Fiona's ultrasound test went good. All her organs were all good. The concerns with her liver were good, although there were a couple of spots in her left lobe that "lit up," but the vet thinks that it is due to age and the fact that her levels were up. They also did blood work to check the liver levels and they were all down. Good News!
We are staying on her supplement of milk thistle and SAM-e combo and will be doing blood work again in a couple of months. Hoping there will be no more spikes and we can rest a little. :)
Fiona will be going in for a ultrasound for her liver and surrounding areas. Her liver test results were high and the vet was concerned. They have all been low up until now and we don't know what the change may be. so we will be taking her in on Tuesday and wait for the results.
Could you please send a prayer or two our way for Fiona. Thank you!
There are some things that I find so challenging to write and one of them is my relationship with Zappa. He has always been a sort of enigma and I find it difficult to express what is happening between us. It is also difficult to understand what is happening and the bond that is forming. That seems to be the mystery of it and the part that I can't explain in human form.
It seems like I can't even begin to try.
I recognized this a long time ago about Zappa. He is hard to explain. He is an old soul, with a wisdom beyond measure and eyes that cover eons of time.
It is so different from my bond with Brut
There has always been a riff between Zappa and me before Brut died. Brut may have been aggressive with Zappa, but Zappa would never submit to Brut and that would cause Brut to lash out at him. Zappa is also a tester. He will test his limits and push them as far as possible. It was another reason Brut would snap at him. Not that Brut was innocent, but Zappa is part to blame for the friction that went on between them. And it didn't help that Zappa was smarter than Brut and used his wits to his advantage.
I witness these taunts from Zappa quite often, but I was always too late to stop anything after Brut would attack. I had a small, growing resentment towards Zappa because of the way he was and because he would do the same thing with me, pushing my limits and such. I didn't help that he had a bigger mouth on him than all the dogs put together pending my aggravation of him further.
As Brut's aggression got under some control, Zappa and I developed an "under the table" kind of relationship when we were by ourselves. And when Brut died, it was Zappa that took me under his paw and gently guided me through the devastating loss.
I wasn't able to accept Zappa as the new king and I refused to for some time. I don't know when that all changed, but it did. Zappa has become my rock. When I don't know if I can hang on any longer with this life and wishing for the next, he understands and lets me know I'm OK. Silent and still, he lets me know things are going to be alright. The same thing Brut used to do but on a simpler level. Somehow with Zappa he has given me the strength of Brut and the calm of his mother, Silver, to show me everything is going to be fine.
A blessed friendship that has grown so slowly over time is really beginning to blossom.
When you live with 2 packs of dogs, the dynamics are constantly changing. While in each pack there is an Alpha male and an Alpha female, if they were left to their own devices one pack would take out the other. Which is why they are divided in the first place. But there is another dynamic that considers the totality of the 2 packs and makes them a whole unit. This is where it gets really interesting because it is in this whole unit when all the members are fighting for the position of being next to an Alpha human. They compete for my attention to be the number two. This has nothing to do with the other dogs. Their focus is on me.
Every time I'm with the Front Pack, (Chance and Blaze) Fiona will bark and bark by the sliding glass door. Not to go out, but she is vying for my attention. Zappa does the same thing, but is more direct about it. For example, if treats are involved with the Front Dogs, Zappa demands my attention away from the Front Dogs. Sure, he wants treats too, but he's also driving for equality or complete control of the situation.
And the Front Dogs are the same way. When I'm on the Back Dogs side (Zappa and Fiona) Blaze will bark and bark to pull me from the Back Dogs to her side. Even if it is only for a moment or two. She wants that reassurance that she is my #2 dog. Chance who used to hardly bark, has now found his voice after the fight he had with Blaze. He took the Alpha position from Blaze and is now top dog of the Front Dogs. He too now uses his voice to draw me in his center for the reassurance of being #2 with me.
