Had an interesting day with Chance. We were headed out for a walk and I was outside with Chance putting on his harness, when the UPS guy showed up in front of the house. I thought, "Oh, great. Chance is outside with me...what am I going to do to control him?"
When suddenly the driver was stuck in the snow trying to turn around in the cul-de-sac.
The light bulb flashed and I started throwing treats in the yard, near the house.
Chance was confused for a few minutes, "What happen to our walk," his face said, but he followed my lead. Gobbling treats and keeping most of his focus on me.
It was the first time I'd used "Find It," as a diversion in a real life setting and it was working!
When the truck driver finally freed himself and walked up to delivered the package, Chance was by the side of the yard, but wasn't barking or charging. It was fantastic!
We have about 4 inches of snow that fell on yesterday in what seemed like a mini-blizzard.
Fall isn't even over with yet. There are still many trees with leaves on them in our area!
This is the Back Dogs "Dog Talk Time" Canopy, where we spend many days and nights starting our days and catching up at night. We start as early in the spring as possible, through summer and as late into fall that we can.
The Front Dogs have one as well. And like every day is with two packs, we visit one side and then the other. Gotta be fair. :)
And then there is Zappa who venture out with me tonight to get these snow pics. He is more concerned with what creatures might be living in the wood shed than me getting his picture. bol
Love this one with the snow on his nose!
He was waiting for his modeling treats that I didn't have. I'm getting that look!
And the pine trees! Can't call it up north without the pine trees.
Fiona is doing much, much better. We think the antibiotic she was taking was making her a little queasy and that may be the reason she was having a hard time eating. She just took her last one today, so hoping she will get back her to regular food amount. She needs to gain back those couple of pounds she lost!
This is how my poor girl looked for the last week. So tired, weak, and run down. After 3 different medications from the vet, today was the first day she didn't have diarrhea! YAY! And after a week with barely an appetite she was able to have some chicken broth and noodles! Double YAY!
We still have a little ways to go until we are back to our regular food, but it is a start.
Just how sick was Fiona? Bad enough that big brother Zappa laid down next to her on the bed at bedtime, something that rarely happens...we were all scared.
And this is my girl today. Happy, jumping for food, barking at the neighbors dog, and back to her old self. Couldn't be happier.
Huskies and Labs are sight dogs. Their eyes are their strongest sense. All four of our dogs are about 3/4 Husky and a 1/4 Lab, so their eyes are important.
I started noticing a couple of years ago that Blaze's eyes were clouding over. In fear of glaucoma, the vet checked her out and said,"It waslens deterioration. Which is just as it sounds. Old age catching up and the lenses begin to deteriorate. For the most part she can still see and you may notice her struggle more at night."
I wonder if it is hereditary? If so, they probably got it from their mother, Silver, as she also had it. Because I also see slight signs of it in the rest of the dogs. Or is it normal old age?
I don't really notice any difference with Blaze, except when we play "find it." (I throw treats around the yard and they "find it") When I throw the treats, she strains to see them fly and land. Then she looks back at me, wondering if I really did throw them, because she can't see them. There is a look of worry in her face. At this point I throw a couple more closer to her, hoping she will see them, but it is mute. Eventually she tries to find them with her nose. I didn't realize how much she depended on her sight for that game. And if I really think about it, I am sad for her, but honesty that's the only sign I see. Otherwise she my silly, bouncing, mouthy Blaze who can still catch treats in the air, keep the cat in check and catch a chipmunk, like the rest of the gang.
I'm sure there will be more things that show as she continues to age. All I can do is take it in stride, don't dwell on it and give her the best life possible. Really that's all any of us can do for our dogs and enjoy every minute with them.
There are the usual things, like collars, leashes, blankets, bowls, toys and beds that we keep after our furry loved ones pass on. I even have the last medications from both Silver and Brut, stored away for what, I don't know. I'm sure there are many more common things that us pet lovers keep, but what is the strangest? What is that oddball thing that you just can't seem to part with? That one thing that no one would understand except for your pet and you?
Mine is this stack of large yogurt cups.
Hubby, Mark can't understand why I've kept them. Heck, I don't even know if I understand why I can't part with them.
