Saturday, January 31, 2015

Quiet Heroes

When you stub your toe, do you yell? Do you swear? When you have a cold with itchy eyes and sniffly nose, do you complain and feel sorry for yourself? When you have a bad night's sleep, do you complain to everyone the next day?

Have you ever noticed how brave our dogs are?

Even when they are extremely ill and in constant pain, they quietly go on with their routines as much as possible.

Thursday we lost a friend, Lola of the Lapdogs went to the bridge. She was suffering with bone cancer in her shoulder. The pain was terrible and she had trouble moving around. Even lying still was painful, but still she tried to continue with her daily routine. She tried to comfort her devastated family members right till the end.
These wonderful, loving animals are truly heroes. They share our lives and make them so much better. I think they make us better people. Hug your pups.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Getting Happy

After our Friday vet appointment, Noah started his tobramycin  eyedrops. Saturday I checked him and didn't see much of a change. Then on Sunday afternoon Noah put is head in my lap and I saw two clear brown eyes looking at me.
This morning I checked and it was true, his eyes are looking happier. There is no pus and no film. The whites are still red, but more of a deep pink then cherry red.

I spoke with Dr B this morning and gave him the good news. We agreed to keep using the drops thru the week. On Friday morning Dr B will check his left eye for dryness again and we'll make a plan depending on what the results are.

We're not exactly at the Happy Eye stage yet, but we're making progress.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy Eyes

We've been dealing with a little problem around here. It all started back two years ago when my dogs had cryptosperidium. It's a terrible disease that never goes away. Just when you think it's over, something else happens that leads back to it. Samba and Sky both died from it, five days apart. They virtually starved to death because the disease prevented them from absorbing food.

We thought everyone else was OK, but then both Noah and Fudge started having intestinal problems. Noah was diagnosed with colitis and Fudge with leaky gut syndrome, both the after effects of the crypto. They're now both on special diets designed to be easily digestible. They also take antibiotics, Fudge takes Metronidazole daily and Noah took sulfasalazine.

Everything was going along nicely for awhile, then Noah started having red, goopy eyes. The vet had warned me that dry eye  could be a side effect of the sulfa drug. The first time I noticed it, we tested the dryness of his eyes and they were OK. We used an ointment to sooth them and they seemed to get better.

Then Noah's eyes got red and goopy again and didn't respond to the ointment. Dr B tested them again and this time his left eye was too dry. This meant he could no longer take the sulfa drug for his colitis. We switched him to Metronidazole along with Fudge and he adjusted well, but his eyes weren't getting better. We tried some steroid drops and they seems a little better but we were looking for "Happy Eyes" and his weren't.

Again we tested for dryness and the left one was still too dry, so we started him on Severin's solution which is a combination of Mucomyst, Pilocarpine, Gentamicine and artificial tears.  This solution is supposed to promote tear production and sooth the eyes. We got home and I put a drop in each eye. They immediately turned bright red and he started pawing at them. I waited a while hoping they would settle down but they got worse and he wouldn't open his eyes. Back to the vet.

Apparently Noah is sensitive to Pilocarpine which is the important ingredient for tear production. Dr B stained his eyes and checked for ulceration. There was none, so he cleaned Noah's eyes and told me to put warm compresses on his eyes several times a day. He said to use an antibiotic ointment twice a day till his eyes were happy again. Then we would try another batch of Severin's that he mixed up with a smaller amount of Pilocarpine.

Unfortunately, Noah's eyes didn't get happy. They got even worse and Monday I was afraid he might be losing his vision in the left eye. It was very red and cloudy looking and he was squinting again.
Yesterday we went back yet again. I was a wreck and Dr B could sense it. First he examined Noah and told me that his vision is fine and his eye wasn't as bad as it looked. He stained it again to check for ulceration. There was none. He even let me look thru his magnifier and explained what we were looking for. His eye looked fine.

