Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Popular Girl

Several of my dogs have a favorite toy. Fudge has a leopard, Sky has a turtle, Lola has a bunny and Sebastian has a duck, but Bailey has a whole group of friends and she has one with her most of the time.
You all know Old Monkey. He was Bailey's first love and though he's in retirement now, he still sleeps in her crate with her every night. He was a naughty monkey when he was younger and that may be why he was destuffed, as punishment.

Now New Monkey is in Bailey's life and gets to go outside to play on a regular basis. Although he's one of Bailey's favorites, he'll ever really replace Old Monkey in her heart.
The new special friend that goes with Bailey most often is Bear. It's a shame that he's light pink because it means that he gets frequent baths, but while he's drying, bailey has lots of other friends to keep her company.

There is Duck, who often goes outside when Bailey wants to run with her sisters. He's quite compact without long legs hanging to trip over.

When Duck isn't available, Bird usually is. Bird is becoming more popular lately for some reason that only Bailey understands.

You have all heard of Flat Stanley. Well, this is Flat Puppy. He used to be a more normal looking puppy until one night last winter instead of sleeping, Bailey destuffed Puppy. It's OK though because she still loves him and often carries him around.

Another friend that is just starting to make trips outside to play is Big Ted. Big Ted is a little heavier that the other friends and only goes out when Bailey feels like lying under a tree. He's much too big to run around the yard with him in her mouth.
Bailey also has a fish that always stays in her crate. I don't know why he doesn't go out to play , that's Bailey's decision. I would have called this creature Fish or Charlie, but she came with a name embroidered on her tail. Her name is Ethel.

Bailey likes to have her friends in her crate with her when she sleeps. If we forget to toss at least one or two in, she'll bark till we bring them. When Tsar was with us, he sometimes would babysit Bailey's toys. She'd put them close to him as he sat on the hill and he'd watch them till she came back for them. Once or twice he beat Monkey up, but never when Bailey was watching.
Yesterday Sebastian encountered the wrath of Bailey. She had settled Bear under a tree and walked away to see what Norma Jean was doing. Sebastian, seeing Bear on his own, decided to pick him up and play with him. Unfortunately, Bailey saw this and came flying at him snarling and snapping to defend her friend. Norma Jean was right behind her and both girls pitched into poor unsuspecting Sebastian. He quickly dropped Bear and came running to me. Bailey grabbed Bear and carried him inside, still very annoyed with Sebastian. I feel sure he won't make that mistake again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dreams Can Come True

Aren't dreams strange things? Sometimes during a dream I'm aware that I want to remember it, but when I awaken I can feel it drifting away as I try to recapture it. Some dreams hang around. I have  some recurring dreams that have been coming back for years. A couple are unpleasant and I try to wake myself from them, but one is quite pleasant. I dream of walking thru a lovely house and admiring the many rooms. Sometimes the house is deep in the woods.
Other times the house is on the beach, but it's always the same house. I find myself watching houses as we drive by, looking for that particular one. I'd recognize it immediately. Maybe that's why I enjoy the television program House Hunters. I keep hoping they'll go thru my dream house.
A dear bloggy friend of mine, Midge, lives in England. She's a  talented lady who makes lovely bears among other creations. A while ago Midge made these adorable little dolls from recycled denim and when she posted them on her blog, it reminded me of a dream I had about 30 years ago.
I dreamt that I was visiting a friend and her dog had a litter of puppies. The pups were about four weeks old and just starting to run around. I walked into her kitchen where the pups were playing in a pen. It was a littler of about ten and they were a mix of black puppies and blonde puppies except for one little pup that was denim blue in color. Of course I fell in love with that blue puppy and wanted to take him home. I woke up and remembered my dream and for all these years I've thought about that denim blue puppy.