If that wasn't complex enough, if the truth was known, the position they are all vying for, that #2 placement, is the one I had with Brut. (their father) Total equality and a sharing in the Alpha human position. Brut was as close to an Alpha dog as was possible to me. Most decisions about the packs we made together, especially with the Back Dogs as they were Brut's pack.
So of course the dynamics took a fatal blow when Brut died. Most of the impact was cushioned by Silver(Momma Dog). So much so that there was very little changed in the hierarchy. This is until Silver died and the monarchy collapsed and has been in the process of rebuilding, even two years later.
This is where I find myself and the packs today. One thing I have always strive for is equality among all the dogs. If someone gets a treat, they all get a treat, time, training, etc.
And now I'm beginning to question myself in this strategy and wonder if it fits with these two packs of dogs with such dynamics? Maybe being equal with them is hindering some of their placement questions that they are fighting for? Does it take a little more to realize that Chance (my heart dog) is the next second Alpha to me? He already has Zappa's attention.
Or am I to be the Alpha to them on an individual basis? Striving for all their unique qualities? Must I change with the dynamics? Or stay the solid rock they need as they twist and turn into their new positions of beings?
Time will only tell.
See, Zappa ad Fiona are equal Alphas to each other. They take turns being the boss. Whereas Chance doesn't. He broke away from being equal to Blaze when he challenged her in that last fight. I wonder if he is trying to be my equal?
This has been happening slowly for the past couple of years. I swore I would never have another equal like Brut. I still don't know that I'd ever be ready or want it, yet here it is happening all along. Once I accept that, everything is going to change again.
So I'm doing the daily cleaning up of the yard. While not exactly exciting for the Front Dogs, I notice Chance trying to rile up Blaze in a game of play. I watch the two of them while finishing with my duties and while Blaze doesn't engage with Chance, she is being pretty frisky with him. Which just eggs Chance on. Spinning this way and that, back and forth and around in circles all with a big grin on his face. It is the most energetic I've seen him since the snow has been melting.
Blaze has given all she is going to give in the form of play with Chance and so I jostle with him and next thing I know we are both running all around the yard chasing each other. It was such a blast!
Ahhh...puppy days again! How I miss playing with the dogs. I mean really engaging and watching them have so much fun. Chance is my jokester when he's really having fun and we give to each other just as good as we get. He can be so carefree and he makes me laugh. What's even better is that Chance initiate the play, so you know he was really in the mood to do so. He isn't always so willing when I try to get something going. It's better when it's his idea. :) And I love that in-the-moment thinking. We just did it.
The other morning I was doing some writing about Silver and her hip dysplasia, when I noticed Fiona, who also has hip dysplasia, lying on the floor. I was flooded with emotions. I give a lot of credit to the puppies acting like Brut, while sometimes forgetting that Silver is part of them too.
Going ahead with Silver's pregnancy, knowing she had hip dysplasia, was a tough decision. A good breeder wouldn't have done it, but neither Mark nor I could quench that gut feeling that Silver was suppose have that litter. We knew it was a risk, but our gut told us to go with it. So much so that when found out that Fiona had it, having her outweighed that detail. We have done everything we can to keep her fit, healthy and pain-free and she is worth it. We don't know what we would do without her.
Looking at Fiona, that rush of the feelings carried me off the chair and laying down next to her. I couldn't imagine not having Fiona here in our life. She let me hold her for a few minutes as sudden tears busted loose. I grieved for Silver and I cried with gratitude for Fiona, for being there and for the Silver inside of her. It was an emotional moment and it wasn't long before Fiona gently moved over, scooting herself from the situation. She's never been one for handling tears.
We know many wouldn't have made the move forward with the pregnancy, but something kept telling us to follow through. We have been nothing but blessed ever since we did.
Our "little" Fiona
The Power of Ten with Momma Dog Silver
What have you done with your dog that you felt in your heart and soul was the right thing to do even though it went against the grain?