Noah was showing a sensitivity to the neomycin in his ointment, so we're now doing tobramycin drops three times a day along with warm compresses a couple times a day. Noah is also wearing a cone so that he doesn't scratch his cornea.

It's too early to tell if this is going to work but he's not trying to rub his eyes and he's not shaking his head or squinting. He has both eyes open and it looks like the redness is coming down a little. We'll be doing this thru the weekend, then Dr B and I have a meeting scheduled for Monday. If Noah's eyes are happier by them, we'll start him on the lower dose Severin's solution for the dryness. If his eye is still red and goopy on Monday, he'll go visit with Dr B on Tuesday. He'll sedate him and take a closer look to see if something else is going on in that left eye.

Noah is being a doll about all this. We know it's painful and he wants to rub his eyes a lot, but when he sees me pick up his eyedrops, he comes and sits in front of me and lets me put them in without a complaint. When the doctor puts things in his eyes, he just sits very still and waits till it's over.

This disease has been a nightmare for all of us. Just when we think it's all behind us, something else happens that traces directly back to the crypto. Please keep your paws crossed that Noah's eyes get happy this weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2015

So Far, So Good

You may remember that back in December I had a steroid injection into my thumb to try to repair my tendon. I had to continue to wear a brace for a week afterwards and I was getting really bored. I wasn't able to knit or stitch and really couldn't use my left hand much at all.
I was able to remove the brace the day before Christmas, but I was really worried about using my hand. For several more days I pampered it, but I finally had to find out if the injection would buy me some time. It worked!

I started out slowly, doing a little cross stitching. Then I started using it a little more each day. I still haven't tried knitting, though I plan to soon, maybe this week. So far, there is only one position that causes pain, so I avoid that one. I did wake up the other night in pain. I must have twisted my hand somehow, so I've gone back to the brace at night. It prevents me from making a fist in my sleep.

I know I'll need surgery eventually. The doctor said the injection could last for six months or so. At that time I'll probably go ahead and have it fixed, but till then it's usable. Yeah!

Here are the two little pieces I stitched last week. They're called 'Giggles In The Snow' and were designed by Mirabilia.  Marjie, I thought of your kids while I was stitching them.
But beware, if you plan to stitch them, there are a lot of mistakes in the charts. Not what you'd expect from one of the top design studios.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Senior Reporter

Yesterday was sunny. Not only that, but it was warm, 60 degrees. It's almost the first time it's been above freezing in two or three weeks. So how did we celebrate? Everyone went into the back yard to play in the mud. Rob was busy spreading straw over the worst areas, but Tess, Noah and Norma Jean all managed to roll in the mud before he got it covered.

While the others played in the warm sun, Morgan and I strolled around the front yard. When we went back inside, I asked if she'd like to taste test the new treats from Chewy.
She didn't have to think twice.
This month we received a box of Nuzzles from The Honest Kitchen. Yes, we have had these before but they were so popular that we decided to try them again.
I like the size for my dogs, not too big and not too tiny. We got the duck and cherry flavor because it's something that Fudge and Noah can share and not upset their special diets.

I opened a corner of the package so Morgan could get a good sniff. Her tongue started moving automatically, so we proceeded with the taste test.
Yum, the verdict is GREAT!
 She even suggested that she try a second just to be sure. After the third, she agreed that these are very, very good treats and suggests you all try some.
She didn't tell any of the others what we'd been up to, but I decided to let them each have one when they came inside to rest.  Nuzzles are made in the USA with barley flour, duck, molasses, water, eggs, coconut oil, cherries and parmesan cheese. No wheat and they're only 2.3 calories each in case you're watching your weight. Morgan says they're perfect and Morgan knows her treats.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hiber what?

Hi everybody,

I had a talk with Mom this morning and told her it's been a very long time since we posted to our blog. She told me to go play quietly because we're hibernating.  
What does that mean? She said it's been very cold and dark so we all just need to be quiet and sleep a lot and store up energy for Spring.