When I saw Midge's dolls, I told her the dream and said that I really should take an old pair of jeans and make myself a denim blue puppy.
Guess what arrived on my doorstep yesterday! You guessed it, a denim blue puppy. Isn't he beautiful? And what great timing, he came on a day when I really needed some cheering. Dealing with a sick dog and lack of sleep can leave a person dragging, but this little guy has done a good job of cheering me. Don't you love his ears and paw pads?
So, don't give up, dreams can come true even after 30 years.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What's Wrong With Samba?

What a day! Samba and I were up every hour all night. She would go stand in the yard, but nothing happened. Finally at 4AM she had a fecal explosion. I won't go into detail since it was pretty gross. I'll only say that her stool is completely liquid and quite violent. OK, enough about that for now.

bad bacteria
At 7:30 we dropped her at the clinic. Then I tried to concentrate till our appointment at 2:15. My thoughts kept going back to Samba and what could possibly be wrong. I did manage to knit a few rows but that was about all that got done.

When Dr B came in carrying xrays and boxes and bottles, he announced that it was mostly good news. I felt the weight slip of my shoulders and neck and my headache went away instantly. Here's what we learned.

The bile acid test was normal. The xrays show a normal looking liver and no masses were apparent.  Everything looked pretty good except that her small intestine was full, and I do mean full, of gas. He said they'd tried taking her out hoping she'd release some of the gas, but she wasn't feeling cooperative. Dr B did notice that her eyes looked less worried and she was more active than last week.

normal liver

So, if all the tests were normal, why is she not eating, having loads of gas and watery, explosive stool? And why did she lose five pounds in one week? The answer is we don't know. The most likely reason is prolonged steroid use and a possible tolerance problem with her special diet designed for her MMM. This is not to be confused with food allergy, she does not have that.

So, what are we going to do for her? For the time being she's eating a prescription diet designed for intestinal problems. It's very easily digested. We're feeding four small meals a day, instead of the two larger ones she normally gets.
good bacteria
She's getting a daily dose of beneficial bacteria added to her food, plus medicine to sooth her intestinal tract. We've also increased her prednisone temporarily because we don't want a flare up of her jaw disease while we're straightening out this new issue.

Dr B and I will be having phone conferences every Monday and Friday until we get this all fixed. We'll be working on tweaking the diet and adjusting the dosage on her meds till she's a happy girl again.

We think it was the Power Of The Paw that helped the most. All those good healing vibes flying thru Blogville had to make the big difference. We are so grateful to all of you who expressed concern for my little girl. We have a long way to go to get back to normal, but knowing that everyone's supporting us, I'm sure we'll make it. Thank you everyone.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Dog's Life

Each time I've welcomed a new puppy into my life I've made a promise to him or her. I promise to give them a safe home, to love them, to allow them to be a dog and when the time comes I will be there with them as they die.
I feel safe in assuming that anyone reading this loves their pets and wants to give them good lives. At some time each of us will face the illness or simply the aging out of our pet and we all have to deal with it in our own way. I've faced that situation more times than I care to think about and will face it again sooner or hopefully later.
When our pet gets sick we all have to consider our options. There are many considerations, the illness involved, the age and condition of the pet, but there are others that we don't like to think about. We have to be honest and consider our finances and our time restrictions.
If the pet needs constant attention, help in eating and help in standing and walking, someone with a full time job and a family may simply not be able to give the animal the attention it needs. Veterinary medicine has made enormous strides in recent years, but can you afford to keep your animal alive indefinitely  on life support. If you can afford it, do you really want to do it?
Everyone has their own criteria for making the decision to end their pet's life. Mine has always been a quality of life issue. When my dog can no longer enjoy his life, it's time for me to pull myself together and say goodbye.
Using Morgan as an example, she can no longer chase squirrels, one of her favorite things in life, because of her arthritis, knee problems and poor eyesight. Is it time to say goodbye to Morgan? No, because Morgan is still enjoying being a dog. She can't run after squirrels and bunnies, but she can meander around the yard sniffing out their trails. She can bark at them when she sees them and she has adapted to her physical condition.

