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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Little bit of good, little bit of not-so-good

This past week, Chance has taken a slight but significant turn for the worse.  The biggest issue has been his rapid weight loss.  His backbone and ribs are just starting to show and there is muscle loss.  We've added more protein to his diet per our vet's instructions, but Chance is still struggling a bit to eat in the morning.  He has no problem eating at night, so that is good.  He still barks for his meals and is in generally good spirits, another positive.  

Hubby, Mark is having a very difficult time witnessing Chance like this.  Well, we both are, but Mark is taking it the hardest right now.  It has been hard on him being a working dad and being away from the dogs.  He has missed out on so much time with them that he can't get back.  It breaks my heart.  

One shining light on Chance is Blaze.  She goes outside with Chance every. single. time. he goes out.  Struggling on her arthritic back legs, getting up and down, she makes sure Chance doesn't go out alone.  And even if she comes in before him, she has done her job.  Blazes loyalty shines a beacon of love in these sometimes dark times.

And while we have to take it easy on how far Chance and I walk, he is still one powerful, strong-willed dog, who can still pull me along if he wants.  Our walks are pretty brisk.  Chance is still the fastest of all the dogs, even with cancer.  

We have our good days and our bad, but overall Chance is still kicking ass and that's a good thing.  ♥    

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Brut Thursday-Christmas Eve Past

 One of my favorite Christmas pictures of Brut.  I remember that evening very well.  We had a blast!

Brut's first Christmas at 2 months old
It was the last time we had a tree and decorated for Christmas.

                                   Brut's second Christmas at just over a year old. 

Notice how he's looking right at the camera, while I try to avoid it. lol 

Oh, how I loved my boy.

Merry Christmas Eve!


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Just a girl and her dog

 I'd been the verge of tears on and off all day.  They just wouldn't come, but it made for emotional day.  I have this all or nothing theory about walking the dogs, they either all go, or no one does.  Very rarely do I ever single out a dog and take only one for the day, but today was different.  Today, I couldn't handle the pressure I was putting on myself to walk all four individually like I usually do, no, today I needed to take Chance.  Just Chance.  And once we got going, I think he felt it too.

A hazy, half moon was out and plenty of Christmas lights to lite our way.  Chance and I fell into sync almost instantly.  I think we both needed to forget about cancer and death and just walk until our hearts were content.  The cool air cleared out heads and kept our blood pumping.  We were just two being doing what we loved to do together.  It was so refreshing.  And it was easy to forget about everything except us. There was no big revelations or deep communications between us.  It was all about feeling free from restrictions, limitations and guards.  Just a girl and her dog on a walk.  

And it was that simple.


Friday, December 11, 2020

the Christmas card walk

This is how you do it Chance.

 Blaze had figured it out...the secret to getting treats on a walk, that normally didn't come with any.  All she had to do was walk a little ways and sit.  A couple of snapshots and treats!  

We were out on a photoshoot for Christmas card pictures.  It was so funny and cute that Blaze was onto the game.  She's so smart.  None of the other dogs caught on to this strange walk.  Although Chance was catching on to Blaze and would sit willingly. 

Just when I think I've seen it all, Blaze amazed me.  And I fall in love all over again.  It makes me almost want to cry tears of love and joy.  Each one so special in their own way.  What awesome creatures dogs are!


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Chance the Wonder Dog

I am so proud of this dog we call Chance.  He is beating all the odds of an inoperable tumor and doing with gusto!  Every time we walk together he shows me more and more of what his body can do with care and love.  September 4th of this year, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and there is nothing that can be about it.  

I can not tell you what this dog means to Mark and I.  All the dogs are special, but there is just something extra special about Chance and we have known it for a  long time.  Chance is both of our heart dog.  Yes, he is our heart dog for us.  I actually just figured that out as I wrote it.  Oh my, it explains everything that we thought we were just feeling...it is real.  I'm so stunned right now.  Makes so much sense.  

God, we are so blessed.

Anyways, let's back up to this past Thanksgiving...and when we took each dog for a walk.  Here's Chance's walk with Daddy singing...our wonder dog! 

(Or watch on YouTube here)...

Does this look like a dog with liver cancer?

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

The walks are a little shorter

and our pace has slowed down.

