bothered by the noise of fireworks and show a little consideration for someone else for a change. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Maybe stop and think about the consequences of your actions for once in your life.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Escalation

Last night we set the traps and put a biscuit near each of them. I put the lid on the biscuit box and all the other treats went into the refrigerator for safe keeping. We turned off the lights and went to bed.

It was not a restful night due to strong storms in the area. The thunder boomers and lightning show began at midnight and lasted till 7 this morning with buckets of rain falling. Needless to say, I had some very restless dogs.
This morning at six Rob and I went to the garage ahead of the dogs hoping to find a fat mousie in one of the traps. What we found didn't make me at all happy. All the biscuits around the traps were gone. The traps were sprung and thrown on the floor. As far as I'm concerned, it was a challenge. This is not a mouse that we're dealing with. I leaning toward a possum but it could be most anything.

So the battle has escalated. I called around this morning in search of a Have A Heart trap. No one had one available, so I turned to my favorite store, Amazon. They had one and it's on it's way.

Till it arrives we'll continue with the little snap traps and a limited number of biscuits to keep it from looking for other food. I intend to win this battle and hopefully no one will be injured. This is the result I'm looking forward to.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Today I have a true crime mystery for you. It's a tale of greed that led to a hunt for the thief.

Let me set the scene. Our garage, like many others, is a place where things that don't have any other place to go, get stored. We have a work bench with tools on racks above it. We have several metal shelves along the back wall where assorted items are stashed. There is a pile of boxes, flattened and tied together, a pile of Rob's old sketch pads, little pots of paint to touch up walls in various rooms, a stack of old towels for drying dogs or polishing the car. You get the picture. I also have an area where I groom the dogs and where I keep their food.

There is an old bookcase where I keep grooming items, and on the top of the case is an open plastic bin where I store dog biscuits so that I can grab them easily as treats, but the dogs can't reach them to help themselves.

On Saturday morning as I was heading for the area where the dog food is kept, I noticed a screwdriver on the floor. It seemed odd because they're usually in their little rack over the workbench, but I assumed that Rob had dropped it and not noticed.

On Sunday morning I discovered an artist's paintbrush on the floor in almost the same place. The brushed are kept in the drawer of the grooming table and Rob hasn't been painting lately, so after feeding the dogs I asked him if he'd been using the brush. He hadn't.

Monday night at last call I gave the dogs their yogurt and sent them outside. While they were out I filled the water bowl and got their bedtime biscuits. At that time I made a mental note that there were only three biscuits and some crumbs in the container so I'd need to fill it first thing in the morning.

Tuesday morning at six I let everyone into the back yard. When they come back in they go back to sleep for a couple hours before eating so I went to get biscuits for them but the container was empty, totally empty and looked as if it had been wiped clean. No biscuits, no crumbs. I went upstairs and asked Rob if he had taken the last biscuits out of the container and he didn't know what I was talking about. I told him there had been three biscuits and crumbs left but now the container was empty. We assumed that we had a mouse.

Last night, Tuesday, when I put the dogs to bed, there were ten pounds of milkbone biscuits in the container and a sticky trap just above the container. This morning at six when I went downstairs with the dogs, I went into the garage first. I thought I might find a mouse in the trap on the floor and didn't want the dogs to get it. There was no mouse. The container was empty except for the trap, which was also empty. The creature had taken ten pounds of dog biscuits and there wasn't a crumb left.

I ran back up and got Rob. I was afraid there was a snake living in the garage. What mouse could eat ten pounds of dog biscuits in one night? We sent the dogs to the yard, moved the car out and started emptying the shelves. Behind the boxes were piles of dog biscuits. Stuck between pages of the sketch books were dog biscuits, between paint cans were dog biscuits. We found just about ten pounds of dog biscuits but no mouse and no droppings. How many trips across the room must he have made carrying his prizes.
We think a snake would have just eaten all the biscuits, not hidden them, but the fact that no droppings were seen has us wondering just what is living in the garage and raiding the supplies. Had it not gotten so greedy it could possibly have stolen a few biscuits each night and not been discovered but now the hunt is on for the little criminal.

As much as we hate snap traps, we set several of them. There are three in the shelves where we found his stash and one set on the cover of the biscuit container. Yes, it now has a cover. I'm sending Rob to the garage ahead of me tomorrow morning. I'm not sure I want to see what may be waiting there.
  So wish us luck, we can't afford his ten pound of biscuits a day habit, so he has to go.