Friday, November 26, 2021


 Sometimes I leave things hanging in my posts and today I feel the need to clean up a few of those leftovers and post the endings. 

First was a recent post that upset several people and I'll admit that Rob and I were concerned about it at the time. Do you remember Uggo? He was the bald headed Cardinal that was hanging around our feeder. He and his mate Mrs. Uggo had no feathers on their heads. We were told that it was probably an abnormal molt and should resolve itself in time.

Well, you will be happy to know that both Uggo and the Mrs have beautiful red feathers all over their bodies, including their heads. When they first came in they had a bluish tint, but now they look perfectly normal. Mr and Mrs Uggo visit us a couple times a day to check out the feeders and we're very happy for them.

Next we go back a few years. After our terrible experience with crypto Noah was left with colitis. The poor boy had a terrible time and we tried everything to help with his touchy tummy. He took probiotics, which helped a lot, and we made his dogfood for years. We were also told that kefir, a fermented milk, might help. I was willing to try anything that would make Noah feel better, so we searched for a dairy goat farmer in the area and found one a few miles from us.

The farmer was a very nice lady who loved animals and kept her goats in top condition. Once a week we'd drive to her farm to pick up fresh milk for Noah. Here I am on one of our trips being greeted by my favorite goat, Chocolate Cherry. Cherry was very social and loved to come meet us whenever we showed up.
I soon got the knack of making kefir and all the dogs loved it. Rob liked it too on cereal. My goat farmer has moved out of state and we no longer have the need of the milk, but I'm glad we met and that we were able to help Noah.

Next is Mackey. Since she was about three years old Mackey has been experiencing seizures. Her's are abnormal seizures as they last 12 to 15 minutes each. She is conscious during them but can't stand. Her legs paddle, her body stiffens, and she moans and whimpers. She is obviously terrified during them and all we can do is stroke her and talk to her. Afterwards she is tired and wants to sleep in a dark room. Fortunately, her seizures are infrequent I've come to recognize the signs that one is coming on. She gets restless and nervous. A couple times I've managed to ward one off by giving her some valium when I see the early signals.

Now for the good news. Mackey's last seizure was in December 2020. It's been almost a year seizure free. This time last year Norma Jean was having some health problems and I was trying various things to help her. Someone in our Portuguese Water Dog group suggested CBD oil. I was running out of ideas, so I decided to try it. As long as I was giving it to Norma Jean, why not give it to Mackey, too. I think it helped Norma Jean feel better and be more active and I'm pretty sure it's helped with Mackey's seizures.

The next item on my list is Sydney. This dog has been a problem all her life. Even as a young puppy she showed unexpected bursts of aggression, usually toward Mackey. As she got older the surprise attacks came toward the other dogs. She zeroed in on any dog that was old or sick. Either Rob or I were there to grab her and rescue the other dog but she did injure several of them and I have bites on my legs from trying to stop the fights.

Dr B and I have had several long serious conversations about Syd and what was the best way to protect everyone. He did an exam to make sure there was nothing physical causing her outbursts. Combining her behavior with Mackey's history of seizures, Dr B feels pretty sure that their mother had distemper while carrying the pups. Though it didn't kill them, as it often does unborn puppies, it probably caused brain damage in the litter. Syd's comes thru as bursts of unprovoked aggression.

Syd takes Prozac daily and has been confined to the yard and the garage because of her attacks. She has a big pen in the garage with a dog house, pillows and blankets. In nice weather she has the run of the yard as well. When the big dogs were all gone, we thought maybe Syd could come upstairs and live with us and that she and Mackey could get along. It worked well for about a week, then suddenly one evening as we were watching tv, Syd walked over to a sleeping Mackey and attacked her. I grabbed Syd by her back legs and Rob moved Mackey to the porch to examine her. She had a couple of small cuts that we cleaned up. Since then Syd has gone back to the garage to live.

Syd seems perfectly happy in her solitary life. She rearranges her pillows and blankets almost weekly and has a nice collection of dog biscuits that she hides in the blankets. On cold nights she comes into the den to sleep in her crate. I'd prefer to have a dog that interacted more with us, but it is what it is.

Finally, Norma Jean. It's been almost a year since my special girl died and I've been unable to post about it till now. NJ had a few things going on. She had arthritic changes expected in a fourteen year old dog, but there were some bad things going on too. For several years we'd been aware of a neurological problem that was affecting her face. It didn't seem to cause her any stress, so we just watched it and gave her some supplements to keep her feeling well.

Early in 2020 NJ developed a cough and we did some chest xrays. Her lungs showed some thready growths that we treated and they seemed to be responding slowly to treatment. Then her bloodwork came back and the diagnosis was leukemia. I knew she was slowing down and that our time was coming to an end but she was happy and silly and I was determined to keep my girl as long as possible.

Then on Christmas day last year as I was getting her settled for bed, I thought I noticed a slight difference in the sound of her breathing. I listened for it all the next day and although it wasn't constant, it was there.  She was definitely having some breathing problems. For awhile she would breath normally, then she would gasp. As the day went by the gasping became more frequent. I knew it was time. When I called the vet, he said to bring her in immediately. The walk from the car to the exam room had her gasping and we all knew what it meant. Rob and Dr B and I all held her as she took her last breaths. We all felt the urge to reminisce about her life and her sweet silliness. I miss that girl more than I can express.

So there's my year end wrap-up.


Molly the Airedale said...

Wow - this certainly is a lot of leftovers! We are so happy that Mackey isn't having any more seizures and we feel so badly for Sydney but you and Rob are the doing the best thing for her. Many wouldn't have taken the time and the two of you have♥ We miss all of the Porties and all of your angels. We never have them long enough, do we. Hugs♥

Hootin' Anni said...

Hello...I read a comment left by you on another blog and thought I'd come by to say hello. My goodness, you had me bawling at the end. Literally!! Sweet, sweet animals and wonderful pictures. I had a cat we adopted for years. When she passed I was heart broken, and I still miss her...nearly five years ago.
Now we have Isaiah, a lynx point Siamese who loves to ambush us with his razor sharp teeth...we've dubbed him El Diablo!! Still, we love him

Nice meeting you Sue.

Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song said...

What a year for you, and for all of us. You had terrible tragedies and triumphs. Most of all you are still standing and blogging again. I think you are due for some great things next year.