Naps are longer and deeper

Their voices are a little more raspy

and their eyes are a little heavier

Arthritis is strong throughout their bodies

and pain management is a must

4 "puppies" whom we loved before conception 

are aging before our eyes

And we couldn't be more grateful for 

Every. Single. Day. we have with them.  

From our pack to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Chance's nervous tongue

Brut was not a licker with a couple of exceptions, if I was laying on the ground, he would lick my face all over.  This happened most of the time in the wintertime.  The second exception was when Mark would get home from work, Brut would lick his hands.  It became a ritual with them two.  

We didn't know it at the time, but before Brut was diagnosed with a tumor on the spleen, his licking ritual increased noticeably.  Especially with Mark.  Brut was licking Mark's hands, arms and face almost raw.  Non-stop.  We had no idea that anything was going on internally and guessed at the many reasons he was doing this.  

Chance is a licker.  He is one to lick your hands and face when given the chance.  He has always indulged in kisses.  Now since his liver cancer, we've noticed the same intense licking on hands, arms, legs and face.  Almost every time we put our hand out to pet him, Chance stops it in mid-air and starts licking it.  He is licking Mark's hands and arms almost raw every night.  And it is getting worse with each day.  

Chance knows something isn't right with his body even if he can't put words or definition to it.  Brut did the same thing.  I think it is comforting for Chance and is a way of releasing his anxiety.  I also think he is preparing us and comforting us over what is going to happen.  And I think as the cancer grows, the licking will too.  

Has anyone noticed this with their ailing dog?  


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Chance's tumor sighting (11-8-2020)

The day started with Chance in pain after getting off the bed.  I was scared.  Never saw him like that first thing in the morning.  He went back in the house and got back on the bed.  I sat on the couch and fell asleep with him.  

Then Mark got up and Chance was fine.  So we went on with our day.  

We were outside more than a few times today because it was so nice.  72°

I debated if it was too hot to walk the dogs.  The clouds finally showed up taking care of the sun and I decided to give it a go at about 3:30pm.

Chance and I had a brisk walk, even steady pace and a feeling of freedom.  Between a rainy October and mild injuries we hadn't walked in what felt like forever.  Having to miss out on all of this gorgeous weather we have been having... which really sucked!

We took a little bit longer walk than I had planned, but it felt so good to be moving and I was following Chance's lead and how far he planned to go.  Around the football field and down the paved path we scurried.  Oh, the blessed freedom.  I didn't ever want it to end.  

So Mark is on the roof, finishing up and when I get back with Blaze, Chance is ready to come outside.  So I take my break with him.  After all the kisses, he lays down on his side, in front of me  and I notice he is wider at his abdomen.  It is bulky and very out of shape.  My first thought is that he is having fluid retention again.  I'm trying to figure out how it got so big again and how I missed it.  If anything he's been too thin in that area IMO.  Then Chance rolls up and is now laying on his belly.  The bulge is still there.  It's got to be fluids.  Then he gets up and the bulge goes away.  He just snapped back in shape, just like that.  It takes some more going back and forth in my mind, when I come to the conclusion it was his tumor I was seeing.  I'm stunned.  Scared.  Shocked.  In all the times I've seen him lay down, this was the first I was seeing it.  It's growing.  It's the inevitable.  Wish there was something I could do.  Anything to make him all better.

Chance is still acting very healthy and happy, well as happy as a moody dog like him can be.  lol  Just "seeing" the tumor was a harsh dose of reality.  It messed me up for a while.  We are making the most of our time together, however long we may have, with lots of pics and video.  It's all we can do for our heart dog.  

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tough night with Fiona

 Was up all night with Fiona a few night ago.  She was acting like she was in pain and it came on all the sudden.  Gave her a Tramadol.  Did nothing.  She was pacing and panting and acting like she was going to puke.  She'd been eating rabbit poop that day, so I thought she was feeling sick.  Gave her two Pepto Bismol tablets.  Nothing.  Then I thought it was her liver.  None of her symptoms matched with liver failure.  Back to the pain theory when I watched her try to lay down, after pacing for hours and hours.  She couldn't extend her front legs.  She was so anxious that I gave her a couple of Inositol, which may have slightly helped.  The only thing that calmed her down was going outside and sitting in the rain.  She was actually quiet and sitting down.  We were under the pine tree near duck fence, where we talked.  She told me her secrets, I told her mine.  By the time we went in it was 6:30am and we'd been out for an hour.  By 7:30am I woke up Mark to get ready to go to vet.  Thank God it was Friday and our vet was there.  Just before Fiona's 9:30 appt. she finally laid down while Mark stroked her head and started to fall asleep.  She was exhausted from pacing, panting and being in extreme pain.  The vet gave her a new pain pill to use for 3 days along with her Galaprant and she slept all day on and off, as did I and Fiona is looking so much better.  