Brut and I used to share a bit of yogurt every day all by ourselves. He was just so adorable with food when we were alone. No other dogs to threaten him and he would be so comical and attentive with me. No fear. He was so beautiful in these moments. He was so bright eyed and bushy tailed, if you will. His true self shining through. Not the leader of the pack dog or the enforcer dog. He was so content and happy to share with me and I with him.
I could get him to do anything for food. Place him in any position. Add props. Anything. But during our yogurt time, he was free to just be himself. Happy and free with a treat. It was kind of magical who this boy was when his guard was down.
He would eat from a spoon and he was good at it. His eyes were soft and intent while his fur stood on end in excitement. He had a smile on his face that shined with serenity.
This is the first time I really explored why I've kept these yogurt cups and now it makes sense to me.
It was my quality time with the REAL Brut.
The boy I will always remember.
How I wish I had a picture of his face of happiness.
At least now I have the memory the go with the cups.
So how about you? What the strangest thing you ever kept from a loss pet?
It all started at dusk when Zappa, Fiona and I went outside to enjoy the warm morning air. It was 71°F. A record for this time of the year. We sat drinking in the gentle warmth anticipating the sunrise.
We do not have a horizon, we live the forest with trees everywhere, but just above the tree tops it is possible to get a peek of both the sun rising and setting. A glimmer, if you will, and as I was about to find out that is all you need.
Zappa was laying about in the middle of the yard, directly in front of me, facing east. While Fiona was at my feet in her personally dug hole, probably still half asleep. It was early for all of us being that we are night dogs and people. It made watching this sunrise even more special.
Lost in my thoughts, I suddenly noticed a pinkish hue glowing against the shed. For a second I thought, " I never noticed the shed that color before..." Then my eyes immediately went to the sky as my consciousness caught up to what my eyes were seeing.
It quickly built up from a pinkish-orange into a rich magenta and then quickly faded in a matter of minutes. But in those few minutes, the whole yard was washed in pink. It was absolutely beautiful. And Zappa, Zappa's face just glowed in color as he watched the incredible light crescendo and descend.
I can't remember the last time I have felt so awed by a sunrise. It was like touching the hand of God.
And Zappa, he could make a believer out of you, bathing in the cascading light that was connecting him to the Big Dog in the sky.
It was a simple easy-going day yesterday at the 24 Paws of Love. The dogs and I were recovering from a long day the day before
and we just hung out all day together. Back and forth, from one pack to the other. Making the most of this day and being together.
Chance gave a long solo howl which eventually prompted Fiona "across the door" to join in. I couldn't believe how long the song lasted. It was beautiful. It made me wonder what he was singing about and why. Was there a purpose to his song or did it just want to express himself at that moment?
We ended our sweet little reclusive time by playing the "Find It" game. I throw treats around the yard and they "find it." Just before going out to play, all the dogs joined in as the Howling Choir, as always it was awesome! Zappa does more barking that howling and his voice has become raspy, reminding me of the many years we have spent together. I love the memories we are making together as the dogs age gracefully. These are the times I won't have on my memory card, but will be able to recall in a heartbeat with the help of this blog.
That's why I write, because some day all of this will be a memory in my heart. It's the simple things that make my dogs the light of my life.
I stopped feeding the wild birds when our duck, Luigi, passed from eating too many sunflower seeds. I blamed the birds for killing Luigi. It wasn't their fault, but I couldn't help it. Three years later, (last summer) I made a couple of bird feeders and began feeding the wild birds again. It was such a joy. My love for birds never stopped, just took a hiatus. Than about mid-winter the squirrels had taken over the feeders and we had a slick coat of ice all over the backyard, so I quit feeding the squirrels for fear the dogs would hurt themselves chasing the critters on the ice.
Blue jay on my homemade bird feeder
That's when the healing box opened up and I talked with Luigi. I needed him to forgive me, so I could forgive myself about his death.and he did. So I was able to forgive myself.
That was this past spring. I still couldn't bring myself to feed the birds. It took me seven months and a lot of back and forth deciding. My hubby, Mark, also aided to my dilemma. He found a couple of bird feeders in the dumpster, both like brand new and brought them home, not knowing my emotional turmoil to use them or not.