Tsar was a different story. Very quickly it became impossible for him to move on his own and do the things he most enjoyed. There were options we chose not to take, such as extensive testing that might have kept him alive longer, but would not have improved the quality of his life. Just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean you should do it. Keeping Tsar alive in his condition would have been a selfish act on my part. Did I want to lose him? Of course not, but it's my responsibility to make the hard decisions whether I like them or not.
My vet and I have had this conversation a number of times. I tell him that he's my backup conscience. I depend on him to be honest with me and tell me when it's time if I'm too clouded by emotion to recognize it. He's always been supportive and I know I can count on him not to prolong my dog's life beyond the time we should.
I don't know if Samba's latest setback will have a happy outcome or not, but I  am fully aware that I have to accept responsibility whatever comes. I consider it an act of love.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Keep Your Paws Crossed

This is just a short post today. We're asking for the Power Of The Paw for Samba.
It's been almost three years since Samba was diagnosed with MMM and although she's had a couple of relapses, for the most part she's done well. Lately I've noticed a few things that have worried me.

Samba has always been one of those dogs that inhales her food then goes to help the nearest dog finish his or hers, but for the last ten days she's been the last one finished. On Sunday she refused her dinner. On Monday morning she didn't want her breakfast but at my urging she ate a little, but when she refused her toast I knew we had a major problem. She's also had some vomiting and diarrhea, so I made a call to the vet. He said to bring her in immediately.

Her checkup was good, normal temperature and no sign of pain in her  jaw, but Dr B noticed that she didn't seem like herself. Normally she's into everything, but this time she just sat quietly. He drew blood and told me what to feed her and what meds to give to sooth her tummy.

When the blood test results came back, they looked pretty good except for one liver enzyme that had spiked since her last test in May and her cholesterol  and albumin levels were low. The combination worried him and yesterday she spent the morning at the hospital having a bile acid test. In this test she fasts for twelve hours, has blood drawn, then eats a meal and two hours later has more blood drawn. The look to see how the liver is handling the bile. Her test results will be back tomorrow.

On Monday Samba will have xrays taken of her liver and intestines. Then Dr B and I'll sit down and discuss the results and form a plan as to how to treat her condition.

For now, we've increased her prednisone and she's taking something for nausea. She's lost ten pounds over the past year and though she's at an ideal weight right now, she looks small and frail to me. She's just not acting like a happy, naughty Portie.

I'm hoping that I have good news to report  on Monday, but I'm pretty worried about my girl right now. If you can spare a good thought for her this weekend, we'd certainly appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's In The Genes

Hi Everybody,
Our Mom loves us, even though we occasionally get into trouble. You see we have an excuse. It's in our genes. Portuguese Water Dogs are just made to get into trouble and I have proof.

You see, we have a famous cousin. He lives in Washington DC and though we've actually never met, we have a lot in common.  Even though Cousin Bo lives in a big fancy house with people around to look after him and make sure he behaves, he's still a Portie. Want to see what I mean? 

Here's Cousin Bo  in the snow.

And here we are in the snow.

 This one is me.

Bo looks in the windows at his big white house to check on his peeps......

......... and so do we.

Mom say it makes her happy to know that the windows at the White House have nose prints, too. I don't know what she means by that.

Here it looks like Cousin Bo got to dig or at least play in the dirt.

So did we.

Technically Morgan isn't a Portie, but she's lived with us so long that we think of her as one.

Cousin Bo gets sad when he sees his Dad going off to work.....

..... and so do we.

Cousin Bo gets to lounge around on the furniture.......

.... and so do we.

Our Cousin Bo is a party animal.......

.... and no one likes to party more than we do.

So you see, Porties like to have fun no matter where they live. I wonder if Cousin Bo gets to splash in that big fountain in front of his house.

Your pal, Fudge