Thank God for our vet and modern meds and thank you for taking care of our girl and all our dogs.  We are so grateful her life isn't over yet.



Fiona is doing great and back to her bubbly diva self.  

No more pain makes for a big smile!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Chance's ultrasound results

 Well, we took Chance in to get his ultrasound.  He really fought going back to the vet for a third time in three weeks and having to wear his muzzle.  Somehow the vet was double booked for appointments and so we ended up dropping him off for part of the day.  Which was one of my worst fears for Chance.

So, we worried for the next four hours until we got the call to pick him up.  The vet called us in and showed us the images she took from the ultrasound.  It was obvious that there was a mass on the liver and the liver itself was made up of cancerous tissue.  It was the hard truth we needed to know.  

While she was explaining the pictures, I kept hearing a dog whining.  I looked up and there was Chance looking at us, crying to go home.  I felt really comforted that I got to see him in the kennel and that he was OK.  It gave me some peace of mind about how his day went.  

Chance is on two medications- one for the fluid in the abdomen to continue to drain out and one for his liver to continue to function.  And if you saw him without telling you he has liver cancer, you would never know he has it.  Chance is still the dog with the most energy, still pulls me along on a walk and is as happy and moody as ever.  

So, we are just living one day at a time with all the dogs and making the most of each day with them.  Pulling out the camera more, trying to hold on to time.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Chance's x-ray results

 Chance was finally able to have his x-rays done of his abdomen and the results were not good.  He has a tumor, either on his liver, spleen or pancreas.  It is too hard to decipher with an x-ray, so we will be getting an ultrasound done in the next couple of weeks, to know for sure.   More than likely it is the liver, since that seems to be the star of the organs for these four dogs.  

I've been living pretty much in the moment and it helps that Chance (or any of the other dogs) aren't showing any symptoms.  

But it all caught up with me today when we had to take Blaze to the ER vet for diarrhea that I couldn't stop crying no matter what I tried.  I just started to feel like our world of the 24 Paws was beginning to crumble.  

Piece by piece.  Dog by dog.

It's a little more than overwhelming.  And a bit scary.  

I can't imagine one of them not being here.  

So here's to modern medicine that is helping to keep them all alive and well.  

And to our wonderful vet who has put up with us through many different scenarios and dogs.  

And to you all, dear readers for still taking the time to catch up with us.  

God bless

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

...and Chance makes three...

 in our liver stories.   So you know by now that Fiona and Blaze have liver disease and are both being treated with 2 medications AND are doing great!  Zappa was tested as well, has one level that is off, but no need for medication.  Recheck in 3 months.  

And then there is Chance...he too was tested and has liver disease, yet he is only on one medication and for the most part is doing good.  Until we discovered his abdomen was full of fluid.  He's lost 7 pounds of fluid as of this post in just 6 days.  

The vet had tried to take x-rays to see where all this fluid is coming from, but there was so much of it that she couldn't see anything.  She was able to rule out congenital heart failure as his heart and lungs were clear.  

So, our vet put him on medication to flush out the fluid and so far so good.  Hopefully we will be able to get a clear x-ray to find out what is going on with our boy.  

Stay Tuned as the mystery of Chance continues...

Saturday, August 29, 2020

We got our Fiona back!

It was exactly 2 months today that Fiona was at the vet's office all day practically on her death bed from a failing liver.  We tried some new medicine, Urisidol and it brought our baby back to life!

It has been a long while since she has felt good on a consistent basis.  She is happy, alert, playful and kind of bouncy!  lol  She's been back on regular walks at a steady pace and that has been good.  We take a trail that is 1/8 of a mile loop for her and she loves that walk.