Finally, one day I gave in. Filled the feeders, hung them up and let God take over. And He did. I suddenly had a bird haven, with squirrels and chipmunks. Birds flying all over the place, whizzing by my head, in front and back of me. This is when it occurred to me, that this is what Luigi would have wanted for me. A yard full of birds for me to enjoy, harnessing that deep love I have always had for our feathered friends. I would even call it Luigi's legacy for me. He gave me a deeper understanding of birds and the relationship that is possible with them. It is a wonderful, freeing feeling and that's all Luigi ever wanted for me. I am so blessed to have had him in my life.
For those of you new to the 24 Paws of Love we have four dogs that are made up into two packs each in pairs. They each their own yards and their own sides of the house, with only a door between them. We call this the separation door, which we must always keep shut because the pairs don't get along with each other. We've had a handful of fights caused by our own carelessness of not making sure the door is shut all the way when going back and forth between the packs.
This was one of those times...
Zappa was barking and pawed at the door that separates the two packs. Chance headed towards the door from the other side. I noticed that Zappa's bark was coming through rather clear. As I ran to the door, Zappa and Chance were slowly backing up away from the door. It had been pushed about a foot open. I slammed it shut, everyone barking in fear of what could have happened. So close. So very close.
Although I was impressed that both Zappa and Chance backed away at the same time. Neither really wanted a confrontation. And since those two have never fought when faced with each other they had no intentions of doing so now. Thank goodness Fiona was behind Zappa and a little slower to the action, or she would have burst through and started a fight.
It started out as a urine check for Fiona because I thought she might have a bladder infection. She had been peeing more and drinking more water than usual. She also would pee, then poop, then pee again, which I'd never seen her do before. So hubby, Mark took in her urine sample and we waited for the call.
There was protein in her urine. Quite possibly her kidneys. We set up an appointment for a blood test the following week.
We took her in, had a full blood panel done and we got the results at the end of the visit. Fiona's liver levels are all high. Not sure exactly what that means, but it isn't good. We were given liver supplements for Fiona to take for a month and then having levels rechecked. If her liver levels go back down it is her liver malfunctioning and probably due to old age. If her levels don't change, then there is something else going on that we will have to look into further.
We are a little scared, but hopeful. Maybe it won't be as bad as we fear.
Any prayers or well wishes would be greatly appreciated!
I always have a difficult time when I'm trying to express my love on paper for our four dogs, Chance, Blaze, Zappa and Fiona. It is hard for me to put my feelings into words, which I normally don't have any trouble with doing. I also find it hard to talk about the four "pups" without referencing Brut and Silver in some way. The qualities of their mom and dad really shine through. I don't know that I could talk about the "pups" behaviors and temperaments without bringing up Brut and Silver, being that these four are their kids. They display so many qualities of their mom and dad and having lived with all of them, they have for the most part, become meshed together. The way they think, feel and respond to us and each other, we have some how become a unit, even with the division of the two packs. And without Brut here as the top dog, taking all the attention and energy, the four are on even ground. A parallel playing field if you will. These four are ALL alpha dogs in their packs. Hubby, Mark and I are the top dogs now, without Brut, making it centered, with all of the rough edges smoothed out. There is actually gravity with a solid anchor holding us with an even stronger connection and foundation. Like Brut's true spirit in leadership has infused us together. I would have never thought that Brut being gone, would make us so much stronger as two packs and a family as a whole. Brut was a very powerful dog. Physically, mentally and emotionally. He just reverberated with strength. Imagine the most important being in your family that everyone is drawn to and for good reason. Now imagine them gone. The void is enormous. Your stomach falls to your knees feeling. You can't grasp your breath. Your whole life was center on that one being. This whole blog started out because of Brut. I have been lost for three years trying not to talk about him. But I can't. Brut is in every fiber and being of his kids. They are excerpts of every personality that Brut had...and I can't just forget about him. Brut and Silver's death balanced the scales of two extreme dogs. And while it was both Brut and Silver's death that brought such harmony, it is the Brut in them that is the loudest. As it should be. I am living in phenomenon that is unfolding right before my eyes. Every day. I can't get over the equality that is between the four dogs currently after Brut stole the spotlight when he was alive. He ruled everything.