You know that saying, I'm alright, you're alright? Well, that's how it feels with the dogs. If the dogs are alright, then I am alright. All of their health scares we that started last fall and carried through winter are being taken care of and everyone is doing well. It is so nice to have peace of mind.
Peace of mind is everything when it comes to the dogs. I'm sure you all understand what I mean.
If you have a dog who is scared of vet's office, you'll appreciate this story:
Chance was actually calm getting his shots and Heartworm test. I put on his muzzle and he laid down without any coaxing. I'd taken him for an hour walk earlier and he sat in the car for an hour, because the doctors were that far behind for the day. We think the combo of walking and waiting, helped alleviate his fears. Hubby, Mark said he walked in quite confident and relaxed. Chance didn't flinch at the two shots in the neck nor when the vet drew blood out of his back leg.
What a huge difference from the screaming, nipping, whining, fighting Chance. The vet has even given me sedatives before to try on him, that didn't do a darn thing to stop Chance's panic attack. So this calm, quiet Chance was quite welcomed and well appreciated. He even took a couple of treats from the vet. Woo-Hoo!
CRY WOLF FIONA
Whenever we are on the Front Dogs side of the house, trying to spend quality time with Chance and Blaze, Fiona begins to "cry wolf". Sometimes she has to go out, but mostly I think she just wants me to come at her call. I've tried the whole ignoring her and it still doesn't work. She will not stop barking nor will she stop calling me out there to check on her. So we continue to play the annoying game "cry wolf" with Fiona until one of us cracks.
Any one have suggestions??
Zappa has steadily become the "rock" out of all the dogs. Except for his jealousy
with the other pack, Zappa has a solid temperament and disposition. He is easy to lean on in times of trouble or you need break from your emotions. Overall he has become "The Dog of the Year" at the 24 Paws of Love!
Blaze and I have been bonding more this past winter. Walking by ourselves has really made a difference in our relationship. We have a lot more eye contact than we used to and she is always talking to me. She runs a tight ship with meals and snacks, always letting me know when it is time for them. Blaze hasn't had recent health issues and is doing great. We love our little Blaze.
After three weeks of practicing (with clicker training), I was able to get a sample of Chance's urine to be tested for his pH levels.
See, when we used to try and get Chance's urine, he would just stop peeing. He wanted to mark, but a glance at hubby, Mark and I behind him would make him clam up.
So I used clicker training when we were walking and would just bend down like I was going to collect. Click and reward. Did that for a while and then started doing it while he was going. Click and reward. Then I finally added the collection tub. Bingo! Piece of cake.
Took in the sample, had it tested and I am proud to say that Chance's pH level is at a 6!! To compare it was at an 8 about three months ago. All our hard work paid off.
Now that we are out of the danger zone, we can slowly add items back into his diet to see if they upset the balance of his pH levels. This also means that Chance's pH levels were high because of the food he was eating and not something more serious. GOOD NEWS!!
We won't do anything for a while. I think for safety reason we will keep things as is, but when we feel he's ready we can try a piece of chicken of something.
It may not seem like much, but we have been worrying about this since late fall or so of last year. It is a relief and a great weight lifted off our minds.
Thanks for cheering us on with Chance's diet and keeping us strong!
I'm exhausted tonight. I love everything about pets; especially the bonding relationship that continues to thrive and grow. Taking you to places of love you never knew existed. I wouldn't trade them for the world. For the most part, I do not mind caring for them, but there are times when I really feel like I need some me time. It is during this time I don't want to be touched or nuzzled or rubbed against. I need some time to myself to recuperate from taking care of everyone.
That's what I'm doing right now.
Getting away from the dogs and cats and taking a much needed break.
Are there others out there that struggle sometimes with being a caregiver?
I mean, pets are not like children. They don't eventually leave home and start their own lives.
So caring for them can be kind of exhausting. And I guess that's where I am tonight.
It isn't necessary good or bad, it is just part of the love and commitment of caring for animals.