She's having no problems eating and is enjoying the addition of her canned food.    It was the best way to put weight on, while being easy on her tummy when we first started the medicine.  It worked out great!  Except now she won't eat without canned food mixed in. Spoiled girl!

  Thank Woo for all your prayers and support!
I made it!!

We are so grateful for the medicine working and the fact the Fiona is feeling better.  It was pretty scary that first month and now we have two months under our collar.  Fiona getting better every day. Every day there is something new I notice that just adds to her well-being.  We are so grateful for this second chance with Fiona and we couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Gifts and Blessings of Dogs

I've been struggling with depression my whole life.  It has been especially difficult this summer when we found out Fiona and Blaze have liver disease.  Despite myself, I have found under all that heaviness, the dogs are the ones that can still put a smile on this hardened heart.  They still make me laugh and dance and sing.  And as the years creep up, I find more of my time with them to be quiet and still.  Comfortable to just "be" with each other.  With lots of "eye talk."

I have found that when I am somber, they are too and we rest together.  And when I feel lifted, they celebrate with me.  Believe me there is something to be said for older dogs that have been with us from the beginning...they know you.  They feel you, they understand and they try to change you.  They have their ways and wants to get to you to smile again. 

It is one of the reasons I don't understand why people give up their senior dogs, for the only reason that they are old.  They say that a dog's prime ages are 3-7 years old, but I would disagree, I feel we are still in our prime at 12 years old.  The bond I have with each dog is incredible.  And it is more than the fact they are Brut and Silver's kids.  All four of them have distinct personalities, quirks and special gifts to share. 

And really isn't that what having a dog is all about?  Getting to know them.  Having this mind-blowing relationship with them.  All wrapped up in unconditional love. 

What a blessing we have been given to have dogs in our lives.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

First Fiona and now Blaze

This has been difficult to write.  I have been putting it off trying to process the information. 

I told you about Fiona having liver disease, well we found out after a hunch and blood work, Blaze has it as well. 

This past year we got DNA test for Fiona and Chance.  Well we also got a health analysis with it.  At this time we already knew that Fiona had liver disease, but it was discovered that Chance carried the same gene for it.  Which lead me to getting Blaze tested after witnessing some of the same symptoms that Fiona had before treatment.  Well, Blaze's liver levels were quite high after getting blood test.  That's when we figured out that this was genetic. 

Blaze is on the same medicine as Fiona and is responding slowly.  They are both taking Urisidol and Denamarin to keep the liver going.  How long it will last is a guessing game, but for now it is working.

We will be getting blood work for Chance and Zappa's liver levels in the next few weeks.  Chance is showing any symptoms right now, but I have some suspicions about Zappa.  I hope I am wrong.

It's been a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster dealing with all of this information.  I thought the scare of Fiona was enough to last me, but now Blaze for certain and possibly Chance and Zappa.  Scary stuff. 

Keep the 24 Paws of Love in your prayers.  Thank you. 


Monday, July 6, 2020

Last weekend-Fiona scare

We had quite the scare with Fiona.  I mean a serious scare.  The vet was using the "E" word as an option when they found that her liver levels were way too high and she was in trouble.

It started last weekend.  First she didn't want to walk.  Then she didn't want to eat.  Then she became lethargic.  Monday morning (last Monday) we called the vet.

They said to drop Fiona off for the day and our vet would get to her in between her surgeries.  It was a very long day for Mark and I because we didn't know if she was coming home.

Finally they called us to say she was ready.  It was discovered it was her liver.  The said there were a couple of options.  Put her down or try adding a medicine to see if her liver will function with it.  We opted for the medicine.

Between canned dog food and her new liver medicine, she perked up quickly.  Like that night that we brought her home.  And she is just getting better and better every day.  Although we had to break down and get an air conditioner, because Fiona had heat exhaustion her second day home.  We aren't crazy about it, but it keeps her cool and that's all that matters.

So it isn't a matter of "if" it's a matter of "when," and depending how long the medicine works and her liver keeps functioning she will do just fine.

Until then we are going to make the most out of our time together with Fiona, feasting on all the love.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Five Years Ago Today~ Brut's Anniversary

I still feel empty
Yet I am full for knowing you
Sometimes you feel like a a figment of my imagination
Other times I feel you right by my side.