Brut's spirit has woven our family together, pulling it tight like a drawstring.
It is comforting and mind blowing at the same time.
It is those sacred moments with Brut that I miss the most. Those times out in the backyard when it was just me and him sitting together listening to the world around us.
Since he had the better sniffer and better senses in general, I would just turn my head wherever he was facing. I studied his expressions and little nuances in his face to see if I could locate the smell. If the scent was strong enough I may get a whiff of Brut's interpretation. It was such a gift to be part of his eyes, ears and nose. Always alive, alert and intrigued. With Brut, I was able to see the world through his senses that let me know it was very much alive.
Being part of Brut's sensory world was so much different than getting in his head. These times together were about looking out instead of looking in. At certain points I would speak, or ask a question, but most of the time we just observed and listened to the creatures in the night.
I can remember many winter nights, when the air was crisp, frigid and thin, it seemed like we could hear for miles. Brut's liver colored nose, wiggling this way and that, while the rest of his body shimmied with excitement. Those nights, were like magic. We had a direct line to anything that made a sound, becoming one with the night and those around.
I've tried to create this quiet scene with our four pups, but my heart isn't in it. They all may be a part of Brut, but they are not Brut. Whatever we had together during those nights was unlike anything I'd ever experience with a dog before. It is where I learned to live in the moment. It was our time. Something special between Brut and I, that can only be recaptured in my heart.
I guess that is why I never really got into training my dogs tricks. Most of the time I let them train me. I believe in letting them evolve and grow into who they want to be. Their true self. Not a performed monkey. There are no strings attached. We work together, through and through. They let me grow, change and fail, just as much as I let them. And don't get me wrong, people who can teach their dogs to do tricks are great. It's just not for me. Even when I'm doing behavioral training I don't "tell them what to do." They show me if they care or not, or whether they want to learn or not. It is all up to them. I am just a guide. Not even that really. More of a sounding board as they become who they are. And that's when it becomes more than a relationship, a spiritual crossing if you will. It isn't a matter of trying to talk to them, it is complete communication 24/7. We are one. The 24 Paws of Love are one.
I'm telling you, I don't get it. I don't see how I managed Brut, five dogs, two packs, two cats, and a duck, because I feel like I'm still just keeping it together with four!
I swear the dogs I have now, have filled every nook, cranny and empty space left by Brut and Silver. For some crazy reason I thought after Brut and Silver passed there was going to be extra time to play with or that I get some sort of break mentally and emotionally. Instead it feels like it quadrupled! Zappa, Fiona, Chance and Blaze definitely fill the day and night. Not to mention the two cats, Boxer and Leia.
And every so often I think, how did I do it before? Especially with Brut! My ultimate trouble dog and who took every ounce of my energy and creative power. Just how did I do that?
I know I wasn't in this alone. I got a lot of help from the Big Dog in the sky, but it just blows my mind every time when I really think about it.
How about you, do you find yourself wondering how you've done it with your dogs/cats etc.?
It is that deep pit in your stomach that is always there in the back of your mind. It is the one thing as dog lovers that we can agree on and keeps us united. It is a fear that grows slowly every day, each day at a time. There is no shaking it or stopping it and one day it will happen. Your dog will die. Your best friend will leave you and you will be shaken to the core. We know what it is like, because you will even bond with complete strangers that say they lost their dog and you will nod your head because you know the pain and anguish of their loss.
We know the fear all too well, as we live with four dogs all the same age and all from the same litter and who have already lost their mother and father. It is scary. When Zappa pinched a nerve in his lower back, that half hour of waiting for my husband to return so we could take him to ER, was frightening. Not knowing what was happening to him as he shook and shook and shook in my arms, I didn't know if this was it or not. Thoughts circled in my head, if it was or wasn't. I shook as well as that fear bubbled up, praying and praying for help. I do believe that when one goes the rest will follow like dominoes. And it will be just too much for our hearts to handle. It brings a cold reality when one of them is hurt or sick, that this could be it. Hubby, Mark and I tremor in that reality and the growing panic that we will never be ready for.
I should state that I'm referring to an earlier than predicted death, not so much one of old age, which I think we all ask for.