That's crazy, Mom. We're dogs, we don't hibernate. We run around like mad and chase squirrels and bark a lot and roll in the mud and all that good stuff. Bears hibernate, not us. Well, maybe some of us do, but that's just not normal.
So I jumped on her and licked her and pushed her out of her chair. I told her we have important things to do, including attending to our blog.

But first and most important is this box that got delivered the other day. We need to open this, test the treats inside and let all of Blogville know how they taste. Let's get moving, woman!
Your pal, Fudge

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Confusion????

Hi Everybody,

It's really really cold here and it's even snowing. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem but today is Sebastian's birthday and it's too cold to stay outside and celebrate. Mom said we could probably have our party inside but she's not looking forward to the confusion. What confusion?

She and Dad were talking about waiting till tomorrow when it's supposed to be a little nicer outside, but tomorrow is a long time from now and look what's in the kitchen.
Sebastian doesn't seem to care, he's dozing on the couch. He isn't crazy about anything that falls from the sky though he likes snow once it's on the ground.
Mom said she thought we were getting a little bored with all the bad weather lately so Dad brought a tunnel upstairs into the living room. This is a tunnel, a little short one.
Some of us like to walk thru. Morgan thinks it's a good place to eat her cookies so nobody can sneak up on her and steal some. This morning she did her roll around exercises in the tunnel.
I like to go in the tunnel, lay down on my back and kick my feet. It makes the tunnel roll around and sometimes it even bumps into things. It's best when it bumps into another dog and then everybody barks. Talk about confusion!
So lets go eat those cupcakes with sprinkles!

Your pal, Fudge

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Up For A Challenge?

A new year is here and I think it's time for a challenge. I'll start. I have a little project that I started a few years ago that is easy, fun and brings a smile to some pretty cute faces. Let me give you some background and some details.

As a crafter I usually find myself left with some extra yarn and or fabric when I finish one of my projects. Most of you who knit have tiny little balls of yarn stuck here and there that you can't bear to part with. You're just waiting for the right small project to come along. The same with those of us who sew. There are always little scraps of fabric left over that get folded up in the cabinet.

Well, I have a plan for all those leftovers.

I knit baby blankets and sweaters for charity and a few years ago when we delivered a box of them to a local hospital, the woman who accepted them asked if we had included any toys for the kids in the pediatric ward. I hadn't at the time but I started thinking about her request.

I bought a baby doll about 18inches long. Now is a good time to pick one up. After Christmas, prices often are low.
One day at a garage sale I found this wooden doll cradle and picked it up for $2.
Some scraps of fabric made a blanket for the cradle. I'm currently working on a wardrobe for this little babydoll and then she'll be donated either to a hospital or shelter. Some children away from their home for reasons out of their control can have a baby doll to cuddle and dress.
If you take the challenge I have some tips I've learned.
1. Use washable yarns and fabrics. Kids are messy. Save the $40 a skein imported wool for another project.
2.Kids are attracted to bright colors. If you usually work with beige and grey, add a little yellow or bright pink.
3. Whenever possible substitute velcro fasteners for buttons and zippers. They're easier for little hands.
I challenge you crafty ladies out there in Blogville to get a doll and dress it this year for a child in need. You'll be amazed how much fun it is and you'll put all those leftovers to good use. You'll be transported back to when you loved playing with dolls and let's face it, most of us secretly would like to go back to a simpler time occasionally.

You can also use a stuffed animal and make some neat outfits for it. Bears, dogs and bunnies all look sharp in handmade clothes. If you only have tiny bits of leftovers to spare and not enough time, consider dressing a Barbie doll. You can buy a basic one for a couple dollars or find one at a garage sale. The internet is full of free patterns, I can direct you to some.

There's no time limit and no great expenditure involved. Take a month, a year or whatever time it takes.  One item a month will add up to a nice wardrobe. Think of the benefits. You make a child or a whole hospital ward full of children happy. You use up some of that stash that's been hanging around for years and you get to go out and buy more to replace it. Win-win.
Who's up for a challenge?