The sadness of your loss
still breaks me down in tears
Yet the joy you brought fills my soul.

The memories of you pierce deep in my heart
Yet there are days I can't remember more than your name
Time has played funny tricks with my mind
Always feeling like I am leaving you behind

Remembering the day you came into my life
and the day you left

There is no other soul in this world like yours
It has always been a honor and a privilege to have you part of my life
And the soul reason your memory lives on in your kids.

Every day or every hour
you are still with me.

Love you forever, Brut

my canine twin

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Paws and our ever changing Corona world

We wanted to check in with everyone and see how you are doing, now that all of our lives have changed during this scary time in our history.

We are doing well under the circumstances.  My life as a dog mom hasn't changed my routine much.  The best part is that Mark is home and the dogs are digging the extra time and attention from him.

The 24 Paws had their yearly checkup a few weeks ago.  Vaccine, heart worm check and a couple had blood work.  We got in just before the office changed their procedure to curbside pickup.  The entire staff was wearing masks and that was our first real contact with the reality that is happening around the world.

Michigan has been on a state lock down since the beginning of March with a stay-at-home order.  Restaurants and bars closed soon after, but you can still get takeout.  We are still able to walk the dogs.  Thank God for that or I'd really be losing my mind.  Things happened fast that first week or so and now it has become the norm.

We were blessed with an early thaw and we are in the beginnings of spring.  Which is a nice change of pace for us, as we usually have snow until April or May.  So we've been taking advantage of being outside more, a special blessing considering being on lock down.

So what about you?  Where are you in this corona fight?

We hope you are all well.  Please take care of yourselves out there.  We are thinking of you!

Be safe.

Monday, January 6, 2020

An innocent man behind the 24 Paws

Brut and Silver's litter of ten turned 12 years old on January 2nd.

Out of the ten, four are with us as the 24 Paws of Love.

Two are still alive and we still visit.

Two have passed on.

And two are in the wind.

We celebrated all their lives through Zappa, Fiona, Chance and Blaze with cake and presents.

It has been one hell of ride that we would do over again if asked.

I never would have believed that these puppies would change my life so drastically and dramatically.

Not just because they are Brut and Silver's pups and that both of their spirits shine through,

but also because we would be totally lost without them/

They have survived both of their parents and are carrying on the legacy Brut and Silver began.

I never believed in having puppies.  You hear all the time how wrong it is when there are so many sheltered and abuse animals needing love.  

And I agree.  I had totally closed my mind to the thought, when in walked Mark into my life and we got Silver.  I remember that day vividly.  We had barely got Silver in the car, when Mark said, "Wouldn't it be great to have puppies with her?"

I have been through many battles in my head over his innocent desire to breed Silver and have her puppies.  Severe battles of right and wrong and what was God's will for us.

Years of programming about spaying and neutering, over breeding, puppy mills, overcrowded shelters and abuse.  I felt like I was constantly violating some sort of oath by even considering breeding Silver.  

And then there was Mark, who always wanted a dog, but was never able to have a pet growing up.  He was innocent from all the rules and regulations that I was bound by and knew nothing of the cruelty and abuse that happens in the pet world.  He had been completely sheltered to what I had been over exposed to.  He could not fathom anyone ever hurting an innocent animal.  Not only were we at opposite side of the spectrum, there were all of fears of the pregnancy, the births, raising them and giving them to strangers.  

I was riddle with guilt of all sorts.  
And this was when having puppies were just in the talking stages. 

It was probably at that point our relationship that I put my whole trust in Mark and his innocent beliefs.  I still had much inner conflict, but I also put that wholehearted trust into Silver and let her guide us and make the ultimate  decision.  

And that's why these puppies are such a blessing.  They were chosen. 

From the beginning.  Long before the mating and the conception.  Mark and I were 100% committed.  With our love, our time, our money, and our faith.  And we will be committed until the end and beyond.  

All ten puppies can trust and know our love, no matter where they are, no matter the circumstances...til death due we part. 

And I am so grateful for this innocent man following his heart and how he changed mine to have Zappa, Fiona, Chance and Blaze today celebrating their 12th birthday.

They are priceless.

Happy Birthday Puppies!