Chance was sick today, only two weeks after Zappa was and vomited his breakfast three times after eating. The panic meter started to rise: the obnoxious heat and humidity we've had and the dogs still having some of their undercoat. The fact couple with company yesterday, that would have set off Chance's panic button to an already hyper dog and couldn't deal with all the heat. I've spent all day trying to adjust that meter, but the terror is real. The fear that there is something more wrong that what I see. The fear that just like his dad,Brut, that Chance has come down with something and there are no warning signs, only to find out too late. The fear of losing him sooner with not enough time for anything. Why? Because it happened to me. Brut was gone at the young age of eight years old. With no symptoms that anything was wrong and once diagnosis too late, he was gone. Just like that. Gone forever and ever. Gripping reality for the fear that runs deep for his children.
Hopefully Chance will be feeling better by tomorrow. If not we are off to the vet. And hopefully Zappa will be OK, as he took the last of his pain killers today, so now it will be a watch and wait game.
And as far as Mark and I, we will continue to spend all the quality time we can with our dogs, no matter the fear that lies beneath.
We will pray for all you that live this fear. (((HUGS)))
Had a scare with Zappa today. After eating breakfast he started panting, pacing and shaking uncontrollably. My first thought was bloat. Fatal bloat. Zappa sat in between my legs and I tried to sooth him as well as I could while he trembled in my arms. Something was definitely wrong. My second thought was that hubby, Mark had left for work half an hour ago and with only one vehicle, I just kept praying that Zappa would make it through. Mark turned home immediately after I called him and after talking to the emergency vet, we took Zappa to the emergency vet clinic.
Zappa had no problem getting in the car and all of his symptoms seem to vanish on the ride. Great, I thought, now what? Should we keep going? Or turn around and wait until tomorrow to go to our regular vet?
Since we made an appointment with the ER vet, I decided it was still probably best for him to see Zappa. Zappa's quick "recovery" gave me the impression that it was not a gastronomical issue, but something else.
Zappa was great through the exam and the doctor quickly came to the diagnosis of spinal nerve impingement or a pinched nerve in the lower part of the back. The doc gave him a shot of Rimadyl and sent us off with some Carbuprofen.
Zappa settled down after we were home and rested for the most part outside. I stayed with him on and off through the day doing my balancing act between the two packs of dogs.
When I fed Zappa his dinner I noticed some of the same minor symptoms of pain that started after he ate his breakfast. They were subtle but I could tell. I sat with him alone outside, until Dad came home and he settled down again.
So our next step is to talk to our vet and find out why he's in pain after he eats and what I can do about it. And any other information pertaining to his pain.
And while he seems to be on the mend, Mark and I have fallen to pieces. Even though I felt calm and centered when this all started, after we got home I felt like I could sleep for a week. It is amazing all the life and death feelings that happen when your mind starts to whirl when your furbaby is feeling well and you sit helpless trying to console them. I'm glad we didn't wait to go to the vet. I feel confident we got the right diagnosis and help. Thank you to the Doctor and the Vet Clinic. My boy's going to be OK.
Exactly one year and 4 months today, I lost the best mother in the world...our Silver Dollar. She was everything I could want in a mother and then some. Silver had a strong mothering instinct and was a nurturer from almost the beginning. She taught me everything I know about being a good dog mom especially with her own puppies.
Thank you Silver for everything!
Happy Mother's Day to all the Dog Mommas out there and their kids!
I really don't know how I would get through the day if it wasn't for hubby, Mark, the 24 Paws and our two kitties.
They are all my best friends and I couldn't ask for anyone better. I love them more than life. They are always there for me, always love me, and have helped me to love myself. I couldn't be more honored or blessed to have them all in my life. And I know I don't deserve such blessings, but God must have thought otherwise or I wouldn't be with them today. Everything in my life has lead to this moment and everything I could have dreamed of is here. If you would have told me 30 years ago that I could be happy, fall madly in love and have all the unconditional love possible, I would have never believed it. Never in a million years. Yet, here I am. Yes, here I am. Living, loving and tackling every sharp curve and obstacle in my way. We are going to do it. I am going to do it with the help of my family and God. We are going to do the impossible. Because that's what we have...impossible love.